He is Risen!
We tend to expect that when Easter falls at the end of April, unlike in the middle of March, the weather will be nice and Easter egg hunts can happen outside. Apparently not this year. We had a few days of really nice weather last week and much of the snow melted in our backyard - spring seemed to be coming! Then, on Friday, we got a blizzard.
A full-on, 4 inches of snow winter blizzard. It felt like December.
We had made plans to go to our friends' house for grilled pizza - we went anyway, although the kids weren't able to play outside as planned.
We had the kids decorate eggs instead.
The next morning our yard looked like this:
My Grandparents are having an auction this year, and when I found my Saturday mostly free I volunteered to help my Grandma empty boxes and sort through things for the sale. Both my Grandma and Grandpa have to downsize and move to a condo for health reasons, and although my Grandma is happy to simplify her life, my Grandpa is struggling to let go of so much of what he holds dear. I can't even begin to understand how he must feel, but since he has been collecting - mostly antiques - for nearly 60 years, he will have to get rid of a lot of things. Going through some of his treasures was actually really fascinating.
I actually remember using a rotary phone - my Grandparents had one in use when I was younger - but this thing goes back much further. To a time when party lines were a thing and you could pick up the ear piece and listen to anyone else's conversation. I loved pretending to talk on this phone when I was a kid.
These actually still contained a polishing cloth and foot soap.
Do you want to build a snowman?
Or have a snowball fight, possibly? In April? Clara had the time of her life outside at her Grandparents for one of our Easter gatherings.
My weekend wasn't all that enjoyable for me, for reasons I can't quite explain. I dealt with a bit of anxiety that I just couldn't shake and it kept me on edge all three days. Maybe it's the weather - there's something horribly depressing about a snowstorm after more than 6 months of winter...
"It's cold - get it off."
Thankfully the snow that fell on the weekend is gone and we just have a few of the icy piles in the shade left in our yard. Earlier this week there was a lot of mud so playing outside is still not a lot of fun (for Mommy, anyway).
As a Christian family, we failed to highlight the weekend for what it was supposed to be - a time to remember the sacrifice of our God - and I regret that. It was only a minor footnote the entire weekend and yet we base our entire faith (really) on this one event. God became a man, died a human death, and then came back to life to prove his power. There's enough documentation from 2000 years ago to convince even historians that Jesus lived, died, and that many people believed to have seen him after he came back to life - and they believed strongly enough to die for that belief. Crazy stuff that we tend to treat so lightly.
Anyway, happy belated 'Easter'!
I'm not one of those people who thinks that 'Global Warming' is some great conspiracy, or a myth. I understand that data has shown an increase in global temperatures - in general - in our recent history, and I accept that it's a fact - at least on some level.
But when I look out the window - right now, on April 16th at 6:45 in the evening, and it's SNOWING, I gotta wonder how this whole 'Climate Change' thing is really affecting us here in Central Canada. Today it is not warmer than it was last year on this day, and I doubt it has been this cold in mid-April in this area in my lifetime. Looking back at the past 6 years of online data, it appears as though our weather this year is actually record cold. And did I mention it's snowing???
Last week I finally brought the girls out to play in the yard, despite the fact that it's still partially covered in ice.
I recruited Clara to help me throw snow from a shady spot in our yard onto the grass - hopefully it will disappear faster that way?
Clara's winter boots from last year, and her first spring jacket. Audrey will need a new one this year, she's a bit bigger than Clara was then!
Seriously, this is too much snow for mid-April!!!
I've been feeling quite cabin fevered, and we desperately need to get out of the house. I'm excited for this year - now that Audrey is walking, she can get around the yard by herself and play in the playhouse with her sister. Clara won't be playing alone, and I won't need to try to entertain a stationary baby on the deck. I'm super excited about how much time we should be able to spend outside!
I've been spending my days inside trying to keep up with housework, following the news almost obsessively - the situation in the Ukraine as well as the lost Malaysian Airlines MH370 have been keeping me riveted, with thoughts of impending doom occasionally running through my brain - and trying not to go absolutely crazy, but something about feeling trapped inside is messing with my head.
Audrey is the most easy going child ever, but Clara becomes agitated and 'buzzy' easily and I wish I could just set her loose outside. Soon. Please, God, we need some sun.
