Latest MiM post, on Ebola

Some good input from other doctor-moms on my post: Would You Care For A Patient With Ebola?

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…And The Really, Really Messy

Messy, and infectious, too. What a week of body fluids it’s been.

Soon after I wrote the last post, we realized Babyboy was getting pretty sick. Hubby had to go to an event, so I holed up with one increasingly feverish kid, and one copiously boogery kid. Babyboy snuggled on the couch, and I let him watch endless Curious George. Babygirl snuffled along cheerfully. No one was eating much. I completely gave up on re-toilet training Babyboy, and changed his poopie pull-ups without fuss, poor kid.

By late afternoon, Babyboy’s cheeks were two spots of bright, bright red, the rest of him pasty pale, his eyes glassy. He started to nod off. Ugh. I really wanted him to get a bath, after multiple pull-up poops. Usually, I have to negotiate and order them up and into the tub. But that night, I just asked, meekly, “Anyone want to go warm tubbies?” Babyboy hugged his lovey to his chest and got up to go upstairs and Babygirl followed.

It was only 4:30 pm, but they were both so sick and exahusted, so I figured, what the heck? Bath and bed. Awesome.

I ran the bath and lifted them both in. I went to gather pajamas, diapers, cream; set up the humidifiers; tidy the beds. When I returned to the tub to wash faces, I was shocked to see…. brown water. Oh my god. Babyboy had had a huge diarrhea IN THE TUB. And neither of them seemed to care, splish-splashing away.

THERE’S POOP IN THE TUB! GET UP! GET OUT!  I squawked, yanked them both out and wrapped them up. But now they REALLY needed a bath. As the water drained, I could see that this was to be no easy cleanup job. The kids have piles of toys in there, Legos and Little People, things with nooks and crannies.

If Hubby was home, he’d be bleaching everything. But, I had two miserably shivering sick kids crying “I’m COLD! MOMMY I’M SO COLD!”

So, the tub and toys got a quick wash-down with the shower, to the point that at least I couldn’t see any chunks or large flecks anymore. When I filled the tub again, I added bubble bath. Hey, now the water looked really clean.

In they went, washy washy, head to toe. Out they came, fresh new towels. Warm fuzzy pajamas. Now bed? No, they wanted their warm milk. So, down we went to drink warm milk, and THEN go to bed.

As Babyboy drank his milk, he started to cough. Then gag. And then, puke all over the couch, and his clean pajamas.

Oh, jeez. Off came the pajamas. We did a rapid wipe-down with a clean dishtowel. More “I’M COLD!” I pulled freshly laundered PJ’s from the basket.

Then, reasonably clean, reasonably full of milk, the kids went up to bed. Babyboy, steaming with fever, fell into a deep, but fitful sleep. Babygirl coughed her way down. But, they were both snoring by 7 pm.

I don’t think that has ever happened before. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I got more housework done in that hour than I have ever done. And at 8 pm, after I had sanitized the couch and sprayed the entire first floor with lavender air freshener, I sat down to watch some Sunday Night Football. Of course both kids woke up a bunch of times, but they fell back asleep with minimal attention.  I got to watch pretty much the whole game. Amazing.

Then, the workweek. It’s been I.D. week at clinic. We’ve started to see swab- positive influenza. Meaning, we’re not just guessing it’s flu. It really is the flu. Also, a case of infectious mononucleosis. Then, several cases of clostridium dificile diarrhea. And then, travelers from an Ebola-stricken country (Not sick, but whoa! Did we all VERY QUICKLY read the hospital-issued Ebola case recognition and action guidelines!).

I mean, holy moly. I drove home from work yesterday trying to remember if I had touched my face at all the whole week. If I had, I could come down with any one of an assortment of illnesses… I only got my own flu shot the day after I saw one diagnosed. Not enough time to take effect.

Babyboy was home from school Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, coughing, not himself. This morning, Thursday, my day off, we tried to send him. I did my usual morning rounds at the animal shelter. Of course, it was a heinous mess there, too, with several new surrenders, and all those kittens…. cat puke, poop and pee galore. Despite the stench and excrement, once all is clean, I love petting a new arrival and hearing that PURRR. It’s like they’re saying, “I didn’t know anyone would ever be that nice to me again.”

Then, I was just getting to the gym, when I got the call from the school nurse. Could I come pick up my son? He just wasn’t feeling well.

