Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tips for Tuesday: What Goes In Must Come Out

So, about 3 weeks ago during one of my sprint-to-the-finish cleanup sessions I discovered the most beautiful deep purple crayon had been abandoned on the white semi-shag carpet in James’ playroom…in front of a window...through which beautiful sunshine streams…all day. 


 I’m not sure which of my boys are to blame.  The evidence is circumstantial and I had seen both Eddie and James drawing with the purple crayon just a few days prior.  So I let the lecture about why it’s important to clean up behind yourself go – mainly because I knew that lecturing Eddie about the importance of cleaning would be like lecturing Lindsay Lohan about the benefits of staying sober but also because James is 18 months old so by default he was excused?
So instead I turned my attention to how in the heck I was going to get chunks of melted dark purple crayon out of my carpet.  Because I had absolutely no idea how to start, I did what all good moms do when faced with a dilemma as challenging as this – I posed the question through social media.  Yep, I updated my Facebook status, challenging anyone reading my status to respond with an appropriate solution for the crayon mishap.  If I were playing majority rules, then I would have chosen to blend the stain by dyeing the rest of the carpet purple.  But, through some sort of divine intervention, a better option was presented.

And how DO you get melted crayon out of carpet?
Jamie, mother gets candle wax out of the carpet at church. She dampens a dish towel then puts damp dish towel over melted wax. She uses her iron on the steam setting and holds iron on towel on top of wax. The wax melts and the towelv absorbs it. She says it is important to have iron very hot. Not sure, but maybe this will help.”
Followed with
Hair spray will get the residue out....has to be a spray can. Spray and blot, spray and blot...

So yesterday, I finally got around to attempting “Operation What Goes In Must Come Out.”  Why did it take me so long to take on this challenge?  
Because I found that it blends in well with messes like this…
And while failure to remove the stain was NOT an option, simply ignoring it or waiting for the magic fairy-maid to take care of it WAS.  But after 3 weeks of walking by the stain and reminding myself that there was a project to work on, I decided it was time to tackle the waxy mess.
I dampened a towel and cranked up the iron, placed the towel on the stain and held my breath while I silently prayed I wouldn’t find burned carpet when I lifted the iron.   
Fortunately ( for Eddie ), I discovered a secret all moms should know …so I decided to share.

The "Chunks" begin to disappear!

More Steam

Less Crayon!


So the iron did its magic...but there's still a little residue left.
So I moved on to the hairspray...


Using the steam from a hot iron and a damp towel...

Followed by a spritz of haispray and some blotting...

No more stain!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Digging up Buried Treasures

Friday, I packed up most of the clothes James has outgrown (too quickly in my opinion).  

The N.C. State jersey we bought him when he finally revealed his boy parts to us on the ultra sound…

his first pair of “walking shoes”…
the Christmas JonJon he wore in the infamous Santa Photo Opp Gone Wrong

and the sun hats and swim trunks we wore on the beach last summer.  

All too small, too short, too tight.  I piled socks smelling of the baby laundry detergent, baby-food-stained onesies, and “My First ______” bibs into a plastic Rubbermaid container, snapped the lid closed, and rolled it under the bed with the others – Newborn to 3 months, 3 to 6 months, and 6 to 9 months.  But what had started out as a simple task to complete in order to make room for the newer, bigger, spring wardrobe ended up as a weepy goodbye to everything infant.  
This blog tells the story.  James isn’t a baby anymore.  
3 weeks old

18 months old
photo.JPG - Gmail I still have ALL photo.JPG - Gmailphoto.JPG - Gmail of James’ things.  I’m a self-proclaimed hoarder.  My tendencies are not nearly as severe as A&E’s version but I cling to anything and everything with sentimental value – the lei I received on a family trip to Hawaii in ’04, the airline ticket from our Honeymoon in Belize, every one of my friends’ wedding invitations.  But when it comes to James I stockpile every memory like little buried treasures – tucked away in keepsake boxes on the shelf, photo-books on the coffee table, plastic containers under the bed, memory sticks in the desk drawer.  

