Tag Archives: random oddities

How to Survive the Germiest Season of All

***I am not an expert of any kind (even if I wish I were and even if my kids think I am) so please use this advice in any way that you feel comfortable. This is just based on my own personal experience and research. As always, consult your doctor(s) and local government for more information.***Image

Fall, winter, even spring. We can even throw summer in there. But out of all of these seasons we all know that fall and winter are the germiest months because of cold and flu viruses and stomach bugs like the monster Norovirus. They’re all lingering around more than any other months. Or so it seems at least.

Let me get this out there- I am a germaphobe and I’m fine with that. It all started since the day we got The Queen’s diagnosis. Call it what you will, but even if it’s an anxiety-induced reaction to such a disheartening diagnosis, I will definitely embrace my germaphobeness because it’s what helps keep Natalie healthy.

I’ll also get this out there- I have a strong phobia called “emetophobia” and this I’m not that fine with. It’s hard to handle especially during these fall and winter months, especially with tales of stomach bugs cropping up almost daily and in all parts of the world up and down my Facebook newsfeed. The first feeling I get is worry for the one dealing with it. The second feeling is dread: the feeling that I just know that my own child will get it really soon. Here’s what’s really strange, I can clean it up but do NOT let me catch it. I will myself to never throw up and I take pride in having 6 1/2 years of not doing it. Even if it hurts more to not do it. I would actually prefer to have a broken bone, a really bad cold, or go through a long labor again to ever throw up. How crazy is that? Purdy crazy.

But it’s my phobias that cause me to research and listen for stories and information about how to avoid getting sick..well, at least not that often. We all do not have to be sick every week if we don’t need to. Trust me, I’ve partially thrown in the towel this school year. I have Natalie and her brother in full time elementary school. Chances are, almost every germ in this house comes from them. Chances are, our family will get sick no matter what. And I’m actually fine with that. We have to let the immune system do what it needs to do. I was born in 1978, had chickenpox, the flu almost yearly, oh so many bad colds, and so many stomach bugs that I lost count by middle school age. And I survived! But what’s scary for me is that I know very well that health-compromised kiddos like Natalie get hit harder, longer, and faster with every germ that enters their bodies. If I can take away an extra cold or stomach bug away from her every year then my hard work is always worth it. So next to getting your yearly flu shot (you better get it!):

TOP 10 LIST OF THINGS YOU SHOULD DO (or at least maybe consider because for realz)

10.) Wash wash wash those dirty hands! Anytime you come home from work, the playground, school, from even just checking the mail you should be washing those hands. We live in an apartment building with a shared front door. Everyone, even those with hands so dirty their fingernails are black, touch those doors. Not everyone washes their hands after wiping their butt. But nonetheless, washing your hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds is not only the best defense against illness, it’s one of the only ones that actually work.

9.) Change school clothes when your kiddos come home. Sometimes I let the kids keep on whatever they’re wearing. So yes, I do slack sometimes. But if they sat and laid around the school’s sandbox that day, change those nasty clothes! Also, an uncovered, ignored sandbox? Gross.

8.) Clean your cell phone! I have to confess, I’m pretty sure I broke my phone by doing it too much so as soon as I find a safe way to disinfect a phone (or if you know a way comment). I usually wipe it with a Lysol wipe, but I’m pretty sure my iPhone hates me for that. One thing you can do if you don’t feel comfortable cleaning your phone, is just wash your hands after using it. And have your kids do that also. Especially after having overloaded your phone with Angry Birds and many other apps.

7.) Keep those hands off of your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you’ve washed your hands. If you must pick your nose, use a tissue (hear that kids?). If you eat a meal wash those hands beforehand! And cover that nasty cough in the crook of your arm! I’ve lost count how many times my kids coughed in my mouth. Directly.into.my.mouth.

