Category Archives: Child’s Play

Church of the What???


Good morning Everyone!

Last weekend, Mark, Kayla and I went to Huntsville to attend a recital given by one of my sisters, who is a gifted soprano.  The recital was at her church, so as Mark and I were looking for the church’s address on our Garmin.  Mark asked what I was looking under, and I told him “Church of the Nativity.”

In the back seat of the car, Kayla (who fades randomly in and out of conversations these days with often hilarious results) said suddenly,” That’s a terrible name for a church!”

When asked to explain, she said,” The Church of Negativity? Who would want to go there?”

It took Mark 3 blinks and me 5 to contain our amusement where we could calmly explain that the deletion of two letters changed the meaning from something unpleasant to something wonderful.

She did roll her eyes at me when I announced after the explanation, “Coming soon to a blog near you!”

Have a great day!

Nancy

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Maternity Fraternity


Good morning Everyone!

Copyright Protected by www.clickartonline.com.  Used with Permission.

Copyright Protected by http://www.clickartonline.com. Used with Permission.

We were driving around a shopping center this weekend to find an American Eagle Outfitter – Kayla had thirty dollars burning a hole in her pocket.  On our way to the store, Kayla suddenly piped up with “Gee, they must be really big to have one of those!  I didn’t know they had a college here!”

Mark and I asked together,” One of those what?”

She said,” You know, one of those places where college boys get together and have parties. ”

We were dumbfounded for about 5 seconds until light broke through our befuddlement.

We then took a few minutes to explain that the difference between the words “maternity” and “fraternity” was more than just spelling.

Maternity.  Copyright Protected by www.clickartonline.com.  Used with Permission.

Maternity. Copyright Protected by http://www.clickartonline.com. Used with Permission.

Have a great day!

Nancy

Hell’s Itch – No Laughing Matter


 

Good morning Everyone!

My Easter Sunday plans did not include spending the afternoon staring with concern at my daughter writhing on the floor, rubbing her back on a towel and crying.  We had just returned from a five-day trip to the beach that morning. While we were there, Kayla spent one glorious five-hour stint in the water playing with some friends she had made that morning and wound up with an equally splendid sunburn on her back.  Until Easter afternoon, it had been pretty much like any other sunburn, but what Kayla was experiencing then was a whole different order of magnitude.  There was no doubt in my mind that she was sincere but I couldn’t figure out what was going on.

Mark woke up just as I was getting ready to take her somewhere for help, and suggested instead that I first give her Benadryl and some Tylenol.  I did, and it seemed to help for about an hour and a half, then everything started all over again.  While Kayla was calm, we asked her what it felt like, and she said when the itch got bad and she started crying, she felt like she had a thousand knives stabbing deep into her back, causing great pain and a deep, burning itch.  When the itch started to come back after an hour and a half, we gave her two Advil and I took her to our local Doc-In-The-Box.

Apparently, arriving at 5:30 p.m. on Easter Sunday when the clinic closes at 6 ensures swift service.  Kayla was their only patient.  I was a little annoyed at the doctor because I didn’t think she really was taking Kayla and me seriously, but she did consent to give Kayla a shot of Benadryl and prescribe a stronger antihistamine in case the Benadryl didn’t work.  She also told me to get some Cortisone cream and Benadryl cream to put on Kayla’s back.

I called Mark at 5:55 – the prescription had been called into our local pharmacy, which closed at 6, and Kayla and I were about 30 minutes away – and he won Father-of-the-Year award for making it to CVS in less than four minutes to pick up the prescription.

We were fortunate that he was able to do so, because about 10:00 p.m., by the time the Benadryl shot had worn off, Kayla came into our bedroom and woke me up to tell me that her back had started itching again and she wanted me to put the cortisone cream and Benadryl cream on her.  I carefully applied the lotions, but by the time I finished, she was back to writhing in agony again and begging me to take the lotions back off.  Mark woke up because he heard us.  After I wiped the creams back off as best I could,  we had Kayla take an Aveeno oatmeal bath.  (Another remedy suggested by the doctor.)

After she got out of the bath, her back had calmed down a little again, so the three of us sat up for a while.  While we sat,  I did what any stumped parent would do – I googled “intense sunburn itch.”  The results surprised me.

