22 May 2010

Saturday Morning

We woke at 6 am to the sound of a barking seal. Annika had about two weeks of health between her strep throat and her current “upper respiratory infection.” (Diagnosis brought to you courtesy of a 50-euro doctor visit, brought on by a low-ish fever on the Friday before a German three-day weekend.)

Soon Katrina was up, as well, and by 6:30 the three of us were downstairs, leaving hubby to sleep in. (I get to sleep in tomorrow, yay!) Annika demanded MELMO! as she has every morning, noon, and night—or any time she catches sight of the TV—for the past few weeks. But I had promised Katrina she could watch the end of “Escape to Witch Mountain,” which she started before bedtime last night. This classic Disney flick has held up pretty well. I loved it as a child, and still thought it was pretty good. Katrina gave it her seal of approval, which was more than she gave the recent remake we watched last month. When did the Disney oeuvre include straight-up action flicks starring The Rock?

Annika got her MELMO fix while I started breakfast, but even Elmo did not prevent her from deciding it was time to change her diaper. And SHE was just the one to do it. So she stripped off her sleeper and diaper. And then decided that I was not to touch the new diaper…she would put it on herself. Or, you know, clutch it against her yelling NO everytime I reached for it. I managed to get the new diaper on—and her sleeper—and went back to cooking bacon and making coffee. Not five minutes later, she walked into the kitchen totally naked. This time, there would be NO diaper, Mama. So we had our first Naked Temper Tantrum. It was both frustrating and amusing.

About this time, hubby got up (wonder why? the house was so quiet) and managed to get a Pull-Up on her while I attempted to rescue the burning bacon (eh. not too bad).

So. a lovely start to the day.

BUT! It is sunny and warm for the first time since, oh, April. So I got myself and the girls dressed and ready. The goal---the strawberry-and-asparagus stand at the bottom of our hill, followed by the little farmer’s market in the town square.  Katrina glided on her scooter while I pulled Annika in the wagon. The strawberries looked a little pale, but they were sweet and fresh. We also got a few veggies at the farmer’s market, and a bouquet.

And here’s what happens when you put open containers of strawberries in the wagon with a toddler.


That is not a rash on her face; it’s strawberry juice. One of the berries was as big as her little hand. It looked like she was eating an apple. I tried to get a close-up, but she was too interested in grabbing the camera, so this is the best I got.


And here is our bounty from our walk.


See those berry containers? They used to be full.

So, a good morning, despite the barking cough and the Tantrum. It occurred to me that I have absorbed some German attitudes…like, “oh, the baby’s sick? some fresh air will do her good!”

But on a day like this, no one wants to be inside.


Unless, of course, MELMO is on.

17 May 2010

The Lazy Mom’s Guide to Parenting

I was talking with another mom last week and she said that she makes three dinners sometimes, one for her, one for her husband, and one for her three-year-old. And all I could think of was how much work that is. Most nights, I make one dinner. Now, I could make the argument that it teaches my kids that the world does not revolve around them, or that it helps expand their palates, but really, it’s because some nights I can barely get one meal on the table, much less individual plates tailored to each person’s tastes. So who better than I to let other moms in on my secrets? I give you the lazy mom’s parenting guide.

1. Dinner is dinner. Eat it or don’t eat it. Now, I will cop to letting Katrina eat hot dogs when we have chili or goulash, mostly because she truly hates bell peppers and spicy food. But if she just doesn’t want, say, baked chicken, tough. She’s eaten before, she can eat it again. Or not. There are bananas on the kitchen counter if she’s still hungry.

2. Plan your meals. I plan dinners for the week and make a shopping list. Then I go to the store. Once a week. That’s it. And as a stay-at-home mom I can go at 9 am on a weekday. Taking grumpy hungry kids to a grocery store full of other grumpy hungry kids (and adults!) in the late afternoon on the weekdays is too much work. As is going more than once a week.

OK, I may stop and get some more milk or orange juice at some point during the week. But only if I forget to ask hubby to do it for me.

3. Children will be in their beds by 8:30 pm. Earlier, if possible. Look, us lazy moms need our TV/computer/sit on the couch time. That means, children need to go to bed. Also, it’s much easier for me the next day if I don’t have droopy, grumpy children.

4. Children will learn to take their own baths/showers as soon as possible. One quirk of mine is that I hate giving baths to the little ones. Hubby takes that responsibility on for the baby, and Katrina takes a shower herself. Sometimes she needs help with tangly hair, but that’s all.

5. Do one load of laundry each day. Doesn’t seem so lazy, but the longer I let the laundry go, the more intimidating it is. And we have a German washer/dryer, which has far less capacity than the American ones. One load a day, washed, dried, folded, put away.