6.) Take a good look at your bathroom and kitchen. Really look hard. See what I’m seeing? Every few days or so, with a diluted bleach and water solution, disinfect your sinks and toilet. That includes the handles (toilet handle too)! If you have to use a hand towel make sure you have a spot for it to dry and wash the hand towel at least every few days. I started using paper towels this year and that helps. You can even turn the sink off with your paper towel- cutting down on  germs. Also, keep your toothbrush away from the hand soap. For some reason, our soap pump keeps ending up RIGHT next to our toothbrushes (water splatter YUM). And if you can, deep clean your bathroom as often as you see fit. In the summer months I deep clean monthly. During the winter months I deep clean it every 2-3 weeks. Think about it- the bathroom is an awesome haven for all germs. Not to freak you out or anything.

5.) Learn to love bleach. Point blank. Plus, it’s the only thing that kills Norovirus. The.only.thing. I like Lysol and really only use it once in a while. Plus, Lysol wipes  and Clorox wipes do NOT kill many gastro bugs. Sad isn’t it? Bleach my friends.

4.) Don’t overdo it with the hand sanitizer. You end up killing tons of good germs on your hands and just smearing the bad ones all over. Hand sanitizers are really helpful in a pinch, but don’t rely on it constantly.

3.) Avoid buffets if you’re too squeamish like me. During these months I avoid eating food that’s shared by other people. I don’t care how snobby that makes me. I just don’t care. But come May, I’ll probably eat at the local Golden Corral again. I loves me some Golden Corral.

2.) Keep your fridge clean! Think about it- you touch a dirty cart handle at the grocery store or at WALLY WORLD, then you touch your groceries and stuff. Think about how many hands touched your yogurt cup or juice container. Plus, you sat your groceries on a checkout belt that even the mere thought of what’s lurking on those will definitely end my no puke streak. I’m not saying to go spray bleach on your gallon of milk..but just think about that milk handle, fridge handle, and stuff. Just be aware of what you’re touching.

1.) Get friendly with the “high” setting on the dryer. If it can kill bedbugs it can kill pretty much anything else stuck behind after washing.

I know that these tips don’t guarantee an illness free season but following some of these have proven to keep my family healthy. Ironically, we just got back from an 8-day vacation on the east coast and the idea of washing hands and using hand sanitizer pretty much went out the window by day 2. And so far, we’re all still healthy since being home for almost a week (KNOCK ON SOME WOOD). I don’t know everything, but I do know a little. Happy Holidays!

serious face.

I visited our local grocery store yesterday. Just doin’ my Saturday shopping. Like the rest of you out there. When I go out in public, I have my “serious face” on. Especially at the grocery store. Not a mean face, just my serious face. Which means, please don’t bother me because I’m calculating and thinking and I really need to get my stuff and get out.

Reaching the checkout line that has a short line is kind of euphoric. Once you’ve completed your long and exhausting zig zag race to that line, you feel a little triumphant. Sometimes those feelings are at a halt when you get your total, but even that’s okay. Getting your receipt and change means you are on your way outta there!

In fact, at this same exact store about a month ago, I met a bagger who was 15 weeks pregnant. She was very young, maybe 18. But I remember that she was really pretty and sweet. After asking her how she was feeling and when she was due, and after having our small chat, I told her about Natalie. I started with, “definitely do not feel freaked out, but…” I reminded her about her 20 week ultrasound and to “please make sure that the heart photos are super clear..” I didn’t have any time to tell her about pulse oximetry and that she should include that in her birth plan. I kind of hate that it was so busy that I couldn’t say anything. I hope I see her again.

