Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gentleman Husband

Halloween 2012

Morning sickness is totally lame.  I'm sick all day long.  This time around, I got a prescription for zofran, which helps me not throw up, but it doesn't stop me from feeling like I'm going to throw up.  All. The. Time.

This constant nausea is not conducive to being productive, feeding/clothing/bathing the children, cleaning the house, fighting with Lillian about homework, grocery shopping, doing laundry, or anything else that resembles  tasks accomplished by a responsible adult.  I mostly sit on the couch and let the kids watch 5 hours of TV a day.

And then... Tyler comes home!

Can I talk for a minute about how great he is?  He makes dinner, does the dishes, gets the kids ready for bed, finishes up Lillian's homework, reads stories, brushes teeth, says, "I love you one" "I love you two" with Nora, makes sure Ethan has his blankie, and then folds laundry by himself while watching back episodes of Arrested Development because I passed out at 7:30.

I have a lot of the Awesome Mother Guilt because I'm so useless right now, but it's very comforting knowing that Tyler has got it.  Maybe he secretly hates all the slack he has to pick up, maybe he secretly thinks that I'm malingering or just being lazy, but he doesn't let on.  He just makes sure my favorite blanket is covering my feet as I sleep on the couch. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

You really don't know anything, do you?

Nora helping Ethan to look at the camera

The other day, I showed Nora that if her hands were cold, she could pull them inside her jacket, and then hold her hem in her fist to keep out the cold air.  This blew her mind.  She couldn't wait to show Tyler... "look what Mom taught me how to do!"

As soon as she said that, I thought, "man, you have to teach kids e v e r y t h i n g," and all of a sudden, I felt very overwhelmed.  Sure, they pick some stuff up through observation and Lillian is learning tons from her peers (some good, some bad), but a big portion of Information that One Needs to Be A Functioning Adult comes from didactic conversations with parents.

Aside from How to Keep Your Hands Warm Without Mittens, here's a list of things I've taught my kids in the recent past:

  1. When you blow your nose, try to put your nose in the middle of the kleenex, so you don't accidentally catch a corner and get snot on your hands.
  2. Pants are supposed to go all the way down and touch your feet.  It's OK, you will get used to the feeling of the hem on the tops of your feet eventually.
  3. That spinny thing in the corner means the computer is thinking and your video will start when it is done spinning.
  4. It's mean to tell your sister that you have cookies when you don't have any.  (I'm not sure this message got through as intended.)
  5. How to tuck your hair behind your ears.
  6. People really like it if you ask, "can I take your coat" when they come home from work.
  7. The bones in your face will break if you run face-first into the wall (on purpose or on accident, it's unclear what, exactly, went down).
  8. Animations are drawings and live-action shows are real people... but those people are called actors, and the stories are pretend.
So, if you ever have a need to discuss why Perry the Platypus is a mammal, or go over (in infinite detail) the steps involved in sorting laundry, come on over.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Kind of a creepy picture, I know

I read a book called MWF Seeking BFF and it cited research that stated that you needed to have X number of lifelong friends for maximum happiness.  I don't remember the number, but when I read it, I thought, man, I'm screwed... so it must have been more than the handful that I have.  We're talking about friends that you've known for-ev-er: that knew you when you had a gap between your two front teeth that was so wide, you could put your tongue in it; that dropped everything to go with you on a poorly-planned last-minute road trip to Utah, not knowing beforehand where you were going to stay, or what you would eat.

That you haven't talked to in a while, but whenever you're in town, they drop everything to go out to dinner with you and you pick up right where you left off, discussing Jarritos Pineapple Soda and how you can teach an object lesson on STIs with M&Ms.

I may not have very many lifers, but I'm sure glad that Tanya is one of them.  Happy Birthday Tanya!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Why I actually do like being a nurse

Nurses are all about the nitty gritty of bodily functions.  I spent the better part of yesterday trying to get one of my patients to poo.  She didn't want to take a medication called lactulose because it tasted bad.  I assured her that the next step would be an enema, and I didn't care either way.  And I don't.  I see bodily fluids (except for sputum which seriously grosses me out) as part of the machine-works of the body and I stopped feeling embarrassed for the patients a long time ago.  Seriously guys, everybody poops.

Last night, I had a dream that someone wrote a group email saying something like, "Amanda worked really hard today: she didn't sit down for more than 5 minutes at a time, she only peed twice in 12 hours, and she didn't get to eat anything except for the sandwich that she inhaled around 4."  No one wrote an email like that, probably because everyone else was really busy as well, but that doesn't make any of it untrue; all those things really happened.

