We Show Our Nickel Swallower Pictures of Germs: This is How He Reacts

A week ago, I wrote about how Ricky keeps swallowing nickels.  I also asked you for some advice on how we might cure him of this dangerous habit.

One of you shared a great idea with us: show him pictures of bacteria on the internet.  While I thought it was a great idea, I didn’t think about it again until we caught him drinking the honey. It seemed time.

These are the picture we showed him.

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This is how he reacted.

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For the first time in his life, Ricky grew concerned.

“What is the name of this one?  What does this one do?” he asked.

I was so busy taking pictures of him that I wasn’t able to capitalize on this great opportunity.  I wish I had told him that the pink one was called, Datrowupalot bacteria or that the purple one made you clean bathrooms or that the green one gave you headaches every time you played Minecraft.

Oh well.

“What does this one spiky one do?” he asked.

“Oh it just likes to roll around in your body,” I said.  He grabbed his tummy.

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Ricky clutching his stomach.

“I think it’s rolling around right in my tummy right now.” he answered.

“Oh look!”  I said, pointing to the computer.  “This one has a tail!”

It’s true that Ricky hasn’t swallowed any nickels since Sunday, but he still is very generous with his germs.

At dinner we caught him licking all of his fingers with gusto so I asked him how he liked licking up so many germs. He looked at me concerned and then started rubbing the top of the salt shaker–just so he could share his slobber with the rest of us.

What do your kids do that are gross?

On another tangent, want a delicious healthy fall breakfast recipe?  Oats and pumpkin included.

How to Get Teens Dancing with Each Other

So yesterday, I talked about how teenagers don’t seem excited to go to dances and even less excited to dance with each other.

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The girls would just love to dance with this guy, am I right?

I have an idea that will solve this whole problem. Back in the times of Jane Austen, a lady was given a card that allowed fellows to reserve certain dances with her during the night. Those were the good ol’ days, when there were so many men wanting to dance with a girl, that she had to make appointments. The best part?  If a man asked a girl for the first two dances, then whoa! He was pretty into her. She could go home and put that card under her pillow, kissing his name to her heart’s desire!

Maybe we need the dance cards now, but I think it’s the boys’ turn to get them. After a boy asks a girl to dance with him, she signs his card. Three signatures means he gets access to the refreshment table. Since his best friend Joe has been known to down six of Sister Brown’s famous peanut butter cookies in under two minutes, he quickly finds the girl closest to him, mumbles something unintelligible and points to the dance floor. She smiles at him and pulls out her pen.

Maybe 10 dances get him a free trip to Taco Bell. They might have to rent a charter buses to take all the newly minted gallant boys for chalupas.

Parents could be a great support. When the boy comes home, he better have 15 names on his dance card or it’s going to be 15 days before he sees his Xbox again. They may even have to call a few of the girls for verification, just to make sure the signatures aren’t forged by a few of the buddies who proudly claim they can write like a girl, but I’m pretty sure the system will work.

How have you encouraged your teenagers to dance?

Why Aren’t Teens Going to Dances Anymore?

I asked my son if he was going to go to the church dance, and he looked at me like I’d asked him to jump the moon. So I called one of his friend’s moms to see if she was making her son go, and a few hours later, a group of boys, some more reluctant than others, were on their way to the church without their basketballs. A miracle indeed.

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A few gallant gentlemen

Before my son left, my husband and I offered to pay him a dollar for every girl he asked. He shrugged his shoulders and grunted, which of course means “yes” for a 15-year-old, and we were elated that we had thought of bribing our son to be a gentleman. Innovative parents were we.

Then he texted:

There are like 20 people here.

What? I was confused. This dance had been well-advertised with posters and plenty of announcements. Surely, the church l would be so packed with kids that they would have to slow dance with each other the entire time.  How lovely!

I didn’t understand it. Where were all the other kids?  Still, I had high hopes and waited anxiously for my son to come home. There was so much to ask him. With whom had he danced? Had he talked to any girls? Had he actually tried using complete sentences?

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How do you do, m’lady? That’s what they’re saying, in case you were wondering.

But when he got home, he grumbled and turned on the television.

When I pumped him for more information, he said, “Mom, it wasn’t like that, OK?”

I grilled him later only to have him say, “I don’t know Mom. I wasn’t paying attention.”

His dad asked, “What? You didn’t notice whether people were dancing?”

“Well some were kind of jumping around together and then some were doing the Napoleon Dynamite dance and some were just sitting around.”

