Friday, June 17, 2011

Five Summer Freak-Outs for Moms

Okay, so I adore Summer Break.  However, summer is the season for me to freak out about stuff that for some reason, our parents didn't even worry about.

Awww ... sunburn is so cute!  Surprisingly, Noxzema did not prevent my shoulders  from turning into a field of dysplastic moles.
1. Sunburn.  If you're in your thirties or older, you remember the coconut smell of that brown bottle of Coppertone.  One eight-ounce bottle lasted about three summers, and the cap was all encrusted with sand.  I believe that "suntan lotion" had about SPF 0.003.  You know how now they tell you that even a few bad, peeling sunburns as a child increase your chance of skin cancer later in life?  Yeah ... things are not looking so good for me.  Plus, during the time we were crisping my skin on the rocky beaches of Rhode Island, my grandfather was having melanomas removed.  Now I go to the dermatologist every six months so weird-looking moles can be lopped off.

Now when you see the crazy lady at the beach whose entire family is wearing long-sleeve rash guards and giant floppy hats?  That's me.  Also, obviously, I am now a sunblock freak.  I buy sunblock by the gallon.  Literally.  I buy gallon-sized jars of a sunblock that's made for Australian people, where there is no ozone layer left anymore.  (By the way, sorry about that, Aussies.  I assume my excessive use of AquaNet in 1987 is at least partly to blame for that.) 

My kids used to complain about it, but then I took them with me to the dermatologist for one of my mole inspections.  He removed three dysplastic moles at that appointment.  They turned to the wall and sang Girl Scout songs during the removal, but they got the picture.  Also, I have trained them to say "I'll thank you when I'm thirty" while I apply the sunblock.


"Dear Crazy Mom, Thanks for your Dead Bird report.  Please don't call us."
2. Mosquitos.  I freaking hate mosquitos.  The Peanut Butter Kid and I are mosquito magnets, and then the bites swell up into quarter-sized hives.  And there is no sound quite as annoying as the high-pitched whine of a mosquito hovering around your head in the dark while you're trying to sleep. 

All that is bad enough.  But now there is West Nile Virus to freak out about.  Last weekend I found a dead bird in my backyard and got about ten mosquito bites all within the space of about five minutes: let the freak out begin.  I reported the dead bird through Pennsylvania's handy "I Found a Dead Bird" West Nile Freak-Out Reporting Page.  I assume the good people at the Pennsylvania Department of Health put this page up so that crazy moms would stop calling them every time they find a cat with a dead bird in its mouth.  The best part of reporting a dead bird through this website is the subsequent e-mail you receive, with the subject line, "Thanks for your Dead Bird report."


There ya go!  That 4-ounce popsicle should hold you for the next 10 hours.
3. Dehydration.  When I was a kid, one popsicle in the afternoon was apparently enough to keep us hydrated.  Now I need to carry water with us at all times, plus possibly a back-up IV.  My dad asked why they can't just drink when they get thirsty.  I don't know.  It might have something to do with the fact that they are so unaware of their own bodies, they can't tell they need to go to the bathroom until it's a dire emergency.  (Note: this system sucks in a house with one bathroom.  Because as soon as one kid realizes she has to pee like a racehorse, at least one other kid will realize the same thing.)

Also, I cannot just buy bottled water while we're out, because then I get a lecture from my environmentally-conscious kids.  So I have to plan ahead (not my strong suit) and bring water in a reusable bottle.  And don't forget: the bottle cannot have BPA in it, because that causes autism.  Oh, wait ... too late.


"Children Losing Their Math Facts,"
by Mary Cassatt, 1884.
4. Brain Drain.  As smart as my kids are, the learning falls right out of their heads during the summer.  This is especially true of math facts.  I wouldn't care so much except then in September, I have to spend more time helping them with their homework.  If I just stay up their butts all summer with flashcards, it actually saves me time in the long run.  This is one of those things we didn't worry about when we were kids, because, let's face it, school moved a lot slower back in those days.  It was okay if you didn't know your alphabet in first grade.  Now you need to be able to parse sentences and draw Venn diagrams.