Yeah, I’m not doing that at the moment. Baby came and threw the house into disarray, and nearly two years later I still am not back on the laundry track. Most days I do some laundry, which is then added to the ever-growing “needs folded” pile. If it gets big enough or I have to send Katrina rummaging through it to find clothes in the morning, I fold it (or sometimes hubby does. Score!).

5. Hire a cleaning lady, if you can at all afford it. I told you I was lazy.

7. If children are not in the house, they cannot mess up the house. Therefore, scout out your area for playgrounds, playgroups, indoor play places, and malls. Other people’s homes are also ideal.

8. If children are not in the house, you don’t have to figure out how to occupy them. Maybe your kids aren’t as easily bored as mine. Maybe your kids are close enough in age to play with each other. I’m raising essentially two only children (6-year age difference). The playground is good for both of them. Also, outdoors in the back yard or the scooter (for Katrina) and the play car (Annika) in the street outside. All I have to do is follow Annika around. Much easier than trying to keep her from climbing on chairs and ripping apart the tea bags.

9. Elmo is your friend. Annika just discovered TV—or, rather, she discovered Elmo. Elmo buys me time to put in a load of laundry or start dinner or even go to the bathroom by myself without a screaming child clutching at my knees. Elmo is my friend.


10. Sometimes cooking is less work than eating out. If your children are older than, say, 5, eating out might be easier. If you have a toddler or preschooler, keeping them happy and occupied during dinner in a restaurant may be more stressful than just cooking and eating at home. Take-out is the easiest, of course, but the demands of my gluten-free diet make even take-out a big pain.

11. Naps are your friend. Yay for naps! For the children, that is. Well, and me too. But then when would I have time to write quality advice like this?

04 May 2010

One Thing After Another

Let’s see…on Saturday afternoon, Katrina said, “My throat kind of hurts.” By bedtime, the “kind of” was gone and we dosed her with Children’s Tylenol. At 3 am, she was up crying, so we gave her some more Children’s Tylenol. Then, she couldn’t get back to sleep. For about an hour or so.

Sunday morning, a friend posted that Children’s Tylenol had been recalled. Yes, the very bottle I had used the previous night. Also, our unopened bottle of Children’s Motrin. Katrina’s throat still hurt, and she was going through cough drops at an alarming rate. Hubby went to the base to get some non-recalled something. Ended up with the Exchange brand (store brand)…the shelves were bare.

Also Sunday morning, I came close to taking off the tip of my finger trying to cut through half-frozen bulk sausage. A nasty cut (partially through the nail, ew) but seems to be healing well.

Monday morning, off to the doctor with both children. Annika’s had a cold for about a week, so I thought it wouldn’t do any harm to check her out as well as Katrina’s throat. The longer we waited (a total of 45 minutes—doc office on Monday is always crowded), the healthier they both looked. “Does your throat still hurt?” I asked Katrina.

“A little bit, once in a while,” she said. Great. Two colds, and a waste of time.

But no. “They both have strep,” the doc proclaimed. “Annika’s is worse, but Katrina has it, too.”

Then I felt bad. Annika has not been sleeping well, but I chalked it up to her stuffed up sinuses. Poor thing doesn’t have the vocabulary to tell us her throat hurts.

“They’ll still be contagious until Wednesday, so no school on Tuesday,” the doc said. Okey-dokey.

So now it’s Tuesday, and through the miracles of antibiotics, Katrina feels perfectly fine. But no school till tomorrow. I did take them both grocery shopping and to the post office with me (and really hoped Annika did not give her strep to the nice older man who always gives her high-fives when we get our cart).

Oh, and then there’s this.



See that gap there? Yeah, we’re not sure that can be fixed. What’s it been? Two weeks? I’ll take it back to the optical shop tomorrow and see. If it can’t be fixed, the child will just have to get the ugly rubber frames that won’t crack.

The eye doctor said as a last resort that he’d give us eye drops to dilate her eyes so that she literally couldn’t see without the glasses. I hate, hate, hate that idea, but we’re getting desperate here. It’s not just that she can’t see very well without them; it’s that if she doesn’t wear them, we have no chance of correcting the vision problem. Also, her eyes will probably cross, bringing on a whole other set of problems.

So that was our week. And it’s only Tuesday.


All right, I can’t leave you all (or me) with such a downer. Here, a typical Saturday morning:


Hubby often makes popcorn for the two of us on Fridays or Saturdays after the kids are in bed, and we save some for the kiddos. It never lasts until breakfast. My children are growing up associating popcorn with Saturday morning. Hey, get rid of the salt and add milk, and you have corn flakes, right?