Latest MiM Post: I Spanked My Kid

Some helpful feedback generated from my latest post at the Mothers In Medicine group blog this week. It’s a reflection on a bad day, and a mini-review of a highly recommended book on parenting autistic children: Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew by Ellen Notbohm.

Check it out: I Spanked My Kid .

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Multiple Meltdowns

Just last night, Hubby and I were commenting on how great the kids’ behavior has been the past few days. We had spent pretty much the entire day yesterday on a massive housecleaning and organization spree, including rearranging furniture, and the kids were great. It was the first weekend day in months that we never left the house, and Babyboy and Babygirl were (mostly) nice to each other, ate well, and cooperated with toy reorganization and storage. Babyboy insisted on riding on whatever piece of furniture we were moving: Whooeeee! He yelled while we slid the ottoman, easy chair, and couch. Babygirl fell asleep super-early and basically slept through to today.

It was lovely.

It didn’t last.

Today, we wanted to do something fun for the kids. So we skipped church and motivated to get to the Science Museum, which they love. When I asked them if they’d want to go, they both screamed “Yaaaaay!” and danced around. Eating breakfast and getting dressed were the usual challenge, but we managed to pack lunches for the kids (my brilliant tactic, to avoid the overpriced museum cafeteria food), replenish the diaper bag, and get out the door.

We arrived just after opening, and before the summer crowd. There was no line for the Butterfly Garden, and Babygirl and I spent a good thirty minutes in that tropical sunroom, surrounded by lush flora and thousands of very active butterflies. One alighted on my shoulder, to her astonishment and delight. A Painted Lady had just emerging from its chrysalis, and she kept wanting to see, again and again.

Meantime, Babyboy  was refusing to come in, though the Butterfly area also features the large bugs and frogs he likes to see, ucky creatures, like Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches and Thorny Devils, and black and yellow poison dart frogs… he likes to point and say , Ewwwwww!

But today, he was running from exhibit to exhibit, settling finally for awhile on a solar power experiment, not for rotating the panels to different angles of the light to see how many volts were generated, but rather, to pretend to write in the grid of the graph paper provided. He pretended it was a calendar, that he was doing “work”.

Hubby kept trying to entice him back to the Garden, since I was in there and we had tickets, and Babyboy finally left the grid. But then he got distracted by an exhibit featuring ping-pong balls, how different types of slope effect rolling speed. He rolled and rolled those ping-pong balls, and was doing great, until another kids came along, and then, we had meltdown #1.

His typical meltdown: He screams loudly and shrilly and yells “NO NO NO NO” like someone’s trying to kidnap him, and rolls on the ground, flailing and kicking, or bucks like a horse, making it hard to catch him. I’m not sure how Hubby got him out of that first one, but they eventually ended up in the Garden with us, for about three minutes.

Then we were off again. Babyboy is always entranced by the large kinetic sculpture, and sits examining it from all angles for at least twenty minutes, every time we come.  Billiard balls are lifted by a chain-and-wires mechanism and deposited into an electric-company-style pinball- machine-type contraption. It dings and bonks and whirs and he loves it.

Meantime, Babygirl was both fascinated and frightened by a live animal demonstration featuring a (very large) opposum, and all was going OK. But meantime, the place was filling up with busloads of tourists from all over and everyone in and around Boston with their entire families.

Our last stop is always the toddler/ preschool  playroom area, which features multiple hands-on learning exhibits, like examining animal skeletons and fur pelts; pretending to be bees in a beehive or birds in a tree. Babyboy usually gravitates towards the building blocks, magnetic toys and ping-pong ball chute construction (not sure how to describe that one). Babygirl loves the animal masks and book corner, and the snakes in their terrariums.

But we couldn’t quite get there. Babygirl tripped and had a mini-meltdown on the way. Then, as we walked past the cafeteria, Babyboy smelled something. Macaroni and cheese! He yelled. I need macaroni and cheese!

It wasn’t even 11 a.m., they had both eaten pancakes for breakfast, and I had packed their lunches, but he was obstinate. We had another full-on rolling around and flailing meltdown, this with multiple kids and families walking past and staring. Hubby and I shrugged and gave in, what the heck, get the kid some mac and cheese.