I'm not sure our dinner table needs a percussion section.
5. The "Medication Vacation."  Oh. My. Gawd.  We have had ONE day with the Pork Lo Maniac off the medication, and I'm already questioning whether we can do a whole summer like this.  Honestly, it doesn't seem to bother the Pork Lo Maniac as much as it bothers the rest of us, especially her twin sister.  The ADHD meds help keep her fidgeting and repetitive sounds under control.  We spent the entire day yesterday listening to her be a human beat box.  I can tune it out pretty well, but Cookie needed ear plugs.  "I'm with her all. the. time.

32 comments:

  1. I think Stark Raving Mad Mommy needs some yoga!
    :-) At least we don't have the fire ants, here. Right?

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  2. I can soooo relate to this!

    Also-let PLM stay on her meds. Go on amazon.com and order several cases of Orgain. It's like Ensure... individually packaged little protein shakes, comes in chocolate and vanilla, but made with organic dairy and fruits/vegetables/vitamins and such. Expensive as all get-out, but kids love 'em and it's worth it if she gains a little weight AND you haven't murdered her by the end of the summer. A balance that is worth striking, right?

    (Only problem with Orgain is, my four-year-old who does not have his brother's ADHD or food allergies or ultra-skinny build ALSO loves them and wants to drink one or two a day at $3 a pop. I feel like an asshole saying "NO! Those are expensive, they're only for your brother.")

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  3. Adore! This was great!

    I do have to admit thought that when I read the phrase "Venn diagrams" I got very cringe-y.

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  4. I'm right there with you about all of your freak outs. You forgot about ticks though. I've been freaking out about ticks. I HATE ticks. I actually wrote an 8 piece series on what happened last summer when my brood and I moved from Cali to New England and within weeks my ASD, preverbal son had full on lyme meningitis. I'm freaking out! I may just move into a cinder block and spend my summer there.

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  5. "bpa causes autism, oh wait to late" thank you for your snarkey- ness this am.... im pretty sure you and i could be besties. that sence of humor is hard to find.

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  6. I can relate...you and I were probably crisping ourselves on the same RI beach...Salty Brine or Scarborough? I can still hear my mother telling me I needed some "color." A redhead with freckles and I need "color?" I distinctly remember my back turning into the likes of bubblewrap...

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  7. I totally hear ya on the sunscreen issue. Leaving for the beach tomorrow, first time in 20 years or so. Trip planned BEFORE my father had sections of his ears removed due to skin cancer. My red haired father who hated the sun and stayed inside as much as possible ALWAYS. So I am having major second thoughts about taking my child to the beach for the first time... trip that was supposed to be a great romp is stressing me out because of the sun!

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  8. Ditto.

    Love me some snarky about this topic, too. Summer is here for most of us, and with it comes a whole list of new anxieties and exhaustion.

    Cheers!

    PS (I have added your "Top Ten Things You Should (and Shouldn't) Say..." on my blog. I have also received many comments privately at how helpful it was to parents not living with autism. So thanks!)

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  9. The mosquitos here now are not the mosquitos of our youth. They are Asian Tiger mosquitos. They were wicked when we lived in south jersey, and it was part of why we moved back over to this side of the bridge, thinking that Jersey was just...a mosquito breeding ground. But the tiger bloodsuckers FOLLOWED US like 2 years later, and now they're eating us all damn day and night.

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  10. And here I thought I was the only kid whose mother covered her in Noxzema when sunburn hit. One of my clearest, earliest memories is of my lying on a hotel-room bed, coated in Noxzema after my first massive sunburn. When I tell my friends that we used Noxzema for sunburn, they look at me like I'm insane....which, of course, is completely correct. :)

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  11. I think the human beat box is the one attribute that makes me the craziest. And that's saying a LOT. Tell Cookie she and I can go hang out at the library. ;)

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  12. So it's just a waste of money for the kids because they grow so darn fast, but you should check this stuff out ==> http://www.sunprecautions.com/

    I got one of these years ago, and I LIVE in it during the summer... it's worth every penny in what you don't have to spend in greasing up with sunblock ==> http://www.sunprecautions.com/product/1500A11

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  13. We do rapid recall by little giant steps to Eliminate brain drain. I love the wickedly expensive program cause my involment in it is 10 seconds a day a reminder to "Do your math facts" and they RUN off to do them by themselves!!! Also it was designed by a Nuro brain developer so it works with spectrum kids ADHD and kids with audio or visual processing issues. Tho "normal" kids find it odd or weird but it still works with them. And if you put a plastic sheet over the pages you can use wipe off markers and reuse with each child.

