Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Child-resistant, not child-PROOF"

The terminology has changed, apparently, in the last 20 years since I was a child, due to children like mine.Kittyboy was bound and determined not to nap yesterday, I was similarly determined that he WOULD, and so I finally said "Okay, you can get up, but play in your room for the rest of naptime." Just as I was about to make a snack and go get him, he came to ME, with an empty bottle of Benadryl and said "Mommy, I dwink it!", pleased as punch. I said "OH NO! OH DEAR GOD!" which he gleefully repeated over and over while I called my mom, called Poison Control, estimated with a measuring cup how much I thought had been in the bottle, told him to stop repeating me, "we don't just say that", and then the poison lady came back on and said, "That amount is toxic. You need to go to the ER, right now." To which I said again, "OH GOD." "Oh Gud! Oh Gud!" Kittyboy ran around saying, while I called Husband, called my mom again, told Kittyboy again to STOP IT, threw things in a purse, got him dressed, found us both shoes, called Husband again to tell him to drive faster, told Kittyboy again to STOP IT, and we went outside to wait for Husband. Kittyboy thinks going to the doctor is an exciting adventure. HE was happy.
"And how did he get the medicine?" I answered that question probably ten times in the least 24 hours. Climbed a dresser, undid a child "resistant" lid, and drank. Simple as that. Obviously nothing is safe, anywhere. Thank you, OT and fine motor skills. I don't THINK we need to practice unscrewing lids anymore.
We tried for some time, I don't know how long, to get him to drink something, anything, with activated charcoal. We had an activated charcoal mini-bar of juices and milks, none of which he would touch. It doesn't change the taste, it does a little change the texture, but mainly it turns anything it's mixed with pitch black. He would take NOTHING. We told him the alternative was a tube down his throat. He still wouldn't drink, and you can't safely force a child to drink. You CAN, however, forcefeed, and I have done it. I had them mix it with applesauce, and we got enough of it into him (between one of us holding him while the other alternated coaxing and commanding) that he finally realized it tasted and felt pretty much like... applesauce. Then he ate it. We had already pinned him down for the insertion of an IV port, and we WERE ready to go a second time if he didn't eat the blasted charcoal.
I'm such a sweet, softhearted, sympathetic mommy. I wasted no opportunity to point out that this is what happens when you take medicine that Mommy and Daddy didn't give you. Want to go home? Can't, you drank Benadryl and we're stuck here. I'm sorry you need an IV port now, but this happens when you drink Benadryl. Don't feel like drinking black milk? You drank allergy medicine, boy, WHY STOP THERE? I think I must be a tough-love mommy.
I came home about 7 to retrieve diapers, weighted blanket, Curious George, and the Curious George book, and went through the house marveling at all the obvious signs of our speedy exit. The light in his room was on, the stereo was still playing, a baby wipe container was open and drying out, and the dishwasher was open with the baskets pulled out.
Kittyboy was fine, he slept once he had a bedtime story and his blanket, and basically we just sat around watching the monitor do its thing until ten or so, when we woke him up to get started on going home. He'd had no tacchycardia, no strange readings of any sort, everything was fine. When we woke him, though, he was acting REALLY confused. Okay, he'd just been awakened from a sound sleep (and he sleeps like a rock), and he was in a strange place, but when he wouldn't name any of the Pooh characters on his blanket, Sesame St characters on his shoes, or Veggies on his shirt, I was getting worried. He would name the person who was pointing at the character, mommy or daddy, and burst into tears. I got a nurse. He hadn't eaten since lunch, so we fed him applesauce, jello, cookies and juice, to find out whether this was super-low blood sugar and having been soundly asleep, or the "confusion" they had mentioned as a sign he would need to stay longer. After the applesauce, Husband pointed to Kittyboy's necklace and asked, "Who's that? Who is on your chain here?" "Nec tawus." St. Nectarios, YES.
We got home shortly before midnight, fell into bed around one, and woke up this morning to the most annoyingly energized boy EVER. BOY, was he WOUND. Veryveryvery not confused, very not sleepy, VERY back to normal.
And since child-proofing locks are not that much more difficult than child-resistant lids, we're just sticking EVERYTHING on the highest shelf in the bathroom - the one I can only reach standing on the toilet - because I am 99% sure he can't get up there, whereas I am only 50-75% sure he can't undo a cabinet lock.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Aaahhhh... a real computer.....

