2/10/10

Home Sick Again: A Winning Agenda

It seems like more often my daughters and I are whiling away our days home sick than we are out and about on our daily routine. Depending on the course of the illness and it's severity, we parents are stranded at home, quarantined from the outside world to fend for ourselves inside the confines of our germ infested homes with no resources but a few fashion mags, a fly swatter and some overdue DVDs. What is a mother to do?
And so, I write this entry to you at the end of another long, coughing, feverish, dreary day of sick spent at home. Croup called last night at 10:34 and she just wouldn't take a hike, plastering her filthy mucus all over my tiny toddler's bronchi. To beat all, I finally left croup outside in the damp night air and laid my youngest to rest in her bed when the older one, already laden with snot and a clattering cough herself, groaned and moaned until I discovered she was in dire need of a wardrobe change having sweat clean through everything on her and her mattress.
One might venture to guess that this midnight excitement would lead to a very long and event less day spent at home, sick again.
My Petri Family has recently earned our expert badge at parent guided entertainment and I thought I'd share a few of our discoveries with you. Odds are good you may find yourself holed up in your house with a few sicklies yourself sometime soon (not that I'm willing it so, or anything...CURSE YOU HEALTHY PEOPLE!!!!)
www.activitytv.com An amazing resource for all sorts of super cool age appropriate activities including science experiments (how to make slime, or a volcano explode), magic tricks, crafts, dancing exercises, jewelry making, I can't name them all. Each activity on the website has a coordinating video tutorial you and your kiddos can watch together online. I recommend checking out the trippy (and yes, entertaining) yoga videos for you and your kids to participate in.
Buy this book if your children are under the age of 10. Trust me, YOU NEED IT: UNPLUGGED PLAY. No Batteries. No Plugs. Pure Fun. By Bobbi Conner. It is a tremendous resource for all things play related. And it categorizes them not only by age group (Toddler Play Ages 1-2, Preschool Play Ages 3-5, etc.) but it also separates the age groups into Outdoor Play, Parent and Child Play, Birthday Party Play, and many others including my fav, SOLO PLAY. We managed to do 4 activities from this book this morning and the set up and cleanup was 2 seconds. Nearly every activity will leave you thinking, why didn't I think of that! But the 300+pages of jam packed activities requiring little else than what you have in your pantry and your toy chest will not leave your family disappointed. Check out the website, www.unpluggedplay.com and from here you can buy it on amazon.com for under $12. Or you can check your local library. A great gift, too!
And last, and I'm not so proud of this one, is our recent membership with Netflix.com. We just agreed to the monthly membership for $15.99 but I couldn't put a price on the invaluable PLAY ON MY COMPUTER button on that website!!! Even the volume is louder so those of us with bargain laptops can actually HEAR the movies! This morning, I delivered breakfast in bed to both of my sickly girls and then set up the computer and, you will not believe this, left them to their Scooby Doo Movie vices and dry cereal until 9:15!!!!! Yeah, you can only imagine how I enjoyed my QUIET, ALONE, COFFEE DRINKING, PAPER READING TIME ALL TO MYSELF!!!
It almost made the other 7 hours at home inside our 1000 square foot house with two kids bearable.

2/8/10

Mommy Made A Mistake,Should I Lie?

It was Sunday morning and the scene was set for a massive breakfast of syrupy banana pancakes and slabs of crispy bacon. My entire family was buzzing about the enormously cool science experiment gift we had spent all weekend constructing for a friend's 5 year old birthday party. The party was themed "The Mad Science Lab" (so cool, right?!) and we had been looking forward to it all week. Today was finally the day and right after breakfast we intended to twiddle our thumbs for the next torturous hours until departure for the party.
My phone buzzed with a text in my pocket as we tucked into our breakfast. It read, "We missed you yesterday! I hope you're feeling okay. It was a great party!" or something to that effect.
My eyeballs popped out, hitting John square in the forehead, and when he returned them to me, we both dragged our sleepy lids to the cork board where the invitation hung. Like a bad silent film, the background noise thick with the murmur of sticky chewing, we squinted at the fine print to realize that yes, in fact, the much anticipated Science Lab Party had already come and gone. It had been on Saturday, NOT SUNDAY!
I wrung my hands as John and I exchanged shocked stares and then locked our eyes on the very soon to be disappointed 5 year old who could barely stay seated through breakfast she was so excited to attend this party today...
I jumped from the table, grabbed my phone and made the most horrifyingly sad and embarrassing phone call to apologize to the hosts and consider my options.
A side note: This is NOT the first or the SECOND birthday party I have missed due to hair brained stupidity. The worst one was the Park Princess Party where we inadvertently showed up to the same park to play and realized upon arrival that (it is physically impossible to vanish into thin air from embarrassment) we had RSVP'd to this Park Princess Party weeks ago and had completely forgotten...a gift, a princess costume, or most importantly, the date. The father, decked out in a tuxedo, greeted us at the swings as I bumbled some lame excuse about being 6 months pregnant and completely idiotic for forgetting their child's special day completely! OMG, I am such a bad person.
The mother and I, after establishing the advanced level of STUPID that I am, agreed to arrange a private playdate this morning so that we could personally deliver our gift to the birthday boy.
"But, what do I tell Shelby??" I whined to her over the phone, as if it was up to her to solve my shortcomings.
"Well, aside from seeing a shrink about your idiocy...(that's what she should have said anyway)you have to tell her you missed the party because there are balloons all over our house right now and she'll notice when you arrive," she began (notice how she said "YOU MISSED the party", yeah, that was very appropriate, salt in the wound....couldn't she just POP all those damned balloons for me???? Hide the leftover birthday cake, rip down the streamers and birthday signs, for God sakes!), "and 'R' is going to tell her all about the party because he's still so excited about it!"
RATS! I scoured the bathroom walls for a black hole in which I could fling myself. Nothing. I chewed my lip, wrung my hands. And then, after hashing out the details of our date, I hung up and paced across my 3 foot by 3 foot bathroom. An interesting feat of nervousness. Pace, turn, pace, turn, pace...dizzy. I stumbled out of the bathroom and met John. "What are you going to tell her?" he hissed, "You can't tell her she missed the party! She'll completely lose it!"
True. She will lose it.
And then he offered me an out, "I just mentioned that the party might have been cancelled."
And for a moment, I played out the party cancellation in my mind, the excuses, the convincing. It just seemed like a lot of deceptive work.
"I have to tell her the truth. I screwed up, John. I have to be honest. We can still got to the house and deliver our gift and play with the boys. They're expecting us. But there are balloons and streamers all over their house, she's going to know that the party wasn't 'canceled'."
And then he grabbed me by the shoulders and said, "Well, soldier, wipe that look off your face before you break the news. SMILE!" And then he slapped me across the face.
I pulled myself together, put on a happy face, and broke the news, sugar coated with words like, "Private Birthday Playdate" and "All the New Toys to Play With" and "I AM SO SORRY".
She didn't cry, not one tear. She handled it better than I did. She showed me some disappointment, tears welled up before she blinked them back (more salt in the wound, I swear!) and then she ran to her room, threw on her shoes and said, "Then let's hurry up and get there so we can play!"
Wow, honesty really is the best policy. And resilience is the most admirable trait in children. I'm so relieved that things worked out. And now for that phone call to a new shrink. Where did I put my address book?!