Saturday, December 13, 2008

My most embarrasing moments

I explained to my French class of 7th graders that they were mispronouncing grandfather. Instead of "grand-père" they were saying "grand Pierre." I said "If you say 'grand Pierre' instead of 'grand-père' then you aren't talking about your grandfather, you are talking about your big peter."

During an after school tutorial session, I had several students making up a French test. I wanted to know if all the test takers had finished so I could go to the board and write some verbs and vocabulary and review with the other kids. It was silent in the room as some took tests and others made flashcards or wrote make-up work. I looked up and asked, "Are my testees gone?" (Only one 6th grade girl heard me and she just looked up and in a blasé way said, "Oh, yeah, Madame, that's a good one.")

Santa Claus is not scary - or shouldn't be

I had my first photo with Santa at age 26. The Art Club at the school where I was teaching held a fund raiser during lunch. A hefty black football player dressed up as Santa and they took Polaroids of people sitting on his lap for $5.00. I couldn't wait. I love that picture!!

I asked my mom why she never took me and Sister to have our pictures made with Santa. She said, "Well, you all were never interested." She was right. I remember seeing Santa at the mall when I was a kid and I was too shy to go see Santa. I thought it was cool lots of kids went to see him and maybe even wished I was brave enough to go, too. But, I didn't really want to.

Every year I see some one's Christmas card photo with a crying kid on it - and recently got an e-mail forward with 15 pictures of terrified kids on various Santas' laps. I don't understand why parents make their children go sit on a stranger's lap when they don't want to. I understand making them brush their teeth or making them say please, but going to visit Santa? I really just don't get it.

We took Matt and Drew to the local fire station last weekend for an open house. It was a day of fire safety demonstrations, refreshmants and Santa was there. At first I asked if they wanted to talk to Santa and they said no. We went outside and learned how to use a fire extinguisher and how to stay safe around an oven. We got plastic fire helmets and watched some firefighters go up the ladder and come down on a rope. Then I asked if they wanted to talk to Santa again and they said yes. So we got in line and they waited and they went up and talked to him a minute and posed for the photo and they were fine. Well, Drew had a funny look on his face, like, "Who is this and why am I here?" But no one was scared. If they had balked or cried or looked scared I would not have pushed it. I didn't want them to do it for me - only for them if they wanted to.

I refuse to force my boys to visit Santa if they don't want to. It is not worth it just because I want a cute picture. A picture of them scared and bawling is neither cute nor a nice memory. Christmas is not about selfishness.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Mr. Drew's Wild Ride

In the words of one of my comedic heroes, Dave Barry, I am not making this up.

Millie returned home from the playground one day this fall with my 2 boys Matt (4) and Drew (2). Matty was still in the car and she had unbuckled Drew and gotten him out of his seat. They walked up to the garage door to open it. She had forgotten to press the button on the remote in the car, but we have a keypad on the house, so she was going to open the door with that.

She turned to it long enough to enter the 4 number pin and hit enter. She turned around to see Drew holding on with both hands to the garage door handle and rising up, up, up as the door opened. Panicked, she grabbed his waist to pull him off- to no avail. She pulled harder and harder as his head was now as high as hers. She screamed his name - "Let go!" she yelled and yanked on him as hard as she could - imagining him going up into the garage ceiling on to the top of the door.

Before anything bad could happen, either he let go or she pulled him off. Whew! Wish I had had a video camera out for that one.

I tell ya - my boys will give me a heart attack someday.

No wonder it wasn't getting any better

In a follow up to a previous post on medical jargon droppers---- I went back to this dermatologist recently to find out why my finger still looked like it was infected with a flesh eating virus a whole year after I originally went to him to find out how to heal this finger that looked like it was infected with a flesh eating virus. Water hurt it. Air hurt it. I was wearing a vinyl glove to work to keep the chalk off my hand. The kids looked at me like I was crazy. Determined to rid mysel fof a dry-cracked painful knuckle, I wore the gloves to bed every night for a month with the medicine the doctor gave me slathered all over it. I was going to eradicate this stupid "finger cancer" for good.