We need some sun.
My daughters' hair is finally long enough to 'do something with'. Well, nearly, but I've been waiting for over 3 years, so I'm going to do something with it! Anyway, it's nearly impossible to find hair clips that work in my girls' fine hair, and I've found that mini alligator clips with some kind of rubber grip inside is pretty much the only thing that works for them. I've purchased a few sets of clips here and there, but when I decided I really wanted Audrey to have her hair in some kind of clip pretty much constantly, I needed to have every colour imaginable (of course) and I didn't want to spend so much that I would care about losing the odd one. Audrey has a tendency to pull out her hair clips if it occurs to her that they're there... unfortunately. Anyway, I did some research on cost and decided that buying the materials and making my own was much more cost effective, and while I was at it, I learned how to make Korker bows as well.
Here is the tutorial I used, although because the materials I had around were slightly different, I found mine looked slightly different also. So, here's what I did:
- 3 dowels
- 6 clothespins
- 56 inches total of ribbon
- 4" cardboard round
- baking sheet
- hot glue gun with glue
- additional alligator clips, or binder clips
I measured out enough ribbon to have 14 pieces that were 4 inches in length each (uncurled), which for a tri-coloured bow was two colours cut to 20 inches each, and one colour cut to 16 inches. I then wrapped each piece around a dowel and clamped the ends with clothespins. In the tutorial I used, it called for narrower doweling than what I used - I think my bows look a bit better, but the curls have a tendency to roll into each other which I think would have been better if the curls had been tighter. Anyway, your call.
I set the oven to 265 degrees (the tutorial suggested 250, but I increased it by 5 degrees each time I tried until I landed on 265 as my personal preference) and lay the ribbon wrapped dowels on a baking sheet with parchment paper. I don't think the parchment paper would be strictly necessary, but my pans are well seasoned and I wanted to be sure the ribbons didn't make contact with them.
I let these bake for about 30 minutes - forgot about them once for an additional 20+ minutes, and the turned out ok although it's possible they discoloured slightly so if you're making matching bows make sure to do the ribbons together or don't forget about them!
I let them cool as much as possible - I was skeptical of the curl staying, so I did anything I could to make sure the curl 'set' - then I stretched the ribbon straight and cut it into 4 inch pieces.
Until I had 5 pieces each of two colours and 4 pieces of one colour.
I didn't take a picture of it, but in later bows, I arranged it in colour groups of 3 Colour A, 3 Colour B, 2 Colour C, 2 A, 2 B, 2 C to keep track of how I wanted to glue the pieces together. I found this arrangement worked best. I started with the colour I liked best for the 'background', and lay one piece across my homemade 4 inch 'round', using alligator clips to secure the ends. I put a dot of hot glue in the middle of this piece of ribbon and lay another piece across the first.
In this bow I started with two each of the first two colours, but as I said earlier, I liked it better when I started with three each of the first two colours and arranged them in 3's instead of 2's like you see here. If that doesn't make sense, please disregard... I may be seriously lacking in sleep.
When all the ribbon pieces were glued, I unclipped all of the ends (as quickly as possible - I was paranoid about the curls uncurling).
And then spent a bit of time seperating all of the curls. Like I said earlier, I think tighter curls would make them less likely to curl into each other. But I like what this looks like!
I didn't take pictures - or add the instructions for - the alligator bow here, because you could add this korker to a clip or elastic or whatever you'd like, but I glued it onto a mini alligator clip appropriate for my daughters' almost non-existent locks.
Let me know if I missed anything. Have fun!
My dear Clara... I thought I'd lost her today.
Even those of you who haven't read 'The Deep End of the Ocean' I'm sure can relate to what goes through your mind during the moments when you first realize you don't know where your child is. I know from talking to other Moms that I'm not the only Mom to have experienced something like this, and although my few moments were terrifying, I know people who have experienced much worse.
