Brandon and Susie Dutcher did what a lot of families would do when told their baby was sick: they prayed and sought the best medical help. Anne Marie wasn’t even born yet when the Edmond couple began the journey they hoped would make their family of six a happy, healthy family of seven. They’ve been chronicling their lives and Anne Marie’s story on their blog in the month since she was born. The doctors aren’t sure she’ll make it. Her parents aren’t sure either, but their extraordinary faith has carried them through. As a parent, I find their updates both inspiring and heartwrenching and don’t read without a box of tissue handy. I check daily to find out how that precious little angel and her family are doing. Go see for yourself: http://www.brandondutcher.blogspot.com/
Are you scratching your head yet? That’s the only possible reaction for any parent who has survived a child with head lice and read today’s news story about schools and their head lice policies. The gist of the article is that many schools are now allowing students back at school as long as the creepy-crawlies are gone even if the nits – the lice eggs- are still firmly attached. That change was long ago recommended by a pediatrician’s association. Part of the problem is students can miss several days of school while their parents try every product available to kill the little boogers and pull out every. single. egg. If there was silver lining in my family’s lice nightmare, it was that school was out for summer. Because it took the better part of six weeks and a toxic prescription shampoo before I could stop the grueling, nightly checks of every hair in my daughter’s beautifully thick mane while my newborn just wanted his mommy. I thought I might lose my mind. My daughter ended up with a really cute, short hair cut. And I still panic every time I see her scratch her head.
I used to cringe when my kids were babies and they had to get shots. Now, I realize, it’s so much easier when they don’t know what’s coming. A couple of years ago when my daughter was 3 going on 4, I had to hold her down in the pediatrician’s office to get her flu shot and she ended up with a needle scratch on her leg. Last year was better, but she was still a little panicked this year despite the promise of a new toy. I’m not beyond bribery. My son, who is almost 2, still didn’t know what was coming and cried only for 30 seconds or so after getting stuck. By next year, I doubt he’ll be so cooperative. At least I managed to get their shots free this year!
When my daughter was in pre-K last year, I always wondered if I should call her teacher by her first name or address her the same as students do. I’m faced with the same dilemma this year. I’d prefer first names. After all, we’re all adults. Any thoughts, especially from teachers?–Christy Watson
The school year was only a week old when I saw it: the dreaded packet that meant it was time to start hawking gift wrap, candies, candles and other expensive trinkets all to benefit my daughter’s school. Then yesterday, I received an email from a good friend with pictures attached. Surely they were of her cute kids. I was partially right. It was two pictures of her adorable son, fresh from his third day of kindergarten asking for people to go online and buy from his school fundraiser. His class can get an ice cream party if everybody participates and he wants to win a flying stuffed pig. Honestly, the approach is very parent friendly. Go online, click on what you want to buy, enter the student’s ID number and voila! No door knocking for kids or parents. No going desk-to-desk at work and trying to collect money. Personally, I prefer the approach I found tucked into my daughter’s fundraiser envelope, which invited parents to simply write a check to the school. Still, I’ll no doubt pass around the fundraising catalog and buy from the other kids we know. After all, it’s for a worthy cause. But I hope my daughter doesn’t win a flying stuffed pig. — Christy Watson
My 5-year-old started kindergarten today. She reported these highlights:
*No snacks in kindergarten, except for special occasions.
*Kindergarten students get to play on the “whole, big playground.” In pre-k, they were confined to a small part of the playground.
*Show and tell will happen, but the details are still to be announced. Her green ballerina bunny is ready and waiting, though!–Christy
The kids and I went to the Oklahoma City Zoo over the weekend, our first visit since last fall. I mention our last visit only because it was so, um, memorable. Some family was in from out of town so a bunch of us decided to go to the zoo. It was hot, but we were having fun until a near miss with a tram. One was coming up behind us so we all moved to the side of the road. At the time, my then 10-month-old son was asleep in his stroller. As the tram passed us, it kept getting closer and closer to the curb where we were stopped waiting for it to pass. We grabbed all of the little ones who were on foot and pushed them up against the wooden fence, but I couldn’t get the stroller up over the curb in time. The tram hit it. The stroller, with my sleeping son strapped in, was tilted at a 45-degree angle, lodged between the tram’s wheels and the curb. The tram driver braked a few times but fully stopped only after a lot of hollering from tram riders. I distinctly remember one man yelling, “Stop! You’re running over a baby!”