At the original visit I had 3 areas of "needs improvement": a rash on my eyelid, a dry skin patch inmy pointer that wouldn't heal and something like eczema on my elbows. The doctor gave me 3 ointments to use plus an OTC cream. At home I had no clue what went where. I had to call the office and ask the nurse. There were all sorts of time limits too. Only use Tube X for 14 days on and 7 days off, but Tube Y you can use for 21 says then 14 days off and then the OTC cream you put on before Tube Z but only for a week and then quit using that and just use Tube z. Sounds like an old Bob Newhart comedy sketch.

When I went in this time, he asked me what I was using on it. He said, "Oh, you should use the other stuff on it."

A week later - my finger is fine.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Third Time's a charm

Third year getting an au pair

We finally got it right.

This one is so great. Milly is from South Africa and 19. We were worried about her being young. The first and second were both 21, but it's not age that matters - it's maturity. She is pleasant and helpful. She is good with the boys - takes her job like a teacher and limits their TV time and reads and does activities, crafts, art, puzzles. She is thinking about a career in Occupational Therapy and it just so happens that Matt receives OT at school for a fine motor skill delay. Or disability - or whatever you call it. So she supplements what they do with him at school.

I just realized this is the second post with this title and topic. My mistake, heh, heh, excuse me, heh heh, guess I'll be on my way!!

The others were good - we liked them and it was great. But this one just goes out of her way to make the house neat and clean and to let us know when there was a problem or where she is going. It is a great year so far. Oops - better not say that and jinx myself.

Other people have had nightmarish experiences lately. Host mom number 15 had a German girl come and act like a kid - expecting to be cleaned up after, scratched the car and lied about it. SO she went home. Then the rematch girl was there a week and flew the coop. They found out when she arrived that she doesn't swim and is scared to swim - and they have 4 kids and a pool. Then they heard from a friend of hers that she was a hooker back home. Greaaaaat. Host mom number 3 got laid off from real estate sales and had to call and cancel her new girl coming over.

At $176 a week, she is so worth it, even though it's the biggest expense each month after mortgage. I think it is still cheaper than day care in our area.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The young Madonna or the Old Madonna?

Remember a few years back, the post office was trying to choose a picture to use on a stamp to honor Elvis? Controversy arose over which image of Elvis would be used: the young (thin) Elvis or the older (fatter) Elvis? Well today I am "The Old (Fat) Madonna."

It's Eighties Day at school for spirit week and here I sit in homeroom wearing dotted tulle gloves with the fingers cut out, a sweat shirt with the neck cut out, a giant bow on my head, leggings and jazz shoes. And I weigh 50 pounds more than I did in high school. Madonna is truly an inspiration to me - she is several years older than me and has had to kids and looks like a million bucks. Even without Guy.

We wondered in the 80's (when we dressed up on 50's day in poodle skirts) "When we are OLD and have teenagers, will they have to dress up 80's on their spirit day?" Yes - it's time - we are OLD now and the young people are dressed up like Olivia Newton-John in neon colored tights and headbands and Madonna in leggings and cut up sweatshirts.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My friend: Erasmus B. Dragon

Working Mothers Support Group - where are you?!?!

I am a hamster running on a wheel. I get up at 5:30 - teach high schoolers all day - leave at 3:30 or 4 and try to get by the store and run errands, [but sometimes I have to wait until the kids are asleep and go out later] get home to play with the boys, make dinner, eat, clean up, get them bathed and to bed and then it is 9pm and time to go to bed. Or not - stay up and .....I am too brain dead to do anything other than drown in a crossword puzzle or play computer Mah jong. Or drink.

My days are like refereeing a long soccer match and then afterwards, re-suiting up and playing in a football game, getting tackled, breaking up unruly players.

And I have gained 50 pounds I seriously need to lose. I am so not a morning person - I cannot envision myself going to the gym at 4:30 am. I'd have to leave work asap and then get home later than I am supposed to (we get 9 hours day care a day) and I'd not be able to "finish" all the work I need to do.