The social worker for our unit was telling me that her daughter wanted to be a nurse and she was trying to talk her out of it, because she (the mother) spends time around all of us who are run ragged by patients who mistake the hospital for a hotel, and doctors who apparently hate people (why do you go into medicine if you hate people?), etc.  And, it would appear to this particular social worker that we all hated our jobs because we complain so much.  Not so, I told her.  I really like my job.  I need a hard job.

Aside from the fact that I feel like I'm helping the universe move in a better direction, one bowel movement at a time, I like that it's challenging.  I like the fast pace and the pressure.  I like the science of it and that I have to think quickly and be smart.  I like chatting with patients about how they got that crazy scar on their arm while I start an IV.  I like the comrades-in-arms feeling I have with the other nurses and techs on the unit as we wage medical warfare on the masses.

When it is slow and I have to do chart audits because I have nothing else to do, I hate it.  I come up with elaborate schemes that allow me to go home.  I could never sit at a desk all day, I would go crazy.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Parenting FAIL

Lillian's artwork from yesterday
So, I don't think that time when Lillian walked in when I was watching Sherlock scarred her at all, do you?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

You just never know

When we came back from California, Lillian went over to a friend's house.  "Lillian, what was your favorite part of California?," the mom asked.

"We went to an oil museum! And they had all these oil pumps!"

"Oh," the mom replied.  "Didn't you go to Disneyland, too?"

"Yeah, but at the oil museum, they had a little model of a jack house pump and you could turn the top and the pumps would go up and down, and then we saw one of the big pumps!"

Next to my father's house, there is an old oil office converted into a museum.  It's staffed by an elderly man and his wife, and the inside consists mainly of that little model, several photographs of the surrounding area before all the houses were built, and a workshop full of large wrenches and stuff.  Outside, you can see the original jack house and the pumps.

I've never been, so I decided to swing by on our way to the nearby park.

The stop took all of 20 minutes, but to Lillian, it was the highlight of the trip, apparently.

Right after I got married, I had a guy friend who really wanted to get married, but kept striking out with the ladies.  He stopped by one day and asked me what girls want for a spouse.  I told him my story with Tyler and that she shouldn't try to make himself any particular way, he should just be the awesome guy that he is because you never know. 

Thus, I find that this principle extends past dating to child rearing.  I would have thought Disneyland or Play City or the beach would have been Lillian's favorites because those were the most expensive, most labor intensive, flashiest stops, and  they required the most orchestration to pull off.  But no, it was the low-budget dinky oil museum that made the trip for her.   

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Keeping Life at a 3

"Ambulation" is the medical term for walking.  After surgery, it is important to ambulate at least once on the day of surgery (usually) and then 3-4 times a day every day after that.    If you don't walk, your cells won't get the oxygen they need for healing; your lungs won't be expanding all the way, so fluid could collect in the bases causing pneumonia; and the blood could pool in your legs, giving you a blood clot that could break off and give you a heart attack or stroke; and your bowels won't "wake up" fast enough, possibly giving you an ileus. Ambulating patients drives most of what I do as a nurse.  I need to keep you rested, pain-medicated, cleaned up, and happy enough to get those walks in.

I try to keep my patients at a "3" on a 0-to-10 pain scale.  No pain is unrealistic because 1. you just had surgery and 2. if I give you enough pain medication to erase your pain, you will also stop breathing.  But a 3 you can work through and get your walk in.

Last night, I was reading my first How-To parenting book: Smart But Scattered.  It's all about "executive skills" and how to teach them to your child.  Executive skills are skills needed to execute tasks and be successful.  Lillian has problems with sustained attention, task initiation, and time management.  (I don't know where she got that from: my assessment said my weaknesses were in sustained attention, organization, and time management.)

Anyway, one of the Principles for Improving Executive Skills is to "Modify tasks to match your child's capacity to exert effort."  The authors suggest modifying tasks so that they feel like a "3" on a 1-to-10 effort scale.  This can be accomplished by breaking down the task into smaller pieces (clean just this room, instead of the whole house), decreasing the time spent on the task (clean for 5 minutes instead of 20), or increasing the reward so the task feels like less work.

I've been trying to force Lillian to sit for 3 hours and get all her homework done (because she doesn't do her work in school, we get to do school work AND homework), when for her, that feels like a 10 on the effort scale.  This is why it's not working.  Duh, Amanda!  This is why she flops around and can't concentrate and "forgets" how to do math even though we just went over it 10 times! I don't make my patients ambulate when they have a 10 on the pain scale... I give them morphine and then come back in 30 minutes.