We were at the mall today, where the girls were playing at a play area set up inside the food court. The play area is completely enclosed except for the entrance, and this is where I was standing as I called both girls to come get some lunch. This is a relatively routine thing for us by now; the girls play for a bit, and then we get lunch in the food court, so I wasn't too surprised when Clara came running out toward the food lines. I grabbed Audrey and began putting her shoes on. I don't recall what my understanding of Clara's location was at this time - I told her to wait for a moment while I got Audrey's shoes on, but didn't register whether or not she had actually stopped moving. When I glanced up again, she had disappeared. Considering our proximity to everything around us - I casually thought that Clara must have run back into the play area - the closest thing to us, and the only place (I thought) Clara could have disappeared to so quickly. I was a bit annoyed at her for just running off, but when I glanced into the play area and didn't immediately see her, I was a bit puzzled. Keep in mind that all of that - from me grabbing Audrey, putting on her shoes and Clara disappearing - happened in probably less than 10 seconds.
I asked my Grandma - who was with me, but had wandered away for a moment just as all of this was happening and had just returned - to watch Audrey for a second.
I stood up (from putting Audrey's shoes on) and looked into the play area. No Clara.
I glanced quickly around me - across the food court, and took a few steps around to get a wider view of the area. No Clara.
I walked back into the play area and looked under/over/around every piece of play structure to see if she was hiding or crouched down somewhere. No Clara.
I told my Grandma I'd be right back and walked around the outside of the play area - still nothing.
I took a wide walk around and through the food court, thinking that maybe Clara had run into one of the food lines, which was completely possible considering we had done this a number of times and she was getting used to the routine. I couldn't see her anywhere.
This was the point at which I started fighting tears and panicking. As I was completing the loop around the food court, I told myself that she was probably back with my Grandma already and that I was being ridiculous and overreacting. I asked my Grandma if she had seen Clara - this was also the moment that my Grandma realized that Clara was missing, since she hadn't realized why I had left so suddenly.
Fighting tears, I turned to the first Mom I saw and asked if she had seen a little girl - she interrupted me to point across the hall to a little alcove where one of those kiddie rides was mostly out of view from where we were standing. I think I saw her go over there.
As I turned the corner and saw her innocently sitting on a giant metal duck, tears started streaming down my face and I couldn't even get mad at her. I hugged her hard, which confused her thoroughly, and told her how afraid I'd been. I don't know if she understood, but she seemed concerned. As I carried her back to where Audrey and my Grandma were waiting, the woman who had pointed her out to me said "Scary, hey?" knowingly, because like I said earlier, I think many Moms have experienced this at one time or another.
I just want to say - because I really believe this - that it wasn't my 'fault'. Although it technically was my 'negligence' that caused this situation - If I had physically had a grasp on my daughter at all times and never let her out of my range of vision for even one second (I can't imagine the amount of discipline that would create a child willing to stick that close out of obedience, but I suppose I couldn't condemn that type of parenting either), she would not have had the chance to wander away like that. But I have two daughters - and it takes two hands to put shoes onto an 18-month-old. Any mother of more than one child knows that there are times when your children are not in your sight, and in a situation like this, sometimes things 'just happen'. I wasn't doing anything unreasonably careless.
So, for Moms who have experienced things like this - you are not a bad Mom, and don't play the 'I should have...' game, because it's not helpful. I am paranoid about safety and I will take all reasonable precautions with my children - it is a hard and fast rule that they hold hands with someone while in a parking lot - but in order to allow my girls a bit of freedom and fun, I have to allow for the occasional possibility that something 'could happen' and pray that it won't. They could fall off a playground and break their limbs, but that doesn't mean I won't let them play. We can't think about how every accident could have been avoided, because even if it's true, it only allows us to point blame at each other.
An Aunt recently asked me to send her a family photo of us, and I realized that the most recent photo of our family is probably from last June when we hired someone to photograph our family. Brian and I are both mildly talented artistically - ok, sure, most of that talented is focused on music, but we flatter ourselves that we can take a decent photo. It was our intention this past Christmas to take some family photos ourselves, but that just didn't happen. We tried once, on the fly when we realized the girls were both dressed up for it, but the house wasn't prepared at all and we didn't really think it through so we didn't end up with anything great from that.
Anyway, I'd like to try a bit harder to get some 'good' pictures of the girls so that the next time an Aunt asks for some photos, I have something a little more recent to give. A few weeks ago I read a blog post - I hate that this happens, I forget where it was, but I often decide to blog on something weeks after I've read a post so if I inadvertently reference your blog PLEASE let me know so I can credit you! - anyway, the post was on throwing a sheet over something to create a clean background. I believe the post went into some more detail on editing the sheet in Photoshop to get rid of the wrinkles and create basically a 'plain' background. I didn't edit, but I thought the pictures turned out ok.