Apparently, there are a number of people out there – adults as well as children – that have experienced the same thing.   The people who have had this happen to them called it either “Hell’s Itch” or ICI – short for “insanity causing itch.”  The medical sites didn’t have a description of it or a name for it, but I know from our experience with Kayla that it exists.  All of the stories I found on the internet described the same symptoms that Kayla had experienced.  One sufferer was a former marine who admitted that he was embarrassed that this – whatever it is – had brought him to his knees.  Another was a former paratrooper who said the same thing.  The adults who described it said that it felt like fire ants were crawling underneath your skin, constantly biting you.

A very important point to remember if you encounter this is that all of the normal sunburn remedies – aloe vera, cortisone and antihistamine creams – only make the itch worse.

There were only three things that seemed to help the people who experienced this – and two of them were the opposite of what you would do for a normal sunburn.  The first remedy that gave most people relief was to take a scalding hot shower for at least 15 to 20 minutes.  The second remedy was peppermint oil, which is not something I keep on hand.  The third remedy that helped was the prescription antihistamine.  The brand name for it is Aderax and the generic is something like hydroxidine HCL.  With Kayla, basic pain relievers like Tylenol and Advil also helped, although without the antihistamines the most they did was take the edge off.

Hell’s Itch only happens to someone who has acquired a decent sunburn to some area of the body.  For reasons no one was certain of, about 48 hours later, each sufferer experienced an unbearable sensation that ran in waves over the places that were sunburnt.  Even if you are one of the 5 – 10% of people who ever experience this, it doesn’t happen every time you get sunburned.  Some people will experience it once and then not have it happen again for 20 years, even if they get sunburned in the meantime.  In almost everyone, the symptoms subside on their own after 8 to 48 hours.

All’s well that end’s well, of course, and by Tuesday, Kayla was back to normal.  Still, I wanted to share this with you in case you ever end up on the floor yourself writhing with this unbearable sensation, or, even worse, someone you love does.  As for me, I think I’m going to buy some peppermint oil and keep it on hand, just in case.

Have a great day!

Nancy

UPDATE:  7/8/2016 – Thank you to each of the over 11,000 people who have viewed this post since it was first published.  Please if you have time, look at some of my other posts.  I write about all kinds of things, with entertaining results.

I also need to remind everyone that I am not a doctor, and this blog post is not meant to give medical advice.  It is meant to let people who are experiencing this terrible condition that they are not alone, they are not crazy and there are some things that some people have found helpful.

A special thank you to the people who take the time to share their own experiences.  I know when Kayla went through this, I was infinitely relieved when I read about other people experiencing the same thing.

Finally, use your own judgment about when to see a physician.  In my opinion, if you don’t earlier, you DEFINITELY need to see a physician if you experience these symptoms more than 2 or 3 days at the latest.  (If it were me, I’m not sure I could make it as far as day 3).  Regular Hell’s Itch doesn’t seem to normally last that long.

 

Memories of a Sweet Dog


Hi Everyone!

I can still remember picking Tyra out at the Humane Society.  We had lost our first dog, Shadow, about a year before, and our other dog, Woof, didn’t like being alone, so we decided to see if we could find a second dog so she would have some company.  Woof didn’t like the shelter much; it was too noisy and loud, so we put her back in the car and returned.  (It was February 14, so the weather was not an issue.)  The first run we encountered had two dogs in it, and two placards with their names on them attached to the door.  One of them said “My name is Tyra, and I know how to sit!”  Mark looked at both dogs, said sit, and one of them, a pretty dog with black hair and white, brown and tan markings did.  (She rarely sat on command after that, but the one time in her life it counted, she certainly did!).  We asked the shelter volunteer if we could adopt her, and the attendant said, “I think that’s an excellent idea!”

Adopted Dog, Shelter, Homecoming

Tyra’s Second Day at Home

No matter how hard a kennel or shelter tries, dogs that reside there acquire the very potent “Eau de Dog” scent, so as soon as we got her home, we popped Tyra into a bathtub, and washed her. From then until the day that she died, that dog never put a foot onto the tile portion of a bathroom in any house we resided in. Apparently, we had inadvertently scarred her for life!

Every dog has a unique personality, and Tyra’s outstanding characteristic was her eagerness to please – not in the goofy, sloppy, wonderful way a lab does, as if his whole world revolves around that instant in time his owner asks him to do something , but in her own quiet, determined way.  She had been left at the kennel by her first family because they had a baby and no longer had time for her.   I always had the impression that she was determined that would never happen again.  Of course, she couldn’t know at first that our family has one firm rule about adoptions of any animal, canine or human – once you’re a member of the pack, you’re always a member of the pack – but I suspect she caught on after a while.

