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Archive for June, 2009

Packing for a Vacation with Young Kids

Jun 30, 2009 Author: Jessy | Filed under: Uncategorized

Having young kids means it is a ton of work to get ready to go on a vacation. Before I had kids I had to just pack my bag and plan meals, now that is the easy part that takes me minutes.  My Dad rented a cabin up on the Cross Lake chain in MN for a family vacation so the kids and I are going up there for the week. I will be bringing everything I can possibly need with me, the pack and play, a bed rail, a blow up bathtub, a fan, the sound machine, baby monitors, blankets, waterproof bedding, towels, pool toys, sand toys, bikes, stroller, paper goods toilet paper, garbage bags, and I haven’t even gotten to the clothes and food. I have to go grocery shopping the day before and pack a cooler, with everything we may possibly want to eat for 7 days because the nearest grocery store is 30 miles away.   I have one bag packed of stuff that I need like outlet covers, door knob locks, gate, edge guards, dark sheets and clips to cover windows, organic sunscreen, organic laundry soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, brushes, soap, lotion, bug spray, nail cutter, tweezers, hair accessories, hats, bathing suits, diapers, night time diapers, all possible medications, band aids, life jackets, I will have a big box of toys and books,  then I have to pack things for the car ride like snacks, milk, movies, toys, blankets and a restocked diaper bag.  I need to remember my computer, books, magazines, radio, ipod, cell phone, charger.  Thank goodness we have a big truck with a topper. Then I have to plan my route for the 4 hour drive, find a park on the way to stop and get out energy, and print maps.I need to research all activities possible and print maps to those.  I have to plan the trip around nap time so they hopefully sleep a bit in the car. Before I can leave I have to do all of the laundry, I also have to make sure the pool, hot tub, garden, flowers, yard and dog, are maintained before I leave and pick up the house so I don’t come home to a mess.

Just writing this list is exhausting, I keep reminding myself I am doing this for my kids because they will have a great time.  It will be a ton of work for me but they will get to spend a week swimming in the sandy lake, eating ice cream cones and having a summer vacation with my family.    Now all I have to do is make it there!

My daughter came down with a fever and a sore throat last weekend on Thursday night.  Friday morning she woke me up by telling me she thought she was going to throw up, I spent that night sleeping in a recliner with my daughter sleeping on the couch because I did not want my daughter to throw up in her bed and definitely not in my bed.  Besides her initial stomach upset, and thankfully no vomiting, she also had a fever.  She laid around on the couch and watched TV, and I kept her in the house that whole day while giving her ibuprofen.  She was up Friday night with a fever of 102 and her throat hurt, she kept moaning all night long.  This was night two with a fever.  I gave her Tylenol on Saturday and ibuprofen and she relaxed on the couch again all day.  The next morning on Sunday, I brought her into Urgent Care because her throat still hurt and she still had a fever.  When I got her into the clinic, they checked her temp and she had a temp of 99.5 while on Ibuprofen and Tylenol.  They felt her glands which were swollen, they checked her throat and it looked clearly inflamed so they tested her for Strep throat.   The rapid strep test came back negative but the Urgent Care Doctor sent her home with a weeks supply of antibiotic because he said there was clearly a sign of infection in her throat and he was hoping the antibiotics would take care of it.  One more night of a sore throat and and the next day she was good as new, no more fever or sore throat.  She had a slight cough and runny nose but she was eating again and happy as a clam and ready to go play. I kept her away from all other children besides her brother until her fever was gone and she was on antibiotics for 24 hours.

