When Your Kids End Up in the Emergency Room

This past week was the first time (Except for when my first daughter was born) that I was very worried about one of my kids’ health. On Tuesday my youngest ended up in the emergency room because her oxygen levels were low due to her having RSV (Respiratory syncytial virus).

It started when I was sitting in a meeting at the office and I started getting texts, then phone calls from my wife. I didn’t pay attention at first since I was leading the meeting. After the meeting I got my phone out and I realized something must be very wrong. When I called my wife back that is when I found out what was going on. I immediately felt guilty because I could have answered the phone earlier but I didn’t. When I got to the hospital the doctors still didn’t know what was going on which made it worse of course. At that point I needed to get my older daughter home because she was very upset about what was happening to her little sister.

Once I was back home with my older daughter we settled down a bit and focused on getting her dinner and ready for bed. By about 5:30 pm we finally knew what we were dealing with, RSV. About another hour after that we knew that my youngest daughter would not need to spend the night at the ER which was a relief to us all. When my wife and daughter finally got back home it was about 8:30 pm. From that point it took about another hour to get her to bed because of the steroids they had given her to help her breathing.

I guess there is a first time for everything but I would have been happy not to have had it. It always puts things in perspective when one of your children are ill or in some other kind of danger. You remember just how much they and your family mean to you and that you would give anything to make sure they are always safe, healthy and happy.

 

The Blizzard of 2017

Daddy is the bravest! daddy is good! daddy is brave!

That is what I heard coming from the sliding door to the deck as I shoveled through 30 inches of snow during the blizzard of 2017. While I of course don’t think of myself as brave for shoveling and snow blowing in the storm, it makes me realize just how much I love my daughters.

In total we probably got about 26 inches of snow in open areas and 30+ inches of snow where it drifted since the winds were blowing at about 30 mph. In the years that we have lived in this area this is by far the larges snow total I have seen in a single storm. I went out twice today to snow blow, shovel and clear of the cars which pretty much took care of the bulk of the snow. The work in the morning will be just light clean up work from the other inch or so we will get before midnight.

For all of the rest of you in this storm’s path, Please stay safe and stay of the road if you can at least through the day tomorrow. And of course, take your kids outside to play in all of this snow!

Rocky Forgot How To Fly

Apparently this is what happens to Rocky when he forgets how to fly, or at least this is what I imagine would happen to him if he did in mid-flight. It appears one of our Squirrel friends fell out of one of our trees at some point during the past few days and decided to expire in our backyard. Naturally my oldest daughter discovered this while we were playing and proceeded to freak out a bit which then caused my youngest daughter to do the same thing. I quickly got them in the house so that they could calm down a bit while dad prepared to do his fatherly duty.

Once the kids were inside I grabbed a couple of plastic bags and a shovel and went out to the backyard to dispose of Rocky the squirrel. My daughters were plastered to the sliding door to our deck so that they could watch daddy do whatever it was he was going to do with this dead squirrel. I scooped up Rocky and triple bagged him and threw him in the garbage. Normally I would have buried him but you have to understand that this is not the first time something like this has happened and I am running out of good spots to put dead animals in the yard. Every year a couple of birds, squirrels or chipmunks decide to make our yard their chosen place to die and I end up cleaning up the results.

After my clean up duty was completed I went back inside to wash my hands where I was greeted by my wide who relayed what had been happening while I was removing Rocky, Apparently my daughters had decided that daddy is very brave and a hero for taking care of this situation, to which I replied, “all in a day’s work ladies.”

Just another day, being a dad.

Potty Time Chickies

My youngest daughter has been potty training over the last several weeks and this past weekend she took the final step and stopped wearing any type of diaper/pull-up to bed. This of course has presented a challenge since my oldest daughter is potty trained but has yet to graduate to not wearing any type of diaper/pull-up at night.

For whatever reason my oldest daughter has not been able to have that type of control yet and my wife and I have not made a big deal out of it. She is completely potty trained during the day but bedtime continues to elude us. Being the big sister though and fairly competitive she doesn’t like that her little sister is now able to sleep through the night without any issues and she can’t. This has caused her to declare that she is going to wear normal underwear to bed as well since her sister is doing so. Tonight is her first night not wearing normal underwear to bed and I suspect it is going to prove to be an interesting night. Before going to sleep tonight she was hypersensitive to her need to go potty and must have done so at least four times before going to sleep. She clearly was nervous about the experience that lay ahead but she remained committed to seeing it through. She even tucked herself into her bed after going potty the last time and she has never done that before because she knows that if she gets up in the middle of the night she may need to do that.

Obviously my wife and I want to see our oldest daughter succeed and we will be by her side until she does but I am definitely nervous. I am nervous that she will compare herself to her younger sister and feel she is somehow less capable than her if this does not go well. It is strange to think that something like this could cause issues but my oldest daughter is sensitive enough so that it might. I honestly can say that I never thought teaching a little person to go to the bathroom would be this difficult for me or them. It never ceases to amaze me how being a parent and facing the seemingly minor issues in life can be more challenging than almost anything I encounter professionally on a daily basis as an executive.