So we did. We bought the food and sat down. And then Babygirl, who wanted to get to the play area, started running to escape, ignoring me, flailing when I picked her up and dragged her back. We only had one membership card with us, and if I went to the play area with her, Hubby and Babyboy wouldn’t be able to get in. Or, at least, it would make things complicated. We considered trying it and then, as Babyboy was done eating (he actually put away a fair amount of Wolfgang Puck mac and cheese), we decided to pack it up and move on anyways.

But, then Babyboy wanted pineapple. He had seen it in the salad bar, and he could not be dissuaded. Another screeching fit. The tour group that had just filed in stared. So, I got up to get him pineapple. As I was at the salad bar, I heard more screeching and howling. Hubby was carrying him towards me. He was yelling, howling, hitting, in the most terrible way, like he was in pain… He wanted to scoop the pineapple into the bowl himself. Sobbing, screaming: I. Want. To. Do. It. Mommy. So I let him.

He ate it all. Babygirl continued to flip out and try to escape. We endured. We finally got them out of the caf and into the kiddie play area. Things went reasonably well for awhile, longer than we planned to be there anyways, and then Babygirl, due for a nap, pretty much went into an hourlong temper tantrum. Nothing would do, she wanted juicy, she didn’t want juicy, she wanted to be carried, she wanted to walk… We had to flee.

She screamed, cried and beat on me all the long walk back to the car. We figured she’d fall asleep on the way home, but, no. I rocked her and rocked her and she eventually went down…

Once home, Hubby and I tried to diagnose the meltdowns. We decided Babygirl was just tired, and Babyboy had been overstimulated. We figured that Babyboy would be calmer once home, and that the noise and crowds of the Science Museum on a summer Sunday was just a bad call.

But he was in a strangely aggressive mood all day. When we asked him if he had a dirty diaper, he got up and silently head-butted hubby, with all his little strength, causing coffee to splash all over. I thought we handled this pretty well: a stern admonishment- No! Bad Boy! We do not head-butt Daddy! was met with tears and I want Nana!, but then all was forgiven when he told Daddy he was sorry.

Later, he doused Babygirl with the water hose, and when Hubby turned it off, he went after Hubby with it, trying to whip him. It was odd. Not his usual. He was also uncharacteristically unsettled, jumping around on the couch, even doing headstands and somersaults on it, which I have never seen, during his favorite cartoons.

We had some decent moments: Babyboy rode around the block on his new big-boy bicycle (with training wheels), and Babygirl and I built a lego castle. But, overally, the day was full of moments like the above, and more. Bedtime was pretty bad.

Yesterday, everyone was thankfully calm and content. Today, everyone was inexplicably unhappy. Full of outbursts and tantrums and flailing and crying, for whatever reason.. .Babyboy’s diaper rash bothering him maybe? Neither of them sleeping enough in general? Maybe they’re both gluten- sensitive? Maybe there’s too much sugar in their diets? Who knows, but we will have to keep studying these outbursts, with the goal of avoiding them the next time.


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One Beach House, Four Generations, Two 911 Calls…

As a young child, when we visited my father’s family in Guatemala, we would sometimes rent a couple of tiny bungalows at a Pacific seaside resort. There, we would cram our extended family and a few friends into bunks, on sofas, and, I believe I remember, in hammocks for a few days and nights of beach living, Centroamerica- style. I have memories of sprinting on the super-hot volcanic black sand beaches; long days diving and jumping in treacherous surf (my cousins almost drowned there one trip, pulled far out by the undertow, and had to be rescued);  homemade feasts of ceviche and seafood soups, tortillas with lime and salt, much of the provisions bought on site from locals who wandered the beach with baskets and buckets of the freshest shrimp and fish, and most of the cooking done by my grandmother; evenings zigzagging with flashlights on the beach, hunting for the huge sand crabs and dodging waves; nights of sandy sheets and sunburn, finally lulled to sleep by the steady tropical wind and pummeling waves.

In the years since, our favorite middle-class resort crumbled into the sea, the consequence of beach erosion. Cousins grew up, started families of their own; my grandmother passed away; we made fewer trips as a family; and it just became harder to gather everyone for the big multi-generational trips to the beach. We’ve had a few smaller family trips, but I’ve been longing for the sprawling family beach vacation.

