I'm a former TV news anchor who is raising quadruplet daughters. I don't claim to be an "expert" parent, but I think my tips, triumphs and struggles will give you some insight to my life. Have ideas for this site? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you're a regular reader of my blog, or a friend of mine on Facebook, you must be living under a rock if you didn't know we went to The Wiggles concert yesterday. I cannot begin to tell you how much fun it was. The Wiggles Go Bananas is definitely worth checking out for any Wiggles fan in your life. We don't have cable TV, so to prep for the concert I played my girls a few You Tube videos of The Wiggles. Some of their staple songs (Fruit Salad, Hot Potato) aren't included on the DVD's we own, so I wanted to make sure my girls didn't feel left out. I have to hand it to Sam, Anthony, Murray and Jeff. It takes a lot of stamina to be a Wiggle. Those guys danced pretty much nonstop for an hour and a half. Sure, there were certain numbers that only highlighted one Wiggle, giving the others a chance to change costumes, but if I had to dance around like that for two shows in one day I'm pretty sure I would collapse. I also have to commend the Wiggles for how kid-friendly they are. Yes, they're a group that targets the preschool set, but I really felt they went above and beyond what you should expect. They let kids come up to the edge of the stage mid-number and hand them gifts (bananas, signs, even a cute homemade bone for Wags). They carried on conversations with these kids, asking their names, etc. and seemed generally touched by the gifts. When Sam and Murray walked through the crowd during one number they gave high fives and posed for pictures. Sam, my Wiggles crush, was only two rows away from us at one point and we were in the top section of seats. I think he even winked at me. Interestingly enough, Hubby had the camera and never thought to take a picture of Sam for me. (He says he's not jealous, but it all seems a tad suspicious.) I later tried to capture a good picture of Sam, but our camera didn't zoom that far. The picture in this post, though, is from the concert and not just randomly pulled off the internet. It doesn't do our seats justice. Despite being in one of the top sections, we had a great view. My only complaint? Every section except the top section (where we sat) received a Wiggles keepsake (a coloring book? I couldn't tell). As an adult, it really didn't bother me, but it seems that at an event for children every seat should have received the handout. My girls didn't notice, so they didn't care, but I think if they had been a little older it could have been an issue. We weren't even in the cheapest seats. I'm just saying, if your event is for kids, then please help us parents avoid tantrums and meltdowns. But in all seriousness, I now want to see The Wiggles again. My girls weren't really up for dancing... I think they were trying to take it all in. But they clapped and laughed and waved. It was truly a day to remember. The tickets were reasonably priced... until you add on all of Ticketmaster's ridiculous fees or the outrageous fee we paid for parking. But, all in all, it was a fantastic experience and I am so glad we saved up for it.
We're going to see The Wiggles Go Bananas today!!!! For those of you who read my post on Got Quads? when we bought the tickets, you'll know I'm psyched for this concert. So, no post today... I'll let you know how it goes. Hot Potato, hot potato!!!!
