Mommy Lesson 313: Say Ahhhhhh

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I am a nurse. I have no doubt that children who’s parents work in the medical field are different than children who’s parents do not. I even found proof in an articles that list 21 signs you were raised by a nurse; my children meet the majority of the criteria. They have toys like stethoscopes, empty syringes (with no needles), face masks, gloves, tongue depressors, and other nurse paraphernalia. My children have been taught appropriate terminology for specific body parts (I’m sorry in advance if they share this information with your child). My daughter uses terms and phrases such as, “I’ve been injured”, “should we amputate”, and “I think I’ll survive”.

As a mom who is also a nurse, I have an adequately stocked medicine cabinet. It is clearly labeled with a bin specifically for children and a bin for adults. I have a drawer for medicine administration complete with syringes and medicine cups. Need a pill crusher? I’ve got one of those too. I have a lovely little canvas organizer labeled “emergencies” complete with rubbing alcohol, gauze, bandages, antibiotic ointment and the like. On the top shelf is a set of sheets for the kids bed and an ice bucket which traveled home with us from a hotel room the weekend my husband and I went away for our anniversary and he spent most of it puking his guts up. It is labeled, emesis.

 

My daughter takes after her mother, she loves go take care of things. She can often be found with a menagerie of stuffed animals making them feel better. She can perform a full head to toe assessment in ten seconds flat and can diagnose and prescribe treatment within the next minute. When she grows tired of the stuffed animals, or feels the need for a challenge she will frequently turn her attention to the dog. If she is satisfied that all of her toys and pets have been adequately cared for and still has a hankerin’ to provide some medical attention, she will approach myself or her daddy.

Today provided her with with a relatively low patient census, so she offered me her services and medical expertise. I sat in the living room folding matching socks when she approached with a concerned look on her face.

“Oh mommy, you don’t look so good, I think you need a checkup”.

“Oh, wow, thanks honey, that was sweet” I said with a slight sarcastic undertone. I sat patiently while she listened to my heart beat, checked my eyes and ears. She felt my forehead with the back of her hand and then cheek to rule out a raging fever.

“Say Ahhhhhhh” she demanded, I complied, and she peered inside with a furrowed brow. “I’m going to have to take your temperature” before I could refuse she expertly crammed a purple painted Popsicle stick into my mouth.

She yanked the soggy stick out and glanced at it. She dismissively waved her hand at me, “You’re fine mommy”, I was clear to proceed about my business. She gathered her supplies and spied the dog. I turned my attention back to the socks only half listening to her chatter. The dog had already had multiple assessment throughout the day, and although she appeared to be pouting, she sat patiently, waiting for her clean bill of health.

I glanced up when I heard a disgruntled snort escape from the snobby shitzu and found Dr. A with a very familiar purple Popsicle stick pressed against the cranky canines butt. I stared at her with a combination of shock and horror flitting through my brain.

“Ummm, peanut, whatchya doin?” I squeaked. “Im checking Mya’s temperature, but don’t worry, I’m only putting it on her butt, not in it like you have to do with brother.”

Please please PLEASE don’t answer the next question with yes, I thought to myself. “Oh, well, okay, uuuhhh, this is the first time you have checked her temperature right? I mean you didn’t check it before you checked mommy’s temperature?”

“Well yea, she had a fever earlier when I checked it, so I wanted to recheck it. I also had to use it to look in her mouth.” She stared at me, gauging my reaction.

“Uhoh, mommy, do you need the emesis bucket?” She came over to pat my shoulder.

“No honey, mommy is just going go brush her teeth…..for an hour…..or six…possibly with bleach…”

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Mommy Lesson 612: Anatomically Correct

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The smallest functioning unit in the human body is the cell. Every human body is made up of millions and millions of cells. Cells group together and form tissues, tissues form organs, organs form systems and the systems make up our bodies. While our makeup may be the same, the words we use to describe certain body parts may be quite different. For example a head could be known as a noggin, dome, hat rack, cranium or even melon.

There is no end to the alternate words that can used to describe our pieces and parts. Some are familiar; tummy, piggies, booty or peepers, while some are a little off the wall; pot, boats, meat hooks or noodle. My husband and I often use a variety of these words when discussing body parts with our little ones, but the one area that we have held firm to anatomical correctness is the penis. The nurse in me cannot bring myself to call it a peepee, wiener, weewee or Mr.Winkie.

When we brought our son home and bathed him for the first time, our very observant two year old pointed to, attempted to pull on, and asked “what’s that?”

“That is your brothers penis, boys have them, and we don’t pull on it” was my succinct response. As our son has grown, like most boys, he has developed an uncanny awareness and coordination related to his private parts. Within seconds of his diaper being removed, his little hands immediately travel south to reassure himself that his penis is indeed still there. When getting ready for the bath, a quick glance is not sufficient to provide reassurance, and a tug is seemingly necessary. On any given day the words “don’t pull on your penis” can be heard at least ten times around our house. Using correct terminology has its pros and cons, sometimes the cons can lead to a significant amount of embarrassment.

A few days ago we were standing in the checkout line at our local Walmart, the children were behaving and i was beaming with pride that we had made it through the store without incident. I efficiently sorted my items and placed them on the belt, frequently glancing at the kiddos, insuring they were still behaving like angels. I pulled my last two items out of the cart; Gabe was gleefully kicking his feet and Abi was thoughtfully staring off behind us. My attention was on the cashier, but I saw Abi tilt her head slightly out of the corner of my eye (this has become a common sign that unexpected is about to come of of her mouth). I turned in just enough time to hear her very matter of factly say,

“Mommy says we don’t pull on our penis”. I met the eyes of a gentleman who had just been caught mid-adjustment by my hyper observant preschooler.

With my face a flattering color of crimson, I attempted to organize my thoughts and explain;

“Um, so, um, well you see her brother is a boy, (obviously) and well like most guys he’s kind of enamored with his penis (they are right?) so we just remind him to, um, well, you know, not yank on it….”
He stared silently, mouth open, face the same color as the tomatoes I just purchased, with his wife laughing hysterically behind him. I paid and practically ran out of the store pulling Abi behind me.

I quickly explained to Abi, that while we tell brother not to do it, we shouldn’t really tell other people not to do it, because a penis is a private thing. Her response “well noses aren’t private, can I tell people we don’t pick them?”

Absolutely daughter, you go right on ahead and explain to the next person we see knuckle deep in their nostril that it is entirely inappropriate, mommy will just die of embarrassment.

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