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Don’t be afraid of us!

Sesame Street refers to a special group of people as “Community Helpers”. These people include those who chose careers that most people wouldn’t want/be able to do in order to serve their community, and typically don’t get compensated nearly enough for it in monetary terms. These people include firefighters, police officers, nurses, soldiers, teachers, etc.

Teach your child to honor and respect those who have made and continue to make their world safer.

Teach your child to honor and respect those who have made and continue to make their world safer.

I’m a nurse, and happy to be part of that group. I see more in a 12 hour shift than most people see in a life time. It’s pure, it’s raw, and it’s real. I see people at their worst and most vulnerable. I choose to take care of them regardless of who they are or what they’ve done or what secrets they are hiding.

I’ve been spit on, hit, pushed, cursed at, you name it. But you know what the worst thing is? The thing that hurts the most? Adults who use me to scare their children. There’s a child running up and down the halls of our unit and instead of saying, “Come here please, people are sick and we need to be quiet”, I hear, “Get over here or I’m gonna get that nurse to give you a shot”.

Unfortunately a large percentage of my job involves doing things that involve pain. Pain that is unpleasant but oftentimes necessary. Please don’t teach your children that is all we do and they should be afraid of us.

We are all here to serve you and protect you as well as your children. Telling them we will give them shots if they don’t listen or arrest them when they’re misbehaving isn’t fostering the feelings of trust we strive so hard to achieve.

Please, think of your community helpers. We do our jobs because we love you. And we love your kids. Teach your kids to love us too! Allowing them to feel safe around us may help save their lives one day.

Kids naturally want to pretend to be superheroes. Teach your kids that superheroes don't always wear capes and exist on TV. Sometimes they wear helmets or scrubs, and show up in our darkest hour. And they're real. Sorry Spiderman!

Kids naturally want to pretend to be superheroes. Teach your kids that superheroes don’t always wear capes and exist on TV. Sometimes they wear helmets or scrubs, and show up in our darkest hour. And they’re real. Sorry Spiderman!

The Top 5 List of Shame.

Let’s face it, kids are honest. To a fault at times. We’ve all had the embarrassing moments  where we want to disappear.

One of Liam’s latest gems involves movies.  I rented Neighbors on the RedBox last week and Liam asked if he could watch it. I told him no, because it was a movie for adults. He asked why, and I said because it had stuff not appropriate for kids. He said, “Oh, like not pooping in toilets? That’s inappropriate and so is talking about poop”. I just ignored it while he cracked himself up. Fast forward to later that day, we were in Target and he points out some cardboard cut out with a Frozen movie character. The employee standing nearby goes, “Oh, are you a big Frozen fan?” Liam says, “Well, I like Toy Story better but my mom doesn’t like Frozen. She only likes adult movies where they poop everywhere.”

Cue awkward silence.

Starting preschool has opened a whole new world to the embarrassing moment files. And often, it doesn’t even involve your kid directly. I actually do a fairly decent job of embarrassing myself without the help of my spawn. So here we go, a top 5 list of embarrassing moments in preschool.

1) Forgetting all your kid’s basic info. I wrote down my birthday instead of Liam’s on his preschool paperwork. To be fair, we have the same date, but I put 1985 instead of 2010. So for awhile, they had a 28 (at the time) year old preschooler. At least by 28 you can wipe your own bottom, right? Then, to add insult to injury, I was asked when Declan’s birthday was and I was off by 3 days. Oops.

2) Forgetting your kid altogether. Do you know how many times I’ve run errands with just the baby while Liam was in school and when I turned around to back out the parking space, saw his empty car seat and had a brief moment of panic that I left him inside Target somewhere? More times than I’m going to admit on this public blog, that’s for sure.

3) The awkward drop off. You know, the kind where you are straggling in 15 minutes late. The baby is in pajamas, your jeans are from yesterday (and the day before? Shhhh!!!) and have dried yogurt on the leg, the other kid has a permanent scowl on his face because he couldn’t finish playing before it was time to leave, you say hi to people without actually looking them in the eye because you’re trying to stay awake. Yeah. Actually, we aren’t rude or homeless. Just perpetually late. There is no way we are going to make the 7:15am drop off for kindy next year.

4) Not knowing anyone’s name. It’s bad, really bad. Everyone is Susie’s mom or John’s dad. Even as the contact in your phone. Maybe it’s just me being terrible with names but I’m hoping I’m not the only one. Then, you pass the timeframe where it’s still appropriate to ask what their name is. When you’ve been to the park multiple times and chatted for awhile and know the names and ages of all each other’s kids..yeah, it’s too late. Your time has passed. You are going to still be friends with them 5 years later and there’s going to come a time where they will catch you trying to sneak a look at the pile of mail on their counter, desperately trying to see what their name is. Explain that one. That’s right, you can’t. So don’t let the time frame pass you!

5) The Michael Jackson. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say pretty much all kids have gone through this, but moms of boys will probably understand better. All the kids are standing together nicely doing what they’re supposed to be doing, and there’s yours absent mindedly grabbing his crotch like it’s covered in ants. I gave up worrying about it awhile ago but there is something fairly awkward about introducing yourself to another mom, “Hi! I’m Alicia. My son is Liam…he’s that one over there. Yes, the one in the dinosaur shirt scratching his behind while trying to lick his own nose.” Classic.

