River's Edge Urban Academy

Homeschooling 4 kids ages 9, 6, 4 and baby while working as a postpartum nurse and lactation counselor.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Well, I am very happy to say that I worked in the nursery this evening and it did not suck! It was busy but we were well staffed which makes all the difference in the world. I also did not have to go to a C-section, the only one on my shift was for a 30 weeker, so NICU attends those births. I did have a Hepatitis B+ baby (more work, three shots to give, have to bathe and do VS every thirty minutes) that was supposed to be born at the beginning of the shift but ended up not being born till 2312 and my shift ended at 2330 so I didn't have to do much with it. So I pretty well lucked out in my first night in there. I also forgot to mention that I make $1 more an hour when I work nursery. It is SO NOT WORTH IT!
Took Joss to a nature class about raptors today. Took Z and K to the playground while she was at class and had a very nice time together. Z hasn't been to the playground since J broke her arm, and he really enjoyed himself. Even K did as he is getting very agile about climbing and had a great time climbing the stairs on some of the equipment.
Well, I have to get out of my bad habit of staying up late after work, so good night!

Monday, August 23, 2004

Well, I had my second (and probably last) night of orientation in the nursery tonight. It was much better than the first that was so incredibly busy that my preceptor actually left me for three hours to go help on L&D. I actually had to punt and do my first solo baby-receiving at a C-section with next to no warning and after not having even gone with to one for several months. Thank goodness the resucitation nurse was aware of that and was very supportive - we also pretty much knew it would be a good baby or we would have made another plan.
Tonight was very busy and I did have tears in my eyes at one point due to frustration with feeling so overwhelmed, but I learned alot and now feel competent to at least be in the nursery. And most importantly, I know who my resources are if I start sinking!
I went to a section again tonight and my preceptor just watched me and reminded me of a few things. I do feel scared, but as ready as I'll ever be to go to my next one on my own.
The worst thing about the nursery is you are in charge of all the babies, responsible for baby receiving for c-sections, and you have to figure out the staffing and make room assignments. The last part is really tricky because you not only have to make the assignments fair and safe for your current shift, but they also have to work for the night shift, which has higher pt-nurse ratios. And because of the nature of Labor and Delivery you can have a great plan and have to scrap it all and start over because people deliver who you aren't expecting to, pts that everyone thought would deliver vag end up C-section and if the moon is full you never know what can happen!
You also end up with everyone mad at you sometimes. They don't really see that it is really busy and sucky all over - all they know is I just ruined there night by giving them a fifth patient, or by not giving them any of their same patients back. They may also not understand why I had to make the decisions I did. And I really, really hate when people are unhappy with me. I guess I will have to grow some thicker skin and bring Kleenex, cuz I'm sure I'll be in tears at least once before I am really broken in to the nursery!
The best thing about the nursery... There is no best thing - it just sucks! No, I take that back. As I took the dad and baby back to the nursery from the C-section we stopped at the family lounge for a minute so he could show the baby to the grandma and his teenaged stepchild. They were all crying and so happy that I was totally crying, too! It is really a gift to get to witness these moments in people's lives. I guess that is one good thing about the nursery.
Oooh, thought of one more nice thing. I also had a minute to rock a fussy baby to sleep. As her little body relaxed and she curled up against my chest, I rubbed my cheek on her soft hair. Maybe not the most professional behavior in the world, but c'mon it's pretty hard to resist that silky-fine, sticky-uppy newborn hair!
Well, if you read this blog for homeschooling content I guess this post was disappointing. Prepare for further disappointment as I work a bunch for a while and do more shifts in the nursery - I have a feeling I will be needing to vent here!

