Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Incentive to be good

Most of you know I'm a big fan of behavior charts. Jack responds so well to them. When I know he wants something I like to milk it for all its worth and get him to earn it. He has been begging to walk to QT, so I decided to make a chart where he could earn points for any good behavior. I gave him a list of things that could earn a point. Going a day without a potty accident, doing good deeds, sharing your toys, not fighting with your cousins, going to bed without arguing, eating vegetables, etc. The chart was posted on the fridge and hopefully we will soon be enjoying the spoils of QT.

A few minutes after we talked about this new chart, Jack got to work on a project of his own. It was a chart for me. He told me that I can earn a special present if I fill my chart. The present will be a slushee from QT (you can see this illustrated on the side) I suppose that's fair. He can monitor my behavior and give me a present if he wants to, I guess. "How do I earn points, Jack?"

He didn't hesitate at all. He knew exactly how I could fill the chart. "By not fighting with dad."

Wow.... There's a guilt trip like I have never known. Ouch.

So, I am repenting of the petty arguing that goes on in our household and I am committed to earning Jack's special present. There is nothing like a 5 year old to put you in your place.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pee Pee on the Potty

Any parent can attest that where and when their child goes potty is of great importance. Its not glamorous, but it is pretty monumental. Abraham goes pee on the toilet. At any given moment if you set him on the pot he will grunt and push and produce a little stream. The effort he puts in to it is hilarious. We all cheer and he beams with pride and then he pushes really hard and the whole process is repeated. I have never known anyone to be so good at urinating on demand.
He gets to flush as a reward which, as you know, is pretty exciting.

We have also discovered that Abe is pretty talented with a shop vac. He gets the excitement of using a loud tool and we get our cars cleaned out free of charge. He may have a future in the car wash business.
In other news, Rob found yet another giant tortoise walking down the road and brought him home. Check out how huge he is. This picture is not a trick of the camera, he really is that big. We found him a new home because he was way too "friendly" with the other tortoises. He also had an unhealthy attraction to the soccer ball. He was fun for a few days but I'm glad he is gone.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Dog Door

My sister Kristen lives next door and we recently took down a section of the wall between the two backyards so that the kids can go freely between the two houses. This is a great convenience and one more step in our grand Haws girl commune. I love having the two households combined. I feel like my boys get the advantages of living in a big family without actually having a big family. Kristen and hang out every day and share the mothering workload. We take turns cooking and watching the kids and running errands. John and Rob take turns mowing the lawns and bitching about being married to strong willed Haws girls (I'm just kidding, even though that's probably true) I don't know how anyone functions without their sister next door. We often joke that we have all of the benefits of polygamy without that pesky husband sharing business.

There are only a few disadvantages to our compound set-up. In removing the wall between the two yards we have sacrificed privacy for convenience. Each adult has been caught by the opposite family in their underwear at least once and they have learned to expect to have an AR-15 pointed at them if they enter after bedtime.

The other day I saw 3 year old Christopher in the back yard. He wanted to come in but I was on my way out to run errands so I told him he couldn't come in and instructed him to go home. He loitered near the back door, clearly intending to come in as soon as I turned my attention away. I locked the door and told him once again to go home. With that I left and thought it was handled.

Later I found out that a few minutes after I left Kristen came looking for him. She started to get worried when he wasn't in the backyard and found my door locked. She searched everywhere a second time and then looked through my back window to find him happily playing in my house locked in all by himself. He had waited till I left and then used the dog door to gain access.

The dog door has become all of the babies' favorite method of entry and exit lately. At first I tried stopping them but then I realized that its a losing battle so I just let them crawl in and out as they please. The huge advantage is that I don't have to constantly yell "Shut the door!". The double flap action takes care of that for them.

Unfortunately the other kids are absolutely incurable when it comes to closing the door behind themselves and numerous lectures about the outrageous expense of air-conditioning have done little to convince them. Luckily it is cooling off a bit so I look forward to a time soon when we can open the doors and let the air flow freely.

Speaking of yelling at kids to conserve air conditioning, I remember being a little kid and my Kindergarten teacher telling us to shut the door because we don't want to air condition the world. I clearly remember thinking "All we have to do to air condition the world is leave the door open? What are we waiting for? Let's air condition the world!" If only that worked. Our power bill would be through the roof but it would almost be worth it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Why did God invent tonsils?

This was a question that Jack asked me yesterday and I had no answer. We don't know why God invented them but we do know they need to go. Yesterday John had surgery to remove his tonsils, uvula, part of his palate and straighten his nasal septum. Ouch. He will be down and out for at least ten days. Jack is scheduled to get his tonsils and adenoids out at the end of September and if I had my way, we would take Abe's out right now too.

Here is a picture of my patient right after surgery. He was on Demerol, Morphine and Lortab so he was pretty out of it. Now he is healing up but in a lot of pain. His parents took Abe for the day and Jack is at school so I am doting on him with my undivided attention. Its going to be a long recovery but it will be so worth it if he can sleep without his breathing stopping or go through flu season without getting strep throat.

This surgery has been long overdue. He has sleep apnea and he has chronic tonsillitis. The surgeon said that his tonsils were deeply rooted with infection and obviously had been for probably the past 30 years. In addition to the giant chronically infected tonsils, he had an anatomically low palate and a crooked septum. Any one of these things in likely to cause major sleep and breathing problems. I don't want to get my hopes up too much but this surgery could be a magic bullet to solve a lot of problems. The recovery is hellish but with the help of otter pops and narcotics he will get through it.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Healthcare Bill

I am terrified of the healthcare reform bill. It keeps me awake at night and makes my blood run cold just thinking about it. As a family we have used our health insurance a lot recently. Its not perfect but John works hard for it and we can afford it. The thought of letting the government manage my health is deeply disturbing. Last year before my grandfather died he was briefly hospitalized in the VA hospital. For anyone who thinks that the federal government is capable of running healthcare, please go take a walk through the halls of the VA at Indian School and 7th Street in Phoenix.

Please take four minutes to look at this youtube video. This congressman hits the nail on the head.

Kramer Boys

Kramer Boys