Monday, February 28, 2011

Recovering from the Weekend

Oh, man! It's been crazy around here.

After we discovered that spilling mercury is baaaaad (and yeah, I remember playing with mercury as a kid, too!) and that sweeping the floor after a mercury spill is really, really bad (at least we had picked up all the visible mercury at that point!), we all huddled in the kids' room with the door closed. We opened the windows in the main area of the house and checked out clean-up instructions online.

Mr. X pointed out that we have a friend who's an environmental engineer, so we called him. He doesn't work with mercury himself, so he called his boss, who said that we probably should go ahead and follow the online instructions we found (and offered to get us a mercury spill kit and lend us their mercury sensor on Monday if we hadn't put that stuff together before then).

So, we went in search of a spill kit and mercury sensor. Ha! Good luck with that on a weekend!

We packed the kids up in the car. It's not a lot of fun to have two sick kids and to have to stay out of the house. We don't have family in the area that we can foist ourselves on and we didn't want to give our friends' kids the germs (let's face it, I'd share the germs with family, but not friends--though our engineer friend--who is a single guy, and boy, we should find a nice girl for him!--offered to let us stay at his place). So we just drove around trying to get the (sick, hungry, tired) kids to sleep while simultaneously getting the mercury clean-up stuff handled.

Things we learned:
1. Our cell phone provider's information service stinks! They could only find one nonemergency number for a fire station in my area, and that was headquarters. Which is open M-F 8-4:30.
2. Our nearest fire station is "not regularly staffed." Boy, I feel safe!
3. The fire station that was open does not have mercury spill kits or mercury sensors (friend's boss thought they might). They called county haz-mat to see if it was an issue.
4. County haz-mat thought it wasn't that big a deal and recommended cleaning up with ammonia . . . which some of the online instructions said might cause an explosion.
5. If county haz-mat had thought there was enough of a problem to need intervention, they would have sealed our house and called a contractor to deal with it, and we would have been on the hook for the bill for thousands of dollars.
6. The pastries at the fabulous Danish bakery near the fire station do have medicinal properties.
7. Walmart does not carry mercury spill kits.
8. Neither does Ace.
9. Neither does Lowes.

So, after hours in the car (which also included a stop at Rite-Aid to buy a new digital thermometer), we headed home. On our friend's advice, we called the county health department (which the cell provider's information service also could not locate), and they said to keep ventilating and try to get a spill kit. We also talked to chemist we know. Yes, we really are specialists at overkill! But it is pretty freaky when you see warnings about irreversible neurological damage to small children.

Saturday night, Sarah slept very little. On Sunday, we went for a walk to get out of the house. Nick threw up on his coat. We repeated the "drive around and try to get sick kids to nap" routine and kept ventilating the living room.I figured out, based on some of the online instructions, that if we still have any mercury in the cracks between the floorboards, it can't be much more than is in a lightbulb, and they just recommend disposing of the pieces in hazardous waste and then airing the room for 12-24 hours for that. Mr. X and I were finally ready to collapse into bed when we went upstairs and found that Wonderdog had had diarrhea all over her bed and the kitchen floor. As we were finishing cleaning it up, Sarah woke up and threw an hour-long tantrum. The poor little thing was so exhausted she didn't know what she wanted. We finally just brought her into our bed and I nursed her to sleep. It may undo some of our sleep training, but oh well.

Today, I finally found the sulfur powder we needed to clean up the last of the mercury at the local compounding pharmacy. When we got home, Nick napped for 2 1/2 hours, Sarah napped for 4 1/2 hours, I napped for about an hour, and we all felt much better. Mr. X put down the sulfur powder when he got home, and we're going to keep the kids out of the room for a few more days, just to err on the side of extreme caution.

Oh, and Mr. X came home with new batteries for my basal thermometer today. I was glad to see that the package read, "No Mercury"!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Get Rid of Your Mercury Thermometers!!

Seriously!! This is my public service announcement of the month.

