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The fact that I managed to post twice last month is truly a miracle. The fact that those posts were about illness and sleep deprivation speaks volumes to how the month of January treated us. Our household, or at least 3 of us anyway, spent the entire month sick. I am not sad to see January come to an end.

Our month started with me coming down with a nasty case of pneumonia that had me down for the count for 10 days and then spending another week or so attempting to get myself back to completely healthy. It was not the way I wanted to start 2015. Right on the heels of my recovery from that not so fun illness Anna and Nora got sick with the worst virus either of them have ever had. Anna spent 8 straight days with a fever, 8 days!! Nora started out with croup and then got a stomach bug on top of it.

I mean, seriously, is there is anything sadder than a baby who is pukey. It is heartbreaking, especially because they don’t understand what is going on. There were a lot of tears both from her and from me during those 4 or 5 days. My usual spunky, into everything, busy baby spent much of a 4 day period either laying on the floor or cuddled against someone’s chest.

They were both so sick I didn’t know what to do for them. We made a couple of trips to the pediatrician (hopefully we avoided picking up any additional bugs while we were there!). An 8 day fever and a baby who is visibly losing weight because she can’t keep anything down are both scary. The verdict after both appointments was that they both had a super nasty virus, likely the same virus with different symptoms. I was so thankful for our awesome pediatrician for talking me off the ledge. Watching your baby throw up everything so many times and seeing the number on the scale drop by 2 lbs in just 3 days is no picnic. Coupled with a kiddo who kept running a high fever every day and couldn’t stop coughing long enough to get the sleep she desperately needed made for one frazzled momma.

It is so hard when 2 kiddos are sick at the same time. They both just want snuggles and love but your arms and lap are only so big. It is so hard to make sure they both get the love they need. Not to mention that Nora passed on the tummy bug to me, thank goodness I just got the 24 hr variety. The word exhausted doesn’t quite capture how I feel now that it is over (knock on wood). I don’t know if I will ever fully recover the sleep I lost last week. Luckily they both seem to be on the mend now, though defiantly aren’t all the way there yet.

I feel like this month from hell has aged me many years. Good riddance January! Can’t say I’m sad to be done with you.

 

I learned early on as a parent that time changes, or at least your perception of time changes, when you become a parent. I think this especially true for stay at home parents. One day blends into the next and before you know it weeks, or months, have gone by and it all seems a blur. Each subsequent child has altered time a little more. The hours in each day feel like they are less than before. The time you once had to spend in some quiet activity with your child, or relaxing on your own for some much needed alone time, seems to have all but disappeared.

I remember when Anna was born I struggled to make everything fit into my old schedule, the schedule I kept when I only had one little one to worry about. It didn’t work out, it was never going to work out no matter how hard I tried. But, it took me a while to figure that out. It took me a while to realize that I needed to alter my schedule and make adjustments with my time so that everything could get done. Once I figured that out we got into a really nice little routine. Each child got their much needed time, the housework, etc. all got done and I even had a little time leftover for myself (occasionally). So, when Nora was born I already knew from the get go that the old schedule wasn’t going to work anymore. I started early on altering my schedule, making slight shifts in how I allotted my time. The transition has been much smoother. The only problem is that no matter how much shifting I do, how much altering happens to the schedule, there just never seems to be quite enough time.

Do we ever stop looking for more time? More hours in the day to get to all the things on our to-do list. A way to slow down time so our children don’t seem to grow up in the blink of an eye. A way to stretch out the hours in a day so that each child and our spouse gets their fair share leaving just a little at the end for ourselves. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done. This here little blog of mine has suffered lately. I can barely seems to post once a week. One day I’ll have more time. My kids will be busy with their own lives and I’ll have all the time in the world. I’ll look back on these days when time was often my enemy, and I’ll wish I was back here trying to make it all fit.

 

We parents often get sucked into playing the compare game. A mother in the waiting room of your pediatrician’s office, holding a little one about the same age your own bundle of joy, strikes up a conversation with you, before long you find yourself comparing milestones. Playing at the park with your child you observe another child about the same age and begin wondering why your child isn’t able to ride a bike like that, climb that rock wall, etc, etc, etc. It is so easy to fall into a pattern of second guessing your child, your parenting, and comparing your child with others. When you have more that one child it can become easy to compare your own children to each other. Baby A hit this milestone at this age, why is Baby B still not doing that. We spend a lot of time comparing ourselves to others so it isn’t any wonder that we fall into the same trap with our children.

The thing about babies is that no two are exactly alike. When a baby learns to sit on their own, when they learn to crawl, when they start to babble, when they start to walk completely depends on the baby and will happen at different times for different babies. Comparing your child to your friends child, or a strange child in the park or the doctor’s office, or comparing your own children to each other, doesn’t do any one any good. Just because that 7 month old you encountered at the doctor’s office is already crawling doesn’t mean your 8 month old should be. Just because that 4 year old at the park can ride a two wheel bike doesn’t mean your 5 year old should be able to.

