Thursday, October 22, 2009

Flu Shot Festivities

Yesterday, after receiving a pre-recorded message from the CEO of Kaiser Permanente that H1N1 flu shots would be available to select priority groups (including children) today, I decided to suck it up and take my crew in ASAP to get vaccinated. While I know there's no guarantee that the vaccine will actually prevent us from getting the flu, there have already been confirmed cases at our preschool and church and I figure we need all the help we can get. Additionally, we were scheduled to get our regular flu shots 2 Mondays ago, but 2 of the 3 boys were running fevers and we had to cancel. Which means that we were due for not one, but TWO shots PER KID.

As a veteran mom, I knew this would suck. But honestly, it would have sucked whether we did it today or three weeks from now and in the meantime, we would probably all get the flu(s), so I just needed to do everyone in one fell swoop and have it off my list. I am pretty no-nonsense about shots, probably stemming from the time I was a kid and witnessed a gaggle of nurses literally chasing a screaming kid down the hall at the pediatrician's office trying to pin him down for a shot. My mom took one look at him and told me that if I ever dared to do that, what I got from her when we got home would be far worst than the shot so I'd best just sit there and take it. So I was prepared to take it in more ways than one today.

We picked Cade up from school and headed directly to the doctor's office, hoping to beat the after-school/work rush for the walk-in flu shot clinic. When we arrived, there were already a good 7 or 8 people in line (not including the ones already processed and waiting). Step #1 was to determine immunization eligibility and fill out the necessary paperwork. To Kaiser's credit, they were well-prepared and had a staff person helping customers to pre-fill forms while standing in line. Unfortunately, this individual was unable to deviate from the flu-shot-eligibility script in any way, shape or form and the conversation went like this:

Me: Hi - I'd like to get 4 seasonal flu shots and then 3 H1N1 just for my kids, since I don't fall under the priority guidelines.

Her: Have you looked at the priority guidelines?

Me: Yes - at home.

Her (handing me a sheet of the guidelines): Ok, I'll need you to look at this sheet and confirm that you all meet the criteria guidelines.

Me: Ok, well, it says kids between 6 months and 24 years and my kids are 1, 4, and 5, so they fit.

Her: What about you?

Me: No, I'm older than 24 and I don't have any of these health conditions and I'm not pregnant, so I still don't fit.

Her (eyeing the children): Do they fit?

Me (thinking): Well, they have not aged 19 or more years since we started this conversation, even though it FEELS like they have, so YES, they still fit.

Me (speaking): Yes, they fit.

Her: So you want 3 H1N1 and 4 seasonal?

She handed me a tall stack of paperwork to complete and then directed me to the receptionist's desk, where the receptionist proceeded to confirm about 50 times that I wanted 3 H1N1 and 4 seasonal shots. After a lengthy wait, during which Josh insisted on exploring every inch of the waiting room on his hands and knees and then promptly pooped his pants (forcing a detour to the ladies' room to change him), our name was called at last.

We were shuffled into the cubicle of the poor soul who had the unfortunate designation of Flu Shot Nurse. Even more unfortunate was that she was apparently accustomed to vaccinating nursing home patients on their deathbeds and not energetic young children who grow more and more anxious the longer a shot process takes. The regular pediatric nurses are so quick on the draw that they're in and out before a kid even knows what hit them, but this visiting nurse had all the time in the world.

After she confirmed approximately 56 more times that I wanted 4 seasonal shots and 3 H1N1 (WHAT is so hard about the freaking math, people?! I knew I should've just lied about being pregnant!) she began entering the information into the computer. Very, very slowly. And she messed up a few times, so she had to start over. And then she had to line up band-aids, also very very slowly and without great precision, requiring her to start over with those. Meanwhile, Cade was rapidly approaching ineligibility due to aging out and I was about to score eligibility by going into cardiac arrest right there in the little room.

When it was go time, Cade chickened out and sent Drew to the guillotine first. I was so proud of him - he just took it like a little man (mainly because he was desperate for the M&M prize I had waiting for each boy at the conclusion of shots). When it was Cade's turn, he went BALLISTIC and even had poor Drew crying for him and hiding in a little ball under the chair. Poor Joshie had limited escape options due to his lack of willingness to walk, so he just had to sit there and get stuck in rapid (or as rapidly as the nurse could move) succession. Cade and Drew both actually tried to leave the room at that point - it was pretty hairy by then. All the while, the nurse was dragging her ass and I was hissing, "Just DO it! Just get it over with! Just stick them!"