Last night, Mr. X and I were both wiped out. He had a long week at work (and long nights working on the stuff he had to bring home from work), so I had a long week at home. But did we go to bed early? Nooooo. Of course not! We stayed up talking and then I realized it was after 11 and got grumpy, and we finally crashed. At which point, Sarah woke up. She had trouble going back to sleep, so I went in just after midnight and realized she was burning up. We gave her some ibuprofen, Mr. X started walking her, and she threw up all over both of them. (Side note--I would much rather be thrown up on myself in the middle of the night than have a baby throw up on something that requires more complicated cleaning, like the carpet, or their bed, or my bed.) We got everybody cleaned up, made sure she was feeling a little better, gave her some more medicine, and she went to sleep.

So, we were even more zombie-like today. We were having a slow day around the house, and Sarah was feeling pretty crummy. I could locate three thermometers: the digital rectal thermometer (um . . . no, only if it's absolutely necessary), my basal thermometer with the dead battery, and the old mercury thermometer. So I tried to take her temperature with the old standby, she squirmed, it fell on the hardwood floor, and then we had teeny tiny balls of mercury all around.

Mr. X moved the kids into their bedroom, and we opened the windows, got some paper and scooped up the mercury, and threw it away. Then I went in with the kids, who were clamoring for me, and Mr. X continued cleaning up . . . including sweeping the floor. Then he checked online to see if there were any other precautions we should take. And that's when he found this, at which point we pretty much wanted to burn the house down and start over again. I'll tell the rest of the story tomorrow, but if you've got a mercury thermometer, just get rid of it! It's so not worth the hassle!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

When will I learn . . .

. . . that when a kid throws up, he's probably sick? Boy, I feel like a dimwit! But Nick is just so cheerful that he doesn't seem like he feels sick. Yesterday, he woke up from his nap with a 103-degree fever, and when we were putting him to bed, be threw up again. Poor little guy! Mr. X found me a sub (I was supposed to be parent helper for his preschool class this morning) and I took him to the doctor . . . who diagnosed a virus. Darn it, he's just going to have to wait this one out. He cracks me up, though--he keeps referring to throwing up as "tummy spilled," and he was singing and dancing in the doctor's waiting room. Fortunately for my credibility, he still had a fever when they checked him, so they didn't think it was all in my head! We had chicken soup for lunch and then went to pick up Sarah from preschool.

The good thing is that we saw the doctor and I asked him about whether we should wait a while before going back to infertility treatment. He said no (for much of it, anyway), since some of the treatment I had (i.e., hCG and T3) reduces the risk of miscarriage. I'm scared to call the pharmacy about the hCG, because we've changed insurance and will have to pay for it out of pocket. I hear it's become really expensive since I last took it! We are going to wait on ovulation-inducing drugs to see how things level out with the hCG and T3 . . . and also because femara's not recommended while nursing. So, it we have trouble this time, I might need to wean Sarah to take the drugs. It's kind of wild to be back to the treatment stuff!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Potty Quest and Other Bodily Function Information

So, the replacement potty arrived today! The kids were all excited to open the box. And when they did . . . they weren't sure what it was. Once I said "it's a little potty!" Nick grabbed it and started running toward the bathroom, saying "Bathroom! Bathroom!" and Sarah immediately pulled her pants down as far as she could, shouting "Pants off! Pants off!" Unfortunately, the potty is tiny. I mean, really tiny. It seems more like a doll potty to me, to be honest. And the little "shield" thing would not fulfill its purpose (ahem. Keeping little boys from accidentally peeing on the floor), but would really just serve to slow them down from slipping off the front. Did I mention it's TINY?

So, I had them each try sitting on it (full clothed, in the living room), then explained that we'd have to get one a little bit bigger, but still smaller than the big potty. They were fine with that.

Right now, I am taking a break in the disinfecting process of the hand-me-down potties. Because I am cheap. Right now we're really trying to get out of debt, so we're deep in the "live like no one else" thing, and, hey, hand-me-down potties are saving me at least $40-60 based on what I saw at B.a.bie.s R U.s last weekend. But I am not only cheap, I am also somewhat germ-phobic, so I put on the rubber gloves and am hitting these suckers with all kinds of bleach. When the neighbor first brought the potties down (along with a ton of nice toys), we had the following conversation about them:

Me: I'm not so sure about the used potties.