One week later, on Friday night my son developed a fever. He was moaning but still sleeping all night.  Even if he can’t talk to tell me how he feels, I knew what his sister felt the previous weekend, so I medicated him and he fell back to sle Yesterday he wanted to be held all morning.  A friend of mine shared that her daughter had been diagnosed with H1N1 at their doctors office in Woodbury the day before so it made me wonder.  I found out what the symptoms were for her child and they were high fever for 36  hours, sore throat and coughing.  I said wow that sounds similar to my kids symptoms.  Yesterday afternoon I made an appointment for my son at the same Urgent Care office my daughter visited one week prior.  I told the Dr his symptoms informed him that I wanted him tested for H1N1.  They ran the tests on him, he had a fever of 100 while on Tylenol and Ibuprofen, they felt his throat, his glands were inflamed, they checked his throat, it showed signs of infection, they gave swabbed him for the strep test, and they also quickly swabbed his nose for the Influenza test.   I also made sure that the Dr. knew that his sister had the same exact symptoms the week prior and that she was good as new in three days. The Dr left to bring the samples to the lab.  I sat in the exam room and waited. My little guy fell asleep while I hugged him on my chest for the 30 minute wait and I almost fell asleep myself when there was finally a knock on the door.   The Dr. came back in and said that the strep test came back negative but that my son tested positive for Influenza A and that he was prescribing him Tamiflu.  I knew from research that this is what they used for H1N1 cases and asked if this meant he had H1N1?  He said that they are basically the same thing, and that they are treating them the same way.   He informed me that his sister probably had the flu the previous weekend but that I did not have to test her or give her Tamiflu because she is healthy now.  He told me to keep my son away from anyone who has heart disease, diabetes, elderly, very young babies, and pregnant women until all of his symptoms clear up.  He told me to take good care of myself.   I said OK and walked in a state of shock out to my car while holding my sleeping toddler.

How does this happen to my kids?  They don’t go to a daycare, they are not in school, they are healthy clean kids. we have not been anyplace where I noticed sick children, of course I had brought them on our normal weekly outings, the zoo, the parks, the grocery store, Walmart so I guess they could have been exposed anywhere, I just expected this to be the diagnosis made at a daycare center not with my children who stay at home with mom.

I dropped off the prescription at the pharmacy and went home to wait to pick it up.  When I walked up to the house my husbands parents had stopped over for a visit so I had to tell the first visitors that my son has Influenza A which they are treating as if it could be H1N1.

I picked up the phone to the CDC because I still had questions that I did not think to ask the Dr. I got a CDC representative specializing in H1N1 on the phone.  I told him my situation and asked how my friends child who lives 2 towns away and my two children can have this condition and the CDC website only shows that there are 395 confirmed cases in Minnesota?  He informed me that all samples of Influenza A need to be sent in to the CDC or state department of health to be tested before the H1N1 diagnosis can be confirmed but it is not required that all clinics send in the samples for testing.  He asked me to contact my clinic to request they send my sons positive Influenza A test in for H1N1 diagnosis.

Then on my way to pick up my son’s prescription of Tami flu I was so worried that it was going to be hundreds of dollars but that I would of course still choose to give it to my son.  The pharmacist who came to the window to ask if I had any questions about this medication and I said what does this medication do?  He said it helps the flu run its course faster and help the children to fight the flu virus easier,  he also mentioned that there has been a lot of Tamiflu being administered in the last couple of days.  He said that most Doctors are being safe for all Influenza A positive patients in the risk categories of under age 5, the elderly or sick and prescribing Tamiflu.   I told him I am OK with that because with my toddler I would rather be safe than sorry.  Thankfully the cost was only $30 with my insurance, the retail cost was $65.99 for Tamiflu.

I administered my 17 month old his first dose of Tamiflu last night, I made sure he was medicated before bed. He slept quietly all night long. His eyes looked normal and happy this morning.  He still had a fever but he was outside playing and running around again in the yard and eating normally again today.   I have a lot of guilt and feel horrible while having to tell everyone that I exposed to my son and daughter to over this past week, that my son tested positive for Influenza A.  I brought my daughter to Urgent Care 7 days ago, why did the Urgent Care Doctor not even mention or test for Influenza A?  If I knew she had the the flu, one week ago I would never have exposed either of my children to anyone.

I have to admit I am thankful if this is the extent of this flu and my children are handling it just fine.  For this horrible hyped up, frightening, H1N1 Pandemic scare, that the news has been hyping up, and the CDC has raised to threat level to 6.  I read today that 98% of Influenza A tests that have been tested to see if they are H1N1 are coming back positive for H1N1, so I am going to assume that they probably have H1N1 until I receive the test result back.

