Friday, September 30, 2011

Who wouldn't laugh at posts from The Bloggess??

I try to share the funny stuff I come across on a day to day basis with anyone who will listen to me and was compelled to share this link from The Bloggess. This stuff manages to make me laugh out loud in an embarrassing way on an almost daily basis. Enjoy, y'all!

The Ambush Makeover-- thanks for the insult?

During the 10:00 hour of The Today Show, there's a segment where the hosts choose someone out of the crowd outside on the plaza to give them a complete outer-appearance overhaul, known as the Ambush Makeover. 

Here's something I never understood....EVERYONE who is chosen looks absolutely thrilled, most likely because they get to be on TV and get their hair and makeup done for free. But the fact they were chosen in the first place is because they didn't look okay as-is. 
Why aren't they insulted?? I would never want to be the subject of an ambush makeover because it says to me "hey, you're a hot mess and you shouldn't be walking the planet this way, we can fix you right up".

I'm all for fun talk show segments, but maybe the 'subject' of the makeover is really okay with the way they look now. What if they don't want to change their appearance? Do they really need to have a "beauty expert" who has obviously had his cheeks done tell them that they aren't looking their best?
I'm pretty sure they know it...maybe?

We already have body image issues, wardrobe malfunctions, and general beauty insecurity to deal with in our everyday lives so who's to say what "pretty" is? 
All the subjects of the makeover are always very happy with their new looks and I think it's wonderful to give someone a chance to see what makeup can do.

But why the heck are they so happy being chosen in the first place??

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sibling rivalry-- something finally clicked (other than my clenched jaw)

Kids do weird things.

If you'll recall from one of my previous posts, my 9-year-olds are suddenly like oil and water. They can't stand being around each other for longer than 5 minutes.

In an attempt to put an end to the screeching and bring peace back into the house, I have robbed both kids of TV and video game privileges "until morale improves". Of course that gave them something else to screech about, but it seems to be marginally effective.

Since mornings are usually when most of the nastiness occurs, I naturally expected the worst when I first heard them stirring at 6:30 this morning. The stirring I heard was actually Clifford wandering into my room to inform me that Alexander was already downstairs and hadn't gotten dressed yet. Alexander used to be the town crier, but it appears that he has abandoned his post and Clifford has wasted no time assuming the responsibilities.

I call down to Alexander to have him come get dressed, per morning routine. His response? "Mom, I can't be up there with him".
What?? Are you a robot like that kid from Small Wonder?

We all want our children to grow up well-equipped to make good decisions. This one far exceeded my expectations of a hyperactive 9-year-old boy. He knew he would fight with Clifford, so he just went downstairs, sat on the couch, and waited.

I can only imagine that this impressive move in his part has more to do with his desire to regain access to the computer than with his ability to remove himself from potentially disastrous situations involving his brother. But I'll choose to believe he's bright beyond his years, that's what moms do. And I'll hope this ability remains with Alexander when Clifford tries to convince him to do something really stupid. Because we all know that's coming....

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

And off we go...the dreaded food challenge

After yesterday's insanely long post about my kids and their allergies, I was able to finally get the results of their latest Rast (blood) tests. Turns out we get to play allergy roulette with Alexander. Or, thanks to a good friend at work, we can now commence with the aptly named "Operation: Deep Sea".

Alexander has managed to almost completely grow out of his fish/seafood allergies. Good news for him! However, now I have to test it out on him. Hopefully Operation: Deep Sea won't become Operation: Deep Six.

Here's how it goes- I give him salmon in 20 minute intervals. If he lives, then I move on to tuna, also to be given in 20 minute intervals. The final test is codfish.
If everything goes well then we can officially consider him fish/seafood allergy FREE! (We hope)

Of course I can't breathe a word of this to him because he'll be all suspicious of me when I'm trying to sneak salmon into something he's already eating without him knowing. If I tell him anything he'll freak out. The same way he freaked out when it was time for the peanut food challenge 2 years ago. He accused me of trying to kill him.

Next step: search for "how to hide salmon in your kid's meals" recipes.
All suggestions welcome.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My kids have food allergies....

