S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y NIGHT at the Ramsey House

Growing Up Austin Parenting

The Bay City Rollers may think they know how to do a Saturday night, but this is my version at the Ramsey house.

7:51pm Saturday night – Sparkles and Buttercup are snuggled in their beds and Blue Eyes and I are about to say goodnight when Sparkles says her ear hurts. I am not a brand-new Mom and I know that Sparkles discovers an unusually high number of physical ailments right around bed time. I tell her what I always tell her for a bedtime ailment, “The best thing you can do is get some rest for your body.” It’s not that I ignore her complaint all together, I just wait to see if she brings it up again. Blue Eyes and I sit down on the couch to watch a Netflix movie.

8:51 – Sparkles brings it up again by crying “Mommy!!!!!! Daddy!!!!!”. Yes, her ear hurts. Given our last experience with an ear infection that started after the doctor’s office was closed, when she cried throughout the night, I told Blue Eyes that Sparkles and I would sleep in our bed and I asked him to sleep in the guest room. I give up on the movie and go to bed with Sparkles. She is comforted by my arms around her and she falls¬† asleep peacefully.

12:42am – Sparkles is sleeping well, but she is tossing and turning and kicking me and kicking me and kicking me. I noticed that, in my half-asleep state, I had started to stiff-arm her, like a football player, keeping one arm out long, to try to keep some distance. But it wasn’t working.

1:15 – The ear pain wasn’t waking her up and my body was suffering greatly, so I carried Sparkles upstairs to her bed.

4:35 – “Mommy!!!!” calls out from the baby monitor. I head upstairs. Sparkles woke up, not because her ear hurt, but because her pull-up leaked and wet the bed. I had accidentally bought the day-time pull-ups when Sparkles needs the night-time pull-ups and at this moment this seemed like a Very Big Shopping Mistake. I get Sparkles cleaned up and in new pajamas. We are two seconds from being done when I hear, “Mommy!!!” from Buttercup, in the other bed in the same room.

Buttercup sees that something is going on and she isn’t about to just go right back to sleep. I’m at great risk for having two completely awake toddlers at 4:35 in the morning. I have to think quick. I set Sparkles down on Buttercup’s bed and tell her I’ll be back. I pick up Buttercup and bring her downstairs to cuddle with Blue Eyes in the guest room, so she will fall back asleep. On the way to the stairs I step on something wet and I ignore it. I wake up Blue Eyes and say, “It’s a long story, can you take her?” and he does.

I head back upstairs to get Sparkles. I have a dream-like memory of stepping on something wet and I try to imagine how Sparkles’ leaky pull-up could have gotten the carpet wet by the top of the stairs.

No, that isn’t it. Oh, #$%#$%. I know what it is.

In another recent Very Big Shopping Mistake, I did an impromptu grocery shopping trip earlier that day without having my list that clearly identified cat litter as a critical item. Our cat had been protesting the messy box by not using it. How often does a house have two separate pee accidents at 4:35 in the morning? I get a towel from the bathroom and cover the spot. I’ll clean it in the morning. I don’t have the energy to change Sparkles’ sheets, so I bring her downstairs to my bed.

6:11 On most mornings, Sparkles wakes up at 7am and sometimes later, but on this morning when we both had trouble sleeping during the night, she wakes up at 6:11. We sneak into the living room without turning on lights and being super quiet, so we don’t wake up Buttercup or Blue Eyes. We pull the big easy chair in front of the TV and put on the Wizard of Oz DVD. We snuggle under a blanket and talk about the movie and her favorite parts and what Dorthy is going to do next. Well, this last part really was pretty sweet.

I felt pretty hung over on Sunday, kind of like I felt when I was younger after a late night of drinking. Now I have different reasons for staying up all night. My new reasons may not seem like as much fun, but that early morning snuggle under the blanket and the conversation about the Wizard of Oz, that is my favorite cocktail of all.





A Sick-Day-Hike Is Pretty Good Medicine

When one of my little girls is sick, there are three options:

  1. She is very uncomfortable and sad.
  2. She is mildly uncomfortable, but she is OK resting and watching a little TV.
  3. She is just fine, but can’t go back to day care yet, because she might be contagious.

As a Work-at-Home Mom, this requires different responses from me:

  1. Option #1 requires a complete shut-down of everything work related so I can focus on helping and comforting her.
  2. Option #2 allows me to get some work done, maybe half-a-day all together.
  3. Option #3 ALSO requires a complete shut-down of everything work related so we can have fun.

My girls get excited when it is a school day and they get to stay home, especially when they feel good. They get excited when they don’t have to share Mom or Dad’s attention. They are SO ready to have fun, it is just too much for me to ask them to play by themselves or watch TV.

The options for fun are limited, though. You can’t exactly show up at the Jumpy Castle place with a kid who is home from day care because she might be contagious.

Hikes are perfect for days like this. Spreading germs is unlikely in the wide open outdoors and fresh air feels especially good to someone who has been sick and stuck at home.

The picture is from a Sick-Day-Hike Sparkles and I took a few weeks ago. I kept the hike short, since she didn’t have a lot of energy. We talked and giggled and held hands. We ate a picnic lunch. She fell asleep on the way home. Then I got some work done.

I think even a medical doctor would say that a Sick-Day-Hike is pretty good medicine.

Find more information about Bull Creek on Austin Kids Hike, this story is from Trail Head #1.

Is Grorried a Word?

(All our kids are doing great! I have to say that, even though it tells the ending at the beginning, but my family wouldn’t appreciate the suspense!)

Do you ever feel deeply grateful and very worried at the same time about the same thing?

Last month, Sparkles had an emergency room visit (thank you, Dell Children’s, for the wagons!), followed later in the week with minor surgery and wound care, because of a sore that got infected.

When we were in the emergency room, three kids came in from a car accident and doctors and nurses rushed about, in that urgent kind of way. Being in the emergency room brings to mind all kinds of reasons why a child might be there and I knew Sparkles’ situation was temporary and not serious. I was grateful to have such healthy girls.

In the surgeon’s office later in the week, the surgeon explained how Sparkles would be put under, all the way under, completely asleep, so the sore could be drained. Maybe this was the most minor surgery out of all surgeries, maybe the surgeon could have done it his first day after college graduation, after a few beers, but there is something unnerving about any kind of surgery for your baby girl. I worried. I wanted to hold her all day long, even during the surgery, which is apparently against the rules.

All is well now. The wound has healed and we are back to a regular routine. That is just part of the parenting journey I think, the ebb and flow of gratefulness and worry, hopefully being grateful more of the time.¬† I’m grateful for the wagons, the doctors, the Grandparents and most of all for Sparkles, who was tough-as-nails, pulling off the gauze and tape by herself by the end. Today is a day to be grateful. Amen.