Poor kid. Pale, whiney, not eating well, complaining of tummy ache…  No more fevers, vomiting, or diarrhea, but he’s just too punky to participate. Oh well.

So we went home, and he helped me make an eggplant lasagna. He peeled and chopping the eggplant for me. He’s very good at peeling and chopping! I use eggplant two ways: chopped small, sauteed until squishy, and added to the sauce; and sliced lengthwise very thin, spritzed with olive oil, and baked. Plain whole-milk ricotta, good parm, good mozz, layer it up, let it brown. Done. As I wiped my hands, I turned and caught the cat sticking his paw into the ricotta container. Lick lick. Ewww! I guess we don’t keep the extra, then.

In the afternoon, Babyboy and I went to pick up Babygirl at her preschool, and as they played, her teachers raved about her. “She’s so mature, always wanting to comfort the other kids when they’re sad, always mediating arguments,” said one. “She’s an old soul,” said another. “She’s wise beyond her years. You can have, like, deep conversations with her.”  Puff, puff. Bask, bask. Of course, all that maturity and wisdom didn’t stop her when we got in the car, and she found a piece of old chocolate candy from God knows when, somewhere in the car seat, and ATE IT.


So, long week, a lot of grossness, I hope I don’t get the flu, and please let Babyboy be able to go back to school after the holiday weekend….


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The Good, The Bad, And The Messy

The workweek was neither good nor bad; it all evened out. I left clinic on Friday with an easy mind.

Friday night, I made a plan in my head: I would get up extra-early and go running. I rarely get my butt out of bed on a day off to go exercise.

Saturday didn’t bode well… Babygirl woke up at 4:30 snuffling and crying for Mommy. Her cold? Bad dream? I rocked her and rocked her, but she ended up with us anyways.

It was poor sleep until 6 a.m. Then, it was drizzly and dark. But, I got out of bed.

When I went to feed the cats, I noticed that their shmancy grain-free salmon formula dry food looked funny, and when I actually read the label, I realized that I had accidentally bought them dog food. By that time, they were chowing down. I wondered if that was a really bad thing: cats eating dog food. The day wasn’t shaping up that great. Oh well.

But, the run was fantastic. There were loads of folks out walking and running, despite the drizzle. We all nodded and smiled at each other, as if to say, “Hey, you’re awesome!”

By the time I got home, the kids were up and coffee was brewing. Hubby and I discussed the major issue at hand: Babyboy’s toilet training.

Now, we had tackled toilet training in July (see  ). Babyboy did fantastic, and was pretty much completely trained– for about two months. There was the occasional poop in the underpants, but we still considered it a success. We had even traveled to visit friends, which involved a long car ride, a ferry trip, and staying in a strange place for two nights.He was 100% dry and clean for the whole trip.

Then, just after school started, he got a respiratory illness, and was home for a few days. From that point on, he just stopped going #2 in the potty. We bought pull-ups again, and figured it was due to illness. A temporary regression.

But here we are, a month later. No #2 in the potty. He goes #1 fine, but no #2. We’ve powowed with  Nana and his teachers, and we decided to start over with training. This weekend seemed perfect: Both Hubby and I were home Saturday, and both kids had runny noses. A good day to focus on training! But, what approach to take? The novelty of the first time around was gone. Babyboy had lost interest in the potty distractions (drawings he liked to look at while sitting, like shapes and road signs) and m-n-m’s reward system a few days into training. What could we do next?

Babyboy seems to understand the concept of “If you do this, then THIS happens,” especially if we draw it out. Hubby is our resident artist, so we planned a colorful grid chart. We decided to go with really fantastic motivators, things Babyboy would really want, like small Lego sets, Play-do, Books, and we would let him pick them out.

Now, we needed the motivators and the chart.

So, divvied up the day: Hubby would take my car to be serviced (only four months overdue!) and would work on his laptop while he waited. I would take the kids on the Target run, to pick out prizes. Then, we would regroup, make the chart, and lay low at home, potty training.

And, as if to signal that this was going to go really well, Babyboy did a #2 on the toilet, before we left the house! Granted, we saw the signs and encouraged him to sit, but still, that was progress.

Target went fine. Babyboy picked out prizes, some small and some big. Babygirl fell asleep on the way home. I carried her into the house, made her a little nest on the living room couch, gathered the groceries, put them away. Hubby wasn’t back yet. Now what? Best to stay out of the living room/ play room/ TV room, as Babygirl was asleep. Babyboy and I needed to hang out in the kitchen.