....and I found out the hard way.
4 years ago, I gave Clifford some pistachio gellato and he started coughing. Richard and I didn't think anything of it considering Clifford was getting over a head cold at the time.
The next night after dinner, Clifford asked for some more, so we gave it to him and he had the same response. I thought he was getting sick again.

After throwing some cough syrup at the issue and putting him to bed, I noticed that he was very lethargic but he wasn't complaining, so....carry on.
About an hour later he wandered down the hall to my room saying his arms were hurting. The kid was COVERED in hives. He was also wheezing like a life-long smoker.

Knowing that it was likely a reaction to the pistachios, I gave him some chewable Benedryl for the hives, got him dressed, grabbed the gellato, and we headed for the closest urgent care.
I didn't have a very strong emotional reaction to my child not being able to breathe well, and that was on purpose. I knew that as soon as I got upset, Clifford would flip out and it would be a nightmare. I stayed calm, therefore he stayed calm. I highly recommend this approach.

We arrived at the urgent care center, walked up to the intake desk (where you usually sit for 47 hours waiting for someone to acknowledge you) and I said aloud, "I have pistachio gellato and a kid who can't breathe. Could be a possible nut allergy".

The next thing I knew, Clifford was being whisked away to be pumped full of meds. That's when he got upset.
He calmed down quickly when he realized I wasn't going anywhere without him, and he enjoyed the focus being on me as I was peppered with questions from the doctors. They quickly confirmed that it indeed was an allergic reaction, and likely to treenuts.

Here's where it gets a little squirrely....the urgent care doctors gave him oral Prednisone. Now for those of you who either have children with food allergies, or have them yourself, you KNOW that when anaphylaxis (breathing difficulties) is involved, the only sure way to treat it and stop the reaction is through an injection of Epinephrine. That's why we have to carry Epi-Pens with us everywhere.
This is something I did not find out until months later when we got in to see an allergist who knew her stuff. Clifford got lucky in that the Prednisode happened to stop the reaction.

Fast forward 4 years, several rounds of skin and blood tests, countless Epi-Pen prescription refills, and major diet changes....I have two kids who have significant food allergies.

At first I was insane. I was printing off and reading the entire Arlington County Public Schools menu ingredients list, I was calling school administrators, I was listing out all "off-limits" foods for every family member and emailing them around. I was terrified someone would end up accidentally killing my kids. It was a very helpless feeling.
Since then, I've calmed down. The kids are much better at reading labels and knowing their limits. They've grown up quite a bit. And what's even better is they have grown out of quite a few of their allergies already so their diets are not as restrictive, and I'm not as much of a nervous wreck when it comes to eating out. It's been an adjustment, but we're living with it.

Here's how we started out 4 years ago:
Clifford: Allergic to peanut, treenuts, sunflower, sesame
Alexander: Allergic to peanut, treenuts, sunflower, sesame, fish/seafood

My thoughts? "Well, I guess these kids can kiss all Asian cuisine goodbye. Poor little guys".

Since that time they have both grown out of the peanut, sunflower and sesame allergies. Thank goodness! Being allergic to sunflower meant no more Goldfish Crackers. Those are a diet STAPLE when you're a kid. Needless to say, the kids were very pleased.

Random things I've learned in all this madness:
1. For those with treenut allergies...Watch out for things like Cetaphil skin products. Wonderful for eczema, but they contain macadamia nut oil (a treenut) and will likely cause a skin reaction in the highly allergic.

2. Check for pesto in the pizza sauce- A lot of restaurants have "cheese pizza" on the kids' menu. I have yet to run across a restaurant that actually uses pesto in the kids' sized pizza sauce (pesto = pine nuts = treenuts). However, I still ask every time because you never know.

3. Coconut is considered a fruit. For a long time we avoided anything containing coconut oil because we thought it was a treenut and would kill the kids. Turns out it's a fruit so it was safe for us. As always, be sure to check with your allergist before handing over those SpongeBob fruit snacks.