My children tested positive for Influenza A and it does not make me a bad mom. I want others to know that this horrible, news worthy flu has been no worse for my children than a regular cold.  I would rather have my children have this Influenza A then have a stomach flu or an ear infection any day.    So if your children test positive to Influenza A, give them pain medication to keep down their fevers and discomfort, get the Tamiflu and keep them at home as the CDC recommends.  Kids get sick, and when they get better they become stronger!

Wishing you good health!

Happy Fourth Birthday Boo!

Jun 16, 2009 Author: Jessy | Filed under: Family Management, Short Stories

Tonight is the eve of the birth of my four year old little girl.  I am reflecting on where I was right now four years ago.

We planned to get pregnant and were very grateful when after 5 months of trying we were able to conceive a baby. We chose that it was going to remain a surprise  and that we were not going to find out the sex of the baby. I remember the first time I felt my baby move I was 17 weeks pregnant and I was sitting downstairs watching a movie with my husband when I felt the rapid tap, tap, tap of something that felt like popcorn in my abdomen. It was the most magical thing I could ever experience.  The first time that I knew that I was growing a life inside of me and that it was no longer just a heartbeat on a monitor.

We had our first ultrasound at 20 weeks and it was awesome to see the baby flipping around in my stomach.  I have to admit I did feel a bit cheated during the ultrasounds because anytime there was the possibility to see the genitals they turned the monitor away so I did not get to watch the whole ultrasound like people who wanted to find out the gender.  But I ended up with some fantastic ultrasound pictures.

The weeks went by and I had a great pregnancy, I ate everything, relaxed, put my feet up whenever I could and truly enjoyed the experience and gained weight happily.  At 36 weeks I went in for my first pelvic exam and when I stepped on the scale they noticed a very large change from the previous 2 weeks weight, I had gained over 10 lbs! I knew my ankles and feet were swollen, but I did not realize how swollen I was.  Then they took my blood pressure and it had skyrocketed from my normal healthy blood pressure up to that point. I was diagnosed with pregnancy related high blood pressure and edema. I was then put on bed rest.

It was very challenging to relax, lay down on my left side and ask for help for everything.   On day two of my bed rest I was not careful and was not  and ended up having to go to the hospital because I was seeing stars due to the high blood pressure and I had to spend the night in the hospital.  I promised I would be careful and was able to go home for the remainder of my pregnancy. Thank goodness for the Sex in the City DVD box set my husband bought me to pass the time!

I had ultrasounds every other day for the last 2 weeks  which was really cool and I was totally effaced and dilated to 2.  On June 15th , I was finally given the all clear to go in for an induction on June 16th.  We woke up at 6 AM, got permission to check in to the hospital, took some pictures and video of our last minutes at home as a couple before we became parents.  We drove scared and excited to the hospital, parked, walked in to the delivery area, checked into the room where I was going to deliver my baby, was hooked up to monitors, IV’s and induced with pitocin.

Within an hour the strong contractions started and within 2 hours my water was broke, then the pain really started.  I had to try to stay calm with my high blood pressure and was not able to move around to speed delivery and was stuck on my left side to keep my blood pressure down. I asked for an epidural at about 1 PM, three hours after induction.  It worked for a while but it started to fade quickly.  They kept checking me and I was always at 5, I never made it past 6 cm.  They soon realized that my baby was face up and not descending down the birth canal to help me dilate, and I could not change positions to help it move.  I was told at 10 PM that they thought I should have a c-section.

I was at this point so swollen from the swelling and IV fluids that my hospital bracelet that was loose upon check in was skin tight on my wrist, my fingers, toes and feet were so swollen my skin hurt and my blood pressure was 150/110 but thankfully my baby was never in distress. I was now on the wait list to get into the Operating room behind multiple emergency c-sections.  Unfortunately my epidural was completely not working at this point and the anesthesiologist was stuck in the operating room and could not help with my pain.