So I asked Babyboy what he wanted to do.

“I want…. to COOK! Let’s make a cake.” Babyboy loves to cook. But I really didn’t want to make a cake. We negotiated. I was thinking: What’s healthy? He was thinking: What’s sweet?

We settled on Apple Pie. It’s a recipe we’ve done before, with a gluten-free “crust”  made out of almond meal and butter. I let Babyboy mix the brown sugar and apple pie spice to the cut-up apples. He insisted on adding frozen strawberries and blueberries too; why not? Then I help him roll out the dough, and use a cookie cutter to cut shapes out of dough and arrange on top of the fruit (see photos below!).

That was just going in the oven when Hubby got home, and Babygirl woke up. There was a flurry of activity as we got the kids lunch, made the chart, and arranged the prizes attractively in a basket, set out of reach. Babyboy was excited about the chart and repeated the plan a few times: Poopie on the potty, I get the Stuck In A Truck book!

So we set the potty in front of the TV and put on Curious George, which is what we did the first time around.

Now, Babygirl wanted to cook something, too. “I want to make brownies! BROWNIES!” Again, I didn’t want to make brownies, so we negotiated. I found a recipe for chocolate-oat-almond no-bake bars online, and I showed her the photo. She agreed, and we proceeded to mess up the kitchen again. She stirred the chocolate chips as I added the melted butter/ honey/ almond butter mixture, and we watched them melt. We added the oats and almonds, spread it in the pan, and put it in the fridge.

Meantime, Hubby was on Potty duty. Babyboy sat and tried a few times, but no results. We put on more cartoons, and kept checking in, me cleaning the kitchen, Hubby doing work.

Then, no less than three minutes after a check-in, we saw the telltale signs that the deed was done. He had gone in his pull-up again. Ugh. We did cleanup, tried not to be negative, and reviewed the chart and prizes again. Babyboy seemed to understand and was excited about the book prize. We hunkered down again.

I went up to the attic with Babygirl for an hour of power-cleaning (a finished attic with a TV, futon, all our books). When I came down again, still no poopie potty action. Only pee.

So we made dinners, sat down, and Hubby and I were almost done when… again. Poopie in the pull-ups. What were we doing wrong?

Sigh. Here it is Sunday morning. Both kids slept terribly, up coughing and sniffling, multiple times. Both ended up with us. But, we will try again… Hunker down time.

At least we have yummy treats for breakfast!




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When Your Kids Surprise You

Sometimes your own kids throw you for a major loop.

Yesterday was Saturday, and I was not on call. I had a vague plan for the day: Be productive.

Hubby had to go into work in the morning, so, I figured I would take the kids on the wholesale grocery run, come home and get them lunch, then do laundry and housework, then when Hubby came back I would go to the gym and pound out the sweaty workout I’ve been yearning for…

But. I didn’t know it was going to be a gloriously beautiful fall day, sunny and summer-hot. What a crying shame it would be to waste it at BJ’s wholesale club buying diapers and kitty litter and milk. No, we needed to go outside.

The kids have both been obsessed with forest animals recently. Babyboy started it with a fixation on skunks. We didn’t know alot about skunks, so we picked up some  wonderful books about skunks and other forest creatures, an assortment of factual and storybooks, and those have been on the heavy repeat rotation: “Read it again, Mommy!” They’ve wanted to see a real live skunk for months now.

We went to the local zoo last month, and while Babyboy was pleased with several close-up viewings of the African Crested Porcupine, and the Parakeet house was a hit with the multicolored tweeters perching on their little hands to gently peck at birdseed… as we left, he asked, “Where is the skunk?”

So. There’s a wonderful state park near us, and they have the Trailside Museum, which features a little outdoor mini-zoo of sorts, made up of rescued wildlife. I knew the kids had enjoyed it in the past, and I knew they had a river otter, deer, hawks, ducks and snowy owls, but I didn’t know if they had a skunk. I figured, it was worth it to go, at least to see other forest creatures, and run around a bit.

So we loaded up and set off, Babyboy with this little Chipmunk stuffed animal in hand. The kids dashed from enclosure to enclosure, and they did enjoy seeing the animals and feeding the ducks. But, no skunk.