There are so many joys to raising multiples, but it can be, quite frankly a pain. You pick the location on the body, chances are it hurts. The most common areas of pain are the neck and back. I didn't realize the hazards of parenting multiples until my daughters were born. At first, I attributed all my aches and pains to 23 weeks of bed rest and a c-section. Then it dawned on me: neither of those things should affect my neck. It all started in the NICU. After hours of holding my daughters and staring lovingly at them, my neck ached. Sounds silly, right? There were times when all I could do was hold one of them and stare straight ahead. Any movement of my neck caused seering pain. I still have this problem if we spend too long reading books (for example the hour we spent reading books before bed last night). Blame my posture, blame my couch for being way too old to be comfortable, but at least at the end of the day I have an indicator of whether I spent quality time with my children. (I'm trying to approach this from the cup being half full stance). Back pain is something I'm sure all parents experience at some point. For the most part, I brought it on myself. Rather than go up and down the steps four times to put them to bed, I would carry them two at a time. It's pretty easy to do when they're five pounds each, but I probably should have stopped when their weights hit the double digits. You think I'm joking? I carried them two at a time well past their first birthday. It was a huge time saver, but definitely a pain. Now, of course, my daughters are much more independent, but they still want to cuddle and snuggle. Sometimes all four of them try to cram onto my lap. Inevitably, if I pick one up, they all want picked up. I'm just not that strong any more. I don't attempt to hold more than one at a time. Even picking up one for long periods of time can hurt my back (again, I'm guessing all parents of toddlers come to the realization at some point that they just can't pick up their children and carry them the way they once did). Hubby is a strong guy, and even he is starting to experience the "pain" of raising multiples. Take, for instance, our recent visit to the zoo. It was crowded and we parked far from the entrance. After what seemed like a hike from the car to the entrance, Sue-Sue was pooped. Hubby decided to give her a shoulder ride and I'm suprised he could even move the next day. Hey, you try carrying 25 pounds on your shoulders for at least an hour and tell me how you feel. Yep, parents of multiples (or maybe even parents in general) deserve hazard pay!
From the minute my daughters were born, they have needed to gain weight. At birth they weighed between 1 1/2 pounds and just over 2 pounds. Needless to say that's very small. Now here we are nearly 4-years-old and weight is still an issue. Why am I bringing this up? This country clearly has an obesity problem... I'm not trying to belittle that... but it can be just as frustrating trying to help a young child put on weight. The girls started out on a special formula which helped them gain weight. Once we switched to milk we did the requisite whole milk with a switch to 2% milk when they turned two. At their next check up their pediatrician advised me to put them back on whole milk. I think their 3-year check up was the first time any of the girls were "on the chart" (just barely) for their weight. As an adult it can sound thrilling to be told you need to put on weight. Imagine the possibilities: cheese, ice cream, chocolate, you name it. But trying to help a child gain weight is a little trickier. You can only give them so much cheese.... I know because I give them a lot of cheese: a slice of cheese with lunch, cheese mixed with veggies, extra cheese on their mac and cheese. While I want them to develop at a "normal" rate, I don't want to clog their arteries and contribute to future problems. Our pediatrician suggested adding creamer to their milk, but so far I haven't been able to bring myself to do that. Right now my daughters gladly drink their milk. As someone who hates drinking milk, I'm afraid to take too many chances. One of my biggest concerns is body issues. I don't want my daughters growing up being obsessed about their weight. whether it's gaining it or losing it. The other day they saw me working out and asked why I was exercising. Rather than say "oh, mommy wants to lose weight" my response was "mommy's trying to stay healthy." Little girls don't need to be thinking about their weight or counting calories. Hopefully as they grow and develop I can build the ground work for them to be healthy and confident.
When I was a child, going out to eat was a big deal. It usually meant going to McDonald's. That outing was typically the highlight of the day... the week... most times even the month. Eating out was a rare treat. I don't think it holds the same allure for my children. If we drive by McDonald's my daughters will be the first to point it out. How can they not recognize it with all the billboards, magazine and TV ads out there? Since my daughters have always been underweight, it's not our country's obesity epidemic that necessarily has me steering away from a lot of fast food outings. Although, truth be told, even though my daughters could stand to put on some weight, I don't think loading them up on fast food is the way to do it. As a family we simply can't afford to eat out a lot. For the six of us, eating out is still a rare treat. Even if we only buy drinks, sandwiches and fries off the dollar menu, our meal is still going to cost close to $20. I know people who eat out every day. They know Tuesday is Fazzoli's night, Wednesdays are reserved for Chipotle, etc. How in the world do people afford this day in and day out? Convenient? Sure, but also a drain on the wallet. I work with people who run out for fast food at every lunch break, yet they complain about never having any money. I'm not one of those parents who will stand on a soap box and wax poetically about the evils of fast food. That would just be hypocritical since we do go out to eat on occasion. But I want those trips to be the same treats they were for me growing up. I want to see smiles when they realize we're not just driving by the golden arches, we're actually going in. Now if I can just convince my daughters that the dollar menu is better than a Happy Meal wallet will be happy.