You couldn't necessarily tell, because I posted from my phone a few times, but we've been without a real, working computer since before Christmas. Now, thanks to Husband's ingenuity and IT know-how, and our friend Carel's tower, I am sitting at a REAL keyboard, with a lovely 15" monitor, a real mouse, etc, and it's like having full lung capacity back after pneumonia.
I can touch-type again.
Our church's feastday went wonderfully, we had FIVE priests in all, plus His Grace Bishop Demetrios for Vespers Saturday evening, and we found out that kittyboys like bishops. Colorful, bright, shiny, sparkly, jingly and TALL - what more could you want? And with a staff, and a really cool hat, and lots of candles! Any time bishop-y (what's an adjective for bishop-y?) things were going on, Kittyboy was fascinated. And narrating. "Da bishop having da candles! Da bishop singing! Da bishop reading da book! Da bishop censing!" (heeheehee - he's added "censing" to his vocabulary, I love it!). After the Liturgy Sunday - which was an adventure - Husband took Kittyboy to kiss His Grace's hand before we left, and instead Kittyboy dove from Husband's arms for the huge pectoral Theotokos pendant. What a big, shiny, colorful MARY. And so he just had to get a better look.
And we had a wonderful, wonderful time at the St. Anthony's Dinner/Dance Saturday night. Had a babysitter, Kittyboy in bed,and we stayed until close to midnight for the first time since the KB was born. It's my ONE chance a year to go dancing. Now I have to wait... HOW long? For next year? Darn it. I need to get out more often.
Liturgy that Sunday was an adventure because Kittyboy wanted very much to do his altarboy thing with his daddy, and we hadn't really discussed beforehand the fact that he wouldn't be able to. Not with His Grace there, all the extra duties Husband had, all the stuff that was different. That did NOT go over well with Kittyboy. And since we were in the choir - which is up in front - we couldn't leave discretely. I finally started telling him that okay, after Communion -he knows very well what that is and when it happens - we would go downstairs, get a piece of bread to eat, get a drink, go outside (in the snow) and run around. That was the mantra. Over and over. He threw quite a fit during the Gospel reading, but we had our plan, we were waiting for Communion, going downstairs, getting some bread, etc. So then FINALLY, it was the last hymn that is right before Communion, "Enite Ton Kirion" (Praise the Lord), Kittyboy knew this hymn, and spent most of it whining "Conunan? Conunan? Conunan? Conunan? Conunan NOW?" and so I told him YES, Communion was next, THE VERY NEXT thing, and everyone would line up and when it was our turn, we would take Communion and go downstairs and get a piece of bread and get a drink and go outside and run around. VERY NEXT THING. Kittyboy was at the very end of his patience - actually a bit beyond it.
Then His Grace came out with a podium.
I thought this was going to be the end of the world. The world was going to explode in a nuclear fireball of Kittyboy NOT GETTING COMMUNION.
He cried, "CONUNAN??" and burst into tears. I tried muffling him in my shoulder, but he twisted around, so I put my hand over his mouth while I whispered in his ear that The Bishop Was Talking, and we would have Communion after The Bishop Was Done Talking, and Mommy hadn't known that The Bishop Was Going To Talk, but we needed to be quiet and patient and wait and then we would still have Communion and go downstairs and get a piece of bread and get a drink and go outside and run around if he could JUST. WAIT. PATIENTLY. PLEASE.
Kittyboy stopped whining and looked at me. I took my hand off his mouth. He looked at me for another second or so, then HE put my hand BACK over his mouth and went back to whining. "Guess I need that hand back, I've got more displeasure to express here." Shortly after, he said "night night" and laid down under the organist's bench. Poor little guy.
But he lived, we got downstairs, and then he didn't feel the need to go outside and run after all. He sat very quietly and nicely eating soup crackers and drinking Sprite. He just needed a break.
Just yesterday, I packed the whole diaper bag with books instead of the standard soft-and-silent toys, and I think he's old enough that books keep him better occupied. His Guardian Angel Prayerbook, Bible storybook, and Veggietales "God Made You Special" are all good for that, and he's got some fabric Bible story books too. So then, he gets upset that I won't sit and read, but at least he will eventually sit and read his books and I think that'll keep him occupied better than stuffed animals alone.
It also helps that our pews are always covered with wax drips, and those are fun to pick at.
And he is wearing UNDERWEAR. Real underwear, not even pullups, during the day at home. I have even convinced him he can sit on the toilet at church, which he previously refused to do even with his Elmo toilet seat. We've been potty training for maybe a month, I think? I had been figuring that if he wasn't interested, I could just wait until he was old enough to reason with and explain, "Here's the deal. If you are old enough to try to change your own diaper [which he had attempted a couple times, disasterously] then you are plenty old enough to sit on the potty chair when you have to go!!!!" And we worked out a reward system - he started the day in a disposable pullup, moved to cloth training pants if he went on the potty chair, from there to real underwear if again he stayed dry and went on the potty chair, and could wear the underwear as long as he continued staying dry. If he wasn't dry, back to the disposable pullup again. So now he's at that stage when he will gleefully blurt out Too Much Information, loudly and publicly. I whispered "Are you still clean and dry?" during church, and of COURSE (what was I expecting??) he announced enthusiastically, "STILL KEEN AND DWY MOMMY!" Well hey, that was good news, why NOT share it?? I expect it will get more "interesting" from here...
The school district has not yet "found" a classroom for Kittyboy, so he is starting outpatient speech therapy Wednesday. Hopefully we can take him early so he can get acquainted with the therapist before the other three kids who will be in his group arrive. And hopefully they are not pretty little girls whose personal space he will totally ignore. Maybe we can wait in the office this first session, because this lady's never had him before - she'll meet him for THE first time Wednesday, and I don't know that his file can really tell her all that it would be good for her to know... his file, after all, is just his IEP, notes from people who saw him once for an hour when he was having a really good morning. Murphy's Law would suggest that Wednesday might not be a really good morning, you know? So if we can pop in fifteen minutes early to introduce them at length, that would be great. Waiting for a phone call back on that.
I should get off the computer now and make sure Kittyboy's not, oh say, eating the Christmas cactus.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Practically the Perfect Phone

