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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ho Ho Ho!

Santa brought the children iPod touches this year--remember back when I was pining for them to have these? You'd think that's the only gift they opened--I've never seen them so silent and absorbed in what they're doing.

So far, I've downloaded Angry Birds, Doodle, Handy Manny Workshop, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Preschool Connect the Dots, Talking Tom Cat, Tesla Toy, Toddler Fun Phone, Toy Story 3, and Wheels on the Bus. They all seem pretty easy for them to figure out, to varying degrees. Any other suggestions for educational apps for a six year old and smart three year olds with limited fine motor skills?

Note: I'm particularly interested in musical instrument apps. I'd like for them to be able to tap on piano keys or strum guitar strings. I know a piano app for iPad exists, but I can't find the magic words to search for anything that works for iPod touch.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Gingerbread in the Hizzouse

Today, the Byrdlets and I visited an amazing gingerbread house exhibit at the JW Marriott. The theme was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and it knocked our socks off. Jenna happens to be an avid fan of the old Willy Wonka movie, and the twins are just fans of sweet things, so everyone was cool with this field trip. The exhibit will be displayed in the lobby there until January 2, 2011, so if you're in the Phoenix area, consider checking it out!

The chocolate river is in there somewhere.


Miss Sassy if you're nasty.

The boy just smiles too hard to open his eyes anymore. He's that happy.

Oompa Loompa time.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How to be The Best Children’s Hospital Roommate Ever!

I recently had the pleasure of a hospital stay with a sick kiddo. Phoenix Children’s Hospital is finishing the construction of an enormous, amazing new facility which features private rooms—but until it opens next year, we’re stuck in their old building where we have to share a room with another patient.

And now that the kiddo is healthy again, I’ve realized that it wasn’t so much a ‘hospital stay’ as it was ‘research for a great blog post topic’. You think I was just sitting around worrying about my child’s health? Ppsshhaw, please. No, I was seething at the behavior of our roommates and writing notes to help all of you become The Best Children’s Hospital Roommate Ever! Here are the rules:

1. Let your child dirty his diaper and don’t bother changing it for a while. And when you do, let it sit on the floor for at least an hour. Even strangers 4 feet away from you and separated by a thin rainbow printed curtain understand what a pain it is to walk said dirty diaper ten feet into the bathroom.

2. Engage in “I love you. No, I love you. No--I love you!” talk with your child in the middle of the night in a non-whisper voice. And you know what? Don’t feel bad about it at all. Again—your roommates understand the need for round-the-clock shmoopy talk with your kid and they are probably happy to give up their precious few minutes of sleep while they enjoy it.

3. Allow your friends and family to call the hospital room phone at midnight. Definitely talk about a missing receipt and going to church—its your prerogative, after all. It’s not like any sick children and their families are trying to sleep or anything and THESE ARE IMPORTANT TOPICS TO COVER WITH YOUR LOVED ONES. AT MIDNIGHT.

4. Let your kid scream at you belligerently during all his waking hours while he beats his mylar balloon to and fro around the room at a decibel level that pains anyone else in the room who might have sensitive ears (due to ear infection—this IS a hospital, after all). It’s his world—we’re just living in it. We know this and we love you for it.

5. Moms--let your husband meander around the place in his wife beater shirt, which nicely shows off the naked girl tattoos he sports from shoulder to elbow. On both arms.

6. Watch a lot of Telemundo. Loudly. Todo el día. Cada día.

7. Permit your child to wet-sneeze all over the place without covering his mouth and nose. Tip: This rule is particularly effective when your child’s roommate is at high risk for respiratory complications. We looove airborne contagions—and not just so that we can spend more mornings enjoying free coffee from the Kohl’s coffee cart!

That’s it. That’s all I got. My kid had pneumonia and we were miserable there in the hospital for a few days and life sucked. Other than the kiddo recuperating much faster than normal, the best part of the stay was the ambulance ride over.

I adore our hospital and the staff is world class, but a sick kid blows big hairy goat balls and no amount of amenities or sense of humor can make that better. No—actually, that’s a lie. Amenities and humor can totally make it better. Which is why I am already in love with the new Phoenix Children’s Hospital (which has yet to open) and why you love me.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Wheelchair Life: an Update

The twins are doing wonderfully in their power wheelchairs. Their teachers report that they continue to thrive, in the social sense, with their able-bodied classmates and that their driving skills in the three months since they started preschool have improved significantly. [Insert beaming mother here.]

Our driveway has a slight incline to it. I never noticed it before, but when the twins unload from the van in the driveway, they race up to the garage door and squeal, "Time to slide!", and then burn rubber at mach speed all the way down to the sidewalk, where they screech to a halt. It's pretty hilarious--and I now have black tire marks on the side of the driveway where they tend to do this. Heh heh.

Last Friday the twins did not have school. Instead, I took them to a nearby outdoor shopping mall in the non-busy morning hours. The idea was to give them more practice driving in public places--and to hopefully give the public some exposure to my fleet of wheelchairs, in my ongoing attempt to socialize our neighborhood to our unique circumstances. My master plan on Friday was working just fine until the twins and I were crossing a small street within the parking lot. A grandmother-type (driving a white Saturn Vue, Arizona tags 911-LVE, in case you know this person...) sped over a speed bump, stopped abruptly for us at the stop sign, then rolled down her window and yelled at me to get the three year old toddlers operating their wheelchairs at a perfectly acceptable speed to move faster. To say that I was livid would be an understatement. This woman serves as a reminder that no matter how wonderful life can seem sometimes, there is always a cruel bitch (who probably kicks newborn kittens in her spare time) to bring us back to reality. The twins didn't notice the hostility, so I elected to silently wish her very, very bad karma and then move on with our shopping trip. Here they are driving away from the kitten kicking lunatic a few seconds after the altercation:

Yesterday was an interesting day, and notable for two things:

1) Lauren crashed into the billiards table at high speed in her wheelchair and moved it halfway across the room. She was extremely upset at the accident and at first we didn't know what injuries she might have caused herself. She's fine today--there are no signs or symptoms of fracture. But she moved a regulation sized pool table with a two piece slate, ball return--all heavy features--five feet across the floor with her knees. I guess milk does do a body good...?

2) We went to Zoo Lights at the Phoenix Zoo yesterday evening! Lauren wasn't interested in driving herself within the zoo after her accident, so I just dragged the baby stroller with us and used that instead. It worked out well, though, because it was a school night and there wasn't a ton of time for lollygagging with three year olds in wheelchairs (and the usual troublesome, oblivious public) with an early bedtime in mind. In any case, the kids had a blast. It was a very warm night--a fabulous 64 degrees F within the zoo--and it wasn't nearly as busy as the zoo lights we've attended in previous years. I hope the kids grow up having fond memories of Zoo Lights at the Phoenix Zoo every year.

I hope life is merry and bright this holiday season for all my readers!