I have to admit, I am burned out on grocery shopping. I feel like every week I leave with a cart full of food and yet by mid-week I'm tapped out on meal ideas. I keep a list and add to it throughout the week, so I'm fairly prepared when I go to the store. But we end up eating the same thing every week. If I have a coupon for something new, I'll give it a try. I'm not one who can sit down and think about meals a week in advance. In the morning I'll look through the pantry and fridge to determine what we're having. I don't have all day to do my shopping, so I rely on my favorite store. If it's not there, I'm not buying it. I go after work,which is likely a mistake, but the most convenient time to go. I pop in the ear plugs to my IPOD and can somewhat enjoy my shopping experience since I'm listening only to music I like and not the music some corporate grocery store employee selected. So, here's your chance to help me out. Grocery shopping day this week is Saturday. What are your go-to meals? What do you buy that ALWAYS helps you out in a pinch? Ideas please!!!!
I was talking to a mom friend yesterday and learned she recently suffered a concussion. She has been having some "brain" issues ever since. Words don't come as easily as they once did. She often finds herself frustrated and "crabby" (her description). But she said the hardest thing for her has been the inability to multitask. Reflecting on the conversation I realized how important it is for moms to multitask. For instance, right now I am trying to write this blog, listen for the dryer to buzz and convince Tortilla not to stand directly in front of the TV so Sue-Sue can see Sesame Street. Without the ability to multitask I would be one stressed out mother. Often times parents multitask without thinking about it. How often have you cooked dinner and talked on the phone while trying to quietly break up a fight over whose turn it is to use the orange cup? OK, I'm being a little too specific, but that is exactly what I did while making mac and cheese for the girls last night. If I could have only done one of those things at a time I think I would have pulled my hair out. Either that or I would still be on the phone with the customer service rep trying to help me download my internet security program. As a mom of multiples, the ability to multitask took on a whole new meaning. On laundry day I used to put two of the girls in the laundry basket so I could bring the dirty clothes and two of the kiddos downstairs at the same time. This, of course, was back in the day when I could still carry them two at a time. Even now during their breakfast you'll likely find me vacuuming the house in between pouring refills of milk. There are only so many hours in the day and I have a lot to do. But, a word of caution about multitasking: don't be so caught up in the jobs that you forget what's going on around you. Sometimes I have to stop myself and look at one of the girls and ask her to repeat herself. Often times I'm being given an invitation to sit down and read a book or play with the baby dolls. That's when the multitasking is put on hold and I focus on one important task: spending time with my daughters. As for my friend, she says she's about 90% better, which is a good thing. I know she's looking forward to being able to get back to the point where she can, like many moms, force herself to try to do 12 tasks at once.
