Saturday, January 17, 2009

How Parenting is like Surgery

This week, the medical community discovered that if they use a simple checklist they can avoid surgical errors and experience a significant decrease in fatalities. I'm most surprised to discover which common mistakes doctors have been making, apparently up until this week. The list is long, but here are the highlights:

1. Cutting open the wrong patient
2. Operating on the wrong body part (Oh, you said SPLEEN? )
3. Not knowing members of the surgical team and their particular expertise. (You're the food services tech? I thought you were monitoring the anesthesia!)
4. Using unclean equipment. (Is that blood or BBQ sauce?)
5. Not counting instruments before and after surgery to make sure there are no stray sponges or scalpels inside the patient (I remember the medical team doing this count after my 2 c-sections. After the most recent delivery, Nu and I were amused when our team spent a full minute arguing about the number of instruments that were in or out of my belly. We were all relieved when they found that last clamp.)

I post this not to critique doctors, but because it's given me a great idea of my own. As the number of children in our family has doubled recently, Nu and I are also finding ourselves making stupid mistakes, forgetting important things (and people), and generally not keeping it all together.

So here's my proposed checklist for the imperfect parent:

1. In the morning, confirm the presence of each child and determine who they will be with that day. It's only a matter of time before Nu and I both leave the house mistakenly thinking the other has some or all of the children. Meanwhile Alex and Sasha are home alone playing RockBand while Blake and Casey sing backup from their bouncy seats.

2. Label everyone's clothes and food. It would be embarrassing for the Alex and Sasha to show up at school wearing newborn onesies and carrying a lunchboxes full of frozen breastmilk. Meanwhile, that pb&j won't do Blake and Casey much good at Grandma's house.

3. Devise some type of ropes-course-like verbal routine when double checking seat-belts. "Alex, check? Sasha, check? Drive ON!" Twice last week, I started to drive away when a 3-yr-old in the back yelled, "Mama, I'm not BUCKLED!!!! " This will be harder with the babies, but they can just waive their paci's or something.

4. Account for all medical equipment. Bandaids, pain relief (for kids and parents), and diaper cream should be easily accessible to parents but out of reach for kids. But you've got to keep that stuff secure. Sasha would wallpaper her body with cartoon bandaids if given the opportunity. As a baby, Alex once ate some Desitin while I was changing his diaper. (BTW, Poison Control says diaper cream is not toxic in small quantities)

5. Be sure equipment is present and in proper working order. Cell phones must be charged, strollers packed in the trunk, and TIVO full of Dora/Diego episodes at all times.

6. Prepare for unexpected outcomes. Extra pants, undies, and diapers should always be with you. Snacks should be close by. Grandma should be on speed dial.

So far, we've managed to keep everybody safe and reasonably happy. Here's hoping next week goes well too!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

How to make your Babies Hate You

1. Use some type of specialized baby wrapping device to force them to fall asleep. Some call it a "Swaddling Blanket", but in Guantanamo Bay they call it an "Interrogation Accessory"
2. Let their Older Siblings sneeze on said babies and pass on a potentially serious Respiratory Virus
3. Take babies to the Dr. where they can wait 45 minutes to be stripped, poked, prodded to confirm illness.
4. Once babies have been confirmed sick, check their temperature repeatedly in a very sensitive area. (interestingly, one blogger is convinced that such measures are the reason behind so many Alien Abduction flashbacks)
4. Use the Nasal Aspirator several times a day to help "clear congestion" or alternatively--suck their Brains out through their nose.

Poor little guys.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Adventures on the Maternity Floor

Disclaimer: I wrote this at the hospital, but have been too busy to blog over the last few weeks. Sorry if it's old news.

Blake: "Who is this joker and why is he all up in my space?"

We spent three days on floor 5 and a great time was had by all. During the first 36 hours, Casey and Blake were very sleepy but could be convinced to eat if we agitated them enough. By Saturday night, they were in full-out newborn mode and needed a lot more rocking, swaddling, shushing, etc. Thank goodness for the newborn nursery where nurses could attend to them while we got the last few hours of sleep for the next 4 weeks.

Alex and Sasha came to visit us a few time and were somewhat excited to see the new baby brothers, but much more interested in my high-tech bed with all the buttons. They also favored the maternity lounge with the unlimited juicebox and cracker supply. The fam really stepped up to the plate by taking care of the big kids while we were gone. Even though they missed us, we could tell the kids had a great time with their aunts, uncle, and Grandparents.

As my 2nd experience on the maternity floor, I noticed that not much had changed in 3 yrs. There are so many highlights, but here are my favorite.

Ten Bizarre Things about Floor 5

10. The state-of-the-art room with modern decor and equipment. And a 15 inch TV from 1986.

9. The bed which inexplicably moves every 10 minutes to prevent bedsores. Because so many new moms are tragically afflicted with this problem. Also last time I checked, most of us are not 90 yrs old.

8. Nurses that enter the room every 30 minutes to retake my temp, Casey's temp, Blakes temp, my blood pressure, Casey's blood pressure, Blake's blood pressure, etc.

7. Nurses who wake me up, turn on the lights, ask me 5 questions about who's dirty diaper this is (Casey's? Blake's? One of those babies with the blue hat?) and then leave with this helpful reminder . . .
"Please get some rest. It's so important that you sleep here in the hospital while you can."

6. The food. No matter how little I eat, the friendly nutritian delivery service person continues to bring me more. We also had several awkward moments where they asked if I was going to finish my hospital dinner while I was clearly eating Chinese take-out with Chopsticks.

5. The bruises left on the boys from all the blood that is drawn. It looks like they were attacked by a colony of vampire bats.

4. The team of SIX pediatricians who visited us on our last day to discharge us. Two attendings, two residents, and two med students in our little room with two parents and two children.

3. The snack room with unlimited free ice cream. SO GREAT!!!

2. The crazy swaddling skills of the nurses. One nurse can swaddle both babies with one hand while taking my blood pressure and temp with another.

1. The newborn nursery--where babies can play while their parents get a few hours of shut-eye. If only we had one at home.

Gratuitous Shot of Casey dressed in ill-fitting homecoming outfit, crying because his parents are already embarrassing him.

Nu trading places with me in my torture-device/bed.

Alex: "So these little guys belong to me now?"

Sasha: "Let me show you the tricks Mommy. I just read that "Happiest Baby on the Block" book.

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