I guess all we can do is write it all down, then give it to them later in life. So they can say, “Thanks mom. Thanks for dragging your sleep deprived, sour yogurt wearing butt to school so you can talk to nameless people while I go against social decency. I’m a happy, functioning adult now that no longer grabs himself in public. I love you!”

Yes, I have the kid that won't even stop being wild for a 2 second photo.

Yes, I have the kid that won’t even stop being wild for a 2 second photo.

The contradiction of having a 4 year old.

I feel like having a spirited 4 year old is truly something another person will never understand unless they’ve been down in the trenches with you. Deep, mucky trenches filled with laughter, screaming, elation, anger, mismatched clothing, chocolate milk and questions. Never ending questions.

I need goggles for parenting.

I need goggles for parenting.

Sometimes I feel like having a preschooler is basically living one big contradiction. Wait, sometimes? I mean all the time.

Please don’t ever stop talking because the things that come from your awesome brain and out of your little mouth are hilarious and amazing. But please, for the love of everything, stop talking! The droning of questions from that little voice is infiltrating my every thought and driving me to the brink of a major bedtime chocolate binge.

Please don’t ever stop dancing. I love how you don’t care what you look like, and I marvel how every joint and muscle in your body was knit together inside my own and now serves to bring you joy and life…including launching yourself off the couch into the wall (thank you nature, for flexible childhood cartilage). But please, stop dancing, jumping, and squirming! The constant movement! It exhausts me and gosh I miss your naptimes.

Please don’t ever stop being persistent.  Your determination is a marvel and I can’t wait to see the places it takes you. You could out-argue the best lawyer in the world and your confidence and stubbornness  in getting what you need surpasses my own. But please, stop persisting you have your millionth cracker of the day. Ask me again and I will fill your bed with crackers and make you take my sorely missed naps on it.

Please don’t ever stop being you. Ever. But please, bedtime, hurry up!

With love from the trenches,

Alicia

 

Just call me PigPen

For real, ya’ll. My car leaves me cringing in disgust every time I get in it, but if I’m getting in it that means I need to be somewhere which translates to not having time to clean it. Then when I do have time to clean it, it’s impossible with two small kids trying to climb in the car to play or taking off into the woods to be eaten by raccoons. By the time they are in bed, I’m too tired and it’s too dark and cold anyway. I will admit, summer time my car looks much better. Wintertime? Straight up biohazard.

Yes, that's my darling son's name scribbled all over the dirt on my car.

Yes, that’s my darling son’s name scribbled all over the dirt on my car.

 

So I’m here today to give you the secret to having a clean(er) car. Ready? Here goes.

 

Don’t have children. The end.

 

Too late? Yeah, me too. Dang.

Seriously though, let’s be realistic and know as parents, our cars will never be spotless. But there are a few tips to help keep it from being embarrassing. Speaking of embarrassing, I’m posting pictures of my own car as an example. Yes, it’s gross. No, my house doesn’t look like that too. Not all the time anyway.

Dirt. And more dirt. Baby carrier, gloves, the never ending stickers from Trader Joes, and an elusive belly pad. They don't belong there yet gravity must be strong because they all migrate there anyway.

Dirt. And more dirt. Baby carrier, gloves, the never ending stickers from Trader Joes, and an elusive belly pad. They don’t belong there yet gravity must be strong because they all migrate there anyway.

Tip numero uno! Don’t eat in the car. Yes, easier said than done. But long road trips aside, will you or the kids really waste away if you don’t eat for the short time you’re in transit? I know sometimes it’s the only way to keep your kids quiet but the amount of wrappers and crumbs and stickiness and spilled drinks is part of what makes cars so scummy. I don’t regularly allow my kids to eat in the car, I figure they can snack when they are home or when we get where we are going but in the instances that I do, I’m picky about what is eaten. I try to avoid crumbs and small pieces. Cheerios will forever remain in your car if you allow them to enter. Things in bar form are good providing they are not crumbly. Pouches are good if your kid is old enough not to squirt it everywhere. The problem with food aside from the crumbs leads me to tip number two….

Have an in car trash can. It makes a world of difference. Up until recently, my cupholder was the car trash can. It didn’t work so hot…I’d stuff it so full that eventually I’d hit a bump and it would spring back at me. Wrappers, receipts, coupons, Trader Joes and Target stickers, wipes, tissues, you name it…scattered. I now keep an empty shopping bag looped around the arm of my seat so it dangles down below my center console. Everything goes in there. And once it’s full, I just take it out and throw it away.

Three! Every time you leave the car, take something with you. Everyone. Every time we go somewhere, Liam wants to bring a toy in the car. The rule is, you bring it, you have to take it back inside when we are home, plus one other thing (providing there is something else in the car and there almost always is…a discarded jacket or hat, book, etc). This keeps the clutter to a minimum and also prevents me from having a time consuming massive destash of junk in my car. It also keeps projectiles to a minimum, which we recognize as safety hazards.