My perfect phone would have the life-organizing chops of a Blackberry or iPhone, but have a real number pad, NOT be a touch screen, have a real keyboard, good call quality (it's a PHONE, first and foremost), enough internet/email capabilities to keep me non-computer dependent, great battery life, and if I need to just make a call quickly, I shouldn't have to jump any hoops. If the phone function is a program or app you have to open, it's not a phone, it's more just a PDA thing that coincidentally can also make calls, or so goes my thinking.
Blackberries are great but come with 300-page user manuals (I'm not exaggerating - each model comes with 300 pages of how to use it, which I would guess means it's WAY too much phone for me). Also, the fact that the number keys are off to one side would eventually get bothersome - I like being able to dial without looking. This is why I am hard to please. For basic phone functions, that 6010 spoiled me rotten.
I want a 6010 smart phone.
So I saw this demo phone at Walmart, of all places. Blackberry-looking, but with the numbers in the center of the keypad!! Right there where if I spent some time with the phone, I'd be able to dial by feel. I was so excited! And, drum roll please - made by Nokia. Rock ON. The E71x.
So I went home and googled the phone to read reviews, forgetting the "x" when I typed it in - and that x is important, apparently. The E71 (released in Europe) has VERY good reviews. Emailed Husband at work saying "Eee, I want this phone!" and he reminded me about the x, saying that's the US version, so I looked it up. Not so good - like, from four and a half stars to three. Grr. Said it ran slowly, was bogged down with programs you couldn't uninstall, it just wasn't that great. Same site that reviewed the European model. Husband came home from work AGAIN to answer a barrage of questions about the nagging little differences between this model and that model and "why does the US version stink??" He's so patient. He says I give him practice for certain customers he encounters at work.
Well, the E71x is the phone supported and subsidized by our carrier. The x stands for "branded to the max" - it has Nokia's navigation program AND the carrier's navigation program, same for music and email and so on. You can't get rid of any of it, and so it runs slower and isn't as good. Hmph. And now I had a bee in my bonnet - golly gee, did I want a Nokia again.
I checked out the other E-series Nokias, they're okay. E72 has a smaller space bar. One of them, I forget which, has a half keyboard (every key has two letters on it), which in my book is the strangest concept since Pepsi Blue. The N-series are all touch screens. And besides I was looking for something to get used on Ebay like all our other phones (with the exception of iPhones) have been. We have quite the collection, but they've all been cheap.
Husband reminded me it's tax season. (Ooo, goosebumps! But no, I should be good...) And that you can order phones directly from Nokia. Okay, but the E71 is still my favorite and still a European phone (uses different bandwidth). Ah, but not exactly, Husband Dearest says (at this point he looks a lot like Santa Claus, picture him 200 pounds heavier and a lot older). Nokia has an E71, no x, that uses the US 3G bandwidth and can be bought directly from them. No carrier-based extras, no branding. The exact same phone as the one I got excited about, just with the ability to use US towers.
Oh, and he knows someone at work who would buy my iPhone, which would help cover the price.
I did a LOT more reading. We found a store that had an actual working model I could play with to try out the keyboard and menus. I typed "How hard is it to type without typos on this phone?" and "The quick brown fox..." and some other stuff. Apple made me a worse typist, Nokia will make me a better one. So the keyboard is cool. On the number pad, I dialed quickly the numbers I call the most without too much trouble. Menus will take getting used to again because, well, the iPhone doesn't have any. But they're not complicated.
I THINK I have found my "forever" phone. It's a Blackberry-sort-of-thing but not a Blackberry, it will do everything I need and precious little that I won't, and it's as close as I will find to a "6010 smart phone".
And this probably brands me as a forever GEEK, but I'm so excited about going back to Nokia! I'm such geek that I have a favorite manufacturer! And it's kind of like coming home! (Hey, some women have favorite clothing brands, favorite shoe brands, favorite make-up lines... I'm not THAT weird! Am I?)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Winds of Cellular Change