“When you say jumping around together, you mean they were just jumping all together in one big group?” I asked.  (How romantic is that?! Ugh!)

“Yeah,” he answered.

Why don’t kids pair off for a dance anymore? Why is it so hard for boys to ask? Since asking a girl to dance is such a gallant thing to do, and since most 15-year-old boys are dying to be gallant, I don’t see what the problem is.

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No! I want to be Mr. Darcy! No you can’t be! I’m going to be Mr. Darcy! Wanna duel over it?

Yet I have an idea for a solution.

Do your teenagers like going to dances?  Why or why not?

Slowing Down. Yes, You Can Do It Too!

So after that dramatic post yesterday about the urgent care (which didn’t deserve to be dramatic), I decided I’m actually going to follow through with what I said I’d do.

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I’m going to slow down.  No, really, I’m serious.  I’m going to slow down by keeping my priorities straight and no worrying about everything else.

I just reviewed Julie Beck’s talk, Mothers Who Know.  Wow!  It is so powerful!  These passage really moved me.

Mothers who know do less. They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally. They allow less media in their homes, less distraction, less activity that draws their children away from their home. Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children—more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all.

When I read this, I actually feel relieved.  I do not need to do it all.  If anything, I should err in not doing not enough instead of doing too much!

My first priority is my relationship with God, and if it’s really a priority, I’ve got to take care of this first thing in the morning before everything gets too busy.

After careful consideration, I’ve decided to dedicate one hour in the mornings to Him.  This is the hour I will have to pray, plan, read scriptures, and exercise.  I wish I had more time, but I don’t so I will make the best use of the time I have.

This is how it will break down.

15 minutes.  Praying and planning.

15 minutes.  Reading the Book of Mormon.  (Our bishop has challenged us to read it by the end of the year).

30 minutes.  Doing yoga while listening to General Conference on my phone.

For those of you not familiar with my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I will be referring to it on my Sunday posts.  If you have any questions about anything I include in my post today, email me at beckyblackburnwrites@gmail.com.  I would love to hear from you!

How do you get closer to God?

Now It’s My Turn to Visit Urgent Care

On Wednesday morning, after dropping off Deborah for preschool, I called my doctor.  I had been feeling chest pains all morning and finally realized that they were not going to subside.

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The urgent care had the sweetest nurse ever.  (my regular doctor couldn’t see me).  She was soothing and very adept at hooking up the EKG machine to me.  I told her how silly this all was, really I was fine, but she just kept putting these warm little suction cups all over my body.

I get a little nervous about heart stuff because my father died when his heart just stopped on him.  It’s happened to several cousins in my family too.

“Has it happened to anyone in your family under 40?” the doctor asked.

“Well, yeah.  One cousin died when he was 39 while he was playing at a softball game. But he’s like a first cousin once removed so, you know, pretty distant.”  He nodded his head.

Fortunately, after some computer glitches, they told me that my EKG looked great.  Then the doctor started pressing different pressure points that really hurt, and he told me that the muscles around my rib cage were inflamed.  He asked if I had felt stressed that morning.

“Well no,”  I said.  “I was mostly just mad at everybody.  You know, bugged.”

He raised his eyebrows.

“Well I was trying to get Debi out to preschool, and the cleaning ladies were coming over, but everything needed to be picked up, and I was just mad at my whole family for being such slobs,  and wondering why can’t my boys just find a hamper instead of throwing their clothes on the floor.  But, no, I wasn’t stressed. I was just mad.”

Because if I was mad, then I was still strong, but if I was stressed, I was weak.  I had been fighting tears the whole time I was in that blasted examination room, but hey, they were angry tears.

The doctor was really kind, spent a lot of time with us.  The advice was pretty simple: take Ibuprofen, drink lots of water, slow down.  Anxiety and stress can cause heart problems, so yeah, don’t get stressed.

Anyway, I felt relieved and sobered and foolish after we left.  Sheesh, why hadn’t I just taken some Iburprofen that morning?   But deep down, I knew that I needed to slow my life down. I’m always trying to get so much done, but dabgumit!  I am not an automaton!  I was not put on this earth just to be efficient!

Still, my brain was still stuck on efficiency and kept offering me suggestions: maybe grafting in two more arms?  Finally I accepted that there were some things in my life I was just going to have to drop.   Even if I could get everything all done, would I be happy?  Would I feel peace? Would I be the kind of person that people wanted to be with or would they just give me space so I could get my grocery shopping done in under fifteen minutes?  Yes, Becky, I think I saw the syrup two aisles down.  