A couple of men hopped off the tram and helped unbuckle my son and dislodge the stroller. We were all unhurt, and my son was oblivious. The tram driver took off again, without ever leaving the driver’s seat. More than anything, that infuriated me. Accidents happen. I understand that. But the people I complained to at guest services just wanted to know the driver’s name (wouldn’t know, he didn’t come introduce himself) and if the stroller needed replacing. My mother and brother-in-law who also complained were met with the same apparent indifference. When I called the then-zoo director a few days later, he’d heard nothing of the incident but promised to look into it. One suggestion myself and other family members offered up was to have a zoo employee riding at the back of the trams.
When we hopped on a tram on Saturday, the tram driver informed us of a “safety conductor” riding at the rear of the back car. Safety indeed.
- Christy Watson
My 5-year-old graduated from pre-kindergarten last night. Well, one of them anyways. She attends a half-day pre-k program at our neighborhood public school. Then a few days a week, she finishes the day at our company’s childcare center run by the YMCA. It’s from the latter that she officially graduated during a cute program that included a prayer, a patriotic song, the Pledge of Allegiance, 26 short songs that covered the alphabet and a touching video and song tribute about their great-grandparents as guardian angels. I might have even teared up, had I not been alternately wielding a video camera and sharing chase-the-toddler duties with my husband. She was most concerned about what she was going to wear. When I told her she needed to dress up, her predictable reply was, “As what?” I picked out an adorable turquoise dress with bright-colored polka dots. She was having none of that, demanding to know why I didn’t grab the dress she had set out. She won that disagreement. It was her graduation after all.
Then today she lost her first tooth and a potential crisis was averted. Yesterday, she asked if loose teeth changed colors. I said no and didn’t give it another thought. Until this morning. I noticed her wiggly tooth was a shade of gray and her gum was red. The dentist said to bring her on in so she could check it out. But when I picked her up from school, she was all grins, with an empty space where one of teachers had pulled it. No need to see the dentist. And no need to worry that trauma would make her terrified of losing the next tooth. Turns out, this particular teacher is a tooth-pulling expert! Now, to figure out what the tooth fairy pays these days … Christy
My kids are a long ways from needing to know the ins and outs of interest rates and other financial rates. But this story about how little high school seniors know about the basics of personal finance has me wondering at what age parents should start teaching their children about basic spending and saving. How young is too young for an allowance? Should there be limits on how much can be saved and spent? I’d love to know what been there, done that parents chose to do and what they learned. –Christy
Does a ladybug know it’s a ladybug? Do ants talk? Do ants talk to ladybugs?These were all the thoughts going through my 5-year-old daughter’s head when she was supposed to be practicing t-ball. But who can worry about not getting hit in the face with the ball when there’s a ladybug flitting around? It’s fitting, really, considering her team is called the ladybugs. To the first question, I had to answer that I have no idea. She didn’t even wait for answers to the other questions before launching into even more about ants, ladybugs and various other “icky creatures,” as she calls them these days. No doubt the questions won’t get any easier with age. If I don’t know the answers at age 5, what the heck am I going to do five or even 10 years from now?Last week, we were making our way through the nightmare known as the intersection at Pennsylvania Avenue and Memorial Road when she saw a panhandler holding a sign that read: “Family in need of help. God bless you.” And so it began. “What’s that sign say?” “Why is that woman holding the sign?” “Are we going to help her?” I won’t pretend I had the right answer or even anything close. I told her, of course, what the sign said. And explained that sometimes people don’t have enough money to buy all of the things they need to keep them safe and healthy. And to the last question, I told her that we try to help people when we can but that it’s not really safe to just roll down your window and start talking to strangers. Her attention quickly turned to something else. Mine didn’t. It feels somewhat hypocritical to work so hard at teaching children to care about others but then pass up such a visible opportunity. There are other opportunities we as a family don’t pass up. We’ve adopted families at Christmas and allowed her to participate in projects for the benefit of others. Truth is, she’s asking some important questions, even if she doesn’t know it yet. I’d be OK if she’d stick to questions with answers that are just a Google search away. –Christy