I'm only about 100 pages into the book, so I don't know all the tips and tricks, but I'll keep you posted on how we do.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Beach Day

A lot of people in Arizona hate California: there's too many laws, too many liberals, too many taxes, gas is too expensive, houses are too expensive, the weather is always being better than our weather, you can't just go out and shoot guns wherever, etc.  However, as much as Arizonans complain about California, everybody loves the beach.  Everybody.

I love California and I can't wait to move back there (someday), and I especially love the beach. While we were there, my stepmother graciously offered to accompany me to Little Corona.

This allowed us to have a completely stress-free trip because I didn't have to cart everyone to the bathrooms every 10 minutes, just one kid at a time.

So precious.  

They are finally reaching an age where they are starting to realize that the long-sleeved swim shirts are uncool.  Too bad.  They will wear them until they are old enough to do a reasonably good job applying their own sunscreen.  So... college?

Thank you, Jeri for making this moment possible.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


Waiting at for the Play Parade at California Adventure with Aunt Anne

I am number 6 of 7 kids, which are broken up into "the 4 older kids" and "the 3 little kids" due to a 3-year gap.  Even though I was part of the 3 little kids, I felt much more comfortable with the 4 older ones.  My sister Anne, pictured above, and my younger brother Andrew, of Steampunk Nintendo fame, were partners in crime and I was the odd man out.

They were always off lighting toilet seats on fire (true story) or whatever, and I was left to... I don't know, ride my bike by myself to swim team or read Anne of Green Gables again.  I don't ever remember fighting with them, except one time at school when I passed Anne and her friends in the hall and she... well, since this is a post about how we're friends now, let's just let that one go.  The point is that we lived parallel lives, never doing those things that you picture sisters doing together (laughing, gossiping, doing each other's hair, playing, etc.)

I read in Nurtureshock that siblings with cool relationships tend to stay that way; if you weren't friends when you were kids, you won't be friends when you grow up.  I'm glad that Anne and I have defied statistics and have become friends as adults.  She calls me to chat on her way home from work, and I call her when I need to figure out what I'm going to make for dinner.

So while I worry about my girls being friends when they're little, I don't stress too much, because they'll figure it out eventually.

*Note: I just remembered another time I fought with Anne.  It was right in the middle of The Clapper craze of the 90's and she had gotten one for Christmas or something.  I was so mad about who knows what that I went into her room and started yelling.  The volume of my voice starting flicking the lights on and off, which made Anne laugh which made me even madder.  It's finally starting to be funny... after 20 years.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Is One Kid or Three Kids Harder?

Let's fast forward, away from Hawaii, to a few weekends ago.  I had just gotten back from taking the kids, by myself, to California for a week.  It was hard, but not as hard as I remember a trip I took with just Lillian when she was 2 and we went to visit family for a week.  Adjectives I would use to describe this last trip: fun, enjoyable, pleasant.  Adjectives I would use to describe that trip with Lillian: drudgery, tiring, exhausting, never ending.

I think I was pregnant with Nora, but that can't be the whole reason it was more difficult.  I think, now hear me out, that having 3 kids is in a lot of ways easier than having one.  With just one child, it's just you and that kid, staring each other down, all. day. long.  There is no one but you to distract them, to play with them, and to fight with them.  With 2 other kids around, you can outsource all of those things.  You can say, "Hey Lillian, go see why Ethan is crying," instead of having to leave your pleasant conversation with your sister to go find out for yourself.

These pictures are not from our trip to California.  As I was saying, right after I got back from California, it was the ward camp out, and Tyler took the kids up to Mt. Lemmon by himself because I had to work.

I don't think he (or I) would have been brave enough to try that with only 1 kid.  

However, he did not attempt to go hiking.  He's brave, but not crazy.

Oahu, Day... something

I'm getting bored of this.  I'll just put a few pictures up for posterity.  The next day, we hung out at Waikiki and ate lunch at a place called Cheeseburger in Paradise.

It was delicious.

We saw Hello Kitty.  I felt really sorry for whoever was in that suit, because I was melting.

We went to the Polynesian Cultural Center, which is pricey, but worth the money.  Plus, you get to watch these guys scale the trees like it's nothing.  We stayed for the Broadway-style stage show in the evening, which was super good.  My favorites were the fire knife dancers and the Fijian hula dancers.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Oahu- Day 4

 Pearl Harbor

 An anchor salvaged from the Arizona

 Also docked in the harbor is the submarine Bowfin.

 The "hot bunks," which sound awful: they only had enough space for beds for 1/3 of the crew, so to go to bed, you woke someone up and then got in bed after them.  I would only agree if I could have my own pillow.  (Actually, I wouldn't agree.  I have been known to sleep on the couch instead of sleep where Tyler has warmed up the bed too much.)

We hiked up Diamond Head Crater. 