This morning, my husband and I went to the temple, and there I received clarity.  Instead of asking myself, Do I need to drop this?  Can I still do that?  I asked, What is most important to me?  

It was amazing when I asked myself that question how few things came to my mind.  Loving the Lord.  Loving my family.  Loving my neighbors.  Keeping this home in order.  Learning as much as I can.

I needed to just focus on the priorities until I felt I had a better control of things.  (Ha!  Ha!) Once (or if) I did, then I could start thinking about slowly adding more to my life.  So for the next few weeks, I’m going to talk about this process of prioritization. I’ll talk about children’s books too, but you guys don’t really read those posts much anyway.

And here is my first day of simplifying.

How have you learned to manage stress in your life?

Traveling with an ADHD Family

Our family went to Capitol Reef National Park for fall break.  I don’t know how we pulled it off.  Somehow we got ourselves into the van with our suitcases (short a few pairs of socks) and we were on our way.

I have to say that for an ADHD family, we did quite well for ourselves.  When we bought our van we decided we cared more about extra space than we did about automatic locks or automatic windows or a nice entertainment system (although I must admit, I really miss those things).   We have two captains chairs and three large benches and that keeps everybody safe and happy.

Pretty safe and happy.  There’s always stuff going on underneath the surface.  Like in these sets of pictures:

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But we didn’t need to use our Epipen or set any bones this weekend, and hey, that’s pretty great.

We read together quite a bit on the trip in the van.   We got through quite a chunk of The Hound of the Baskervilles, and it felt pretty eerie reading it in the dark.   We also read some of Fahrenheit 451 together—and I found that book even more eerier.  We topped it off with a few Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales and were thoroughly spooked.

Now, mind you, I don’t get all of them to listen to each book and none of them felt too cheated of their electronic devices (which wouldn’t be a bad thing), but hey, everybody listened to something, and that is something.  After years of dreading family car trips, I now look forward to them—I can try to teach something to my kids, and they can’t escape.  It also probably helps that we’re not changing diapers anymore.  There is hope for you!

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She looks just like my sister Mary in this picture.

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I Do Not Swallow Nickels and Other Self-Affirming Statements

Last night, as I was on my way to my aunt’s house to return a photo album, my husband called me to tell me that my seven-year-old had swallowed another nickel.

This was his third nickel of the year.  He swallowed one in spring, and he swallowed one in summer, and given that it was now October, I guess we should have been expecting it.

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Our first object was to try to figure out where the nickel was.  Originally, our son claimed it was stuck in his throat, but now he tried to assure us that it had gone down into his tummy.

My husband then wanted to know the why of it all, but as any well-grounded parent knows, there never is a why.  Unfortunately, my husband’s cross-examination proved fruitless as somebody had obviously already read our son his Miranda rights.

After my husband left, I decided to play good cop.  I sweetly asked him where he found the nickels.

“On the floors by the doors,” he said.

“And why do you put them in your mouth?”

“Because I like the lick of them.”

“Ah, I see.  And before you pick a nickel up, do you ever think, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t put this nickel in my mouth?’”

“Not until I’ve swallowed the nickel.  Then I think it.”

“Ah, I see. Do you think you could think it just a little bit earlier?”

He looked at me confused.  I tried to explain.

“So this is the problem.  We have a choice.  We can either take you to the hospital and pay lots of money for them to do tests on you or we can hope that the nickel is in your tummy and not sleep very well tonight because we are so worried about you.   What do you think we should do?”

“I think you should hope the nickel is in my tummy.”   We actually went with plan C and called doctor.  I won’t tell you what he said as I don’t want to be dispensing medical advice to any of you other desperate parents out there, but I will say that calling your doctor is a good idea.

Our dear boy is alive and well today.  He wrote twenty sentences that said, “I do not swallow nickels.”  I thought this more as a self-affirming exercise than a punishment.

After all, the poor boy had to endure just a bit of razzing.

Dad:  Hey I know what you should be for Halloween?  A vending machine!

Mom:  Noooooooo!  Then he’ll start taking quarters!

Brother:  Hey, if you keep this up, you might be worth twenty bucks by the time you leave home!

Mom:  Again, will you please not get him thinking about quarters?! !

The sweet boy asked his dad if he could hang up a sign in his room that said, “Don’t swallow nickels!”

“Ah,” asked his dad.  “But what if you find a nickel in the living room?”

He was stumped, and my heart went out to him!   Come this winter, I will do a thorough sweeping of our floors by the doors because no matter what anyone else says, our nickel swallower is priceless to me!

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What have your children swallowed?