Saturday, August 21, 2004

We had a Fab-fab-fabulous field trip today!! We went to the Gibbs Farm Museum in Falcon Heights, where we saw a real mid 1800's sodhouse and farmhouse. I would like to go back as they also do a tour about the Dakota Indians. The tour guides were all dressed in period costumes. Joss was even wearing a red and white long-ish old-fashioned-y dress (that used to belong to me) and I purchased her a red and white gingham sunbonnet. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO CUTE!!!
It was a really well done field trip and the kids moved from area to area fairly quickly (15-20min). This probably contributed to my kids excellent behavior. They were PERFECT. We have really worked hard on responding pleasantly and quickly (we call it using nice words and it means saying "Yes, mommy," when I request something and "Coming!" when I call them). We have also been working on a few other getting-along-with-friends things, especially with Zeff and it was really evident on this field trip. Zeff did the best I have ever seen him do as far as sitting quietly and listening to the teacher. It was probably a total of 45 minutes of listening to adults talk and he was practically perfect! I was sooo proud of both my big kids. It was especially great in light of how rough the last few weeks had been for behavior. I guess we were going through a rough patch before a spot of smooth sailing - I've seen this pattern before, but that doesn't mean I don't worry if I've totally ruined the kids when were having a hard time!
We also saw a friend there we hadn't seen in nearly a year. I was worried for Joss as this friend is older and she came there with her own friend also nearer to her age than Joss is. But they actually all got along and included J (I was afraid the friend would say hi, then ignore her). I got some nice pictures of all the little girls walking holding hands and looking at the animals together.
Zeff loved the farm animals. Again, I am getting a clue that he is very nature/science minded. He has also learned the names of a couple other trees and is spending lots of time on his belly staring at bugs.
The last thing we did was help make and eat ice cream. DELICOUS!! I guess 5c of heavy cream, 5c milk, 2.5c sugar, 5 eggs and 5t vanilla kinda has to be yummy!
So, after the farm, I decided to push my luck and take the kids grocery shopping. Well, they were fabulous. I realy thought I was pushing my luck taking them after a field trip and without a proper lunch (we had ice cream and granola bars), but again they were great. Baby slept in the sling and we were in and out in less than 45 minutes - just in time to get home, throw a frozen pizza in the oven, throw on my uniform and dash out the door to work. Yuck - I hate doing that.
This was one of the days when I feel like I am doing a good job raising and educating my kids. I explained the meaning of industrial as well as why Green Day is not punk on the way there. Joss thought they were pretending to be punk because they "sounded like they were from England" She's so smart! That's what I love about homeschooling. We defined "industrial" as we drove by an industrial area and when the Green Day song came on I could school her in my personal opinions on music. Yeah! Taking advantage of teachable moments and impressionable minds. Because as Ryan and I were discussing, we might feel as though we had failed as parents if our kids grew up thinking Green Day was truly punk.
:) Hee hee. Just kidding. Kind of.
PS A shout-out is in order to a friend (KW) who I know checks this blog from time to time - thanks for the recipes - that was sooo sweet of you. Also thanks again for the positive parenting book. It was just exactly what I needed to be reading during the rough patch that we are finally coming out of.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Well, Jossy got her arm casted (purple, thank you very much) and I got my opinion of orthopedic surgeons being the biggest @$$holes in the world reconfirmed, yet again. The second meanest doc I ever worked with was an ortho, and I saw one when I was 19 or so who was just rude. This guy was such a jerk, though.
He kept interrupting my questions and acted like they were dumb (they totally weren't). He also kept staring at my tattoo and the other things in that general vicinity (think chest area) while discussing her x-rays. At one point he asked, "So, how did this happen?" and then turned and left the room before I could answer.
We have to go back in two weeks for more x-rays. I am considering asking to see a different doctor. On the other hand, I've never met an ortho who is much less offensive than this jerk, maybe I should stick with the devil I know? I can always wear a turtle neck, I even talked to Ryan about taking J instead, but we like to have me (the RN) go to doctor appointments. Otherwise, I pester Ryan with questions he doesn't know the answer to.
Anyway, I need to take a bath and go to bed so that's it from me.
PS - My apologies to any nice orthopedic surgeons that may exist. I'm sure you're out there somewhere.