I should probably be embarassed to admit this, but I'm not. Here is my confession: my daughters are nearly four-years-old and only two of them are potty trained. I can hear the gasps around the country. I have been casually working on potty training for more than a year. I am NOT going to be a potty training obsessed mom. Before you write me off as a bad mom, let me explain. When one wants to go, they all want to go. I absolutely let everyone sit on the potty. But I don't have the time to let them sit... and sit... and sit... only to be told 20 minutes into it that they'll "try again later." When it comes to peeing, I don't believe in pushing it. I would rather have my daughters pee in a diaper than feel pressured to use the potty. Basically, I'm letting them decide when it's time to become "big girls." I was fortunate to be able to put my daughters in preschool through our local school district. Very few preschools will let you attend if you're in diapers. But because this is through the public school system there are going to be special needs children who, to put it bluntly, may be in diapers for the rest of their lives. Preschoolers in diapers are no big deal to these teachers. I really thought once my daughters started school and realized they were among the few in pull-ups they would quickly decide to use the potty. Yes and no. Tortilla was the first to be potty trained. The day she started wearing underwear Cakes was livid and wanted underwear, too.... so she immediately began using the potty and has had maybe one accident in the 7-8 months she's been wearing underwear. (Side note: Cakes is a diaper-free girl. She doesn't even need a diaper at night). Roo and Sue-Sue are a different story. It doesn't help that they are typically my most stubborn children. Roo and Sue-Sue will always use the potty at school... but when they come home they could care less. They would rather sit all day in a wet pull up than stop whatever they're doing to use the potty.... until this week. I'm resorting to peer pressure and bribery. I bought new underwear (my daughters have finally put on some weight and outgrew their 2T/3T underpants). Every morning I make a big deal out letting Cakes and Tortilla pick out their underwear.... Dora, Minnie Mouse, Tinkerbell and the Disney Princesses. You know what? It's working. Based on the past two days I'm planning to put Roo in underwear tomorrow. I'm hoping to have Sue-Sue in underwear by the end of the week. I cannot wait until the day I walk into Sam's Club and walk out without spending hundreds of dollars on diapers and pull ups. Very few parents like my method of potty training. I don't care. It has (almost) worked for us. Did it take a loooong time? Yes. But now they think it's a big deal to use the potty... so I guess as long as it's fun that certainly has to count for something. Right?
Forget the "terrible two's." I've said all along two wasn't that bad... it's three that's a real killer. I can handle the tantrums. Those are usually finished within a few minutes. It's the "sassing" I can't stand. When did my little angels learn to be demon-children? The majority of the time they are all good listeners, but the second "sass" comes into the picture... watch out. Some of the conversations I've had lately include:
"I don't want to clean up. I'm too tired."
"You're not my best friend any more." (generally directed at me when I explain there is no such thing as being too tired to clean up your toys)
"I don't want to go to bed" (followed by a foot stomp)
"I'm going to throw this toy across the room" (thanks for the warning)
"I'm going to cry really loud and wake up all the babies" (I used the "babies" in the neighborhood as a reason for why we need to use inside voices... you'll wake up the babies if you're too loud)
I read a recent parenting article in which the author talked about the "toy fairy." When her son wouldn't clean up, she told him the toy fairy would come when he was asleep and take away his toys for a week. I tried that with my girls and was told "That's OK, mommy. We have a lot of toys so we don't need them all." Sassy. For those of you who have been there, done that and told me a "magical switch" is flipped and my angels will permanently return at age four... I've started the countdown and I will come find you if that doesn't happen.
You would think the weekends should be something to look forward to. Not in my house. I work every Saturday, unless I request it off. I'm not complaining about that. We need the money and I'm glad I found an employer willing to work around my hectic life. Sundays are the one day neither Hubby nor I work and it takes all the fun out of the weekend. We need to clean the house. We need to mow the yard. We need to do bills. But we still need to find time for our girls to have fun. It's hard when you're trying to cram in so much in one day. Here's our plan for the day: chores, etc. in the morning, lunch and then hopefully the pool. It makes for an exhausting day but we're trying to find some balance. So if you'll excuse me, I need to get cracking on those aforementioned chores. Have a happy Sunday.
I received an email about my recent thumb sucking post from someone who regularly reads my blog. She had a pretty interesting solution and since there were a lot of comments from parents of thumb suckers, I thought I had better share. (To protect the identity of the thumb sucker in question, I won't reveal his/her identity). The mom who emailed me told me that when her child was about the same age as my girls the dentist gave her the same "give up the thumb" lecture. She decided to start putting socks on the child's hands at night. For the first few nights the child protested, but it quickly worked. I'm going to give my girls a few more days before I resort to socks... but it's a solution I never thought of and one I'm willing to try. Now my only concern is this: at least one of my daughters likes to chew on her blankie. What happens if she decides she likes chewing on socks, too?