 The thing is I actually don’t pull them back out that often.  Yeah, maybe on occasion when I’m putting up or taking down Christmas decorations, packing up clothes that no longer fit, or trying to find room for more stuff to feed my hoarding obsessions.  But I never just sit down on the couch after a long day at work or on a lazy Sunday afternoon, pull out all these things I consider so valuable and admire them or reminisce about that day.   So this weekend I started thinking and then I kept thinking about how I was going to change the way I buried treasures and rarely dug them up.  With a little help from pinterest and a little inspiration from a senior gift a friend received for graduation years ago, I decided to take some of James’ most memorable clothes and create a James Original.
pinterest version of my idea

Love the idea of using old clothes to spell out "James" (just in case another quilt is ever needed)
There’s no doubt about it.  I can’t make time stand still.  The world will never stop spinning, waiting for me to savor each time James curls up in my lap before bedtime smelling like baby shampoo.  I can’t relish in all the afternoons at the park, always truly listen to every “Row row row…row row roooow” (James’ version of row your boat), or commit to memory each and every melt-your heart laugh and smirk-y smile.  James is going to keep growing.  He’ll eventually lose the baby-talk and the baby-fat and maybe acquire an obsession with soccer and football.  There are going to be plenty of more days filled with impromptu plans ending with stained shirts that serve as friendly reminders of that awesome hotdog at the ballgame or how wonderful the grass felt on the first day of spring.  And I look forward to those days with just as much excitement as the ones I’m now looking back on because the old treasures will be a part of the new memories.   
Whether we’re using the quilt as a roof for our fort, 

Another Idea from pinterest
or to keep us warm during early morning football tailgates
 It will never be shelved or closeted or buried under the bed.  And someday far far away from now (I hope) when James is out with friends or off at college and the house is quiet I’ll curl up on the couch to watch a movie with Eddie, wrapped up in the comfort of all the little treasures that I didn’t simply bury.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Only the Strong Survive

This winter has tested James’ immune system and my patience.  It started January 5th with a trip to the pediatrician for what the two different doctors that examined him determined to be a severe diaper rash, but a subsequent visit the next day confirmed our suspicions of a misdiagnosis and concluded that James, now splotchy for head to toe, had Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Virus.  Trust me—it looks as bad as it sounds.  
A week or so later, James’ temperature hit that magic number of 101 at daycare (F.Y.I.-all daycare centers have some sort of variation in this policy, but if you haven’t heard of the "magic number", it’s obviously the temperature at which a child goes from being NOT contagious to contagious.  He then, must go home immediately or, in some cases, after a parent is scolded for being unable to predict that their kid would spike a fever at exactly 11:32AM).  Did I mention that reaching the magic number warrants a doctor’s note?  So, off we go again…to the see the doctor…to get a note…and an antibiotic for a respiratory tract infection.  A very short time later, we found ourselves back in the doctor’s office, this time with an ear infection and another antibiotic.  This was followed by a double ear infection another trip to the doctor and another antibiotic.  Then came James’ follow-up appointment at Duke with his urologist, Dr. Wiener (yes, that’s his real name, yes, it’s pronounced like hot dog wiener and yes, he is a real urologist).  
Two weeks passed and I was starting to feel a little less guilty about the recent contribution to antibiotic resistance the Foy Family had made.  That boost of self-esteem was short lived, and when the receptionist at the pediatrician’s office called James by name as we walked in, a part of me wanted to run and hide in a corner to escape judgment from other parents in the waiting room while the other part of me wanted to drop into the fetal position and admit defeat in my attempts to competently maintain proper hygiene practices.  
On the bright side, James did learn to blow is nose...kinda.
I didn’t mind my toddler clinging to me like a koala bear, the BJ’s size Kleenex packs we went through every week or the girl’s night and dinner dates I had to cancel.  Eddie and I were never extremely worried, and I grew accustomed to traveling the 80 mile round trip journey to and from James’ pediatrician's office about midway through January.  It was the waiting with a sick, un-happy, toddler that found climbing on chairs and tables more amusing than the Little Mermaid playing in the waiting room that finally got to me.  He discovered how to pull the top off the Puffs container then threw an Oscar worthy tantrum when I took them away because he had dropped so many there was a Hansel and Gretel-like trail around the waiting room.   
Where's James?
There he is!
Held prisoner in the examination room, he used his imagination to convert the examination table into a fort and found the perfect hiding spot inside the cabinets.  Quickly bored with the trucks and books I packed, we would pass time by washing his hands at the sink in the room.  By the time the doctor made it to James, she might as well have been examining a spider monkey because James started acrobatically swinging across the room while “beep-beeping” like a dump trunk backing up.  (Well, maybe he didn’t swing per se, but the way he bounced from wall to cabinet to wall to mama gave the illusion of swinging.)