Four! Keep a container of wipes in your trunk and every time you get gas, wipe your steering wheel, console, and dash down while the car is filling up. It only takes a second and keeps the grime at a minimum. If you don’t think it needs a wipe, grab your floor mat and give it a shake. The floor mats in my car are what gather the most crud. We live in a fairly rural area and the kids are always full of dirt and leaves. Shaking the floor mats out regularly keeps the dirt from migrating off of them and to the side where it’s impossible to vacuum out.

Last but not least…keep it smelling clean. A stinky or musty smelling car is always going to feel dirty. Some lemon or orange essential oil can make your car smell fresh and give you the motivation to keep it that way.

These five things can help keep your car maintained in between the occasional (who am I kidding…never?) deep clean or detail. We spend a significant part of our day in ours cars so keeping it in a state we can be comfortable in makes that more bearable. Drive safe and watch out for Legos in your seat; I hear they can reach up in places you’d never dreamed they could…

Another Angle of Protection- Fighting the Internal Invaders

Well, it’s here. All across the country hospitals officially declared flu season a few weeks ago. Hopefully all of you out there have remained healthy, but for those of you who have succumbed to the monster known as influenza, you know how awful it can make you feel and how it can put you out of commission for awhile. Some years are worse than others, with last year being a particularly mild season for the flu. We are definitely starting out with a bang this year, with the hospitals here in North Carolina filled to the max. Every year the formulation of the flu shot is developed based on current and past trends/mutations of the virus and obviously, like any human prediction, has some room for error. This year is one of those years, and the results are thousands of us across the nation laying on our couches in a grumpy, fever induced stupor.

Coming in contact with 15+ flu positive patients a week? Yeah, this mask is becoming my latest fashion accessory.  Being able to see facial expressions on your nurse is overrated anyway.

Coming in contact with 15+ flu positive patients a week? Yeah, this mask is becoming my latest fashion accessory. Being able to see facial expressions on your nurse is overrated anyway.

So what is the flu? I mean we all know what it is in general, but do you really KNOW? It’s very common to hear people with a stuffy nose say they have the flu. Then those of you who have actually had the flu want to punch them because you WISH the flu was simply a stuffy nose and feeling run down. Then there’s the term “stomach flu”. That is not influenza and I’m really not sure where that term came from. There are three types of influenza: type A, B, and C. Influenza A is the virus responsible for the epidemics that hit this time of year. Symptoms include sudden onset high fevers, chills, body aches, sore throat, and sometimes kids can complain of tummy aches and/or vomit due to the high fever.  For the majority of us, it’s something that can knock us down for a week or two and make us feel like a wrung out rag, but we emerge on the other end unscathed. For those who are very young, very old, immunocompromised, and those with respiratory conditions it can be dangerous and warrant a hospital stay. Tamiflu is a an antiviral medication that is effective in disrupting the virus, but it is time sensitive and most of us are stubborn and don’t visit the doctor till it’s too late for Tamiflu (hey, I’m a nurse and therefore only go to the doctor if I’m actively dying so I totally get it).

Flu is spread by droplets in the air and on surfaces. They come from our body when we cough/sneeze/talk and enter the bodies of others when they contact these droplets. We all know the basic ways to prevent getting sick. Handwashing, staying clear of ill people (duh), getting plenty of sleep, and eating healthy food. Once you are sick, your doctor will tell you to drink plenty of fluids and get lots of rest. But there are some other unconventional preventatives and treatments out there that may be worth a try.

-Elderberry: Elderberry is a plant that grows berries that may decrease inflammation in the body and boost the immune system. This reportedly can help you defeat the flu faster. It can be bought in syrup or gummy forms over the counter as a supplement, or some people prefer to make their own. I’m lazy and will never be standing in my kitchen brewing up a batch of elderberry so gummies it is. And hey, they taste like candy so whatever.

-Honey: Since this is a safety site the first thing I’m going to say is please don’t give honey to children under a year old. For those over 12 months, honey is an excellent and soothing remedy for coughs and sore throats. It is also said to boost the immune system and contains antibacterial properties. We actually use honey at my hospital in wounds with great success. Plus, it’s tasty!

-Bone broth: Yep, from bones. Not your mama’s chicken noodle.This is a very nutrient dense food. It contains tons of minerals essential to allowing your body to heal. It’s also easy to eat when you probably don’t feel like eating.

-Saline: Good ol’ salt and water are good for so many things. Gargling with salt water not only soothes sore throats, it breaks up the thick disgusting mucus that builds up back there and rinses it away.

-Steam: We all know a hot shower can do wonders for congestion but consider making a steam tent on the stove. Boil a pot of water and then remove it from the burner (and turn the burner off so you don’t set your head on fire please). Put a towel over your head so it creates a tent while you hold your face in the steam.

 

Hopefully the flu has not barged into your house. But if it has, take care of yourself. And if it hasn’t, well, wash those hands and quit licking shopping carts because it’s going to be knocking at your door for the next 3 months. Good luck!