And so, fast forward to this past week. This was our American pilot of the big family beach trip, an experiment really. It started in February, with research, many emails, phone calls, and some checks. We booked a house in Maine for a week. Then, we didn’t do much about it until basically two days beforehand. Hubby and I packed like crazy. Day of, we made a caravan of sorts with my brother and his family, my mom and grandmom, and we met my aunt and uncle and cousins up there.

This was not a crazy-running-around-almost-drowning-Gallo-beer-and-crab-chasing tropical beach trip. It was more beach-cart-toting-beach-toys-lugging-preschool-kids-chasing beach trip. It was the first time we’ve done this up here. I see it as a sign that we’ve arrived. This is it, sitting in low beach chairs right on the tide line, helping our kids digs holes in the sand, and periodically getting up to fetch another pail of Maine-cold ocean water to make little rivers, and watching the kids squeal with glee and wonder: it doesn’t get any better than this.

Our kids loved the beach, loved rolling in the sand, dumping sand on their heads, digging in sand, squishing their toes in the sand; and they didn’t mind the cold water too much. We loved watching them; and enjoyed the occasional long walk on the beach (we took turns to make that happen).

There were some snags. Grandma is almost ninety, and, we learned the hard way, doesn’t travel well.  We had imagined that she’d enjoy sitting on the beach with us, and so we booked a house basically on the water, and we brought a wheelchair. But, aside from a few roller strolls around the block and one trip to the fish-fry, Grandma stayed in the house. She became dehydrated, and then had some issues related to her meds, and twice, we had to call 911 and get her IV fluids in the emergency room. Both times, she bounced back. I’m glad she was able to come with us; I hope she’s glad she came.

It’s hard to be away from an outpatient practice for a whole week. I kept tabs on my work emails during the week; and even called a patient, a dear and very complicated patient, to help out during her inpatient stay. Even so, I know there’s piles of messages and labs and paperwork waiting for me. Monday looms.

Apart from those things, our biggest issues were keeping kids watered and fed, managing diaper rash and temper tantrums, making sure everyone applied enough sunscreen, and figuring out what to eat. Oh, and occasionally, mitigating Maine’s open container laws, with coozies on our Shipyards down on the water. We all shared meal prep, on an informal rotation. On our night, Hubby and I made Spanish garlic shrimp and a Mediterranean salad. The only spat we had the whole week was over grilled eggplant.

And now, we’re home. Babyboy was so excited to go home. He says it with a Southern-drawl: “HO-em. Mommy, I want go HO-em.” We were home by noon today, and despite the gorgeous day, Babyboy and Babygirl were both content to patter around the house and yard, resisting offers of a walk to to feed the ducks. “I want stay HO-em, Mommy.”

The kids will be back to their summer routine on Monday, which, really, is similar to their school year routine. Babyboy is in the Special Ed summer preschool program, and we’re adding private speech therapy, since he can be so hard to understand sometimes. Babygirl is in her little daycare- preschool that she loves. Hubby’s gearing up for his work season, as football practice starts in two weeks. It’ll be all back to normal…

But we’ve already started planning for next year. Same week, same area, different house, figure out a plan for grandma, invite more family. The year after, repeat. Make it a tradition. Make it something special that our kids remember, and then long for, as adults…



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Ten Lashes With A Wet Noodle

My last post (“Other People’s Patients”) inadvertantly caused a bit of anxiety amongst some of my colleagues, and for that, I apologize. I had dreamed up the idea for the post while walking to work, and in my head, it was so funny! A lighthearted satire of the different ways primary care docs practice, a great idea! I actually wrote it in 15 minutes, and as is often the case when we rush through things, it didn’t come out as I intended. 

In the ensuing few days, I was approached by no fewer than 3 colleagues, and they all expressed that they had tried to glean from the case details if I was writing about them.

No, I wasn’t. The examples were composite examples, based on multiple such experiences over the years. The case details are always altered, to avoid any HIPAA violations. After all, there are several precedents for docs getting in trouble for writing about real cases on blogs or in social media… They have lost their jobs. Even an anonymous doc-blogger was shut down for writing about a case without altering the details.

In a friendly meeting with our hospital’s risk management folks way back, they had suggested using composite cases or altering identifying and case details as a means to keep the message behind the writing intact, without compromising patient privacy.