It has truly been one of those days. I try not to use this blog as an outlet to whine, but today you will have to humor. It all started at 5 a.m. Tortilla began screaming and crying. I rushed to her bed to find out what was going on. She told me there was a bug in her bed. I looked, couldn't find it, but brushed off her pillow, blankie, covers, etc. Thirty minutes later... same thing. I was desperate for sleep so I let her "sleep" in Roo's bed. Then all hell broke loose. Not only did everyone get out of bed and run around their room (all before 6 a.m., mind you), Tortilla repeatedly insisted there were bugs in her bed, on her pajamas, on her blankie, in the room, anywhere she could think of. Around 7 a.m. (the time I had to wake up anyway), she threw another fit. She was hysterical, pointing out non-existent bugs on her arm. At this point I was concerned that she had eaten something that was currently causing her to hallucinate. I was seriously contemplating a visit to our local urgent care. Then something hit me... or at least blew on me. You see, I realized every time the oscillating fan pointed in Tortilla's direction, she suddenly thought bugs were on her. When the air hit her she thought it was bugs... even though this fan has been in her room for months and has never been an issue. Problem solved... but now everyone (including me) is extremely cranky. Naps? We haven't taken those in about a year and no one seems interested. Instead they would rather whine and fuss until bed time (which will be happening a little earlier than usual). I won't even get into the cat barf that greeted me when I finally came downstairs or the continuing saga of my battle with the insurance company that took place today. Need a good word to sum up my mood today? Check out Sarah's post at Embracing Chaos. Her choice for today's word of the day says it all.
It has never bothered me that three of my daughters are dedicated thumb suckers. For whatever reason, Roo has never ever been interested in sucking her thumb, but her sisters pop their thumbs in their mouths at the first sign of stress or sleepiness. My thought has always been "well, they've found a way to self-soothe." I've never bought into the notion that they're messing up their teeth, since these teeth will eventually fall out. Plus, Hubby and I both needed braces and know all four of our girls will, too. Even my most recent edition of Parents magazine quoted a doctor who said thumb sucking is a natural reflex which most children will give up before age four. So, here we are approaching our 4th birthday and our dentist says it's time to ditch the thumbs. Why? It's actually pretty interesting. According to our dentist, the way your tongue sits in your mouth affects your palette. As a child, when your palette is still developing, your tongue helps spread the roof of your mouth. When a child sucks her thumb, she's affecting where her tongue sits in her mouth and her palette may not spread/develop the way it should. Considering two of my daughters have "severe crowding" of their teeth, well, they need those palettes to spread. (Do you remember the kids in school who talked about having to wear a "bridge"? It was some medieval contraption in the roof of their mouth involving a key. Every night they had to turn the key to spread their palette. Yeah, not something I really want my girls to suffer through, although Hubby claims it didn't hurt.) Our dentist appointment was last week. Since then I've really been trying to work with Cakes, Tortilla and Sue-Sue to encourage them to give up the thumb. It's easier said than done. The first day they were really good about taking their thumbs out of their mouth with a gentle reminder. By the time I put them to bed, though, you could tell what a challenge the day had been. As soon as they closed their eyes, their thumbs were firmly positioned in their mouths. The other day Cakes was sitting next to me on the couch. When I casually reminded her to take her thumb out of her mouth she moved. I found her sitting on the floor next to the couch, covertly sucking her thumb. Great, now I've created "closet thumb suckers." It's not going to be an easy habit to break. We'll keep working on it and eventually we'll be a thumb-free family.