Finally at 1 AM after signing my life away on forms, I was wheeled into the operating room for my turn at a c-section.  They bumped up my epidural to the point where I could not move my legs and strapped me down on the table, as I lay there getting prepped, I listened to Jack Johnson on the speakers of that bright white room. This is when the shaking started, I was shaking uncontrollably almost jumping up and down on the table and my blood pressure was still super high. They started cutting me open and I could feel the heat from the incision, I said I can feel that!  They said OK, and gave me a shot of something to help, Jon was now ushered into the room and he saw me so pale and shaking on this table and he is not a surgery guy, he was sooo scared. I was scared myself, and I was trying to reassure him that I was going to be OK.  I remember the jerking and pulling and then they pulled out my baby.  They announced it is a girl!  I said oh what color is her hair?  (I had to ask since Jon was a redhead at birth.)  The nurse told me that she had a full head of black hair.  The whole operating room sang Happy Birthday to my baby as they were drying her off and checking her out.  She was healthy and beautiful!  7 lbs and 3 oz. 191/2 inches long. I was able to look at my baby but not hold her. Jon was torn what to do, I told him not to leave the baby.

When he left the room I knew something was wrong because I looked at the anesthesiologist and asked him not to let me die. He reassured me that I was not going to die. I ended up loosing a lot of blood due to my blood pressure, I spent 2 hours in recovery before they finally let me see my baby.  I was then so doped up, tired, weak and trying to nurse my baby.   It took me almost 2 weeks before I started to not feel weak and tired all the time.  I was able to recover quickly from my c-section and enjoy my baby girl.  My delivery experience was definitely not what I expected but my daughter was a wonderful reward for the traumatic experience.

Our lives have changed so dramatically from the carefree, young couple we were before she was born. We are parents and she is our daughter and our lives revolve around her.  Four years have passed and she has went from being a loud baby, to being a happy, outspoken, funny, intelligent, confident little girl. Happy Birthday Boo!  I am so proud and happy that you are in my life!

Water Safety for a Water Loving Family

Jun 12, 2009 Author: Jessy | Filed under: Family Management, Health & Safety

With summer here and the stories starting to pop up in the news children drowning in pools and lakes I had a water  safety discussion with my almost 4 year old daughter today.   We are a water loving family!  We have an above ground pool with a deck wrapped around, a hot tub, a family lake cabin, a boat, and plenty of yard water toys so for us it is very important to be safe around water.

I sat my daughter down and told her that can never go in the pool, the hot tub, or the lake without mom or dad swimming with her.  Not only do we make sure our daughter understands the dangers of swimming alone,  we also try to have safety measures.  We have an alarm on our back door that we set at night, that if the door is opened it will make a screeching sound and quickly wake me up. We have a climb proof deck railing and a lock on the gate that surrounds the pool deck.  We have a fenced in yard with locking gates surrounding our yard.  Our hot tub cover weighs about a hundred pounds and it locks. We never leave our kiddie pools filled up when they are not being used and our children are supervised while playing. We try to practice as much prevention as possible but there are always ways that kids could figure out a way to get in if they want to, that is hopefully where the discussion of the dangers of being in a pool alone can kick in.

We have our daughter in Foss Swimming lessons so she is learning how to swim she can currently swim 20 feet underwater on her front and back so she is learning well but that does not give me a false sense of security. I just want to make sure that she has as many tools as she can to be comfortable in water if something ever does happen.

We have  a lake cabin where there is 500 feet between the cabin and the lake, she has been taught since she was little that she is not allowed to go to the lake by herself under any circumstances.  We also have a boat and there is a family pontoon at the cabin have the children wear properly fitting US coastguard approved life jackets on the boats and they are never in the water without a parent right next to them.

Children need to be constantly watched in and around water, a child can drown in minutes when they are not being constantly supervised.  I will always try to  teach and practice water safety with my children and I hope that we can help others remember the danger water poses to children.  Please have a safe summer and have fun in the water!