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  14. I bet I can make you grateful that her noises are *only* human beatbox. Mine has a vocal stim that is so frakkin' loud his sister has to leave the room, and I have throbbing ear drums (literally, they ache and throb) by day's end. Haven't found a med that does anything for it.

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  15. Amen to the medication vacation. We shall see if my son survives the summer. It's been 3 weeks, and I was on a trip for on of them - I'm already going nuts.

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  16. I wasn't freaking out about summer. I was very Zen, Tao of Poohish. Now my a**hole's clenched so tight the Juvederm shot right out of my nasal labial folds!

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  17. Keep your daughter on the meds ... it's worth it!

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  18. Oh LAWD I'M NOT ALONE!!! I'm so covered in moles I'm like one big 'I totally have skin cancer' panic attack all the time. Out of curiosity, I thought you'd mentioned excema problems, if so, this sunblock doesn't aggravate it? My FAIR skinned 2 year old is having the worst outbreak due to sunscreen and I don't know what to try.

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  19. Also, I never thought I'd hear myself say; "If you don't take a drink of your princess water I'm going to pour it in your mouth! It's hot and it will help your poops!" I'm so much fun at the park...

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  20. May I borrow your retitled Mary Cassatt and repost it? PLEASE???
    csiecke@comcast.net

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  21. Yep! My husband says he knows when I forget to take my Adderall from the vocal stims. My favorite is to imitate the guinea pigs. Delightful. ;)

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  22. Greetings from Australia! ;-) I'm a yank but I live downunda now. People here are [rightly so] obsessed with sun protection. Kids are REQUIRED to wear hats to school during the warm weather terms, there are sun shades over play equipement and lots of kids (and mums and dads) wear rashees and hats at the beach / to the pool. (And, we have little pop-up sun shelter tents!) You'd fit right in!

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  23. Medication vacation....the BANE of my Summer....

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  24. Our moms had it so easy, didn't they? My mom smoked while pregnant (which is what I blame my lack of intelligence on. If she hadn't smoked, I'm sure I'd have been accepted to Yale or something) never applied sunblock, and couldn't have cared less about mosquitoes. I swear, when I get cancer, it will be all her fault.

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  25. Hey SRMM - how did you get that picture of me in the Noxzema ad? I swear some of my fondest memories of summer involve my sisters and I peeling each others backs while watching MTV (ya know when it actually played music videos). Now my kids are so white from wearing sunscreen all the time that they practically glow. The times they are a changin'

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  26. Loving your blog.
    Funny tangent about the mosquitos- We lived in Germany for 3 years from the time my oldest was 2-5. No mosquitos. They didn't even have screens on the windows. When we moved back he came out of his room crying because there was a monster making noise in his ear.

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  27. We have been off Meds for 2 weeks. We have done it every summer for 4 years. Mine is now 13 so we do talk about what it means to be off Meds, etc.
    It has been my experience that things get better. There is a certain amount of detox when he is at his worst, eventually he learns to manage himself a bit more.

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  28. One of my friends just linked you on fb and I have to say you've made my evening. Every time I think I'm about to go clean the kitchen like a responsible adult I click on another link and laugh until tears stream down my face.

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  29. this was our first year with math facts. it never occured to me if we took the summer off, we'd pay for it in the fall. that'll be a fun convo w/ my daughter telling her to practice them this summter, but def. better than learnin' them all again when school starts!

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  30. Oh, do I hear you on the medication vacation. I felt like we really should try it, since my little guy has been medicated for 3 or 4 years now, but just lowering the dosage a bit has brought on the manic giggle that make my blood run cold. Hoping for the best.

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  31. i so wish i adored summer break!! i am counting down the days until these 4 hooligans go back to school!! :)

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