I think about my weight all the time. It has become an obsession. But what am I doing about it? Nothing. I did stop eating breakfast sandwiches (One has more fat than I need in in a weekly diet!) but haven't been able to kick coffee (which I drink for the sugar) and replace with unhealthy but zero calories Diet Coke and I still crave sweets. And give in to the feeling. I am a glutton. I always said to myself, "Well 140 is high, but I will never be 150 - at that point I would really get busy working out. " Then it became 160, 170 and nor I am like "Well if I see 180 on there I will SO freak out and that will be it." What is wrong with me? This must have a name in psychologists circles. Is it just called "crazy"?

Life of a working mom- it is a greuling exsistance. Working Mothers Support Group - where are you? Not that I'd have time to go to a meeting.......unless there was lots to drink.....

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Au pair nightmares

I have learned a lot about being a host mom. I think it's not for everyone. It is hard - it is a weird situation - you are the employer, but the employee lives with you and they are supposed to be a part of the family.

Some families do it once and swear "never again" - why, I am not sure what it is that has made us a successful family, but it might have to do with good communication skills or being open to talk to. We try to treat them with respect and be kind, but also to give out clear expectations from the start. And accept that no one can 100% replace me - everyone is different. Each girl has had to find her way to be with my kids. Following my directions and yet, being who they are .... well they can't BE me so I can't expect that.

Night mares I have heard of:

* A girl drove HF car to a mall. Left it running with the keys locked inside and went off with friends in their car. HF gets a call from police asking if the car was theirs. She went back home to her country. HF got a new au pair.

* An au pair wanted to go see a local tourist attraction and HF said she could take the car and she went with her one page Map Quest directions. She returned home 2 hours later - having never reached said destination. She stayed with HF for a year and was not very happy. HF did not repeat.

* Au pair criticized her HM for not working outside the home. HM gave the girl deodorant and told her to use it, never took the girl to get her drivers license, and never paid her the full amount each week (a wage set by the State Dept). Both were happy the year was over.

* Au pair arrived for her extension year and was surprised to find that the HM's mom lived with them. Gramma was retired and stayed in the house "supervising" the au pair: asking her how long was she going to be in the bathroom, how many times was she going to go to the bathroom that day, telling her the baby was crying. Au pair rematched.

* Host family wanted to control the cell phone that they provided their au pair. They were paying for it. They feared she would spend too much time on it (chatting when supposed to be watching kids) or run up a high bill. They programmed HF work and cell numbers plus all other family members and close friends who would be able to help in case of an emergency. The phone would not call anyone else or receive calls from other numbers. The phone has some sort of tracking device so they knew where the phone was at all times - and they found out the girl was not taking the phone with her to drop off and pick up the child at school. Their complaint: anyone who can help her if she ran out of gas, got a flat or had a wreck is programmed into the phone. Her complaint: I can't call anyone I want so why take it with me.
When she was driving 45 minutes away to go see a friend, my au pair asked if I minded if Soni took her (Judi's) cell phone in case she got lost (because the HF wouldn't have known how to tell her where to go to how to get unlost- me and my au pair knew the home she was going to but she wouldn't have been able to call us with her cell phone). Neither very happy all year. HF did not repeat.

*HD spoke condescendingly to au pair - why do you care? why is that so important to you? Putting anyone down is in general not very nice. Both were sort of unhappy for a year. HF did not repeat.

*Au pair was vegetarian. HF said "Oh good - we won't have to cook any different for you." (That made me think they were vegetarian too.) In reality they didn't cook at all - living on take out and pizza delivery. Au pair complained about eating pasta all the time - that was all they had for her to eat. She asked HM for eggs and HM returned from store - having forgotten eggs. She offered her some cookies and doughnuts instead. AP said she was eating nothing but cereal for dinner. Neither happy for year. HF didn't repeat. AP extended with another family and they gave her a food allowance each week so she could buy the food she wanted to cook for herself.