I was sitting at the Minnesota Zoo feeding my kids a snack in a crowded area, glancing around the crowd when I noticed a 4 year old girl fall into the water touch pool.  It is a pool about 3 feet deep that has low sides so children and adults can lean over the edge and touch the starfish, and sea anemones, clams and other safe, slow sea animals. She was with a daycare center group of about 50 kids for a field trip but the adults were not close enough to prevent her from falling in.  The little girl could clearly not swim as she did not try to right herself to stand up or get out of the pool. An adult chaperon jumped in to the water and rescued her very quickly and as a result from jumping into the pool the adult was wet up to her waist and the little girl was soaked.   Thankfully, both the little girl, the adult and the animals appeared to be alright.  After surveying her for damage they wrapped a towel around the girl and calmed her down. The group leaders then quickly moved the remaining children from this group to the dolphin tank area to go sit down away from the tide pool. Now that the other children in the group were completely controlled,  two of the teachers tended to the wet little girl. In the middle of this busy open public space the adult teachers stripped off all of the four year old’s clothing, took their time drying her off, and slowly put new clothes on her.  There was a bathroom less than 50 feet away, the remaining children were under control, so one adult could have easily left with the wet girl to go in the bathroom, to change her clothes, and maybe even use a hand dryer to help dry her hair.  But the daycare center teachers chose to expose this little girl, who was clearly uncomfortable with being naked, to hundreds of random strangers watching and walking by.

She was too old to be completely naked in public and she was clearly uncomfortable, she was trying to use her hands to cover her crotch.   If it was her mother instead of a daycare teacher I might have thought it was more acceptable. As a parent, when we leave our child with a daycare provider, we entrust them to protect and care for our children, this daycare teacher was clearly not protecting this child.  There is no way I would have gotten my 4 year old naked in that busy public area, and I would have freaked out if her daycare providers, whom I entrusted with her care, would have considered getting my child naked and exposing her to the public.  This situation made me think if I was upset that this four year old was naked, how old is too old to be naked in public?

Restrooms regularly have changing stations in the common area of the bathroom, thus making parents expose their children who are still in diapers to strangers walking by.  I remember one time I was changing my sons diaper and a woman stopped to talk to me and my son and wanted to watch as I changed his diaper.  I quickly covered his genitals with a clean diaper as I was wiping his butt because I did not want a stranger looking at his genitals.   Is it inappropriate to see children naked when they are in diapers? To me that is questionable.

I remember having the photo studio ask me if I wanted naked pictures of my 5 month old son and telling me that they are not allowed to take the naked shots after children are they are 12 months old.  I said, I am just fine with diapered pictures instead of naked.  Public photography standard says after 12 months it is too old to take naked pictures of your children. I say is 12 months too old to be naked in public?   To me this is still questionable.

I have a few friends who think it is cute to have their 2 year old’s running around naked in the house, because toddlers think it feels good to be naked.  I think this is OK in the house, but then I have one friend who liked to take pictures of her 2 year old son playing, while happy and naked.  That I start to have a problem with.  As a friend, I did not feel that I should be seeing her two year old child’s genitals, when she was sharing her pictures with me.  So if you don’t feel that you should be sharing these pictures, should you keep or take these pictures?  So is 2 years old too old to be naked in pictures?  Yes, I think so!

I heard a story about a woman who allowed her daughters to sleep completely naked on warm nights because she liked to sleep naked, so she thought her daughters would too.  She also thought that sleeping children were cute, so she chose to take multiple pictures, over the years of her completely naked, sleeping daughters.  So what you might say?  Her naked daughters were now 8 and 10 years old.  She ended up having child protection services called on her by the photo developers.  Fortunately, child protection convinced her that she should not continue these type of photos.   What 10 year old would want their naked picture taken?  Is 10 years old too old to be naked in public?  Yes, I know so!

Why do we have to worry about nudity?  Sexual predators and pedophiles may see this seemingly harmless nudity, and use it in disgusting ways, in turn victimizing our children. I have thought before that pedophiles or a child abductor would choose a location where they know there are children, the zoo would seem to be a perfect area, children everywhere, often running loose so they can explore and learn in a seemingly safe place. So these locations that we feel safe allowing our children to be naked, may be the most dangerous areas for our children to be exposed.

So is 10 years old too old to be naked in public?  Yes, definitely! Is 6  years old too old to be naked in public?  Yes, absolutely!  Is 4 years old too old to be naked in public?  Yes, absolutely!  Is 2 years old too old, in my opinion, yes, absolutely!  I will protect my children and do whatever I can to keep their private parts, private.

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