Monday, August 16, 2004

corolla potatoes (yellow)
green peppers
red onions
cabbage (on the side)
green beans
This is my veggie shipment from the farm this week. If I was smart enough to put comments on my blog, and if anyone were actually reading, people could suggest suppers for me. So I wouldn't have to think of them. Darn. Wish I was smart enough to put coment thing on my blog.
We had a fabulous weekend getaway! Saturday, after lunch we headed to Wisconsin to camp out at our CSA farm, of which we are members. The kids had a great time playing with their cousin and the other kids who were there. We had a big potluck supper with burgers, corn (bought, due to the cold weather - last year we got to help harvest, then eat it) and lots of salads and desserts that other farm members brought.
The kids played in the barn, catching chickens, faking out baby barn swallows (if you move your hand near their nest in a swooping motion they open their mouths!), watching the baby piglets play and nurse and running around the hayloft. They also had fun observing the mama, daddy and baby donkeys and catching frogs and stick bugs in the pond. One member checked out a bunch of microscopes from the Science Museum and we looked at pond water under those. The kids had also caught some tadpoles and they put those in a bucket and watched them awhile.
The kids had played so hard that they actually requested to have S'mores the next day cuz they wanted to go to bed as soon as the sun went down! We tucked the three oldest (J, Z and their older cousin Malcolm) in one side of my cousins tent) and sat around the bonfire and sang folk songs. My personal favorite is when we changed the words of "We Shall Overcome" to "We Shall Defeat Bush" HEEEHEEE! The kids told us later that they were listening to us singing and singing along as they fell asleep.
After getting blown away by the stars we also went to bed. Midway through the night both our kids got cold and lonely and came in with us. So we woke up in one big hog pile (though slippery, due to the sleeping bags) just like at home!
The next day was great as well. We had blueberry pancakes cooked on an actual woodburning stove, then helped dig potatos before we went home. We stopped on the way home at A&W for the required deep-fried cheese curds and root beer. I am not sure but I think it is illegal to leave WI without doing that. We also stopped in Hudson so I could nurse baby and the kids had fun watching the boats on the St. Croix. **BRAG ALERT** Both of my big kids can identify the Mississippi, Minnesota and St. Croix rivers when we pass them. They can also both spell Mississippi (it's really more of a chant than knowing how to spell it). And they also know which cities and states we are in when we cross them.
Anyway, just had an interesting shift at work. Actually had 2 patients for almost the whole shift, but ended up helping the other nurse alot and one of mine was actually quite sick. She was on double antibiotics, spiked another temp for me and got put on triple antibiotics, not to mention the two units of blood we had to give her today. She kept me hopping!
Nursing related sidenote: I am no longer scared of doctors! I realized that tonight, I made two calls to doctors with no butterflies in my stomach, no need to write out my ?s ahead of time so I wouldn't forget them. One thing I called on was a really important thing that the doctor had overlooked and he actually thanked me for catching it! The other call was for a temp that was not actually high enough that we would usually call but this pt had not been doing real well, and the doctor agreed that I was right to notify her. The other nursing thing I am really proud of is that I am getting a sense for things: by this I mean that my patient this evening was having chills and not feeling well. I took the temp and got a normal reading. So I put my hand on her forehead, decided she felt hotter than what the thermometer read and went and got another thermometer. Well, sure enough she had a fever and the previous thermometer had been off by almost 2 degrees! Maybe that doesn't sound like much but when you are a newbie you trust equipment more than you trust yourself, and I am finally to the point where I trust my own instincts more than equipment!
That's it for now. Peace.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Wow! We have had a really rough week. The week started out with really cold, cloudy occasionally drizzly weather. It felt exactly like October and really did a number on my disposition. I also felt awful after working all weekend and apparently fighting off some bug or something. Monday I was so tired I went to bed at 10pm and Tuesday I actually sent Ryan and all three kids to the grocery store after supper so I could sleep. There must have been something in my eyes or voice when I calmly explained to Ryan that he must take all three children and go to the grocery store at 8:30pm that caused him to say "Yes, dear," I felt so crappy, I was asleep before they had even left the house.
Our days weren't much better. Joss had hung out with a neighbor child over the weekend and is starting to show a pattern of acting up after doing so. Zeff was decent but baby has been teething FOREVER and was very fussy the first 1/2 of this week as well. So Monday and Tuesday were awful - the kind of days where you rethink your whole plan to stay home and homeschool and start wondering how young they take kids at BOARDING SCHOOL!
Wednesday started out similar, we had a really great nature class, but Zeff had the worst day for "classroom behavior" (if you kwim) that he has had in 6 months. So I was greatly disappointed and Joss misbehaved at the very end and I was having a really down morning and was starting to feel like a complete failure as a mom. (Sorry about the runon sentence)
But that afternoon, Joss came running into the room telling me her tooth hurt. Her delight at discovering her first wiggly tooth really helped to turn things around.
I remembered again how lucky I am to be home with them.
Thursday evening I worked. At about 5pm, I stopped by the secretary's desk and saw a note saying I should call home. Ryan never calls me at work so I knew something was up. When I called Ryan he asked me how to tell if an arm is broken. Turns out Joss fell off some playground equipment and cracked her ulna (the small bone in your forearm). The really lame part is I was not able to leave work because there was no one to replace me. So I had to help Ryan figure out who would come watch the boys while he took J to the ER. Well, thank goodness for my so wonderful cousin who dropped everything and came over.
Ryan took J to the ER, got her arm splinted and she then got to relish the celebrity status of having a wiggly tooth AND a broken arm!