In the end, everyone left with flu shots and it only cost me chocolate milk and fries and Chick-Fil-A since the lame Capri Suns and M&M snack packs I'd stashed into the diaper bag didn't even BEGIN to make it up to them.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Funny That Does Not Involve the Children For Once

A few days ago, energized by a blogging conference I recently attended, I was chatting to Aaron about some exciting new technical developments I had on my mind.

Me: It's awesome - Linda totally just told me about how I can post in the notes on the Facebook fan page for The Development Team (my company) and link my tweets to the notes post instead of messing with setting up and maintaining a whole new blog for the company - I can't believe I didn't think of it!

Aaron: That is awesome.

Me: Now if I can just get a Google Wave invitation....

Aaron: Did you sign up for one?

Me: Like the day it was released. Hmm...maybe I can tweet/Facebook it and see if I know someone who has an invite - I think you get 8 to forward when you get yours. Maybe someone I know already has it and I can snag one.

Aaron: Who are you? I swear, it's like being married to some 14-year old tech geek.

Me: At least now you know how I've felt all these years.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Josh the Energizer Bunny

Our children are all what I would politely call high energy. We have yet to have a baby that is content just to laze in the stroller and happily watch the world go by. No, all of ours have to be right there in the thick of things, doing their part to keep the universe off-kilter. I find this interesting because while I am admittedly high strung, Aaron is so laid back that not even a rapidly approaching Mack truck could cause him to quicken his step when crossing the street. It's all good with him, ya know?

And yet, when it comes to the approximately 456 gazillion different combination of DNA that our genes can produce, the spaz trait is apparently highly dominant over the chill trait. Which means that we have a 0% chance of producing a child that is mellow, which is apparently exactly the same chance that we have of producing a child that is female.

The latest child to give me a run for my money is sweet Baby Josh. Still sweet, but no longer baby really, he is evidently trying to make the case to change his name legally to Hell on Wheels. The kid is EVERYWHERE. If there is a physical challenge that presents itself, Josh is happy to tackle it and will often go searching for it. Recent antics have included:
  • Scaling the baby gates before he even knew how to get up the stairs on the other side of the gate once he got over it. A climber - yay!
  • Trying to squeeze his whole body UNDER the baby gate after we raised it a few inches in an attempt to keep him from trying to go OVER it. He was foiled by Drew (who told on him) and his chubby little tummy, which trapped him halfway through, ala Peter Rabbit under Mr. MacGregor's gate.
  • Climbing onto the rocking chair in the nursery and rocking the crap out of the rocker (standing, facing backwards) just to the point where it almost tipped over. And laughing the whole time about the thrill of it.
  • Attempting to walk down the stairs. Even though he still prefers to crawl on level ground.
  • Walking up slides at the playground. Even though he still prefers to crawl on level ground.
And the list goes on and on. His complete and total lack of fear or ability to moderate risky behavior combined with my hearing loss means that I literally have to keep my eyes on the kid all day long. Because when he's sky diving off the arms of the sofa, I'm not gonna hear it coming from the kitchen.

Even more awesome is the fact that he is quite possibly the world's WORST daytime sleeper (although I suppose I can feel grateful that he is an awesome nighttime sleeper). Whereas most babies his age sleep anywhere from 3 to 5 hours a day, Josh only sleeps in 45 minute stretches, once, sometimes twice, a day. This leaves a lot of hours where he is roaming around in public (i.e outside the safe confines of his crib) and needs to be supervised. By me.

Not only does he not sleep, he doesn't seem to need the sleep and rarely melts down over lack of sleep. This week, he has has gone almost every day without napping until 4 pm, at which point he snoozes for about 45 minutes. He then comments for another 45 until I feel bad that he's yapping to himself trapped in a crib and I release him from the cage crib.

Secretly, I am jealous because I've always felt that sleeping, along with eating, is a GIANT waste of time. When I think of the increased productivity I could achieve if I gave up all forms of refueling, I get positively giddy with excitement. So I'm thinking the kid may have a real gift. Now we just gotta figure out how to channel it....