I also intended to poke fun at our different styles, not indict them. Heaven knows, I can be possessive; I can also be hands-off. I think we all are. It depends on our relationship with the patient, and how much else we have going on. I once had to get my kid to a doctor’s appointment, and I was paged to do an inpatient medical consult on a very sick, and very dear patient. I left the whole thing to my colleague who had the bad luck to be on-call. I remember saying, as I ran out the door- “Whatever you think is fine!”

Other times, my patients have been seen by colleagues, who ordered tests or studies, and promised they would followup on the results. But me, being kind of O.C.D. at times, have looked up the results and acted before they had the chance to.. “Oh, I was going to followup on that,” they say, and I say, “Oh, yeah, uh, I just happened to see that result and thought I would take care of it…”

So, as my favorite advice columnist growing up would write when she made a blooper, “Ten lashes with a wet noodle!” and I went back and edited the post, hopefully to give it back the lighthearted feel I intended.



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Other People’s Patients

How many of us remember Naughty By Nature’s 1991 hit song “O.P.P.”? Come on, guys. You KNOW you sang along:

“O.P.P., how can I explain it
I’ll take you frame by frame it
To have y’all jumpin’ shall we singin’ it
O is for Other, P is for People… scratchin’ temple
The last P…well…that’s not that simple…”

Ah, that last P. It really isn’t that simple. In the song, that last P was for… slang terms for genitalia that are not appropriate for a family blog. You could say, “Property”. Yeah.

In our practice of all part-time primary care providers, we often see each other’s patients. What’s so funny is all the different styles of practice around this. Some providers are more possessive… Like, “Why did my patient see you for their vaginitis/ sinusitis/ asthma flare? I was here in clinic!” Yeah, and you were running two hours behind. “But you could have grabbed me to discuss her before letting her go!” Right, and then get behind myself, for a straightforward issue…

Others are so happy to have something taken off their plate, you can’t get them to participate much. Like, “Hey, can I chat with you about your patient who may need a biopsy of a mass/ MRI of the brain/ stress test?” “Uh, sure, but whatever you want to do is fine, really…Do you need me to do anything?”

And, honestly, it’s all good… Seriously. I’m poking fun, but honestly, these approaches are valid. We all practice differently, and I can roll with that.

Though it can get tricky. If I’m seeing a colleague’s patient for one issue, but I notice another issue… Do I act on it, or pass it off? If a patient with a history of anorexia nervosa comes in with a sinus infection (NOT a real case), and I notice that she looks markedly thinner than the last weight recorded in the chart, do I try to weigh her? How do I broach that, in a visit for sinusitis? I don’t have a working relationship with this patient, I don’t know her psych treatment history, and getting a weight in an eating disorders patient can be a very emotionally charged issue. It may be more clinically appropriate to let her primary care know my concern.

On the other hand, if I know that her provider is very hands-off, and that my concern will be met with a “Thanks! I’ll followup on that at her next physical! In a year!” then I may be remiss in not addressing the issue.

And I’m sure that my practice style can be perplexing to my colleagues… I am fairly strict with prescriptions for stimulants, benzodiazepines and narcotics, but when they’re indicated, I’m good with that. I have definitely had colleagues approach me apologizing that they prescribed narcotics for an injury or benzos for severe anxiety for one of my patients. I say hey, I trust you, use your clinical judgment… I prescribe these things too!

I also feel very strongly that a good match between patient and provider is key to the therapeutic relationship. There have been patients who haven’t clicked with me, and if that is clear, I usually offer them a switch. Why waste everyone’s time? Find the patient someone they can work with. This happened recently; the patient had a very holistic, alternative medicine approach to her health, which is fine; but I can’t practice that way. I was trained in traditional Western medicine. I’m open, but I can’t manage herbs and compounds and dessicated pig hormones. I suggested a practice with this kind of philosophy and offered to help her switch over. (again, not an exact real case; rather, a composite, as this has happened multiple times)

I’m also OK with switches FROM me to another provider in our own practice…This has never bothered me. Sometimes, patients request to switch TO me, from another provider in our own practice. My approach has been, for the most part, it’s up to the patient. But some providers get ruffled feathers, or even hurt feelings. They wonder what they did wrong, why didn’t the patient like them, etc.

Hey, sometimes you just want a different hairdresser/ waxer/ therapist/ doctor. It’s usually not personal. It’s just…O.P.P!