This place also features an indoor museum/ activity center, but you had to pay or join the Audobon Society to get in. I decided, we’d been here three times this year, we’d join. As I filled out the forms and paid, I let the kids scoot into the exhibits (they’re pretty kid-proof, and the place was nearly empty). The lady was swiping my credit card as we heard joyful whooping yells: “Mommy! MOMMY! THERE’S A SKUNK! A SKUNK IS RIGHT HERE! MOMMY COME SEE!”

I asked the lady, “Uh, there’s a live skunk in there?

“Oh, yes,” she replied, “But don’t worry. It’s behind glass and it can’t spray anybody.”

So the kids got to see their skunk, or at least the bushy tail of a skunk as it basically hid in a hollow log in its cage, and they were thrilled. They also saw an Opposum, a variety of rescued owls, various scary snakes, turtles, fish, a bee’s nest behind plexiglass… It was great.

I figured we’d walk back to the car via the woodsy path, and then go be productive. I had brought some small snacks and juice boxes which the kids had finished and I knew they’d be starving soon.

But on the woodsy path, Babyboy announced, “I want to go to the castle.”

The woodsy path that led back to the parking lot is also a trailhead for a bunch of other paths, including one rocky trail straight uphill to the weather observatory and old stone lookout tower. Hubby and I have twice taken the kids up this trail to the top, but not since June, and we carried the kids in backpack carriers both times. I was very surprised Babyboy had remembered that this path led up to the stone lookout tower, which we had called the “castle”.

I said, “Okay, sure!” and I figured that, given how steep and rocky the path was, the kids would toddle up a ways and then turn back. Five minutes, tops. After all, I reasoned, it’s a mile hike over slabby and scrabbly granite, it’s 85 degrees out, they’re only two and four years old, and I didn’t bring water. We would never make it even close to the top.

I also assumed that hiking up the rocky trail would be difficult, maybe even impossibly frustrating,  for Babyboy. As is stereotypical for many autistic kids, he’s physically uncoordinated. Early evals revealed this and a weak core, and PT/OT has been working on core strength and hand-eye coordination. He’s always disliked playground activities that required balance or threw off his center of gravity: seesaws, tire swings, swings. He very, very often can’t make it from the living room to the kitchen without tripping over his own feet.

But I was quickly proven wrong. I dawdled along with Babygirl, and watched in wonder as Babyboy climbed further and further ahead of us. He barely stumbled, and only at the beginning, as he figured out that rock covered in leaves or pine needles can be slippery. When he came to granite boulders and slabs, he focused on the craggy cracks and holes, and he pulled himself up and across without any issues, even with his Chipmunk toy in hand. He started to sweat, he panted, but he didn’t stop, even once. I had to call for him to wait up, as I helped Babygirl over larger obstacles. But even she didn’t want alot of help from me.

Up, up, up we climbed. I was sweating and thirsty. I called out to Babyboy, did he want some juice? We had one-half of one juice box left.

“No, I want to go to the castle.” He answered, and kept going.

I want to go to the castle, too,” affirmed Babygirl.

And so we kept going, me occasionally hefting Babygirl over things, or carrying her up a tough stretch, while Babyboy doggedly made his way.

I watched him doing things I never thought he could do: hike over gravelly, stony patches without tripping; pull, lift and crawl his way up and over large rocks, without help, without dropping his stuffed animal, and without falling; and most of all, cover a long distance of uneven ground without help.

Obviously I underestimated him. Or maybe his strengths and interests lend themselves exceedingly well to trail hiking? He has always been able to easily focus on small, complicated things, like putting together and taking apart complicated Lego structures. For the past month, he’s been done with the regular Legos, and instead intent on the mini-Lego sets, the City sets, with their complex police and fire vehicles made up of pieces so small, Hubby and I can barely see them to get them together. Could it be that this ability to focus helps him to see the cracks and crags in the rocks, and hold where he needs to hold, step where he needs to step?  I figured his determination on this climb came out of that intense concentration ability.

So, up and up and up. I snapped a few photos and sent them to Hubby, who by that point was on his way home from work. Hubby was amazed, and decided to join us on the trail. While he sprinted to catch up, Babyboy, Babygirl and I made it to the Castle.

“We’re here! We’re at the Castle! Look!” I announced. Babyboy looked up from his groundward focus, but instead of celebrating, he announced:

“I want to go IN the Castle. We need to go up the stairs.” He wanted to go up  to the lookout tower.

I was thirsty, sweating, and astonished. So, I carried Babygirl, and directed Babyboy to the old stone staircase. He clambered right up all three flights.