Hubby and I have exactly one day a week where neither of us have to work. This means Sundays are typically filled with chores. Yesterday, however, we decided it was time for a "lazy Sunday." Hubby let me sleep in, which was wonderful. I was up by about 8:30 a.m., which is unheard of in this house. Before I even got out of bed Hubby had already filled up our two backyard pools (we need two because I can't find one pool to accommodate quads... don't get me started on the fact that the picture on the box of our newest pool showed four children in the pool... with plenty of room to "swim.") We headed outside and let the girls do what they wanted. It was quite comical. Roo soon filled up a bucket with water and dumped the water on each of her sisters' heads. Suddenly, Cakes, Tortilla and Sue-Sue were in the other pool, leaving Roo by herself. When she went to the other pool, the three of them moved again, not wanting to be in the path of her bucket dumping. Tortilla took over an inflatable innertube and spent the day floating in the pool. All she needed was an umbrella drink and she would have been set. We even had lunch outside and ended up wasting a good three hours doing nothing. We're somewhat paying the price. The only chore we accomplished yesterday was mowing the yard. That's OK... every now and then we need a week where we just say "to heck with it" and have fun. All the girls except for Roo have a slight sunburn on their backs, which bothers me. This is the first time I can remember that they have ever burned. I slathered them in sunscreen, but we were simply outside too long and I should have reapplied it. Lesson learned... but at least it's not a severe burn. Today, the girls are begging to go swimming in their pools again. I think I have them convinced that their skin needs a rest... and so does mommy!
Last night before my daughters went to bed, Hubby was randomly flipping through the TV stations. Suddenly, all four girls grew quiet... then they started giggling and dancing around. What in the world was holding their attention like this? The Lawrence Welk Show. No, I am not joking. We left the show on and they danced around, having a grand time. Hubby and I joked that their great-grandma Judy was likely looking down on them, pleased to see them enjoying one of her favorite shows. This all has me thinking about how many things from the past are popular again. (OK, I realize The Lawrence Welk Show isn't poised to make a big comeback, but it's the thing that started this train of thought). For instance, on Saturday mornings my daughters watch Strawberry Shortcake and The Care Bears. They each received a Care Bear from Santa this past Christmas. A few months ago I picked up some Care Bears DVDs at Big Lots for $3 each. It turns out they were the "old school Care Bears," the ones most of us adults grew up with. The new Saturday morning cartoons are actually much better than the older version, although my daughters seem to tolerate the DVDs I bought. I work retail and you might be amazed to see some of the fashion trends that are popular. We recently had an entire area full of... are you ready for this? LEG WARMERS! Can you believe that? I actually saw teens buying them, too. Alas, they weren't wearing them with the Flash Dance ripped sweatshirts. Yesterday I was working at the jewelry counter and in our "fashion jewelry section" I found... JELLY BRACELETS!!!! I remember buying them by the dozen, filling my arms with various colors, twisting two bracelets together to be even "cooler." The bracelets in my day were a lot cheaper than this "new" version. Remakes of Witch Mountain, a movie version of Bridge to Terabithia, and you know it won't be long before singers start releasing covers of Michael Jackson's big hits (David Cook's version of "Billie Jean" will always be the best!)... perhaps I should just sit back and enjoy revisiting of my childhood!
Every week when I wash my daughters' bedding I end up gathering up a toy box full of "stuff," too. They each have certain things they like to take to bed at night: Tortilla needs her blankie and also likes to have a small stuffed lamb with her. Sue-Sue has her blankie (actually she has two identical blankies and often wants both at night) and a stuffed polar bear she received about a year ago during a doctor's visit. Roo sometimes wants her blankie, but her animal of choice changes on a regular basis. Right now she's all about a stuffed penguin I bought at Kohl's when they had their Curious George themed books and toys. Cakes needs her blankie, but often doesn't want an animal. The problem is that throughout the week they end up bringing more and more stuffed animals to bed. It starts innocently enough. One day Roo will be attached to a stuffed flamingo and want to take it to bed. Why not? But then a few days later she wants Curious George, and the penguin and the flamingo. Some nights I really don't know who has what in bed with them until we're all upstairs. When I announce "bed time," everyone goes running and I never know who has grabbed a new toy. This week when I did laundry I was amazed Tortilla even found room for herself in her bed. Here's what I found in her bed: her blankie, stuffed lamb, a large stuffed dalmation, a smaller version of the dalmation, a Dora doll, a Beanie baby teddy bear and a purse, yes, a purse. I was surprised to find there wasn't anything in the purse. I fully expected to find it stuffed with another animal, or, at the very least, some magnets. I'm all about having comfort items in bed. If they want certain things with them to help them sleep it truly doesn't bother me. But when those things start taking over their bed, well, it starts to become an issue. So each week I clean out their bed, leave one or two treasured toys and start the process all over.