Clara loved it, and seemed thrilled to be in the spotlight.
Unfortunately Audrey was a little bit difficult to persuade. She didn't seem to understand what was going on, or why she needed to stay in one place.
Things started looking hopeful when she decided to start bugging Clara. I think this was a kiss...
And then somehow this happened...
I gave up on Audrey and took a few more photos of Clara - who couldn't seem to get enough of this.
Then tried once again with Audrey. At least she doesn't look sad or grouchy in this one, although I'm pretty sure she was...
She insists on walking toward me whenever I try to get a photo - eventually, anyway, it happens every time.
That was this week - they weren't one photo/day, but I got quite a few good photos on that one day. I'd love to try this at least monthly - keep up with getting decent photos of the girls as they grow. Some of these I'd frame and hang on the wall - what do you think?
One of my closest friends is the most gullible person I've ever met. Seriously.
She is also the worst liar I have ever met. Which is a good thing - and hilarious when someone is planning a surprise party. Shortly before my Birthday I asked her on the phone if Brian was planning a surprise party for me, to which she replied "Look! A Bus!" and immediately hung up.
Another friend was planning a surprise party for her husband and she and I, and Ms. Gullible were discussing it at church when the husband - the one the party was for - walked up. Ms. Gullible shreiked and ran away. Luckily he had no idea what was going on, and remained oblivious, but we thought it was hilarious.
Anyway, this friend has a daughter about 3 years older than mine who has grown out of a few gorgeous dresses that I sent her a message asking about. Shopping in a friend's closet? Guilty... Anyway, the rest of the conversation went like this:
Friend: Oh, about that... I came across something interesting in my textbook last night (she's in the middle of getting her Early Childhood Education degree, and we often make fun of some of the crazy ideas modern education has come up with...) And I actually believe this. It seems like a good idea.
Friend: The theory is that by providing toys for the child, you are actually disrespecting their right to choose what to play. You are dictating what they should play by making them play with toys that dictate their use. (This wouldn't actually shock me - some of the things her textbooks come up with are pretty insane...) So I've downsized their toys drastically. I want to give them the chance to think of what to play on their own. Last night [husband] and I took everything out of their rooms except art/craft supplies. We put everything else on kijiji and amazingly enough people came quickly last night and took it all for us!
Me: You're joking.
Friend: No - kijiji people actually pulled through for once instead of flaking.
Me: I mean you're joking about giving away all of your kids' toys.
Friend: Well, it wasn't all of them. They still have all of their craft and art stuff and their playdough...
Me: How did your kids feel about that?
Friend: They were in the bath while we cleared the stuff. Then this morning we were running late, so [daughter] only had a chance to notice that the easel was moved to her room.
Me: K, stop. This really isn't funny.
Friend: Why would it be funny?
Me: If you don't want Clara to have those dresses, just say so.
Friend: ... have you looked at the calendar today?
I'm laughing to myself as I read this over, because it isn't nearly as funny without the angry voice in my head as she was sending me these messages. I was getting the girls ready to leave the house this morning, so I wasn't responding to texts instantly. After her first text, I probably waited a good 15 minutes, not knowing how to respond, thinking something like "Seriously? that doesn't make sense... she can't be serious... ALL of their toys?"
Part of what made it believable, I think, is the fact that we've been discussing how many toys our kids have. I've been talking about downsizing our collection too - even as much as half, because so much of our girls' toys are never played with until a large group of kids come over, and then they're just all thrown on the floor and I get to spend hours cleaning them all up. I think they would be better off - learn how to appreciate their toys, be more responsible for and take care of what they have - if they had a lot less toys, but ALL of them??
Also, my friend is a bit crazy. She has crazy in her blood, so the fact that she had actually lost it crossed my mind. I thought about her poor kids telling this story in a decade or two - how their crazy Mother sold all of their toys one night while they were bathing...
I thought about how I would ever be able to continue talking to her.