She adapted quickly and well, as this picture from that first summer show.

Dog, photograph, sleeping in the s

Tyra in the back yard in Montgomery

Even better, Woof regained the ability to sleep in the sun and be happy even when Mark and I weren’t in the yard.

Dog, Sleeping in the Sun, Old Dog

Woof in the Back Yard When Tyra was There

We didn’t know it at the time we adopted Tyra, but she was not going to be the only new member of our family that year. In mid-November, at long last, the people at the Alabama DHR told us that they had a child they would like us to consider taking in as a foster child, with hopes that we could adopt her eventually. By December 1, 2004, Kayla had come to live with us. Here is a picture of all five us right about then:

Family Photo

Family Photo

We all had new experiences to share that winter, including the dogs experiencing the joys of having a child on the floor with her Dad and a bunch of Lincoln Log train tracks.

Dogs, Child, Play

Train Tracks, Family and Paws

Kayla and Tyra bonded quickly.  It really helped Kayla understand what was going on with her when we could explain to her what happened to Tyra – and it helped Kayla trust us to keep loving her when she saw how we loved Tyra.

Kids, Dogs

Kayla and Big Dog

Sweet Kisses

Sweet Kisses

There are so many things that made her unique – like the fact that even when she was old and blind, she could hear you peel a banana from 50 yards away and arrive instantly to demand her fair share, or that the only time I ever knew her to intentionally go after another person or dog was when she thought one of us was threatened. She did it twice – once when she thought another dog was attacking Woof, and once when Kayla was four and answered the door when the doorbell rang, then screamed because she didn’t recognize the person there. That time, Tyra had four teenage boys treed on the trunk of their car in the few seconds it took Mark to fly from the back yard to the front door himself. I felt sorry for the boys – all they wanted were directions. Both times, there was not a mark on either the dog or the boys when all was said and done but she had made a believer out of all of them!

Her story here came to an end on March 22. We hadn’t really thought we were that close to the end, even though she was 14, but that weekend she simply couldn’t seem to lift herself up off our wooden floor or go down the stairs at all, so I dropped her off at the vet’s that day, afraid of what I would hear.  When the vet called me back, I think I knew what she was going to tell me before she said it.  Tyra’s back had many osteophytes on the spine that had grown to the point that they were impinging on her nerves. Dr. Mitchell explained that Tyra would be in constant, worsening pain from then on, and we made the only decision we could.

I am comforted by the thought that Tyra knew without a doubt that we loved her; Mark, Kayla and I all made it to the vet about 1/2 hour in advance so we could be with her, petting her and telling her how much we loved her, and then it was time.

I also expect that it was only seconds after leaving here that Tyra was with Shadow and Woof –  trying to help Woof explain to Shadow exactly what Mandy looks like.

Sleep well, sweet Tyra Belle.

Nancy

Hobbits, anyone?


Good morning Everyone!

As we drove to the store yesterday, to the complete and utter mystification of everyone in the car, Kayla announced,”I need a hobbit!”   To aid her obviously befuddled parents, she added helpfully, “You  know, like soccer or knitting or something.”

Knitting Needles, knitting

Knitting, anyone?

When we explained to her that she meant the word “hobby,” her eyes widened and she said, “No wonder my teachers looked at me so strangely when I told them.”

 

My suggestion that she take up the hobby of studying more for school was not met with enthusiasm.

Have a great day!

Nancy

Lost in Translation


Good morning Everyone!

I was writing  yesterday’s morning post with my habitual glass of Diet Coke beside me when Kayla approached with a straw in her hand.  Being the prescient parent that I am, I knew what she wanted, so immediately said,” Do not drink my drink.  There is an unopened can in the kitchen.”  (It’s not that I mind giving my daughter drinks, but I loathe the thought of her drinking from a drink I’m drinking; all I can think about are all the germs she encounters during the day at school and I at work and how I don’t want to share either with her.  And it’s a territorial thing, too.)

Since she’s not deaf, I know she heard me.   Did she turn on her heel and go forth to the kitchen?  Of course not.

Looking straight at me, she leaned down to put her straw in my drink.

I try hard not to get mad with Kayla in the morning, doing my best to be sure she starts her day off well.  A good friend gave me that advice, although she also warned me there would be mornings when I would be biting my tongue in half if I tried it.  It is a good idea and I have tried my best, but when Kayla ignored me yesterday I lost it.

I slammed my hand down on the sofa’s arm and shouted through gritted teeth, “Stop!  Quit ignoring me!” (What I really wanted to do was clutch my drink to my chest and shout “Mine!  Mine!  Mine!”)