Mr. X: Well, if you had a plastic cup that was full of poo, and then you washed it, would you drink out of it?

Me: (brief pause while I wonder if this makes me totally neurotic) No.

Mr. X: Me neither, which is why we're not going to drink out of them.

And now it's back to disinfecting potties, but only after bragging that I think I earned two merit badges today (I originally thought I earned just one, but when I told Mr. X I deserved a merit badge, he thought it was for another incident, so now I think I deserve two). Mr. X thought I deserved one because, five minutes before the babysitter arrived for our spirituality class and twenty minutes before Mr. X got home from work, Nick threw up all of his dinner, and I had him and his high chair cleaned up (with the laundry rinsed and ready to go in the washer) by the time Mr. X walked in. (Nick was fine--I think he just gagged on a piece of food, but the poor little guy was so pitiful because he was really sad about it, and kept saying "clothes all dirty" even though I told him we could wash them and make them all clean.)

I thought I deserved one because I checked on Sarah, who had been napping for fifteen minutes, and discovered that she had a poopy diaper. She's had such awful trouble with diaper rash lately that I didn't want to let her nap with it on, but I wanted her to nap, too. So I changed her out of her pants, onesie, cotton-prefold-with-Snappi-and-velcro-diaper-cover and into a clean disposable diaper (and pants back on again) without waking her up! All right, enough of my bragging. I have potties to sterilize!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Update on sleeping and potty training

So, the sleeping is (mostly) getting better around here. Thank you so much for your comments on the climbing-out-of-the-crib situation. I have to admit that, so far, bribery is working beautifully. After that first night, the have not once climbed out of bed. Promises of a sticker along with chocolate milk/reading a new library book/watching a 20-minute video for any child (you get the picture) who stays in bed all night or all of naptime have proven irresistible so far. As soon as that fails, I have a few more ideas up my sleeve (probably either the tie-a-sheet-over-the crib solution or the plunge into toddler beds). At least I know that the promise of a sticker is great motivation indeed.

And we're about to embark on the new adventure of potty training. Nick's been talking about it, and I think it's time to take the plunge. I ordered a potty on, and it arrived yesterday. We made a big deal out of it after naptime, having the kids take turns opening the flaps of the box and pulling out the packing paper inside, until Mr. X pulled out the smaller box containing said potty and curled his lip in disgust.

It was a used potty! Ewwww!

Now, we actually have used potties given to us by our lovely neighbors who have also given us a boatload of their slightly-older children's gently used toys. They didn't have one of the primary design features I was looking for (a shield), so I ordered a new one, too. And I expected to get a new one!

Apparently the potty's original owners opened the packaging, decided to return it to Ama.zo.n, taped it back together, more or less (on one side, the tape is still slit open), applied the return labels, and sent it back. Then took the box with the return labels still on it, plunked it inside a larger box, and sent it to us! Go Am.azo.n!

And, no, I'm not sure if it was really used. We didn't open the box to find out because, I'm sorry, but even if this thing is sparkling clean, I'll still be convinced it was used and cleaned up before it was sent back. So, we are returning it to Am.azo.n, and I told them why. So we still have no potty, but we do have a large box containing a second-hand potty in the entry way. I wonder if Ama.zo.n will put it in a still-larger box and send it to another buyer! This could get into a disturbing Russian-nesting-doll-type scenario. My advice is this: if you order a potty from, and it arrives in a refrigerator box, don't open it! Just send it back!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Back again . . .

. . . in more ways than one. Boy! I guess I really need the every day habit of posting. We had company last week, and since no one but Mr. X knows that I have a blog, it makes it a little bit harder to keep up when we have visitors! So it's back to every day posts for me.