So, a week before his 18-month check-up, I received a letter in the mail:  How to Prepare for Your Child’s 18-month Check-Up.  The list was “cute” with its reminders to bring a list of current medications and allergies, tips like dressing "your child” in easy to remove clothing and bringing a book to share with your child while you wait, suggestions to tell “your child” where you are going and what to expect, etc.  I laughed – I mean I REALLY laughed.  It’s hard to believe that the only guidance for keeping your child occupied while being confined to a 10x10 room for half an hour was to “bring a familiar book.”  Oh really?  Thanks for that awesome tip, because before you mentioned it, I was kind of expecting a bouncy house and pony rides to occupy my kid so that I could update my facebook status or make my next move on words with friends.  
 Now, 2 months ago I would have been one of those na├»ve moms that thought trips to the doctor always end with a Thomas the Train sticker and a Safety-Pop.  That Mama might have stuck to the list and played by the rules, but a season of more or less camping out in the doctor’s office makes a mama wiser.  My “What to Bring to the Pediatrician” now looks a little more like this:
1.       Bring Your Game Face:   
        Child vs. Waiting Room is not a fair match-up.  Don’t approach the situation like your typical afternoon trip to the park.  Think of it more as a mission that requires you to stay focused on avoiding a meltdown at all costs.  You have to anticipate your child’s next move – be there before he stands on the table and makes monkey noises, have food in your hand before the “I’m hungry” tantrums start.  Don’t let your mind slip to the grocery list you need to make or the dinner date you have planned for Saturday.  That’s when kids make their move…and then you’re screwed.
Thanks Lorenzo (and The News and Observer)
This is what a game face looks like.
2.       Toys:   
        You know how when you go to the doctor, you’re always disappointed that the newest issue of US Weekly still has pre-preggo Snooki or how all the good recipes from Southern Living Magazine are ripped out?  Well, that’s how a kid feels about the toys in the pediatrician’s office.  Bring at least 3 or 4 small toys.  ONLY 1 of these should make noise and the noise should not be an annoying song.  Pull the noise-making toy out when you’re in the holding pin exam room.  Noisy toys not only awaken the sleeping baby across the room, they also draw more attention to your child and most likely will end in some sort of wrestling match between your child and another child whose mom only used the letter to prep for the appointment.

3.       “E-Z Grabber”:   
        You may also want to bring along an “E-Z Grabber” to rescue these toys after your kid has found a very deep crevice in which to wedge an object.  Every mom has performed some advanced yoga position or force an elbow to become double-jointed in an attempt to reach a 99 cent toy party favor because a beloved dinosaur has fallen down a vent or lodged itself deep in a ½ inch wide crack.  This is where the grabber becomes the Jaws of Life, and you can effortlessly seize that all-important object and stave off that instinctive meltdown.

4.       A Cardigan:   
        Nothing screams I’m a responsible grown-up like a cardigan.  It’s the non-verbal way of communicating to the doctor that you have obviously NEVER forgotten the diaper bag or given my kid French fries.   It’s also an awesome article of clothing for quickly covering up any spit-up, drool, dried food your child wiped on your shirt, coffee you spilt carrying 25 things to the car, and if your child has a runny nose…okay, we won’t go there.  Just trust me…bring the cardigan.
Cardigan Mom's version of lunch:  Turkey, cheese (2% milk of course), orange pepper topped with hummus and blueberries.

5.       Food – lots of it:   
        The Perfect Storm: A hungry kid—confined in a 10x10 room – the snacks run out.  DON’T give him the whole bag of Cheerios – he’ll eat it all in one sitting and you’ll find yourself rummaging through your purse for that half-eaten Twix bar from earlier or that stale granola bar you packed 2 months ago.  Save the candy bribery for the drive home. If the doctor walk in the middle of your kid’s sugar high or your kid smears the remnants of a melted Hersey Bar on the pediatrician’s white coat, the cardigan facade becomes null and void.

6.       Extra clothes NOTHING can ruin any outing faster than a “BLOW OUT” diaper and no back-up  attire.   To avoid the very real possibility of carrying your child out of the office naked, bring extra clothes. And above all.

7.  Don't Forget Your Kid...