Shocked, she wailed, “I just wanted some of your drink!”

I snarled,” And I told you  no, go get some from the can in the kitchen.”

The child had the nerve to answer, “Well, you don’t need to get all mad; I didn’t understand you!”

In keeping with the whole “bite-my-tongue” thing, I did not suggest that then perhaps she should attend English as a second language classes but let the moment pass so she could finish getting ready for her day.

It is a matter of record that she did not try to drink from my drink the rest of the morning.

Have a great day!

Nancy

 

 

 

A Letter from my Fourth Grade Self


Good morning Everyone!

Mark is steadily working on getting the garage unpacked so that we can get both cars in – winter is coming, and neither of us are fond of scraping ice or wiping cold wet dew off of our car windows.  While we were working on unpacking, we came across a box of keepsakes I got from my grandparents after they both passed away.  In it was the following letter to them from me in fourth grade.  I thought I would share it with you.  While I cannot, alas, replicate the handwriting on the computer, I will faithfully follow both the capitalization, color and spelling in the original.

Page 1 of Letter

Page 1 of Letter

Dear Grandma and Grampa, 

How are you?  I’m fine and am feeling happy.  It’s the “Fourth of July here and the time is 18 min. before 9:A.M.

Cheryl is going in to 2nd Grade.  I drew a picture of a Cat and it is good.  Guess what?  We have a dog for a little while.  Stacy is go to kinderegarden.   I have a bulliten board.  How is Clyde?  Cheryl and Stacy are fine.  I am going into fourth grade and know a little division.

Page 2 of Letter

Page 2 of Letter

Is Debbie Joe there?  Tell her that I’m taking sketching lessons and bowling lessons.  I wish you could call us and say hi and a few other things but most of all I wish you could come over and see us.  Debbie might like to here about Chinese Operas so I will tell abuot them.  They are rather noisy and the singing tone mostly in a high voice.  Shopping at the Exchange is fine, though I have not done it much.  Stacy is bugging me for a peice of paper

Page 3 of Letter

and just now got on from Dad.  Our Amah is vacuming the rug.  At night I like to listen to the Crickets and sing myself to sleep.  It’s pretty noisy just now.  I’ll write a story for you.

Yours truly,

Nancy Merilynn Linn

The Magic Book

Once when Language had not been invented but was just invented there Lived a Lovly maiden named Napoli  Now, once she had been free to do what she wanted

Page 4 of Letter

but a witch locked her up.  There was only one way to get her out of the cell and that was to find the book the Wisard of Os.”  Now a handsome prince came galloping along one day and every night came forth and Said “Come forth, Come forth please thee, Sweet Napoli.”

“And she would answer”

How Can I,

When Can I,

The cell cannot be unlocked by Poetry.

Countined in next Letter.

A few explanatory notes:

1) We were living in Taiwan at the time, the early ’70’s.  It was hard and expensive to make overseas calls from the United States.  There was no such thing as the internet, home pc’s or e-mail.

2) Stacy and Cheryl are my sisters.  Debbie Jo is my cousin.

3) Clyde was a dog that used to be ours but whom Mom and Dad had given to Grandma and Grandpa when we moved somewhere with base housing that didn’t allow pets.  Grandpa and Clyde, in particular, were great buddies.

4) An “Amah” is a live-in housekeeper.

5) Alas, a follow up letter with a story continuation either a) did not survive, or b) was not written, so Napoli remains locked up to this day!

Have a great day!

Nancy

A Fish Tale Only Jonah Would Believe


Hi Everyone!

I don’t often reblog something, but the day this happened, my husband “called” it for Facebook, so I will share Mark’s version with you. Every year, there is a big fair in Montgomery, and Kayla’s school went to it on a field trip on October 13. Here is what happened:

Goldfish

Photo courtesy of .clickartonline.com

Yesterday was the day my 12 year old daughter Kayla and her class went on a field trip to the Fair. Before she left we cautioned her about bringing anything live back except her classmates. We specifically stated, don’t play the stupid gold fish game and win a fish because you don’t need any more pets. Feeling that the instructions were clear and reasonably easy to follow my wife and I then sent her on her way with hugs, kisses, and lots of love. However, the 12 year old mind is apparently hopped up on hormones and thus unable to process information in a direct and meaningful way. I know this because when I called her yesterday to see that she made it home okay I was told, “Dad I have a bit of bad news….” Apparently we played the fish game, but tried hard to lose. Unfortunately we were just too darn lucky and won a goldfish named Kisses any way. Well we couldn’t just flush it – I know this because I suggested it and was quickly rebuffed by her and my wife – so we are now trying to be responsible and raise it. That decision has presented my daughter with a moral dilemma. In order to keep it alive she really needs to invest in a real fish tank which I have refused to pay for because I am openly hoping that Kisses croaks. Therefore she would have to use her money to pay for said tank, but she is saving for a new IPOD and apparently is much more conscientious with her cash than with Dad’s. She is further concerned because I’ve told her that if Kisses dies she cannot replace him even if she buys a tank. So when I left this morning she was trying to decide whether it is nobler to accept the demise of poor Kisses or risk it all and buy a tank. I could rescue her from her situation, but as I told her, she got into this situation by not listening, so she needs to learn to get herself out. Besides the way I look at it I could win either way. If she buys the tank and the fish dies, then she doesn’t get the IPOD which means she will have less electronics and more time to spend with the family. If she lets the fish die, then I will have one less useless pet in the house. However, with her luck she will probably buy the tank, get enough money from her relatives for her birthday next month to buy the IPOD and the fish will out live us all.

P.S. from me:  10 days later, Kisses, the fish, is still going strong, making him exceptionally long-lived for a fair fish!

 

Have a great day!

Nancy

Why I Enjoy Being the Mother of a Seventh Grade Girl


Good morning Everyone!

Here is my list of some of the reasons I enjoy being the mother of a seventh grade girl.

1)  I am no longer the most absent-minded person in the house – seventh graders apparently can hold only one thought in their head at a time for a maximum of 20 seconds.

2)  I live with 10 children for the price of only  one – happy girl, tired girl, sad girl, mad girl….

3)  In the person she is today, I catch glimpses of the wonderful woman she will be and the child she used to be – often in only a five-minute span of time!

4)  I can beam with pride when she does something extraordinarily thoughtful, like the sweet note she wrote and delivered to her dentist and her staff yesterday right before they pulled four of her teeth…..

5) While wondering at the same time exactly what information she missed in what class that day while writing said note.

6) I have her convinced I’m psychic.  When she’s mad at me but can’t say anything, I tell her to stop thinking what she’s thinking and am spot on.  She hasn’t yet realized that I remember myself at that age.

7)  The social world of the seventh grade girl and her friends is even more exciting than General Hospital when I was in college – without the murders, of course.

8)  The list of chores she is capable of doing has expanded from individual tasks to whole rooms.

9)  We’ve started a family pool betting on the exact date on which she will be taller than me – and I am on the inside track to win said pool!

10)  She still will hold my hand and sit on my lap sometimes – and I really love that!

Have a great day!

Nancy

Kayla’s Kitchen Kaper


Good morning Everyone!

Last night, Kayla asked me if she could fix the  Kraft Macaroni and Cheese we were having at supper and deciding it was time to loosen up on my Mac N’ Cheese obsession, I said yes.

I suggested to her that she might want to get the ingredients out before the noodles were done.   She told me that there weren’t any extra ingredients to the mac n’ cheese besides the packet from the box!  I told her she needed butter and to call me when she was ready to mix so I could give her the other instructions.

12 year old brain in training

That was my mistake – I gave a 12-year-old two tasks in one sentence.  Apparently, their brains can’t handle it.

Mark announced that the pork chops were almost ready.  I waited for Kayla to let me know she was ready to mix the stuff up.  Instead, this colloquy occurred.

Mark:  Did you drain that before you mixed it up?

Kayla:  Nobody told me too!

Me (from the den):  I told you to ask me when you were ready to fix it!

Kayla:  No you didn’t!

Mark:  Well, actually, yes she did.

Kayla (to me):  You could have told me that I had to drain it first!

Mark:  How many times have you watched Mom make mac n’ cheese?  Let’s see if we can save it.  Go ahead and get the colander out.

Silence, then Kayla to Mark:  It’s not funny!

Mark and I:  Well, actually, yes, yes it is.

I’ll omit the stories of parent’s pasts, which include attempts by Mark and one of his friends to make mashed potatoes without boiling them (his sister was removing random pieces of potato from the ceiling the remaining six years they lived in that particular house) and the absent-mindedness that caused me twice (years apart) to place my palm directly on a piping hot stove burner seconds after I had just removed the pan and should have known better.

It’s nice to know that Kayla is carrying on the family tradition!

Have a great day!

Nancy