Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu In Reno

Yesterday, we had our first confirmed case of Swine Flu here in Reno, Nevada. To make matters worse, the girl is a preschooler with no links to Mexico or any other travel. It's been reported that her case is "mild" (although her temperature shot to 104 degrees), that she didn't require hospitalization and is recovering nicely. Her school was disinfected but not closed and I have to wonder if the teachers are standing in front of nothing but empty chairs this morning.

Swine Flu. The name itself is awful.  In my head I see pig-like symptoms, not flu-like.   know that's ridiculous but with a name like Swine Flu .....  I can't help myself. Instead of temperature spikes, chills and fatigue I see faces with bristly snouts, pink complexions and the tell-tale signs of a corkscrew tail. Don't get me started on Mad Cow Disease. I know, I know. I need help.

My point is that our much anticipated family vacation to Disneyland is just days away and with all the public displays of touching that go on in a super-kid-adult-human-swine-populated place like that, I'm a little concerned, verging on freaked out. Maybe hyper-vigilant is a better description. I chant it so often my kids can mouth along with me as I rant, "Cover Your Mouth! Wash Your Hands!" My four year old can now spell the words dog, stop and sanitize.  I'm trying to convince my 17 year old that she'd look cool in a surgical mask but she's not listening to me.  

So, along with the sunscreen and Capri-Suns, I'm packing a small drugstore worth of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Nothing wrong with an ounce of prevention. In the end, I'm sure we'll all come home with smiles, tans and great memories of our trip, sans-Swine.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Harlowe's 3D Egg Scramble

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Free Child Safety Kit

"...A child goes missing every 40 seconds in the U.S., over 2,100 per day."
That's according to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.  Sadly enough, that number doesn't include the estimated 500,000 that are never even reported.

The media is saturated with headline grabbers.  In Florida, three year old Caylee Anthony was murdered and her young mother stands accused.  In Stockton, CA four people are accused of imprisoning and torturing a teen group-home runaway.  His story made the news when he escaped his captors by forcing his emaciated and battered body over the backyard wall to safety.  The three foot long chain used to detain him inside the home's fireplace was still attached to his ankle.  And now the tragic end to the search for Sandra Cantu in Tracy, CA which gives rise to the beginning of the prosecution of Melissa Huckaby, the woman accused of her kidnapping, rape and murder.  And there are hundreds of thousands of cases that never see the light of the front page.  Their stories never make it beyond their communities; sometimes not even that far.
A long-time champion in the fight for missing and exploited children is the Polly Klaas Foundation.  Check out their site today to order your free Child Safety Kit.  The kit includes a parental guide with no-scare methods for teaching your children about safety, along with fingerprint/DNA documents.  While you're there, take action and sign up as a Rapid Response eVolunteer.  

Monday, April 27, 2009

Does Your Daughter Think You're The Devil, Too?

Does your daughter think you're the Devil?  Mine does.  Now, I know for a fact that I can be quite devil-like ..... beastly, really.  I've spent too many years on this Earth not to take that shape once in awhile.  I won't say how often.  But, today I was nowhere near Satan-form.  Not even close.

Here are her reasons for seeing me through Dante-colored glasses:
  • A required early-rising accompanied by a trip to the local laundry mat.  Our washing machine is broken so this morning I had to wake her up at 8:00, which I'm being told is rather ungodly for a 17 year old.  By then, I had been awake for two hours, dressed and fed two kids, made three beds and threw back two cups of coffee; one hot, one cold.
  • My refusal to pay for her ever-increasing nicotine habit.  So there we are, my lovely daughter and I, sitting at the plastic table outside the laundry mat.  Except I'm the only one actually sitting.  She's slumped over the table, head in the crook of her elbow, hood covering half of her face, her hair covering the rest.  She looks more like a heroin addict than a six-month smoker without a cigarette.  At least that's what the looks from the people passing by is telling me.  Poor thing.  Cruel mother.  Whatever.
  • My total and complete stupidity for not understanding why she should be able to move out before she's 18.  She explains with the urgency of a young woman on a ledge ready to spread her wings and just fly.  Everything-Will-Be-Fine and What-Could-Possibly-Happen and Come-On-Mom-Just-Think-About-It!  She's almost convincing.  She really is only two months from 18.  But my daughter has no job, no car, no money and no hopes of me being the endless pit that provides it all.  Plus, she's not looking to stay here in Nevada.  Her urge to fly will be taking her all the way back to San Francisco to stay with a friend.  Once she's 18, I won't be able to make her stay of course.  Those life decisions will be hers alone as will the consequences that come tied nicely to them.  So that gives me just two more months to torment her and what mother doesn't want that.  Maybe I'm  the Devil after all.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Countdown to Disneyland!

On May 2nd, my brother-in-law Johnny and I are piling my 4, 5 and 17 year old into a rental car and making the 12-hour drive to see Auntie Stacey and friends in Southern California .  This will be our first family vacation ever, but it's bittersweet.  May 2nd would also have been my husband Seltar's  38th birthday. Heavy sigh....

Seltar always wanted to take the kids to Disneyland but we could just never afford it.  So, when he suddenly passed away eight months ago after an accident at work, it didn't take Johnny and I long to decide to do this in his honor.  Plus, we could all use a great big heaping spoonful of "The Happiest Place on Earth."   This will be Max and Harlowe's first trip to Disneyland and they've already scoped out their favorite rides -- Buzz Lightyear, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion (we'll see if they survive that one).  It also happens to be the Food and Wine Weekend but cross my heart, I didn't know that when I booked the trip.

So the countdown has begun and is posted enthusiastically right smack in the middle of our fridge:    5  Days!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Things I Didn't Know About Being a Mom

  1. I didn't know that I'd no longer be me, Gina.  Now I'm Sage's Mom, Max's Mom or Harlowe's Mom.
  2. I didn't know that the food on my plate would always be more appealing to my kids than the exact same food sitting untouched on their plates.
  3. I didn't know that I'd become so immune to handling feces, even when it's artistically painted on white walls and on siblings.
  4. I didn't know that I wouldn't be allowed to use the restroom alone.....ever.
  5. I didn't know that, although my son won't eat peas, he has no problem inserting an army of them into his nose.
  6. I didn't know that anything could be harder than being a girl between the ages of 12 and 21; now I know the hardest thing is being her mother.
  7. I didn't know I'd be totally okay with peanut butter on a spoon for dinner.
  8. I didn't know showing up for the meeting meant you were the new Team Mom for your son's T-ball team.
  9. I didn't know that I'd send my son to school in his sister's underwear and blame it on exhaustion.
  10. I didn't know my mom was telling the truth when she said pregnancy was the easy part.