Sunday, August 08, 2004

I feel like I have been working alot and I have also been enjoying reading a CCU RN's blog. These two things have really combined to make me look around and have to admit that people are a whole lot weirder than I ever expect them to be. Even when I feel that I have learned that people are all very different and odd, some patient or some experience teaches that they are capable of even greater weirdness than I ever imagined possible. Sorry, can't share the details about my weird patients, but check out this blog if you like things medical, it is awesome.

PS It is 1:46am, I have been home for over an hour and I am still shaking my head over how totally bizarre some people are.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Fun Day! Everyone up and dressed with clean teeth by 8:30. Fed and educated by 9:30. Out the door by 10am to drop off a meal for a friend who's mother is ill and then onto the Children's Museum. Kids behaved GREAT except for one incident by Zeff. He was mad about something but I couldn't understand what he was saying which made him angrier. He was raising his voice and stomping his feet. Current technique of helping find words to express his emotions, calming down and then discussing the problem worked well. He still has a temper, but is like me in that he flares up quick but calms down quickly too. We will keep working on that - both of us!
Had fun dancing and painting our faces. I even painted a little black nose and whiskers on the baby purely for my own amusement. I don't know why more parents don't dance at the dance party thing they put on from time to time. Only one other mom and I were dancing and about 10 moms and daycare teachers sat on the sides. Oh well, Keian and I had a blast. He is still a little fussy from shots yesterday so it was nice hearing his big belly laugh again when I bounced him.
Well he's done with his lunch and wants to get down from his high chair. And I gotta get ready for work. Hope everyone else is enjoying their Friday as much as we have.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Fun stuff we have done lately:
1) Z and J both writing (dictating) letters and drawing pix and sending them to our camping buddies.
2) Participated in Frog class and went swimming with grandma.
3) Took some neighbor friends to our favorite nature center, checked out a bug backpack, caught bugs, observed them and let them go. Also spent an hour or more just puttering around by the river: collecting shells and rocks, using them to decorate a sand castle and picking flowers.
4) Kids have been playing school: packing backpacks with fave story books and saying "Goodbye Mom" and trekking across the backyard to the picnic table to "do school" which includes reading memorized books to each other, putting on "uniforms" to play soccer and making their own snacks (PB grahamcrackers) outside.
Last Saturday: IMAX 3D bugs of the rainforest movie for Ry and big kids, while baby and I had a lovely walk around the zoo together.
Sunday: Farmer's Market for breakfast and then to the Mercado Central (our city's mexican market) for their 5th anniversary fiesta where we saw Cuban dancers and practiced our spanish with the vendors.
Can't remember many of the other nice little moments - have noticed that summer makes it easier to do less TV. They still watch a 1/2 hr in the AM and 1/2-1 hour in the evening while I make supper and Ryan and I catch up on the day, but they rarely ask for it. Hope to continue these good habits through the winter months.
Baby had nine month check up today, they were very nice about not pointing out that he is 10 1/2 months old exactly today, but said something about seeing us back not too far after his 1yr old b-day. oops :) The doctor reassured me that he is not too thin at all, which is nice to hear. I mean I know he's a happy, healthy baby but he is just the thinnest baby I have ever known! He was tough as could be for the shots and blood draw - good baby!