My dear Husband goes to work, five days a week, as a customer service rep at a telecommunications call center. He's very good at his job, loves it for reasons which entirely escape me, but when he leaves the call center, work follows him home like a friendly stray puppy. This is because I am his pickiest customer.
I am very nearly impossible to please. The first phone I LOVED was the Nokia 6010. It's perfect - basic, simple, a good size, a nice weight in your hand, held a call all the way into the hospital parking garage, made the TV flicker from across the room when it rang, and was $10 on Ebay. I adored it. Husband got me using a Motorola Razor for a time, because he was repairing and selling them, and so he had me make sure they worked - I was SO indignant when one dropped a call as I walked into a parking garage. How dare it! The Razor was nice, but it was no 6010.
I cannot remember how many phones I have had. Husband hasn't gotten annoyed with me, but rather sees me as a challenge. I think he actually enjoys memorizing my every finicky reason for not being perfectly satisfied with what I have, and trying to find which weird model that was sold for five minutes in Canada could possibly be my perfect phone. I have gotten something techie for Valentine's, birthday, anniversary, Christmas, Valentine's, birthday... I have had a phone with a full keyboard split by a screen in the middle (Nokia 3300). Only problem with that was that I'm accustomed to typing across the whole keyboard - and made me look like I was holding a Gameboy to the side of my head. I had one with a metal case that slid shut with a click like a Zippo lighter (Nokia 8801). That was cool except for the abysmal battery life. I had an HTC Wizard, which is about 3/4 of an inch thick, is Windows Mobile (not so much a Microsoft fan as I am a Mac-hater). That introduced me to the concept of a phone that could keep notes and appointments easily, but barely missed being flung under a city bus in a moment of unimaginable stress when I needed to access a number keypad while listening to my voicemail and couldn't. I THINK it was after that that I got a Pantec Matrix. Full keyboard for office functions, and a separate number pad, because I was NOT making the Wizard mistake again. Matrix and I got along fairly well.
Husband has been addicted to his iPhone for about a year now, and last fall he broke the screen. He got a second one, but then fixed the screen in the first, and persuaded me to play with it. Well, mine is hacked out the wazoo because scrolling through pages of apps is more trouble than the apps are worth, to me at least. Like I said, hard to please. So mine are all in little folders. Downside of hacking your iPhone is that you become your own tech support, because Apple has a major problem with that. It's great for when Kittyboy and I are on a bus at the height of ladybug season and having him stare at the screen for an hour is much, much better than him screaming for an hour, but the glitches are getting old (ironic considering I thought Apple products were supposed to "just work"). One lovely little "glitch" froze the phone function - as in, I couldn't dial. Turned the phone off and back on several times without fixing it. Husband popped the sim card out and back in and THAT fixed it, but that was enough for me. As I told my long-suffering IT person/spouse, your car's engine may only blow up once, but I'll wager you think twice about buying that model of car again.
But at this point, we've actually canceled our Internet provider because of our phones' tethering (plug it into the computer, it becomes a wireless modem), so my phone needs to be a smart phone or I have no Internet when Husband is gone. I told him the perfect phone would be a Nokia - have a real number pad, real keypad, none of this touch-screen mess where I routinely send half-composed emails because my knuckle brushed the send key - be a phone first, toy second - and have all my office stuff available. Music would be nice, optional but nice. I just want a perfect PHONE.
And tomorrow, because it's after 11 and time for bed, I will type more.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Excitement at Church!