And not only am I back to posting, we're officially back to trying to conceive. The sleep training seems to have done the trick not only in getting everyone more sleep around here, but also in bringing the lactational amenorrhea to an end. It's CD2 right now. And I did drag Nick with me to the dollar store to buy pregnancy tests yesterday (negative, of course) . . . realizing now that it's a good thing he's not old enough to find that embarrassing! I have to say it is an interesting new experience trying to take a dollar-store pregnancy test (which, of course, isn't one of the easy POAS kind, but involves a cup and a dropper) with two toddlers who insist on coming into the bathroom with me. I thought it would be pretty wild if I had a positive, but I had about half a day of spotting, which happened when I was pregnant with Sarah, but doesn't usually happen before a period. So, I figured I'd test.

It feels kind of funny to be back to this, and I'm not sure what to expect. The good news so far is that I don't have cramps and the bleeding is actually red, which are two changes that happened pretty far into the infertility treatment I had. The bad news is that I only had an 11-day post-peak phase. I'm about to look back at my charts (charts! Yikes! I haven't charted in 28 months!) to see what I was taking the cycle Sarah was conceived.

Of course, this time is totally different in that I'm on the other side now. The dream of motherhood has come true. We want more children very much, but we're very conscious of the tremendous gifts we have in Nick and Sarah. So . . . here goes!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Glad I Said the Morning Offering Today

Let's just leave it at this--my day involved two separate doctor's offices, two pharmacy visits, snow shoveling, and quality time with our plumber. On the up side, our plumbing is now working, we have a path through the snow to the front door, and the kids have only very mild illnesses and are sleeping peacefully after taking their medicine. Nonetheless, I am soooo tired! I'm collapsing into bed as soon as I put the sewage-befouled laundry into the washer.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mommy's . . . what?

Oh man. So, one solution to the climbing-out-of-the-crib scenario is lowering the mattress. The bad news is that, since we have them in the lowest position already, there are only a few inches left, and we'd have to re-engineer the cribs. I suppose we could put the mattresses all the way down on the floor inside the crib, but I don't know if that would solve the problem.

So, right now, I'm leaning toward putting the kids in toddler beds ASAP. The good news is that we have these cribs, which are very low to the ground and can be converted to toddler beds very easily (in fact, we had Sarah's in the toddler bed configuration when we had it side-carred to our bed). And, since they're so easy to convert, we can always convert them back to cribs if need be.

Mr. X is at work and I'm not sure where he put the hardware to do the conversion, so for naptime, I just sat nearby with the baby monitors on until they fell asleep, after promising great rewards for staying in bed. I determined that rewards were necessary because Nick put his foot up on the crib rail as I was leaving the room. I determined the nature of these rewards by asking him what he wants to do after his nap. Unfortunately, I had to shoot down the first two requests ("Outside" because we've already been out once to play in the freezing cold--we made snow angels and then pretty much came right back inside; and "ice-cold cocoa," which is the treat the snowmen have in Snowmen at Night, though I don't think Nick knows what that is, because of the stomach bug), so I settled on his third idea, "ricecake" (oh, OK, twist my arm to give the kids something as decadent as a ricecake) with the added bonus of a sticker on his shirt.

So, after jumping up and checking on the kids at the slightest sound, Nick finally settled in to sleep. As I left his room, I could hear Sarah on her monitor (we've given up on joint naps for the time being, and she's in the pack-n-play in our bedroom) saying "Mommy, Mommy." But she was saying it softly, not crying, and she sometimes does that when she's falling asleep. After several times, I went in the room.

She wasn't saying "Mommy, Mommy." She was saying "Mommy's, Mommy's." As in "Mommy's underpants that I'm trying to put on my head." Ah. She finally figured out that she can reach and open my dresser drawers from the playpen.

I guess I'd better find the hardware and tools to do that conversion and prepare for a rough couple of days until they settle in!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Oh, help!

Oh. My. Goodness. Bedtime tonight has been a total fiasco. We tucked the kids in at 7:30. They were really rambunctious, and as we did the dishes, we listen to them carrying on on the monitor.