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Had a kind of odd night at work. We ended up being a little flush for staffing so I had a very decent pt load. I had more time on my hands so I was able to do everything on my pt's timetable rather than being forced to impose my own. It makes my pts much happier when I can do that but when you are busy you just can't.
I saw the full gamut of families, which I can't talk about with any detail. There were two nice, educated early 30s couples who had wanted, planned for, and prepared for their babies. One decently nice young (early 20s) unmarried couple - people you think will probably do okay. And one scary, sad, pathetic social mess. I can't talk about it grrr but I just wanted to apologize to the baby.
That case is still bothering me, but it is no worse than many others I have seen. I really dislike that part of the job - even the fairly sad (ie poor outcome) cases are better. They are sad, but there isn't the sense of anger towards the mom for bringing a baby into their chaotic, messed-up life and then needing to care for and support that mom who is also my pt. I hope that doesn't sound really harsh, but it wears you down after awhile. I, of course, behave professionally and am often a little kinder than usual towards these pts in the hopes that being supportive and attentive to the mom will have a trickle-down effect on her family.
I DID have alot of fun with one family in particular - the mom commented on how cute I was cause you could tell I really loved what I was doing. WOW! What a compliment, I really do love what I do, but no one has ever said it that way before and it made me so happy. :) She also said I was the best nurse she'd ever had. Brag brag - sorry but if I can't brag in my own blog...
Well, that's it from this tired nurse. Moral: If your nurse is nice, tell her, it will make her day! Most of us don't do this for the $ and glory (haha) but cuz we really like to help people - our best reward is knowing we did that. Oh yeah, chocolate is good too. :)

Sunday, August 01, 2004

We are back from camping and have actually gotten almost everything washed and put away all ready! I am so impressed with myself (actually Ryan.)
Camping was, of course, a blast. We did have cooler temps and some rain to deal with, but the kids couldn't have cared less about that. We camped at Bear Head Lake State Park near Ely and visited the International Wolf Center in Ely while we were there.
The Wolf Center was great. Both kids loved the exhibits, the kid's "den" and seeing the baby wolf pups as well as the adult arctic wolves. We will definitely be visiting there again when the kids are older.
My folks came to the campground a day before us and were kind enough to set up our tent and pay for our camping - THANKS MOM AND DAD! It is also very nice camping with them as the kids love spending time with them and when they're spending time with the grandparents, Ryan and I are spending time ALONE!
We are so fortunate in that my mom is a teacher with almost 30 years experience and knows tons of crafts and activities. She spent several "nap" times reading and doing fun learning activities with Joss.
My dad is also a huge outdoorsman and was able to teach my kids so much about the outdoors and is an excellent example of how to preserve and interact with nature. Him and Ryan took the kids fishing a few times and taught the kids some important nature practices such as spitting in the mouth of any fish you catch, a practice Zeff caught onto and thoroughly enjoyed. Also taught BOTH kids to pee off the boat. I never knew girls could, but apparently with a little coaching Joss did a great job.
Probably the best part in the kids' view was the endless playing with camping buddies. We were camped to campsites away from a family with a 7yr old girl and 4 yr old boy who became instant best friends with our kids. The girls spent time looking for fairies and playing with their stuffed wolves. The boys rode their bikes and ran around the woods with some 10 yr olds having mock-wars with their toy guns. Some may disapprove, but the kids had a blast, and I really liked the cooperation within the teams. One of the boys also dubbed himself the medic and would carry the "injured" little boys to safety. A sign that they are comprehending on some level the real consequences of war.
My favorite part, and it shows how weird I am, was feeding the messed up baby sunnies to the snapping turtles that lived at the dock. I had to sit on my hands not to fish (as Ryan neglected to get a couples fishing license and got one just for him, grr)
Anyway, it was a great trip. We all had fun, relaxed and had lots of time to enjoy each other. I also had some time to think about certain issues that have been bothering me. Expect a post from me soon in regards to the pro-life, anti-gay-marriage viewpoints.