*Au pair wanted to rematch after 2 weeks and wouldn't really give the HF any reasons - said HF. AP said she was freezing in their AC, didn't like her schedule (3 to 10 pm when the child was crying for mom all the time - and the HF made child stay up late to see them). AP rematched but didn't complete her year in US. HF successfully rematched.

*A HF communicated with AP for 6 months prior to her arrival via webcam. They got very close and liked each other very much. When girl arrived she turned out to be lazy with her duties and not as exigeant with discipline as the HF wanted. Didn't clean up after herself or help in general around house. AP returned to home country and HF rematched.

*AP dropped off child at school at the moment the school opened, but due to inclement weather the school staff were late and AP left the child on the street by school door in the sleet waiting for the school to open. AP went AWOL to marry American.

*AP ate a banana at lunch and fed child one too. That night HM told AP that there had been 12 bananas that morning and now there were only 10 and asked why she fed the child 2 when they said he could only have 1 a day. AP rematched. HF was not allowed to get a new AP since this was the 2nd one they had had in a year and they both complained about food.

*AP came from a poor country and part of her house had a dirt floor. She compulsively cleaned the HF house all the time. The mom felt guilty and we are not allowed by law to pay them extra for any extra work they do. So HF bought her a laptop to thank her for the house cleaning. A great year for all.

*HF wanted to be nice and gave the new AP a new MP3 player. AP left 3 weeks later to rematch and she did NOT return the MP3 player. Same situation, different family - gave her a nice gold charm bracelet thinking they would give her a charm for each month of the year she was there. Girl left and took it with her. HF mistake: giving teh 2nd girl the same kind of bracelet - she took off after a week - awol. Family did not stay in program.

*AP went online to listen to home country radio station. The website said that you could text in song requests and shout outs for free. Well they meant for free if you texted from the country. So after 33 international texts at $3 each she had a huge phone bill, which her HF paid for and forgave in exchange for a few hours extra work. Both enjoyed a good year.

*AP would make the kids beds with the wrong and or mismatched sheets and when corrected by HM she argued with her that it was ok and asked why couldn't they change now and then. Neither had a great year.

*AP left cup of water by lap top and kid spilled water on it. Instead of turning it upside down to let it dry, she plugged it in and turned it on to see if it still worked and it was fried. AP went home. HF rematched.

Third time's a charm!

Au pair #3 is a dream come true. Sweet, professional, intuitive. She never complains, eats dinner with us (and says 'thank you' after every meal), attends church with us and is a perfect fit with our family. She is always helpful around the house. Finishes her job before I get home. I can't say good enough things about her.

#1 did extend with another family and married her naturalized boy friend (from her same country). They are happy and working on getting her green card.

#2 returned to home country to finish college.

Everyone has their own way of doing things

During our pre-marital counseling with the priest, he told us that some couples get divorced over little stuff like how to properly load a dishwasher. "Do you rinse or not rinse?" He pointed out that as long as the dishes got clean at the end, it doesn't matter how they get that way. I have tried to let this attitude of tolerance reign in my home for the sake of my marriage - and elsewhere in my life so I might have less stress and worry.

Weird stuff I wonder sometimes and have actually polled friends about how they do stuff:

--Do you step into the shower into the front (near the shower head) or the back (away from the end with the drain / shower)? If you have a hinged door then think about a hotel shower - what would you do there?

--When finished with the shower, do you pull your towel into the shower to dry off in there? Or do you step out wet and then dry off standing on the bath mat?

--When loading flatware in the dishwasher, do you put the tines and blades up or down? Do you put like items together or do you mix them in each section of the basket?

--Do you make the bed with the top flat sheet facing up or down? (Like with the print on top or the print on the bottom so when folded back the print shows)

--Did Santa leave wrapped presents under your tree? Or were they unwrapped and only the family gifts were wrapped?

--Do you eat butter on a muffin (which is really an unfrosted cupcake)?