4. For those with fish/seafood allergies...When eating out, ALWAYS inquire about the restaurant possibly having dedicated fryers for people with allergies. I have on several occasions asked to speak directly to the chef because the waitstaff couldn't tell me if the french fries were also fried in the same oil as the fish. You'd be surprised at how few restaurants have dedicated fryers, so always ask.

5. Fast food websites usually have very detailed allergen information, so do your research before you go! It turns out that out of all the fast food restaurants we've visited only McDonald's has dedicated fryers separating the fish and the french fries/nuggets. All others fry their nuggets and fries in the same oil as the fish, so be careful when considering ordering the chicken nuggets, or anything else that's fried. Poor Alexander spent years without a single chicken nugget until we found out McDonald's was safe.
Places like Chick-fil-A are fine because they do not serve fish, but watch your peanut allergies. Even refined peanut oil can cause a reaction in a severely allergic child, although it the restaurant claims it's safe, so check with your allergist first.

For parents who are just entering this crazy world of kids and food allergies, the best information resources available (in my opinion) can be found on the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network website. This site cleared up a lot for me and made it all far less overwhelming.

More posts to come on the crazy adventures of my kids and their food allergies....
In the mean time- any questions? Feel free to email me.

Monday, September 26, 2011

For more on parenting little devils.....

If you're looking for some great parenting advice, or to feel better knowing there are others suffering right along with you, I highly recommend ill-advised.
It's what you were always thinking, but just haven't had the nerve to say out loud....yet.

Moms should get paid....a lot

I love it when my good friend Megan comes over and tells me that coming to my house is the best, and cheapest, form of birth control on the market.

She's right, my kids are a handful. And, for example, after yesterday's solid screaming match between the boys about who gets to play on the computer first, it's not uncommon for me to think how awesome it would be to just put them on the curb with the recycling. Not that I would actually do it because that would be illegal, it's just fun to think about.
Don't judge, I know I'm not alone.

Parenting is hard, and parenting twins is ridiculous. I particularly enjoy the response I get from childless, female twenty somethings when they find out I'm raising twins...."OMGEEEEE!! I WANT TWINSSSS!!!! IT WOULD BE SOOOO FUNNNN!!!"
Really? Come to my house. Better yet, ask Megan, she'll knock some sense into you. It's not for the faint of heart.

It's wonderful and I wouldn't trade it for the world, but don't be fooled, young twenty somethings.... it's the most thankless, painstaking job out there. And it doesn't pay squat.

Unless you count being paid in petrified Skittles stuck to the back seat of your car.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I'm not sure why I agreed to this

Yesterday we decided to go into DC for Nickelodeon's Worldwide Day of Play. Probably the worst decision. Ever

Error in judgement #1- We drove. 
Richard wanted to drive, I wanted to take a cab, Richard won. 
It was insanity. I don't even understand how they actually fit that many people in one place. So after an hour of listening to Richard almost lose his mind and after parking several blocks away, we were finally headed to the event.

Error in judgement #2- Not going until 3 hours after it began.
By the time we got there all the water and food was long gone. The only thing that remained were bottles of Diet Coke. Surprisingly poor planning on the part of the event coordinators considering there were still 3 hours left. 
So the kids got a treat....and the caffeine made them nutty. Which in turn made Richard a joy to be around.

Error in judgement #3- Going in the first place.
It was hot, it was muddy thanks to all the rain we've gotten, and it was crowded with crazy people. People who seemed to have no concept of personal space. Maybe I'm just getting too old for this? I used to have no problem with crowds, now I don't want anyone near me. I sound like a crabby old man.

Even the kids were getting snarky. Alexander started making comments about being "claustrophobic" and Clifford was pouting about being too short to see the event stage so it was time to get Well as fast as the insanely dense crowd would allow. 

So we headed for the a nice quiet pizza place, where the nuttiness continued thanks to the Diet Coke.
Just about the most exhausting 3 hours of my day...and I didn't really even do anything. 

old, old, old

Saturday, September 24, 2011

And the bickering continues

Nothing says brotherly love like Clifford telling me, in no uncertain terms, that he would like Alexander to suddenly disappear. They seem to be at the age now when getting along peacefully is not nearly as desirable as a nice slap across the face or punch to the arm. They fight over what show to watch, what snacks to eat, what games to play, what the weather is like....bicker, bicker, bicker. Have you ever seen those chickens that can't be in the same pen together without pecking each others' eyes out? Yep, that basically describes my children.