All the while I was trying to also convince myself that it wasn't any of my business how she decided to raise her kids. If she thought toys were damaging, who was I to say she shouldn't sell them all? It's not like it would be considered abusive to sell all of your kids toys - although I'm sure some would debate that - but certainly not something worth calling the police over or anything, so who was I to judge? But I was judging. I thought she was being rash, ridiculous and crazy.
When I asked how her kids felt about that, I was hoping she would say 'We had a long discussion and they thought it would be ok...', but instead she said they were in the tub. This is the point at which I should have realized it was a lie, but because I had believed up until this point, I was already in too deep. By then I was angry - really angry, actually - and trying to figure out what to say, and still desperately hoping she was lying although it had COMPLETELY not occured to me that it was April 1st.
Anyway, she got me. This is probably the only real April Fools prank I ever recall being done to me and it was quite effective. After I calmed down, I had to admit I was impressed.
Happy April Fool's Day! Any good pranks going on out there?
Clara calls them 'Rainbows', which was how I first saw them made when I was browsing craft ideas for St. Patrick's day. We had extra coffee filters from a time we borrowed someone's coffee maker that uses different filters than ours and so I was excited to find a way to use them up.
- Coffee filters
- Paint brush(es)
- Liquid food colouring
- Containers - 1 for each colour
- paper towel or tea towels to go under the filter and catch the extra water
I used three colours - red, blue and yellow. I took the opportunity to discuss what combinations of colours made other colours. I put about 1/2 inch of water into each of 3 ramekins and added 5-10 drops of liquid food colouring into each.
Initially each child had one paint brush, but since the brushes had to be rinsed between colours I discovered that placing one or two brushes into each colour made more sense.
I folded the coffee filters with the intention of showing the girls how to paint red along the top, yellow in the middle and blue along the bottom to create a rainbow, but the girls were happier making blobs of colour.
Here's one filter unfolded.
I confess I haven't done a lot of crafts with my daughters - when I discovered that 10 minutes of preparation resulted in 2 minutes of entertainment and another 10 minutes of clean-up, I kind of gave up. I did this with my daughter and her friend, however, and they painted for nearly an hour. I was happily shocked and I'll definitely do this again!
I'm thinking egg-shaped filters for easter??? :)
If you had told me 10 years ago that I would someday homeschool my children, I would have laughed and scoffed and said that was impossible. Never, ever, ever, would I hole up my child in my house and shelter them from the rest of the world. Why would I take away from my child the opportunity to make great friends and socialize like 'normal' people?
Six years ago, we began attending a church at which we felt instantly connected. Nothing exceptional about Faith Baptist, really, just a small run-of-the-mill Baptist church with a pastor who preaches as true to the Bible as he can. I promise you - there was no pressure to 'be like the rest of us' at all - even when we discovered that many of the families within the congregation homeschooled their children. Even at that time - if you had told me that someday I would homeschool my children, I would have said it wasn't for me - and secretly, I would have been thinking of all the points I already mentioned above.
The first Christmas at our church, the kids put on a musical play. Growing up going to church, I had a bit of an idea what to expect - the typical one or two 'drama' types who play main characters while the rest of the cast stand in a cluster and sing - almost audibly - over canned music. Not to talk down every Christmas kids' production I've ever seen - there have been good ones, but they always have that group of kids who are nervous and shy, and a little worried that someone they know will see them. That never bothered me - I was always one of those kids. I WANTED to be a star, but I was always too afraid of rejection to really give it all I had. But, isn't every kid? Or so I thought... This Christmas play started like any, with the canned music playing in the small sanctuary and the kids off stage to start. That's when the unexpected began. All of the kids - probably aged 4 to 18 - came dancing up the aisle, waiving their arms ridiculously and singing at the top of their lungs. Every. Last. One.
I watched the teenaged boys especially, waiting for them to shrink back and attempt to disappear into the walls - because teenaged boys do not animatedly prance around like they don't care who's watching. Well, maybe a few do, but not ALL of them! Yet here - every single kid was giving it their all in a way that I was never brave enough to do. I spent weeks pondering this - what made these kids different? It couldn't be the fact that they homeschooled...