--Do you cut sandwiches horizontally (so that the 2 halves are different - 1 rounded and 1 square) or vertically (so that the 2 halves are symmetrical with a curved top and square bottom or diagonally (diagonally)?

--Do you prefer to eat fries dipped into ketchup or squirted with ketchup?

I wonder if I should have been a sociologist.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Misplaced Olympian Children

My kids cannot be mine. Somewhere out there in Stork world there was a mix-up. These 2 sweet little boys were given to me instead of their Olympic track star mother they were obviously destined to. They run. Not just now and then. Like Forest Gump run. Like Track Star run. They take off and do not stop.

We attended an outdoor festival today. Our neighbor was there with her little girl (same age as our 2 year old Drew) and she noted:"My little Rina wanders, but she won't run away like yours. She has about a 20 yard radius." Mine are always running and running away. At 18 months Matty would run out any open door that he saw and continue down any path (Forrest Gump style): a driveway, a sidewalk, a street, a path , a road, anything. And littel brother Drewey runs the same way - with one exception: he looks over his shoulder - he looks to see if I am following him. Matt was gone like a shot - no regrets - no looking back - off like a shot.

And when my 40 year old butt tries to haul after them I swear I CANNOT keep up. They truly run faster than me - I have to lose 50 pounds and get back to my pre-kid weight to even think about competeing with Thing 1 and Thing 2 - they are that fast. Taking after my father - the 440 runner, uh, no not quite, but those are some genes I need to tap into.

I guess I'll be thankful one day that I am the mom of Olympic medalists and be proud. Right now it is enough to drive me batty. You'd think all the running would help me lose weight, but alas, it isn't enough......

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What my world needs so badly

I went out of state to visit and found oh so many things to export to my weird state:

- 6 lane roads with turning lanes

-drive thru ATMs

-a free standing Chick-fil-a

-fast food restaurants with indoor playgrounds

-lots of places for kids to go play (indoor inflatable playgrounds, museums, etc..)

-real drive thru affordable automatic car washes

-free roads - no tolls

You'd think I lived in some midwestern podunk surrounded by corn fields on all sides for 500 miles, but I don't. This place sucks for many reasons. But it does have good schools and beaches... and that's all I am comin' up with........

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Au pairs compared

Number 1 was nice but lacked the ability to discipline the boys. She desired no social life and went almost no where during her 365 days with us. She contented herself to talking on the phone (in her native language) to her boyfriends and friends. She did accidentally spill bleach on the carpet in her room and then cut it out and try to cover it up, but we kept her. We weren't willing to go through the matching process halfway through her time with us.

Number 2 is nice and is very good with discipline. Everyone is different. Her personality is more reserved and she has sought out friendships with other au pairs as well as Americans her age. She goes out all the time and has had a great time. She went out and broke her wrist skating and we kept her too. The time we had to spend taking off work and taking her to appointments was really a strain on our family. I don't think we'd do it again.

The next one arrives in August. She seems very responsible, enthusiastic and serious about doing a good job. All the screening the agency does and then all the interviewing you do..... I still think you might have just as good luck pulling a name out of a hat.

Think au pairs are for the rich? Not so. It comes out cheaper that a day care center if you have more than 1 child. You have to be willing for them to live in your house and make them an adult daughter who lives with you. You have to be good at communication. I have seen some unhappy families and au pairs and I think they were not communicating well enough to get all their needs met. In my professional life, I have never done hiring and firing, so this was a new thing for me: managing an employee. Overall, we have enjoyed it. Not for the cultural exchange part especially, but for the convenience of not having to drive all over town before and after work to drop off and pick up the kids. Once I told a friend I was going to pick up a sitter on a weekend night. They said, "What about the au pair?" Well, she only works 45 hours a week: 7:30 am - 4:30 pm. These girls aren't your slaves. I also liked the secure feeling I get when my husband is away and there is another adult in the house - if anything happened and I had to rush someone to the ER or something, she is there to help in a pinch. I had trouble finding a day care center that opened early enough for me to make it to my job on time (we begin at 7:20 am). Now Matt stays home until his bus picks up at 8:45am.