Obviously, if your child appears to be behind hitting developmental milestones it can be stressful and wondering why other people’s children are hitting milestones before your own can be an easy trap to fall into. The best thing to do, if you are worried or concerned about your child’s development, is to talk with their pediatrician and see if there is cause for concern and what you can do to help your child.

When Maya was a baby I did a pretty good job of avoiding the comparing game. As long as she was hitting her milestones within the normal ranges I didn’t really care if she was doing it faster, better or sooner than other babies her age. Now with Anna I’m taking the same approach.

Each baby will develop at his or her own pace and comparing them to other children isn’t going to make that happen any faster. Just do the best you can to encourage your child and give them the opportunity to learn new skills and they will get there eventually. And remember, if you are worried at all, talk to your child’s doctor.

Our pets are a part of our family. Often times they are our babies before we have actual babies. They are often our children’s first friend, and the bond they form together is a strong and beautiful one. Sadly, a child’s first experience with loss often comes when the family pet dies. Talking to your children about the loss of their beloved friend can be difficult, especially when your child is experiencing death and grief for the first time. The age of the child is going to play a big role in how they perceive the loss, handle the grief and how best to talk to them about the death of a pet.

With two aging kitties in our household, age 14 and 13, and a little girl who grows increasingly attached to her kitty buddies every day, this is a topic I have worried about, researched and considered quite a bit. Last week one of our kitties became very ill and at one point it was looking like the end may be very near. Luckily, her condition has improved and it looks like she’ll be around for a little bit longer. As I was back and forth to the vet and busy administering the medication necessary to hopefully improve Miss Laura’s condition I couldn’t stop thinking about how I was going to talk to Maya about all of it. I tried to play over the conversations in my head many times. We talked to her about the fact that Laura was very sick but I didn’t mention the “D” word because I didn’t want to unnecessarily worry her until we knew for sure what was going on.  I did, however, do a lot of research so I would be a little more prepared if/when the time comes.

How a child handles the loss of their pet friend is going to vary, just as how we adults handle loss varies. Some children may not appear to be affected and carry on much as usual, this is particularly true for children too young to really understand death. It is normal for children to cry, have changes in mood, appetite, and behavior after the loss of a pet. It is normal for children to ask a lot of questions and even sometimes wonder if something they did caused their pet to die. Children don’t generally understand the permanence of death until around age 7 or so and children younger than that may continue to ask when the pet is going to come back. The most important thing you can do for your child as they grieve for their pet friend is to be there for them, to cuddle with them, talk to them and listen to them. Talking about how they feel and letting them ask as many questions as they need to is very important.

One of the big worries for many parents is how best to explain death and what happens after a pet dies. How to talk to your child about this is going to depend on their age and your beliefs. The best thing you can do is tailor your conversations to your child’s age and understanding of death and to your beliefs as a family. Your child’s questions will be a big help in determining what they understand will help lead the conversation in a good direction for them.

I found several websites in my research last week that provide great information about how children display and deal with grief and how best to help them through their grief.

Have you and your family experienced the loss of a pet? How did you and your children deal with the loss? What did you find was the biggest help as your children grieved?

Schools and germs go hand in hand. Every child has to go through more than their fair share of the sickies when they first start school. They have to work their way through all the germs to help build up their little immune system. Not to mention kids pass germs around much more easily than grown ups thanks to all the toy sharing, a tendency to forget to cover their mouth and nose when they sneeze or cough, and the grossest thing of all, letting their nose run down their face (ewww!). Every parent knows their kids is going to get sick during the school year, especially during the cold and flu season. Keeping your child home from school when they are sick is a common courtesy to other families to help stop the spread of germs. But, where is the line. When is a child sick enough to stay home and when is it okay to send you child to school.

Maya has a little boy in her preschool class who has a weakened immune system and is much more susceptible to getting sick and when he does get sick it can quickly escalate into a dangerous illness. Now that we are right smack dab in the middle of cold and flu season the school has reminded us that it is important (especially in our classroom) to keep your child home from school if they are sick to help stop the spread of germs. Some symptoms are obvious triggers to keep a child at home, like a fever or vomiting, but what other symptoms should keep a child at home and when is it okay to send them back? Coughs associated with colds can sometimes stick around for weeks after all the other symptoms are gone. Some children are fine when they have a cold other than being a little stuffed up and maybe a little extra sneezy but are otherwise full of energy and fine to go about their day. It is tough to find that fine line.

Our school has a pretty realistic well child policy and I feel comfortable that the school and the other parents are doing their part. Each school is going to have their own policies and rules regarding when a child should stay home or what symptoms will get them sent home from school. You should always check with your child’s school regarding their policy and, of course, use your own common sense.

Obviously, with an immune compromised child in our class we parents are going to need to be a little extra diligent and considerate when we are making the decision on whether to keep our child at home. So far (knock on wood) Maya hasn’t been sick much this school year, and the times she has been sick have been during the days when she doesn’t have school. But, when that time comes when I have to keep her home I know she is not going to be happy about missing school unless she is feeling really sick.  That will be the tough part, explaining to her why she needs to stay home even if she isn’t feeling all that crappy.

When do you keep your child home from school? What symptoms are triggers for keeping them at home and when do you feel okay sending them back?