I suppose I should add "Referee" to my extensive list of qualifications. 

It's a challenge, and anyone who has children embroiled in daily episodes of sibling rivalry would surely agree. But the worst part of this never ending challenge is when you're in the midst of breaking up the 74th argument of the day and one of your 9-year-olds blurts out "HE'S ANTAGONIZING MEEEEE!!!", displaying the vocabulary of a near-adult. In that case there's nothing left to say but "KNOCK IT OFF!!" 

Kids-1, Mom- 0 

Friday, September 23, 2011

There’s no way I’m going back in there

This Fall I finally enrolled the kids in swim lessons. After spending several summers watching them paddle around the neighborhood pool and sink like rocks, I thought it was time they learned the proper way to swim.
Sinking or floating?...Jury's still out
The first class proved to be an interesting life lesson. There I am sitting on the bleachers of a very noisy, very hot indoor pool watching the kids flap around in the water when all of a sudden Alexander pops up and announces he needs to go to the bathroom. I point to the men’s locker room and off he goes.
A few minutes later he comes back out with a look of surprise and terror on his face. He walks up to me and says “Mom, there’s no way I’m going back in there!”
Knowing that there were likely several older boys in the locker room after their swim practice, I said “Oh, is it crowded because of all the boys from the swim team?”
 Alexander, in his 9-year-old voice, loudly shouts for all to hear, “Not boys, MEN!”
Now I don’t know about you, but I didn’t think that the crowded indoor pool was the best place to attempt to explain to Alexander that he possessed the same equipment as those “men” and he shouldn’t be concerned about going into the locker room.  So, sensing the audience of other parents waiting for my response, I instead offered to take him into the ladies locker room with me.
His look of complete disgust was answer enough.
See, Alexander? There really are worse places than the men’s locker room.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Operation: MuffinTop, and other questionable decisions

Ahh, freedom. Freedom of choice, freedom of speech, and freedom from your kids for 10 whole weeks. That’s what I was so fortunate to experience this past summer. Although I missed my children dearly, it’s rare that I get a moment to myself, let alone 10 WHOLE WEEKS. My ex husband and I have always lived in different states so when he offered to take the kids for the summer, rather than have them go to summer camp here, I said “sure”. But what I was thinking was “PHEW!”
I needed a break, and Richard and I needed to get away to try to remember why we are in a relationship in the first place.
Fast forward 10 weeks and I am suddenly 10 pounds heavier.
All that freedom to eat out whenever I wanted, freedom I had been without since the kids were born, resulted in my unworn, now ill-fitting favorite jeans lying neatly folded in my closet…mocking me. And I was exhausted! I was so excited for the kids to come home so I had an excuse to NOT go anywhere.
So my latest quest…to rid myself of these 10 horrid pounds. Thus, Operation: MuffinTop.
UPDATE: Day four of my attempt to eliminate sugar, gluten, and dairy from my diet is going well.
I caved and ate pretzels for dinner last night, by the way. Stay tuned.

You know what you can do with that balloon...

So in a few short weeks I will be turning 40. *WHATTT?* That’s just not funny. There’s NO WAY this can be happening. I’m young! I feel like I just got out of college, and sometimes act like it! And I’ve spent the last 9 years making absolutely certain I definitely DO NOT look like a mom. But alas, I am. And I’m about to turn 40.
My parents have both said on separate occasions that they cannot claim ownership of a child who is “my age”. My response? “I have no idea what you’re talking about”. But every time I think about it I get slightly nauseous.
“It’s no big deal”, they say. They being the friends around me, who just so happen to be YOUNGER than me. Just you wait.
I say whatever. I choose to remain AT MOST 28…in my mind. Although, my kids have every intention of divulging my real age every chance they get. To all their friends and their friends’ parents.
Thanks a lot, guys. I plan to tell everyone I know you’re about to turn 10.

A picture I plan to show all future girlfriends