“Lift me up! I want to see,” he ordered, and I somehow boosted him up to the open windows with my right knee, while holding Babygirl. He gazed out over the sweeping views of Blue Hills States Park in early fall foliage colors, and the bay and the city in the distance, all clear on this beautiful fall day.

“There is the city, Mommy! There are the buildings!” he pointed excitedly. He looked and looked until I couldn’t hold the both of them anymore.

Just then Hubby came bounding up the stairs, and we rounded out our adventure with a thankful trip to the tiny provisions shop at the observatory, and a water break.

Babyboy did just as well on the descent as he did on the ascent. He was thrilled to slide down the steeper boulders and slabs on his butt. Towards the bottom he started to run down the dirt path, which terrified Hubby and I, envisioning a flying wipeout and stitches in the chin. But he didn’t fall.

By now it was early afternoon, and we were all really, really hungry. “What do you guys want to eat?” I asked the kids, planning to let them have whatever, for all their efforts.

They both answered, “Restaurant! We want to go to a restaurant!” which usually means a diner where we can order hot dogs and french fries for Babyboy, and pancakes for Babygirl.

Hubby and I were more than happy to oblige, having been so pleasantly surprised by the unexpected, unprecedented family hike, and so off we went.



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My Other Patient Population

Just a few weeks ago, I ran into another volunteer at our town’s animal shelter. We chatted and joked about how low the cat census was. There were only three cats up for adoption. Ha ha, he said. We joke now, but wouldn’t it be funny if there was an explosion of kittens and cats tomorrow? 

Well, Murphy’s Law. The following week I walked in for my Thursday morning shift in the cat room, and there were: a sleek and lovely mama cat nursing five adorable tiger kittens; several new cats, all sweet and friendly, crying for food; and one tiny, lonely, desperately mewing kitten alone in a small cage.

Of course, I had had my whole day off planned out to the last five minutes. But as soon as I saw all those new kittens and cats, I knew my plan was shot. Never mind spinning at the gym, forget the Target run. Regardless, I was kind of excited.

Let’s face it, kittens are cute. And the tiny runty one, crying so loudly (amazingly loudly, considering the poor cutie was the size and heft of a little bird), I just wanted to HELP.

Now, I may be a passable physician, but I am a crappy nurse. All through training,  moonlighting as a hospitalist, or even in the office, when a patient has needed physical help getting to the bathroom or onto a bedpan, a glass of water or a straw, or whatever basic bodily-needs issue, I have tried, but I am so painfully clumsy. We don’t get any training in the proper patient-maneuvering techniques in med school; we don’t now where anything on the floors is kept; and this kind of thing is generally discouraged.

Well I remember being on patient rounds with the “team” as we residents did our self-concious presentations, the attendings asked probing questions, and we all pretended to meaningfully auscultate the patient’s heart and lungs. As soon as the patient would ask for help- Please can you move this tray, or Please can someone hand me the urinal, or Please I’d like a cup of water, the whole team would evaporate, ostensibly to “get the nurse”. This always bothered me, as we were all capable of making the effort, of taking the small amount of time to concretely help a patient with a basic need. I knew it could take ages and ages for the “right” person to come to the room. And it was obvious that the patient could care less about the differential diagnosis of elevated liver enzymes. They just needed to pee, dammit.

One of these times, when a weak and elderly patient asked for help to sit up, I stepped forward, and then fell behind on rounds as I (clumsily) boosted her up in bed, adjusted the bed, and strategically placed some pillows. Afterwards,  the attending took me aside, and said, not unkindly: You paid a ton of money and endured a hell of alot of training to be a physician. You should not be doing nurses’ work. If you keep doing that type of thing, that’s all anyone will expect you to do.

So I was never quite sure what was the right thing to do.

Whereas, at the animal shelter, that’s all I have to do. It’s my job one measly morning a week to take care of the very basic needs of these deserving kitties. I am not a vet and have no clinical responsibility, or clue. I do not make decisions and am never on call.

It’s so wonderful!

I let them out of their cages, one by one, and sweep, change the litter, plump the cat beds. I dutifully cut and crush pills and hide them in food (there are a couple of animals on Methimazole for hyperthyroidism, and one on Buspar for aggressive behavior). I pet them and, time permitting, wiggle a string or cat toy so they get some exercise. When my kids accompany me, that’s their job.

When there’s kittens, they need to be socialized. So it is part of the job description to pick them up, cuddle them, pet them, talk to them, love on them. So cute!