At 7:50, I went in to put the kibosh on the revelry. They both had messy poopy diapers (we have a bit of a stomach bug going on around here), so that took a little while and necessitated a change of pjs. We tucked them back in, and Mr. X went to walk Wonderdog as Nick started jumping in his crib (again! After he bumped his nose so hard we were afraid he had broken it last night). I gave him a stern "No jumping!" and he stopped. Then Sarah started, and before I could even finish saying "No jumping," she hit her chin on the crib rail, and her front teeth cut into her bottom lip. I carried her into the bedroom, cleaned up the blood, and gave her a cold washcloth to suck on. Nick requested the blankets, pillow, and animals he had thrown on the floor, so I told him I'd give them to him if he was lying down. I got the kids tucked back in and left again.

About 30 seconds later, Nick was screaming, and when I went back in, he was crying for the teddy bear he'd thrown on the floor. Once he was lying down, I gave him the bear and left again.

By now it was 8:12. Things quieted down as they started to settle. Mr. X got home at 8:30, and I was just telling him about Sarah's cut lip when we heard Nick start laughing really hard. Then we heard him giggling, "Open door!" and rattling the doorknob! We ran to the bedroom and then waited for a minute, trying to control ourselves so we wouldn't laugh in front of the kids. We opened the door to find not just Nick, but Sarah, too, standing proudly on the other side of the door. They both climbed out of their cribs! Mr. X made a big deal out of checking them for injuries and putting ice on the (mostly imaginary) bumps on their heads to try to reinforce the idea that climbing out of the crib is dangerous. We tucked them back in, moved anything hard or sharp a safe distance away from the cribs, and left. Mr. X went downstairs to catch up on some work, and I started looking up crib tents online.

I was in the middle of writing this post at 9:12 when I heard "Mommy! Mommy!" and the doorknob rattled again! This time it was just Nick, and he was holding his left arm. We checked out the arm (it's fine), threatened loss of major privileges (We won't visit the snowman in the front yard tomorrow! No educational-video-that-supposedly-teaches-babies-to-read tomorrow!) if they do it again, and now they're trying to sleep.

Oops! I spoke too soon. Sarah started crying really hard, and, given that she's chewing on her fingers and bashed her lip pretty well earlier, we gave her some ibuprofen and gave Nick some juice in a medicine cup. (I promise they're usually better behaved and we're not usually such pushovers, but they're both sick right now.) Finally at 10:00 they seem to be asleep.

Oh, help! We just moved them into the same room a week ago, and they've already taught each other how to escape their cribs! The cribs convert to toddler beds really easily, but I'm not so sure we're ready to have them wandering their room at night at 18 months and 30 months old. The crib tent idea sounds good, but from what I've read, they tend to be expensive, poorly made, and dangerous. Does anyone have any advice, please?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

19 Posts

Woohoo! It's only February 5th, and I've already posted more this year than I did last year.

I'm feeling sluglike. Let's see . . . I put away about four baskets of laundry this morning, took the kids shopping (totally annoying trip--realized once I had the kids buckled into the cart at that I didn't have cash or a check, my debit card doesn't work at, and my debit card is brand new and I wasn't sure if I knew the new PIN number for the ATM. I didn't. So after messing with the ATM for ages and calling Mr. X, who tried to find the PIN number, I went back to the car. I realized that Nick has a dirty diaper. I got Sarah into the car and set up the changing pad in the back of the van, but when I took off his diaper, it was dry. So I put Nick in his seat, drove to the bank, went through the teller lane, got money, went back, did the shopping, then lost my membership card somehow while I was shopping. It took forever!), came home, changed diapers, fed the kids, put them down for their naps, took a bit of a break while they slept, got myself ready for mass, woke Sarah and dressed her while Mr. X got Nick ready, went to mass, came home. Then we ate, bathed the kids, put them to bed, did the dishes, went in to change Sarah's dirty diaper, cleaned up the sugar bowl Mr. X accidentally broke in the kitchen . . . and now we've been pretty much vegging out. Oh well.

When I write it out, I think I got a fair amount done, but I'm still aggravated that I didn't do more. I heard K.imb.erly speak recently, and she talked about how there's not enough time to do our own will for the day, but enough time to do God's will. Hmm. That would probably not leave me so frustrated with myself, either. And would have the added bonus of, you know, doing God's will and all. Maybe I should give it a shot :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Good Morning, Mary!