I reach this triumphant line yesterday and the cashier smiles at me. He asks me how I’m doing. This is when my serious face is put aside and I can enjoy a good chat. I like chatting. Especially small chat. I don’t mind cashiers speaking to me at all. I’m only annoyed when I visit other types of merchants and they have to over sell me. I know all of the tactics. This comes from a person who worked in retail and retail management for several (too many) years. Yesterday was the first time I was asked about my “Give Kids The World” t-shirt. A shirt I bought right before we left from Natalie’s Make a Wish trip in December of last year. The cashier says something like (I can’t remember his exact words) “..so the world is full of happiness? what?” He said it with a smile so I was totally cool with telling him about this awesome place. I casually mentioned that I had a daughter born with half of a heart, but emphasized how well she’s doing right now and how amazing her Wish Trip was. He stops scanning my groceries and looks right at me and says (this I will never forget) “..I think I should be given a wish because it’s just not fair.” I immediately see where he’s going with this so I just nod and smile and pretend to really only care about my growing total on the computer screen. He continues on with “I’m 24 years old, I work for minimum wage and there are so many things in life that I can’t do because of that. I think Make a Wish should grant me a wish. I know that they only deal with sick kids who have life-threatening illnesses, but it’s not fair. ” I was getting a little bit PO’ed. I tried to add a smile with a small snippet of this and that… “well my child is ill with an illness that could take her life any day” and he would just cut me off with his story. He paid no attention to anything I was kindly trying to say. He somehow got into a story about how he had to pay for cheap tickets to some sort of wrestling event this summer and that it should have been free because he noticed some Wish children there. I honestly have no idea where he was trying to keep going with this conversation. But the only conclusion I have about this 24 year old MAN, is that he is upset, jealous, and probably has no idea what I was trying to say. I’m not mad, actually. I was irritated. I was a little upset. But I just loaded up my van afterwards, and calmly drove off the lot and went home.

The world is full of awesome people. When you have a child with a life-threatening illness, the beautiful people really pop out. Unfortunately, you meet people like this 24 year old man who simply just don’t understand certain aspects of life. I can’t expect him to. He probably feels like no one understands him. He could be pretty self-absorbed and petty. But I’m not him. But he’s also not me.

I probably should have just said “hello” to him and not given any eye contact.

Note to self…….

Natalie quotes.

“Can I have some pasta with no sauce? I love it plain cause it’s the best.”

“I’m not tired.” (YAWWWN)

“When I grow up I’m going to be a cat.”

“I’m going to shake my booty butt.”

“I love my brudder.”

“James if you give me mommy’s phone I’ll give you a hug.”

“It’s SO HOT outside.” (and places hand on forehead all dramatically)

“I love you, Mommy.” (said at random times all day and really fast)

a list of some random things about The Queen.

1.) Natalie has the same birth date as her daddy- April 21st. I wish I could say something cool like “YEAH! that wasn’t planned!” but it kinda was. Her due date was April 17th and it was time to evict her on that Saturday evening.

2.) Speaking of births and stuff, she was born at night. Almost midnight! Just like her big brother. I guess my kids love a late grand entrance.

3.) Natalie could very easily become a vegetarian. She eats beans like they’re candy and broccoli like it’s dessert. Meat? Good luck!

4.) She didn’t learn to officially walk until about 22 months old. We learned that during her recovery from The Glenn operation at 5 months old, that we probably should have given Natalie more tummy time. But we were are paranoid parents. That month or so of recovery at home was full of resting. She had physical therapy for a solid 2 years to help her have stronger legs and core. Today this child can jump really high and far. She also started climbing the bunk bed ladder really well at a late age of 4.

5.) For any little bit of lag in gross motor skills that Natalie dealt with, she has always far-surpassed fine motor skills. She mastered the “pincer grasp” by the time she was 6 months old!

6.) The Queen plays with her play piano like she’s Amadeus on crack.

7.) She has curls that make Shirley Temple jealous.

8.) A true Taurus (my favorite sign actually) and she definitely lives up to the hype- she is VERY bull-headed. What a shocker!

9.) The only medication Natalie takes is a multi-vitamin and baby aspirin everyday. That makes tears swell in my eyes.

10.) If you let her wear the same outfit everyday she totally will. She would prefer that.