Sunday, September 11, 2011

the pox....

.... my children have contracted an illness known as hand, foot, and mouth disease.  Wouldn't you know, it is the same thing as hoof and mouth disease that animals get.  Leave it to a veterinarian's pack of kiddos...  Fortunately, the dogs and cat are safe since the respective human and animal strains of this virus don't cross that particular species line. 

This virus is characterized by an unexplained high fever for about 48 hours.  Just about the time the fever breaks and you figure your child has finally kicked yet another fever virus, these horribly painful blisters appear on the soles of their feet, palms of their hands, inside the mouth and throat, and the diaper area.  It has not been the most fun my children have ever had, but I think we've found a few remedies that have made waiting this virus out a bit more palatable. 

For starters, we don't ever let the Tylenol expire.  They are getting their recommended dosages every four hours whether they act like they need it or not.  To wait until they act like they need it ensures that you will endure over an hour of holding your screaming child as they writhe in pain over the blisters covering the most random parts of their body.  It's amazing to me that a dose of Tylenol seems to keep this monster at bay.  Our other remedies include ice packs on the most sore spots, which have tended to be the kiddo's feet, and lots of movies.  I think the ice is partly a placebo effect, making the kiddos feel better because Mommy is doing something for them other than chanting, "I'm so sorry.  I'm so sorry." over and over as they wail and gnash their teeth while writhing in my lap.  I do think the ice has a small numbing effect which has to help the my-feet-are-on-fire-because-they-are-covered-in-blisters symptom. 

Here are my babes watching a movie while icing their feet.  Yes, we use frozen brussel sprouts as ice packs.  The only useful way to use the vile weed, according to my children.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

kindergarten...

....  homeschooling is something I've always been open to.  Since Emory won't be 5 until October, yet has been pining away to begin school, we've decided to do kindergarten at home this year.  If it goes well, we'll do first grade at home next year.  If this is a bust, she'll go to kindergarten at a local classical school.

    So far so good.  The first week was really, really hard.  Emory does well, very well.  Ethan has been harder to occupy while I teach Emory, while Ella Margaret either sleeps or is content to be held.  I was fairly discouraged until Emory's first soccer practice when I got to chat with a mom who is on her second year of homeschooling and has children the same age as mine, with one extra thrown in there.  Our educational approach is very similar (I'm doing a blend of classical and Montessori) and she had some good ideas that have worked well for me.

For starters, I have stopped focusing on getting school done by a certain time.  We start around the time I put the baby down for her morning nap and get started on the hardest subjects first.  This first session is about 45 minutes.  Then, I just sneak in another small session or two throughout the rest of the day.  Emory has asked that she has an art project each day, and she usually completes that while I make supper.  So far, this system has worked far better. 

I've doing weekly thematic units, and I am planning my own curriculum which is a lot of fun but very time consuming as well.  If I teach Emory at home next year, we'll definately be purchasing a curriculum.  Here is a photo of my little scholar hard at work...