Think about it - if you have more than 1 kid, an extra bedroom and want to reduce your stress in the daily morning and afternoon transportation frenzy, hiring an au pair might be for you.

Santa Fe Opera like being in prison

I once had the opportunity to attend Cosi Fan Tutte at the Santa Fe Opera House- a gorgeous amphitheater where you watch the setting sun just before the show gets started. I have been a lifelong patron of the arts: orchestra, ballet, drama, museums - you name it. I have been to shows in many fine theaters in the US and abroad: the Paris Opera House, Lincoln Center, Philadelphia's Kimmel Center, Braodway theaters, Atlanta's Fox Theater, etc, etc.... I know good manners and proper theater etiquette. I have been a performer and I appreciate audiences that know how to behave in such a venue.

So before this show began in Santa Fe, we were out in the "lobby" (being an outdoor theater, it was outside, so maybe you just call it a terrasse....) enjoying a drink and chatting before taking our seats. I took my camera from my purse and asked someone to take our picture. We said cheese and they snapped the photo. An usher then approached me and politely explained that cameras were not allowed in the theater. I apologized and told him I would of course keep it in my bag once I entered the house. He said that I could not do that - I had to check the camera or take it to the car. I thought he was trying to tell me the standard "no flash photography allowed during the performance for the safety of the performers" or "no recordings may be made of the copyrighted material allowed" speech they do before the curtain rises. No he was telling me that I could not carry the camera inside with me at all. Like you can't carry your gun on the airplane with you. I really thought he was kidding. He would not leave my side - he was practically insisting on escorting me to the coat check or to the car. I continued the conversation about how one time when I was at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris I witnessed a tourist taking a flash picture of the art work and I told this guy how disrespectful I thought it was of the patron not to follow the rules when it was clearly stated that flash phtography was not allowed. The man would not leave me alone.

I couldn't believe that all these other places I had been simply made a request that no one use a camera and no one did. And that somehow in Santa Fe they did not trust that anyone would follow the directions when asked to. Out in the middle of the desert, do the wild outlaws invade theaters regularly and shoot pictures during operas? I felt like I was being treated like a simple idiot who did not have any class. I felt very put down and untrustworthy. I thought this was ridiculous. I did finally find the friend I rode with - got his key - schlep out to the car and stow my highly dangerous apparatus. Then I asked to speak to the house manager. I very politely talked with her for a few minutes. She was a good customoer service rep - politely listened with empathy - apologized for the stalker usher, but still maintained the rule about no cameras.

So are they strip searching every ticketholder for food or cigarettes - who knows? They might just start jonesin' for a smoke half way through Act 1 and light up right there in Row C. Or maybe their ushers are trained to watch for gum-chewers sticking their used wads under the seat. Or some who can't wait for the après-thater nosh - he might rattle open a bag of Cheetoes during a recitative.

I think that is the stupidest thing in the world. They don't do this in New York, London, Paris (well, after 9-11 they did search more people's bags, but it wasn't cameras they were looking for), but for some reason, Santa Fe, New Mexico is attracting some kind of sickos who want to watch opera singers eyes glaze over after having a flash go off in their face or weird "opera pirates" - I bet You Tube is full of pirated recordings of Greek tragedies and Italian operas. Watch out Santa Fe! Get metal detectors and X-ray machines. What will cultured partons of the arts do next to try to sabotage your show?

What time do you open?!?!?!?!?

I want all businesses in America to listen up - right now! Please, for the love of all humanity, make your front window sign that tells the hours you open and close VERY LARGE!!! Large enough so that any customer can read the times from the CAR!!!!!!! This irks me to no end - can you tell? I hate driving up and wanting to check and see if the place I want to go is open or not. I don't want to park the car, get out of the car, walk up to the door and pull the handle only to find it locked. If I have my kids with me I especially do not want to have to do this. Seat belts on kids are tough and 3 year olds do not understand when you tell them the candy store is closed. Please hlep my cause - I want to start a revolution!!!! To the barricades!!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Hurricane Drew

Ok - he is only 2, but trying to keep up with his brother.
In fact, he has done stuff Matty never dreamed of and it scares me. All of it. Terribly.