Waikiki in the background 

Then we headed over to Lanikai Beach in Kailua.  It was beautiful and warm.  The ocean was clear blue and the sand was fluffy white. 

 This one is for Anne.  We took this shot just for her.

 We tossed the frisbee back and forth and lounged around for hours.  We frolicked in the ocean and contemplated renting a kayak to go out to that island, but didn't.

We took this bad picture of me right before we left and realized that our rental car was broken into and our wallets and clothes were stolen.  This is what we wore to the Kailua police station to file our police report... also, we were badly sunburned because we thought that maybe the spray sunscreen in Hawaii is different and will provide adequate protection, even though it never has in the past and I have always gotten burned.  

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Oahu- Day 3

Hey, so where were we?  Oh yeah, Oahu.  We stayed with some friends of ours and spent Sunday tooling around the island.  This shaved ice place is Erin's (with the pinkish-red hair below) favorite on the island.  You can see from the line that it's a lot of people's favorite.

Charlie, on the right, grew up in Hawaii, and assured me that getting ice cream in your shaved ice is the way to go.  I was very skeptical of his recommendation, especially after he went for the sweetened condensed milk on top of his.  Ice cream in shaved ice, that's like mixing water with your ice cream, and that sounded gross.

Turns out- IT'S DELICIOUS!  It tastes sort of like a root beer float, except with shaved ice flavors.

Then we drove up to the Pu'u Mahuka Heiau Historical site (I totally googled that).  It was a little windy.

According to the 30-second history lesson I got from Charlie, this spot was the last stand the native Oahuans made against King Kamehameha in his battle to unite the islands, who were the last hold-outs.

They fought all the way up to the cliff and then King Kamehameha's army started pushing the Oahuans off.

Which is when the surrendered.  Tyler wanted to see if he could pet a wild chicken.

They are very fast.

Tyler told me that I kept giving him stink faces, so I did this one on purpose.  After dinner, we took a walking tour of downtown Honolulu.  There are three of these King Kamehameha statues in existence: one in DC, one on the Big Island, and one in Honolulu.  Without trying, we've now seen all 3.  I don't remember what this building is... some government office?

This is tha royal palace where Queen Liliuokalani lived when she was disposed.  It being a Sunday evening, it was closed so we couldn't go inside.

And this is like the first Catholic church in Hawaii... or the biggest... or the fanciest, or something.  I wanted to take a picture of that amazing stained-glass window, but we went inside and they were performing Gregorian Chants right in front of it, and it would have been awkward to walk around them.

We also went to church at a random Honolulu ward, and there was a family moving away.  After the meeting, the congregation sang "Aloha 'Oe" (which is learned was composed by Queen Liliuokalani, I learned from a plaque outside the palace) and gave the moving family leis.  I was pretty much bawling, it was so touching.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Part time party

An old picture of the hospital.  Patients call the new 6-story building the "nice" part of the hospital and always lament when they have to come to the "old" part of the hospital, where I work.

I love working part time.

When I think back to when I just had one child, the prevailing emotional memory is B O R E D O M.  Sure I loved my kid and found joy in taking care of her, but seriously, you can't tell me that playing Ele-fun is intellectually stimulating.

Then I got a job, a full-time job.  And, I was no longer bored.

Full time is 3 12-hour shifts per week.  Plus a staff meeting once a month, plus I do some monthly audits, plus whatever other training or meetings I have to go to.  This was all manageable, kind of, until Lillian started 1st grade.

 I sent an email to Mrs. B like the 3rd day of school and said that Lillian was having a really hard time focusing doing her homework (suggested time to spend on homework: 30 minutes.  Time Lillian was taking: 1.5-2 hours) and did she have any suggestions.

She replied something like "Oh, it's just the beginning of school, she'll settle down and work it out."

A few days later, I got another email. "Yeah... so... Lillian is having a hard time..."  This was while we were in Hawaii, and the next day was back-to-school night.  My mother went and told Mrs. B to send home any work Lillian didn't complete in school.  And she did.

Let's just say that I started to long for the days of 1.5 hours of homework each day.  Tyler doesn't get home until 5 and then has to feed the kids, and then start homework and somehow have the kids in bed by 8 so they won't be dead the next day.

It went from manageable to overwhelming very quickly.  I scaled back to 2 days a week and it's pretty wonderful.  Turns out, subtracting 24 hours from my week helps me to strike the perfect balance between being busy but still having enough time to relax and read or watch season 2 of Sherlock on Netflix.  I feel good about my work commitments and I feel like I get to spend a lot of time with my kids.

I always thought I'd be a stay-at-home mom.
Related Posts with Thumbnails