Saturday, April 19, 2014

To Go or Not To Go, that is the Question

The other day I was talking to someone about the fact that they were sick.  They didn't really want to be in their room, away from other people, and so were frustrated at the idea that having a fever meant staying away until they were better.

Another person mentioned to me that they had been sick with a fever recently, but they just kept going and doing what they normally do because, "They aren't the kind of person to just lay around." And I got irritated.  It seemed selfish to me.  It didn't seem noble to me to infect everyone else with their germs just because they didn't want to stay away.

Then, the other day, my youngest was throwing up.  He had been sick for three days, but no one else had been, so it was my hope that everyone else was ok and this was just a bug that the rest of us had already had.  I left him home from the outing we were going to on the 4th day, just because his tummy didn't seem up to par yet, but he was fine all day, thankfully.

However, half way through our event, another child starting acting weird.
"No thanks, mom.  I don't want any lunch.  And I think I feel sort of tired, so instead of playing with all my friends, I'm just going to go lay in the van"- for an hour and a half!  He threw up later that day.  So then I felt bad that we had exposed everyone we were around to this stomach bug and I should have just gone with my gut and declared him sick the moment that I saw him acting odd. 

If I went with my gut all the time, though, and didn't send any possibly contaminated children to anything ever, we would have to stay home a LOT! 

This all makes me wonder how the majority of other families deal with sickness and germs.  I don't want to act like a hypochondriac, but how do I wade through these waters and think of others as well as ourselves?

And when we are sick, how much do I let others decide whether to expose themselves and be in my home, knowing they might get sick and pass it on to others, versus saying no?

I usually try not to bring or send children who have a fever or stomach virus to anything until it has been about 24 hours since they were sick.  But sometimes I just don't know they are and then they are there and get others sick.

I can't stand it, though, when a parent KNOWS their child is sick and brings them anyway because they just want to be there or the child REALLY wants to participate.

Then there are those who are obsessed with being well, and if my kid coughs or sniffs funny, they cover their face in fear that they will be next.  Suddenly, I feel like I should probably stay home at all times because if I waited until no child ever sneezed, coughed, picked their nose, or sniffed, we would never be able to walk out the front door! Ever!  Yet somehow, when someone covers their face because of one of my children's bodily functions, I immediately feel guilty.  I hate that too!

Today I happen to be faced with what to do about Easter service tomorrow. One child threw up this morning, one- last night.  Chances are they are both going to be fine tomorrow.  But I'm probably going to take them and one of the kids that has been well so far is going to lose it at lunch and then I'll know that they shouldn't have gone to church that morning.  Or, as things go- if we all stay home- we are sure to all be completely well and it will have been a waste. 

You know, it's not the cooking and the laundry that stresses us moms out.  It's issues like this- emotional interactions with other people and the judgements that others form about us, that we form about ourselves, and the feeling of responsibility to get it right- EVERY SINGLE TIME that makes parenting so hard.  It's why babysitters think that taking care of kids is no big deal and then parents have a completely different feel to it.  That responsibility of, "Am I making the right call?"

So, I don't know if we will be at church tomorrow or not, but I'd love to know if other people struggle with this issue and how they navigate it.  I'm looking forward to Heaven when sickness won't be an issue anymore.  Easier decision making!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How to Prepare For a Wedding- Aldrich Style

My last single brother is getting married this summer- on the opposite end of the country and we have decided to attend.  Actually I think God was getting a real kick out of the situation when I told the kids we couldn't afford to go to Florida for vacation.  It was just a few days after that declaration that I discovered we were going to Florida whether we liked it or not.  Just to be clear- we like it. It isn't completely clear whether we are driving ourselves or all hitch hiking, but we are going.

Anyway, the process of loading up 9 people in a van to travel 24 hours driving time in order to be in a wedding- which I might note requires attire that doesn't look like it's been smushed in a van for 24 hours- is quite the feat.

Also, this means that our vacation budget is about to be funneled directly into the gas tank, so we had better make the most of all those miles.  Thus begins the planning extravaganza.  In short, it goes a little something like this:

-Determine how many things we'd like to do on this trip if we could do anything we wanted.
-Cross off 75% due to time, money, travel issues, and logistical impossibilities (we can't tie the children to the roof of the car, that's illegal, so that's a no)
- Add several hotel stays that we hadn't thought of due to other logistics.
- Locate a hotel that serves free breakfast, will let 9 people all sleep in a relatively close space, doesn't mind kids, has a pool- cause why would you not take advantage of that possibility if you can, and also doesn't have some random minimum stay of 3 nights.
- Reserve rooms in three different states. Write down how much that will cost.
- Buy White Out to paint across hotel bill projections so you can think about something else between now and then.
- Next, discuss ideas of things to do- DC for three days? Week in FL? Activities while there?  Call the most insane friends you have in those areas and ask them if they have beds for 7 children, one which still wets the bed, and 2 adults.  Wait patiently while they recover from their fainting spell.  When they say you can stay with them, become giddy with excitement over the fact that there are still people in the world willing to house an entire army battalion in their home. Smile that you have such awesome friends- even if they are a little crazy.
- Find all the free things to do in the areas where you will be and carefully coordinate when you will do them. Dream about a couple of activities that actually cost money. Pencil them onto the list in case you accidentally find a winning lottery ticket on the sidewalk.