But this runty little kitten was extra concerning. I tried to give him a bit of kitten chow, and he promptly stuck his face in it and tried to suckle at the mound of mashed tuna, confused. Hmm. I called the animal control officer who is in charge, and she told me he needs kitten formula. Huh? New one for me. She mixed it up and showed me how to bottle-feed a kitten. You hold them on your chest upright and stick the bottle nipple in their mouth. She showed me how this little guy has some issue with his hind legs- “Swimmer’s syndrome”, splayed hind legs that don’t work very well. That may be why he was found all alone, possibly abandoned by his mama. After she left, I spent extra time holding him, and he purred and purred, kneading at my chest, warm and well-fed.

This week, I came in and found the little runt in the big cage with mama and her five kittens. Though her own kittens are a few weeks older than the little guy, she seems to have adopted him. Still, I held him and offered him some formula, and he took it, happily, his mouth and whiskers all milky, purring and purring.

I didn’t have time to hold and play with all the older kittens, but I petted them and scratched behind their ears. Mama too.

So nice to have this very different patient population, and a very different set of responsibilities!

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MiM post on the damage of physician training:

Some thoughtful comments for my last Mothers In Medicine post: Why Is Residency So Harmful, And What Can We Do About It?

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A Fall Saturday Morning With The Kids: Gardening 101

Hubby left town this morning for a Sunday game, and I wanted to get the kids outside. They had been inside all morning, alternating between arts n’ crafts (an assigned project for Babyboy’s class has morphed into a several days’ tornado of construction paper, glue sticks, markers and glitter pens for all) and Curious George. They had been fortified by a pancakes breakfast (from a mix, made in a large batch, stored in the fridge, and microwaved to order).

My workweek was sort of a downer, with many longer than usual clinic days and a few taxing cases. I had been planning to complete a long-overdue required training module my lightly scheduled Friday; but the afternoon was engulfed by clinical mass. Four p.m. rolled around, and I was still making phone calls on abnormal results, still writing notes, still emailing specialists. Come this morning, I needed fresh air as much as the kids did.

I had bought bulbs on sale last week, and the bag sat on a kitchen shelf. Tulips, daffodils, more tulips, more daffodils. I bought them, thinking of the bare mulchy patches of garden around our house. While the previous owners of this property had done a wonderful job with landscaping, thank goodness, it was all large bushes, with big spaces in between. I imagined a colorful spring garden. But, I’d never planted bulbs.

Never mind, we could make it a fun project!

I announced this plan. Babyboy needs no excuse to begin digging holes. If he finds a live worm or grub, all the better. He was halfway out the door before I could grab the bag.

Babygirl, not so much. She was not excited to dig in the dirt. But the bright and colorful photographs on the bulb bags, scarlet and yellow and orange and pink, tempted her out the door.

As Babyboy started holes with the big shovel, and I dug deep with the trowel, it dawned on me that I should have found time to read up on how, exactly, to plant bulbs.

The only instruction I had was what I remembered from the store display: “The ideal time to plant your bulbs is in the fall before the ground freezes! Assorted bulbs $3.99 per bag!” But, how deep does one dig? The ground got pretty hard not too far down. Did you need to pad the soil with compost, or fresh soil? Our soil was kind of rocky and sandy.

Oh, well. Babyboy and Babygirl picked out the bags that most appealed to them. We dug down as far as was easy, plopped down two, three bulbs, and covered them over with the crappy soil and old mulch.

We did this in batches, and in rather short order, had planted all the bare spots in the front and side garden beds. We got out the hose and watered them down. I imagined that one needed to saturate the ground well, as with planting mature plants.

Once the task was done, the kids ran around, until Babygirl, on a downhill race, face-planted. tears, hugs, cuddles, and we all tramped up the stairs for a snack break.

It’s only now, as the kids munch pretzels in front of Curious George, that I have a chance to read up on planting bulbs.

“Large bulbs should be planted 8 inches deep, small ones at least 4 inches deep.” Oops. All of our bulbs were pretty large, and we maybe made it 4 inches deep.

“Fortify and fertilize the soil if it’s dry and rocky.” Oops.

“Bulbs don’t like wet soil. Don’t over-water.” Oops.

Sigh. I may have gone to medical school, but I’m a pitiful gardener. Our bulbs may rot or end up as squirrel food, but, at least they were cheap, and at least we got out of the house for awhile.

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