Naming children can be one of the most stressful decisions a parent makes. No one wants to set their child up for ridicule... unless, of course, you're a celebrity (Apple, Pilot Inspektor, Dweezil... you catch my drift). Coming up with four names was not easy. We didn't want anything outlandish, but we didn't want them to share a name with several other kids in their elementary classes. It's going to be hard enough for people to see our daughters as individuals without them having to share their name with classmates, too. The names we chose received mixed reactions. Most people claimed to like them. The majority that didn't at least lied and said they liked them. A couple people were vocal in their dislike, but it didn't really phase me. They're my children, so I have the final say in their name (well, Hubby had some input, too). The Social Security Administration keeps track of popular names for boys and girls. I decided to look up the top names for 2005 (the year my daughters were born). Cakes is in the top 100, although we chose a different spelling. Sue-Sue is just out of the top 100. Tortilla is in the top 200... but, again, a different spelling. Roo just missed the top 300... for boy's names. It has always baffled me that people prefer her name for boys, but who am I to argue? Even now when she has pigtails and is wearing pink some people will say "oh, you have one boy?" when they hear her name. The only other people I know with her name are female, so how her name became associated with males is beyond me. These names will be with them for a life time and, quite frankly, I can't imagine calling them anything else. Perhaps years from now they'll go through a phase where they'll wonder why in the world we gave them the names we did... but hopefully they'll never have the resentment that, oh say, little Banjo or Pilot Inspektor may have over their names.
For the first year or so of my daughters' lives, appointments were easy. Well, not necessarily easy when you consider the work it took to bundle up four infants and take them to the doctor, plus coordinate our work schedules to get them there. But at least all their appointments could be done at the same time. Now, things are a little tricky. Around age 3, the girls started developing different issues. Roo needed glasses, which required various follow-ups. Then Tortilla needed glasses. At first I could take them to their follow-ups together, but then Tortilla needed to go in more often to determine a) if her glasses were working and b) if she needed to wear a patch to prevent "lazy eye." Gone were the days of making six-month or one-year follow-ups on the same day for all four girls. Then today things became even more complicated. At a follow-up appointment for Tortilla, the opthalmalogist decided Tortilla no longer needs to wear her glasses. Yippee!!! But she needs to go back in two months to make sure her vision is still "up to par" without glasses. Everyone else needs to be seen in six months. This particular opthalmalogist only sees patients in the mornings (I think she's actually the equivalent of a physician's assistant, but we are scheduled with her for routine follow-ups since they take less than a half-hour). Did I mention the girls will be in preschool four mornings a week starting in August? I can't pull just Tortilla out of class because I would never make it back to school in time to pick up the others. At this point I told them I would have to wait to receive the school schedule, figure out what days school is canceled, and then call to make my appointment. I remember when I was in school it was common to arrive late or leave early for a doctor, dentist, orthodontist, etc. appointment. I'm not pointing fingers at these providers, but wouldn't it make sense to have appointments more conducive to patients and their parents? Very few providers have Saturday appointments... and those who do tend to only be there until noon. Sure, it's just preschool, but I have a hard time condoning constantly pulling my daughters out of school for routine appointments. I realize this isn't just a "multiple thing." Parents with more than one child are constantly running from appointment to appointment. I would, however, much rather spend two hours at the pediatrician's office for our annual check-ups than have to go to four half hour appointments spread out over several days. I have the next 14 years or so to figure this out, right? Maybe by the time my daughters are ready to graduate high school I will have figured out how to get all of them to their appointments without causing too much disruption to their schedules.