Bath Time = Enhanced Interrogation

Since when does bath time have to be like an enhanced interrogation session? My youngest daughter seems to think it is and fights tooth and nail to get out of the situation when all we are trying to do is wash her hair. Needless to say it makes bath time not so fun even if we had a rubber ducky.

This is of course in direct contrast to my oldest who loves bath time and would gladly stay in there for hours. We will sit there and listen to music, play games, talk, etc. and have a good time. Why can’t my little one be this way? It would make my life so much easier if they both would be happy bath time buddies.

I can dream I guess.

STEM Toys – Telescope Buying Advice Needed

My daughter and I have been getting interested in star gazing lately (she is especially interested in looking at Venus) and I am considering getting a telescope. Unfortunately, I am completely clueless when it comes to what constitutes a good telescope for children that is both easy to use and decent enough quality to actually see something with good resolution. My normal go-to, Consumer Reports, doesn’t really have any information about these devices so that doesn’t help me at all. Therefore, I am stuck looking at Amazon reviews which are somewhat suspect at best and I don’t always trust them.

I need some advice on this topic from my readers and I would love to have people post links to models that they like to assist others in their search.

The 2016 Geek Dad Holiday Buying Guide

Here it is, the 2016 geek dad buying guide. This will be continually updated as I come across more cool stuff that will ensure your kids have fun and learn something at the same time!

Computers

  1. Piper – Build your own computer and use Minecraft to craft virtual and physical gadgets.
  2. Raspberry Pi 3 – Want to build your own media center PC? Run a Minecraft server? Learn how to program and prototype electronics? Learn Linux? The Raspberry Pi 3 is the way to go.
  3. Tynker – Teach your kids how to code by making Minecraft mods and more.

Electronics / Engineering

  1. Littlebits – Build electronics and circuits without all the wires, breadboards and soldering. Just snap them together and turn them on!
  2. Snap Circuits – Build and learn about electronic circuits by snapping pieces together.
  3. Lego Mindstorms – Legos + Robotics  + Programming = Amazeballs!
  4. Arduino Uno – Want to teach your kids how to program and create electronic circuits, control motors, manipulate servos and more? This is the kit for you!

Space

  1. The Solar System for Preschoolers – It’s never too early to teach your kids about the planets and reminisce about the good old days when Pluto was one of them.
  2. The Motorized Solar System – Watch the planets rotate and orbit in style!

Toys

  1. Lego Bucket Wheel Excavator – Possibly the most amazing Lego Technics set ever. It will require mom or dad to work with the kids to get it done but it will be well worth it.
  2. Periodic Table Building Blocks – Build the elements up and tear them back down.

Makers

  1. A 3D Printer – Sure they aren’t cheap but if you want to create things and make your own toys, etc. a 3D printer will be an awesome addition to your gadget collection.

Baby Toys

  1. The Calculator Teething Toy – Now your infant can learn their numbers and get their teeth in at the same time!

Books

  1. The New Way Things Work – Possibly the most amazing book about how all of the things around you work everyday. This is one of my favorites and I still have a copy even as an adult.

Games

  1. Qwirkle – A great family game that requires strategy and a little luck. It is a staple around our house during the holidays when family is visiting.

Odds and Ends

  1. The Tardis Nightlight – Don’t leave your little time traveler in the dark, equip them with a Tardis nightlight instead.
  2. Moon in Your Room – What is better than the moon for a nightlight?

Halloween – Tips for Parents

It’s time, tomorrow is Halloween and we as parents need to make sure our kids all stay safe while they are out trick-or-treating. Let’s go over some general safety tips that everyone should be following this year:

Safety

  1. Always accompany your kids during trick-or-treating, especially if they are 12 years old or younger.
  2. Make sure you practice crossing all roads safely. Look both ways and keep an eye out for any traffic as you cross.
  3. Don’t walk looking at cell phones, games, etc. Distracted walking can be just as dangerous as distracted driving.
  4. Keep to sidewalks and lighted paths whenever possible.
  5. Make sure your children’s costumes are safe. They should have reflective elements on their costumes to ensure cars can see them.
  6. Children and/or parents should carry flashlights or glow sticks with them to increase their visibility.
  7. For younger children, go out early to avoid larger crowds of older children.
  8. Only go to houses that have their lights on and are obviously participating in trick-or-treating.

The Treats

  1. Make sure you look over all of the candy or food that your children receive prior to your kids eating it.
  2. Don’t take or eat anything that is not pre-packaged or homemade.
  3. Make sure all packaging is not damaged or opened.
  4. Get your treats examined via x-ray if any of the medical providers in your area offer it to avoid ingesting foreign objects.

More Resources

  1. FDA – Halloween Food Safety Tips for Parents
  2. CDC – Halloween Health and Safety Tips
  3. Kids.gov – Five Tips to Make Your Halloween Safe
  4. American Academy of Pediatrics – Halloween Safety Tips 2016
  5. Parents.com – Halloween Safety Tips Every Parent Should Know
  6. Safekids.org – Halloween Safety Tips

Stay safe out there everyone and have fun!