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Just a Bad Case of the Mondays. On Tuesday.

Some days suck so bad that you just gotta cry blog it out. Today was one such day.

It all started with Drew's class trip to the zoo. An annual tradition for the 4 year olds at our school, I attended last year with Cade but was wise enough to get a sitter for Drew and Josh (a screaming, refluxey newborn at the time). For Drew's trip this year, I figured I would bring Josh along since he had never been to the zoo and might enjoy seeing the animals. I figured wrong.

His main problem was that he wanted to crawl all around the zoo (he CAN walk, but won't), preferably in the direction of the zoo exit. His staunch refusal to sit in the stroller escalated into the mother of all tantrums and ended with him being completely and totally inconsolable. After I was sufficiently embarrassed in front of all the parents, a couple of them graciously offered to put an end to my personal hell and bring Drew home if I wanted to leave with Josh. Which I didn't because I didn't want to spoil it for Drew, but it was clear that Josh was determined to spoil it for the whole group if we stayed, so we left. Josh sobbed and hiccuped all the way to the car and halfway home,while I sobbed and hiccuped on the phone to a friend over my mommy guilt for bailing on Drew and screwing up his field trip.

And no, I never did discover the source of Josh's mystery zoo meltdown.

Once he was calm, I decided that as long as I was down to one kid, I would tackle a couple of errands on my list before it was time to get Drew. I blew past the freeway exit of my house, just in time to receive a call from my cleaning lady. Admittedly, there are language barriers, but from what I was able to ascertain, she was locked OUT of my house, while her things and my house key were locked IN my house. The possibility of accomplishing errands disappeared in front of my eyes as I headed home to rescue her. Trying to look on the bright side, I convinced myself that it was a blessing in disguise that I was now 10 minutes from home and able to come to her rescue instead of all the way across town at the zoo, as I was supposed to be.

Unfortunately, the language barrier was bigger than I thought. I arrived home to find a clean house and a key on the table, but no cleaning lady. WTH?! Errands apparently blown off for no reason now. Pep talked myself into being grateful that least least I now had a clean house.

After an unsuccessful attempt to nap Josh, who was WIRED by this point, we picked up Drew from the mom who was nice enough to bring him home. Out of extreme guilt, I offered to take him to lunch at any place he wanted and he chose (of course) Chick-Fil-A. I felt so bad about the zoo debacle that he even scored a brownie, plus the nifty little graduated cylinder toy and science booklet in the kid's meal.

Off to get Cade! Knowing that with the way my day was going that it would be a mistake to take all 3 boys home and keep them cooped up in the house all afternoon, we headed for the park, despite the grey dreariness of the day and the earlier drizzle. Josh happily rolled around like a pig in mud, free from stroller constraints at last. The Bigs, however, had nonstop issues. A HUGE science fan, Cade was beyond upset about not having a graduated cylinder of his own. The boys put it to good use by using it to knock the crap out of each other for awhile until I told everyone we were packing up and going home.

STILL determined to turn the day around, I bathed Josh and put him down for a very late nap and settled in to provide constructive activities for the Bigs. We used the graduated cylinder to do a liquid layering experiment with molasses, oil, and water. The boys, mystified by the layering, began "testing" all sorts of disgusting concoctions in the experiment such as salad dressing/milk/water, whipping cream/apple cider vinegar/juice, etc. When that experiment had lost it's luster, I whisked the graduated cylinder to the sink to rinse it out and....dropped it. Oily Disgusting Concoction splattered all over the counter, cabinets, (previously clean) floor, and my jeans. And yes, in case you were wondering - they WERE my fancy jeans and not the 5 year old faded Mossimos from Target. Grrrr....

This only strengthened my resolve to turn the day around (I really enjoy beating my head against a wall like that). We moved on to an experiment involving baking soda and vinegar explosives, which was really satisfying for everyone, save for the wet toilet paper trails it left in my front yard.

The rest of the day passed uneventfully except for Cade hitting me and getting sent to time-out and Drew's dinnertime in-depth description of the (fictional?) dead bloody zebra with bones sticking out of it at the zoo. For good measure, I decided to cap the day off with a tiff with an Ann Taylor sales clerk and a trip to the grocery store, which I hate.

But as they say, tomorrow is another day. God help me.