I remember the day I met Elwood. Hubby moved in to our townhouse while I was at work. I was dreading coming home because I was not excited about living with cats. Cats? Yuck. I opened the door from our garage and before I could turn on the light I heard it. "Row-row." (You had to know Elwood to appreciate his unique meow. It still makes me smile when I think about it). I turned on the light. There was the orangest, fluffiest furball I had ever seen. His pushed in persian face made it look like he was scowling, but his eyese were wide and curious... as though he was saying "what are you doing in my house???" Elwood and I quickly developed an understanding. I understood if I had food it was my job to offer him a taste. If I was on the couch I understood I needed to move over if he wanted to sit there, too. I understood if he wanted to sleep on my feet I was not to complain. He understood I would do all of these things for him. For someone so reluctant to become a cat owner, I was certainly a sucker. It was hard to be mad at Elwood, even when he was being disobedient. One time we had a chocolate brownie on the counter and one of the cats chewed through the wrapper. We couldn't prove it was Elwood... at least not right away. Later in the day I picked him up and panicked, showing Hubby the blood on Elwood's paw. How in the world had he cut himself? Was he hurt? It was chocolate... he was busted. Elwood loved to play. He would do back flips as he chased string. He would snort when he ran around the house. Wad up a piece of paper and he could play for hours. A paper sack? Heaven to Elwood. When we brought our daughters home from the hospital, all our cats were skeptical. We had four cats, did we really need to ruin the dynamics with four babies? Elwood was the first to warm to the girls. He would sniff their heads, check out their room, sleep in their infant carriers... yet he always knew their beds were off limits. When a relative's cat batted Sue-Sue on the head, Elwood came running and gave that cat a good bat on the head, too. When the girls would come home from preschool, Elwood was always by the door waiting for Roo to pet him and give him a big hug. Even when he became sick, Elwood was a source of entertainment. On the night I brought him home from a tooth extraction, he spied a rabbit outside and took off through an open door, drugged up and running through the dark. Fortunately he was doped up enough that he didn't get far. Putting Elwood out of his misery was the humane thing to do, but painful nonetheless. He wasn't going to bounce back this time... but it has been a hard few days. At three-and-a-half years old, the girls don't really understand what happened. They know Elwood's not coming home, but they don't understand why. I tried to put it in simple terms: Elwood was too sick for the doctor to help him. He's not coming home, but we can look at pictures and tell stories about him. They still ask where he is, but their questions are starting to diminish. Elwood was more than a cat... he was part of our family and he will be missed.
I was convinced last year would be the 4th of July... the one where we have a fun cookout and all enjoy the fireworks. It was the first time in years neither Hubby nor I had to work. I prepared the girls by explaining that fireworks are loud but oh so pretty. The night started out nice. We had a cookout at my in-laws and then we all headed to a lake in their neighborhood to see the show. After the first "boom," all the girls jumped in someone's lap, but they seemed to take it all in stride... all the girls, that is, except for Sue-Sue. She wanted nothing to do with it. She screamed. She cried. She practically tried to climb on my head. I made the decision to walk her back to my in-laws and sit in the car until everyone else was done seeing the fireworks. Once we were in the car I asked Sue-Sue what was wrong. "It's dark out. We aren't supposed to be outside when it's this dark." Made some sense to me. She and I could see some of the fireworks from the car and she actually enjoyed them that way... but mention leaving the car and she wasn't having it. To this day I'm convinced it's the dark and not the loud noises that bothered her. (She is not typically scared of the dark, but it was the first time she had been outside in the dark). I won't have a chance to test my theory this year. We have a friend who is a "4th baby" and her birthday party is the next morning. Rather than risk taking four grumpy girls to the party we're skipping the fireworks so we have four happy girls ready to stuff themselves with birthday cake.