Today, we spent three hours at church removing wax from the carpet, and tomorrow afternoon will be more of the same! Tomorrow, however, I am bringing Kittyboy's DVD player. Three hours of him running around today was far more excitement than I wish to repeat.

Here is Kittyboy helpfully sweeping in front of the bishop's throne. He likes to sweep! And sweeping keeps him out of trouble. I was occupied with a hot iron and paper towels, so something had to keep him busy, somehow, somewhere. Removing wax drips is not difficult, just tedious. And never-ending. I think I'm going to volunteer to iron up the wax drippings weekly after church, just to avoid this whole hassle every holiday.
And what holiday is coming up, you ask? St. Anthony's Day! Our church's big feastday - the bishop comes, clergy from nearby towns, there's a big dinner/dance Saturday after Vespers, and partying-wise, it's second only to Easter. Really. Greeks know how to party. And we have a babysitter for Saturday night!!!!
There was one incident of GREAT excitement and turmoil this afternoon, from which Patrick learned that not everything he wants to touch is touchable, and Father learned the destructive power of even the most well-meaning of toddlers.
Father is rather given to over-indulgence where Kittyboy is concerned. Okay, that's putting it mildly. Boy Can Do No Wrong. Naturally, if I tell Kittyboy to stay out of the altar area and his friend the PRIEST says, "Ah, don't worry, he's a good boy," of course the one Kittyboy listens to is NOT me. And who wants to debate discipline with their priest, you know? But really, Father spoils him rotten...
There's this cross behind the altar. Seven foot tall if it's an inch, maybe eight. It has an icon of Christ on it, and it comes out for Holy Thursday. I was ironing paper towels, Father was talking to me, the "good little boy" was out of sight. CRASH. Dramatic, drawn-out crash, and Kittyboy screaming. We came running.
Huge cross was toppled onto the altar, candelabras and whatnot scattered about, and the chandelier swinging wildly! Kittyboy was completely unharmed, but had been frightened out of his wits. As well he should have been, considering the cross is solid wood and very heavy, any number of heavy brass things could have fallen off the altar onto him, and there were heavy glass things that could have broken or fallen on him, or both. The boy is blessed, is all I can say. Father got everything put back up, NOTHING was broken, and I daresay Father may think twice about letting him wander unsupervised. Three-year-old boys don't have to INTEND to cause trouble. They just DO, as part of being three. My guess is one of three possibilities - he hugged the cross (base is unstable, his hugs are energetic), he tried to move/tip it to see it better, or he tried to climb the unstable base to kiss Jesus... that third one sounding very likely to me now as I type it, because earlier in the afternoon he was kissing all the saints in the iconostasis.

Yeah, I think the climbing-to-kiss scenario is the only one that would have definitely tipped the cross in the direction of the altar. I'll bet that was it.
Did I mention we have a babysitter for Saturday night?

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Great Uncle Chase - Second Try

Hi there! This is Clicker-Happy, from "Clicker-Happy Auntie," the little sis of Caeseria. I'm a guest writer here. His Imperial Kittyboy loves this game, it's his favorite! One uncle acts as a steed, and the other is his prey, and they run around and around and AROUND the dining room table! It's a blast to watch, and I had my camera with me, so...well, here's the finished result - The Great Uncle Chase!

The Great Uncle Chase

The first one goofed, we are trying again.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Great Uncle Chase

The traditional passtime of His Imperwial