This morning, we took the kids to daily mass. We went to a parish we don't normally attend (because it has an 8:30, and we were running late for the 8:00 at our regular parishes), and when we made it up the walk to the front door, Sarah saw the statue of the Blessed Mother right next to the door in front of the bushes. The statue was just about her height, and when she saw it, she said "Mary!" and ran to hug her. And I thought it was the most precious thing and was so happy that at 18 months she already has a love for Mary and wished I had a camera . . .

. . . and then she said "Mary! Hug!" and did it again. And then Nick, standing next to her, said "Mary! Hug!" and hugged her. And Nick and the statue toppled over into the snowy bushes.


Fortunately, the statue wasn't broken, and Nick just got a little bit snowy. And no one else was there to see it!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Self-hatred = Bad thing

Darn it, I missed posting yesterday! So, to make up for missing a day, I'll try posting on something a little deeper today.

I had really gotten away from posting here for a couple of reasons. Of course, things have been really busy. But, more than that, I think I'm feeling ambivalent about a lot of things.

I have been feeling like I'm not good enough. You know the kind of thing (maybe? I hope?)--the house is a disaster, so I'll just wait another week or two to invite friends over, because I want it to be nice when they come over . . . so that day never comes. I want to get some funding proposals done to make my life at work better so that maybe I can eventually even cut back work dramatically for a while until the kids are older . . . but I don't want to call the woman at the funding source until I have the idea just right.

I'm not sure where I fit. I started this blog to have a place to (a) talk about infertility and (b) share my story of using NaPro (because when I started there wasn't this wealth of great blogs about it like there are now). So . . . where do I fit now? I feel in-between as a mom, too. I had managed to compartmentalize a lot of things into the "I'll think about that when I actually have to deal with it" category. Like when a friend challenged me in college about Church teaching on contraception, and I said I'd think about that more when it became an actual practical issue for me (not my finest hour as a Catholic, but I've come a little way since then). And, more to the point right now, I had this dream of being a stay-at-home mom and a dream of having an interesting career . . . And since the kids didn't come along until I was 35, I just kept on going on the career, not feeling too pressing a need to reconcile that contradiction. So, now, I feel guilty for the time I don't spend with my kids. And guilty (though, let's face it, not as much) and fearful about work--if I don't do a spectacular job on this or that task, will people assume it's because of the kids? Am I cheating my employer if I don't give the absolute best I've got all the time? And I feel less than the stay-at-home moms I know, especially the ones who are already planning to homeschool their toddlers when the time comes. I feel like I haven't prioritized my family like they have, so they must think less of me. And I feel less than the working moms who don't have the flexibility that I do with my hours and time off. I feel like they must think less of me because I should be grateful for the flexibility I have instead of resenting the time and attention diverted from my family.

And I get so mad at myself for not doing more. For getting distracted. For being tired and lonely enough that, when I do have some time to get things done, I end up goofing off online instead of catching up on work or on laundry or on Christmas cards (for real! They really are Valentines now) or finally posting that stuff I have to sell on e-bay so I can get it out of my family room and throw a party without being totally embarrassed--or just calling a friend (or someone who might be a friend if I ever called them) already!

So. That's why I haven't been posting. And the spiritual formation class and my improved (though still wimpy) prayer life are really helping. The priest who's teaching the class talked about penance vs. self-hatred (penance--good; self-hatred--bad (that's a joke--he said incredibly insightful things about both, but, you know, one is good when it's used properly, and the other's always bad)). I've had some wonderful experiences in prayer that make me feel like I'm starting to get this Relationship with Jesus thing that has always felt just out of my grasp in the past. This is all starting to answer the questions of where I fit and what I should be and what I should do, both with my life and with those few minutes I get to myself. But those are really big questions, too, and it's easy to get discouraged when I fall behind at work and the kids just won't nap and there's a mountain of laundry to do. So it's a work in progress. And I think one big step for me is to just be real and let others see me where I am instead of waiting till I'm finished.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Random Tip of the Day

If you make homemade play dough for your kids because you can't leave the house, wear gloves so it won't suck all the moisture out of your hands! I'm off to put on more hand lotion.

Made by Lena