-Next: shop for wedding clothes for everyone because no one has anything decent to wear to such an event.
-Go look for a dress for yourself. Try on every single dress in the department only to find out that nothing fits you there because you are actually in the juniors section. Whoops.  Try on all the dresses in the women's section in three different stores and discover that still nothing looks good.
-Pause to bemoan the weight gain over the winter, partly due to surgery and partly due to chocolate ganache. Get over it and keep going.
- Cross off several stores on the list in this way.
- Shop for shoes for the kids WITH ALL THE KIDS. Act like you are only there with one of those children.
- Create mass chaos in the shoe section while everyone runs to find the shoes they like best.
- Put them all back because none of them are black dress shoes.
- Find shoes, be happy, buy them, have a heart attack over how much money you just spent.
- Take shoes home and realize that you forgot to buy one child shoes.
- Go shoe searching for that child in several other stores that you go to on other errands.  Find nothing. (This is a rule.  Discovering the right thing can not happen by chance. It must take intentional WORK!)
- Locate two dresses that fit girls, no one, no, two...wait...only one.  Ok, buy one.
- Get tired of stores and try purchasing two dresses for yourself online. This allows you to not fit in something thus giving a good excuse to return the garment to the store and try again.
-Somewhere in here do something else in your life besides work on wedding clothes shopping. For example: feed people meals, teach school, or bathe.
- Take dress back to department store.  Shop for other needs.  Find two dresses, three suits, three ties, three dress shirts, two suit sets, and a make up sale at one store and buy it all. Be happy all the way until you look at the receipt.  Have a second heart attack.  And also a seizure.  Loose two nights of sleep.
- Bring clothes home and try on. Mark 4 pairs of pants to be hemmed.
- Go shopping again and find 1 pair of shoes, three belts, 2 necklaces, a dress shirt and a tie.
- Come home for approval.
- Take back tie. Get different, "better quality" tie.
- Also exchange belt and shoes.

And this is where we are at in the process. On one hand, it's a fun adventure.  On another, it's a lot of work.  And on a third hand- if you have one- it takes a lot of faith.  I know we are doing what needs to be done, but it's always a little tricky how things will actually turn out.  Sometimes it can be exciting to see how God will provide.  Sometimes that's a little stressful, but it's all part of the adventure.

Now that we have hotel reservations and clothes, we'll move on to food. That should be yummy.

Monday, April 14, 2014

20 Things I've told the kids in the last 2 weeks:

1. You may not apply Elmer's glue to your entire naked body. It isn't lotion.
2. Please do not stand on top of the potty chair seat to pee, you aren't that good of a shot.
3. No chickens may jump on the trampoline with you.
4. You also may not rollerblade on the trampoline.
5. I will think about your request to sleep in the attic and get back to you.
6. Used Name tags...You may not place them on the ceiling in the living room, above your desk to mark your territory.
7. Also, you may not put them under the thermostat on the wall so as to claim your right to the temperature control in that room.
8. If the question involves the words "hot glue gun", then I didn't need to hear the rest of the sentence; the answer is no.
9. You splashed so much, I'm not letting you take a bath until you move out.
10. Duct tape is not an appropriate option for fort building with blankets as it removes the fabric from the blanket and the sheet rock from the ceiling of your bedroom when you take it down.
11. If you are afraid of the bees outside, then you had better go make friends with them because friends with the bees or not, you are GOING OUTSIDE!
12. You also may not jump on the trampoline naked. Or cause your siblings to become naked while jumping.
13. If you fed your peanut butter and jelly sandwich to the chickens, then I'm not giving you another one.
14. I'm glad you like practicing a variety of accents, however spelling lessons is not the time to practice your Southern. You will fail your lessons if you do.
15. You can't sled down the hill, in the spring mud, on your kick board that you use for swimming. Not because I won't allow it, but it just won't go anywhere.
16. You can't possibly be "Turning into a puddle of sweat because you are so hot!" It's only 64 degrees outside!
17. If you forget to change your underwear again, I will make you present your dirty underwear to me as a daily morning offering at breakfast in front of the family to help you remember.
18. You must change your socks more often than every 2 weeks.  I can't have you getting some disease like trench foot all because I didn't realize you were wearing the same socks all the time.
19. I said that you could draw, color, or sit while I read to you.  But I didn't mean that you could walk around collecting various large pieces of paper, to cut and tape together to create a piece of paper the size of the entire room to draw and color on.  This was not the idea.
20. Create a place in the playroom to sleep? Fine.  But set up two tents, get all the sleeping bags out of the attic, hang blankets from the ceiling in there? I was just thinking of a few blankets and pillows.  I'm drawing the line at blowing up air mattresses.  No air mattresses.

It's no wonder that I can't keep ahead of them and all their ideas.  So much creativity flowing around in here!