-drew on the computer screen with black permanent marker

-regularly climbs up and sits on the kitchen table, and sometimes, stands to swing the light haning there (you hear the expression "swinging from the chandelier"? - well, it is just a matter of time I am afraid..)

- regularly climbs up the back of the kitchen chair I am sitting in (quietly) and starts blowing on my hair (I dread the day I don't see/feel him there and I get up

- spashes in the tub like there is no tomorrow. Matt stands up and says, "Help mommy - wipe my face wipe, wipe..."

-gets into the dryer and closes the door

- has no fear of any playground equipment - slides, walls, stairs, swings

-is a hair twirler and I swear one day I will have dreds from all his twisting and pulling - or maybe I'll be bald. I am letting his hair grow out. Let him pull his own hair.

We didn't all go to medical school

I teach, so I am used to telling people something and then they write it down in a notebook. Sometimes I even write what I want them to know on a chalkboard so that they can see what is important to write down. This way they know what I just told them. They can look back at their notes to se what I said - especially if it was important information.

So I hate when I go to the doctor's office and they tell you to take two of these three times a day on even days only and put this cream on your elbow for 10 days on and 5 days off and this other ointment on your knee twice a day for 3 days with 7 days off. I walk out confused and wondering what the heck I am supposed to do with my packages from CVS. Usually the pharmacist can decipher the doctor's heiroglyphice from the RX sheet, but there have been times I had to ask again or call the office and confirm.

My mom is not good at being assertive. She is a product of her culture and her era. She has gone to the pharmacy and come home with meds she didn't think she needed and meds she didn't even know what they were for.

I wish doctors approached their jobs as if they were a teacher - teaching the patient like a student of their own health. Explain or better yet instruct the patient as to what medication to use when and where and have them write it down so they know what they are doing and using the meds right.

I also remember being in the hospital after my first c-section and someone (a nurse) asked me what did I want for pain. I do not know what the names of any pain medication are - I am a teacher, not a doctor, pharmacist or nurse. So my answer was, "I don't know." So I got nothing. I sat writhing in pain - crying for 4 days with no medication at all. It was horrible. But I didn't know any better - this was my first hospitalization ever. Why would a worker in the medical field think everyone knows all the jargon or vocabulary of their field? I don't call my students' parents and drop slang like CST, M-team, jigsaw, aural participation, dbq, curricular objective, xyz pdq, et cetera and assume they know what I am talking about.

My advice to anyone going to a doctor or hospital: treat it like school. Take pen and paper. Write it all down - especially any directions or instructions about your care or health. Ask questions - stand up and be an advocate for yourself. Get what you need and don't be afraid to say, "Can you please tell me what you are talking about?"

TIme Flies

Almost a year between posts. I have been so busy this year I have, at different times, not had time to ......
- wash my hair
- mail in insurance claims
- tear a coupon off something I'm buying to get something else free
- call to schedule my kids doctor's visit
-go to dance class
- call friends
- e-mail friends
- go to the gym
- eat lunch
- apply for a scholarship I needed/wanted
- get a nice jacket mended
- put on make up
- put the thousands of photos of the kids in albums
- buy a gift card for the school fundraiser
- get a haircut

I was talking to a friend in 2006 about how with a 2 year old and a newborn, I didn't have time for a shower that day and she (having no kids) told me I could have made time for it.

I think it is different for everyone. Maybe for me it was a shower I was willing to forego, but to someone else it might be something else. Eating, shopping, wearing shoes, blogging - whatever. But parents do give up something because the kids need you more. Recently I was driving alone thinking that I might not want to move from ths stupid state because it might not be the right thing for my kids. Whoooo. Scary. Did I just sound like a parent?