And the funny thing was, I didn't decide to homeschool right there - and I think I still would have said that it 'wasn't for me', but I realized in that moment that there was something that didn't jive about my views about homeschooling. Did these kids have friends? Tons - more than I ever did, probably, and they spanned all ages because they didn't have 'grades' determining who they could socialize with all day. Did these kids seem like 'normal' kids? Well, no, actually - they seemed more 'adult' in some ways, and more 'childish' in others. They communicated with adults more confidently and respectfully than I even knew how to do until I was an adult myself, and yet they seemed to retain an innocence that I lost way too young. Were they sheltered from the world? Maybe in some ways, but it didn't seem to be stunting them in any way.
One of my first blog posts was this opinion post I wrote in response to a Facebook comment that my friend (who homeschools her children) had experienced. Basically, this post is my thought process on what it is about homeschooled kids that is perceived as 'wierd' by other people, as well as commenting on some of the factual differences between homeschooled and public schooled kids. I think at the time I wrote this post, I was still 'on the fence' about homeschooling. I had a mental list of Pros and Cons and I was starting to realize that so many of the Cons I had initially perceived were actually based on fallacy. My Pro list became longer. My Con list became shorter as I realized that what I thought I knew was actually false.
I'm a big fan of open-mindedness. As a Christian, I've been called 'narrowminded' before, but I don't believe that choosing to believe in one thing over another should be considered narrowminded, because it is necessary for life. I think being intelligent requires making choices, but it also requires making educated choices. I believe that being open minded involves being open to all of the facts - and being ready to abandon what you previously thought if the facts speak clearly against you. I have friends who don't homeschool and I respect their educated decisions absolutely - because they have real and solid reasons for their choices. It does irk me, however, when I hear people speak against homeschooling because it results in 'anti-social' children, because the facts and evidence surrounding that are simply not true, and I can't respect an opinion based on false information.
Anyway, I'll probably go into more detail on this particular decision in the future and I in no way want to insult any contrary choice, but it stands to reason that by choosing to homeschool, I've chosen NOT to send my kids to school - so please don't be offended when I point out things I may dislike about school systems - it doesn't mean I think everyone should agree. I simply say things as I see them.
I'm behind on my photo posts, so here are 10 photos to catch up for the last two weeks. This first is of Clara with pyjama pants on her head - she puts them there and flips them over her shoulder, pretending it's her 'princess hair'. She's so excited to have long hair, I don't think she'll ever let me cut it short.
Both of my girls 'read'.
We made coffee filter sun catchers this week. Clara had more fun painting on the paper towel, which drove me bananas.
Is it still creapy to take pictures of my babies sleeping? I love how peaceful they look.
Clara looks shockingly grown-up to me here. She's growing up so fast.
Nana found her old Barbies for Clara to play with - complete with homemade clothes. Clara loved them!
I bought a batch of fondant for my piano cupcake recital a few weeks ago, and have a bunch left over. I've been looking for ways to use it up.
I went to take this picture of Audrey and she made this kissy face at the camera.
Audrey covered in blueberry tart.
Seriously in love with the Barbies.
Join up with other bloggers for 'Catch the Moment'.
We've had another rough weekend, with our strange-illness prone daughter taking center stage yet again.
It began on Friday night at bedtime when Clara became suddenly stressed about the idea of going to bed. She typically stalls and tries to get out of having to go to bed, but on Friday she was crying excessively about it. After awhile she fell asleep, but only for about an hour or two when she suddenly woke up, crying, clearly uncomfortable and unable to settle herself back down.
We gave her some tylenol, which worked temporarily, but at about 1:30am - no more than 2 hours later - she was up and crying again. Since our girls share a room, the first thing we have to do when she's inconsolable is remove her from her bedroom, and so she was standing in the kitchen with me while I asked her what was wrong when I noticed she was shaking. I have struggled with low blood sugar occasionally in the past, and so it crossed my mind that maybe this was her issue. In our medicine box, we keep a small bag of coloured mini-chocolate chips - long story - and so I grabbed a few of those and decided to try giving them to her. She perked up almost immediately and was happy and talkative (annoyingly so, in the middle of the night) for about an hour. We had her in our room during this time, and finally she asked if she could go back to her own bed and so we tucked her back into bed.
This went well for a little while, but somewhere between half an hour to a full hour later, she started her unsettled crying and moaning again. I can't remember how we got her through that night - more tylenol, possibly some advil as well - but I know I didn't give her any more chocolate despite suspecting the sugar had worked. At 6:30am when she woke again, I crawled into bed with her in an attempt to keep her calm, since we had no other idea about what was wrong nor how to fix it. She sleeps in a toddler bed, so we were pretty crowded and I didn't sleep well if I did at all. By about 9am, she started whimpering again, and since I was exhausted still and not ready to wake up, I carried her to the living room couch where we curled up again and snoozed for about half an hour.
Concerned that her issue might be blood sugar, when Brian woke up, we decided to ask his Dad (who has Type 2 diabetes) if we could borrow his blood glucose meter to check her blood sugar. I called a girl I know who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a child, and asked her if Clara's symptoms could indicate blood sugar issues - or if I was crazy - and asked what the normal range for blood sugar was for kids. She told me (what I already suspected) that the normal range was 4 to 7.
Clara hadn't eaten by the time we got to Brian's parents house, and her blood sugar was tested at 3.8. She was then given a granola bar, which she proceeded to eat about 2 tiny bites of, and then asked if she could go have a nap. Not eating and being lethargic enough to ASK for a nap is sooo out of character for Clara that I was significantly concerned by this behaviour. I called the health line, and after hearing the blood glucose level of 3.8, the nurse on the line told me to bring her in right away. After about half an hour, or so, she started seeming happier and although she was still somewhat lethargic by the time we got to the hospital, she would have seemed more or less ok to someone who didn't know her.
The doctor in the Pediatric Emergency room looked at us almost condescendingly when we said her blood glucose level was at 3.8, and informed us that 3.8 was nothing to be concerned about. He went on to say that levels as low as 2.6 can be perfectly normal for children, especially first thing in the morning when they haven't yet eaten. The doctor checked her heart, lungs, eyes and ears, as well as testing her blood glucose level again (4.4) and told us that everything was fine and she was free to go. He gave no alternative explanation for why she wasn't sleeping or eating, except to say her throat looked a bit sore and maybe it just hurt to swallow.
Saturday night was no better. She cried and moaned, and wouldn't settle. We alternated between Advil and Tylenol every 2 hours or so, because both seemed to help her for about 90 minutes before she would wake up crying again. At least we were able to get some pieces of sleep...
Sunday she perked up momentarily in the morning, but continued to refuse food, and became mostly moody and lethargic all day. We indulged her by letting her watch movies most of the day while we tried to take it as easy as possible to get some rest which we were desperately lacking.
Sunday night was the same, and so Monday morning I called the clinic where our family doctor works and asked to see her as soon as possible. At first, the receptionist said we wouldn't be able to get in for more than a month and I began my sob story - she suddenly had a cancellation show up for that afternoon. The doctor was quite concerned that our poor Clara had been in the hospital yet again, but quickly discovered that the problem was an ear infection. She informed me that moving her jaw enough to chew was probably miserably painful, which explains why she wasn't eating or sleeping. Neither of our girls had ever had an ear infection before, so this was entirely new to me. I had been told to look for discharge from the ear - a clear sign of an ear infection - but there was no obvious discharge that I could see. It took the doctor's little ear-scope thing to see the puss and discharge.
So, we left the doctor with a prescription for antibiotics and a stronger pain killer for night. We had to wait at the drug store for the prescription, and Clara couldn't keep her eyes open.
I talked to the pharmacist about buying some kind of meal-replacement drink for her to make sure she was getting some nutrients and she just recommended giving Clara 'what she wants', and whatever she could eat. So, I bought frozen and regular yogurt, as well as some chocolate meal replacement shakes just in case.
She is now just over a day into her 10 days of antibiotics, and she is nearly back to her usual self. It took her a little while to fall asleep last night, and she had to be given some tylenol in the night as well as once or twice during the day today. Tonight I gave her a slightly stronger dose of the pain medication (within the range that the doctor recommended for us - no overdose accusations, please!) that we were given for her, and she fell asleep almost instantly.
I'm so glad it turned out to be just an ear infection - and so relieved to finally have an answer for why she wasn't eating or sleeping all weekend long. I'm irritated by how unhelpful the ER doctor was, but thankful that our family doctor showed such obvious concern - and made Clara a follow up appointment for this upcoming Friday.
Thank you to everyone who knew what we were going through and prayed - we love you all!
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