“Come on, come on, now let me tell you what it’s all about
When you get down, you can’t go ’round runnin’ off at the mouth
That’s rule number one in this OPP establishment
You keep your mouth shut and it won’t get back to her or him
Exciting isn’t it, a special kinda business
Many of you will catch the same sorta OPP is you with
Him or her for sure is going to admit it
When OPP comes, damn– skippy I’m with it

You down with OPP (Yeah you know me)
Who’s down with OPP (This whole party)
You down with OPP (Yeah you know me)
Who’s down with OPP (This whole party)

Break it down!”

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The Unpredictability of Weekend Call

It never fails to amaze me, how random call can be.

I’ve had a wonderfully long stretch without taking call. I mean, we carry our pagers Monday through Friday, and answer any after-hours pages on our own patients during the week, every week. When I say I am on call, I mean it’s my turn to take all the calls for the whole practice for the weekend. We take turns with the weekends, and it’s been several months since my last turn.

Nowadays, call is fairly light, as a rule. With the advent of the online portal a few years ago, where patients can essentially email the practice for a wide variety of issues, including emailing their own doctor with as lengthy a tome as they like, at, for example, 2 a.m., those after-hours calls dropped off sharply. This coincided with stricter prescribing laws and protocols around controlled substances; once patients figured out that they would not legally be able to get any Percocet/ Oxycodone/ Valium etc via a phone call, those annoying pages disappeared. Then, with our practice decision last summer to admit our patients to the Hospitalist service, instead of managing our inpatients ourselves, the calls dropped off even more- No more nighttime calls from the emergency room or the residents. And, no mandatory rounding, either.

Hence, the weeknights are blissfully quiet. If I am on call for the weekend, it means that I’m covering the practice from Friday afternoon at 5 pm through Monday morning at 8 am, and there’s usually a few more calls, as I’m covering fourteen other physicians.

So, even when we are covering our entire practice, call is really not that bad. But, occasionally, a page will come that demands immediate and total attention, for an extended period of time. By Murphy’s Law, this is always during family dinnertime, bathtime, or kid’s bedtime.

Last night, Friday night, I had a number of pages regarding critical lab values. It’s odd to get one, never mind a handful of these. And they all came within a short time span, basically just as Hubby and I stumbled in the door with two muddy, sandy, overtired children and all their bags from school and our work bags and a bunch of shopping bags… We had had a lovely dinner at Nana’s, and got home a tad late.

Of course, critical lab values are paged to us for a reason. They’re, like, critical. But the lab tech who is calling me knows nothing about the patients or the case. So, when I got the pages about the really really low potassium; the really really high Vancomycin level; and the really really high blood sugar, I needed to get to my laptop, log into work (through a special connection, I can access the electronic medical record from home), read some charts, and make some phone calls, STAT.

Now, Hubby owed me. He had work events several nights this week, and I managed the bulk of dinnertime/ bathtime/ bedtime (with help from Nana, as per usual, who had usually fed the kids really well before they came home to me). So when the pager went off last night, he gave the “I got it” sign and shepherded the kids upstairs to the bath.

As I furiously scrolled through charts and flipped through labs and read reports and tried to figure out the best plans of action for each critical result, I could hear splashing and squealing and scolding and… the clatter of toys being thrown across the bathroom, several thuds, and then the pounding of feet chasing down naked runaways and, of course, the sounds of a huge mega-mess being made upstairs.

But, what do you do? I felt badly, and kind of stressed, wondering how much time I had before Hubby blew a gasket. I read through all the charts, one by one, and went into action, case by case.

I called the lady with the low potassium and came up with a plan based very much on the plan that was used by her own doctor last time this happened and then documented that all in the computer. I paged infectious disease on-call and discussed the Vancomycin level with them and then called the lady and communicated the plan, and then made a note to get in touch with the home health care agency and recheck the labs and then typed that all up. Then I called the other lady and had her go to the emergency room, and I called the ER and told them she was coming, and then typed that all up too.

Meantime, somewhere towards the end of all of that, Babygirl came downstairs on her own. Her hair was still all wet and tussled, but she was clean and pajama’d. She reached her little arms up to me (I stand when I type, at home) and said, quietly, her voice a bit rough and hoarse from the cold she’s had:

“Mommy, pick me up.”

I was finishing up my conversation with I.D. and I glanced down at her.

“Mommy, Please pick me up.” hands still reaching up.

I was still chatting with I.D.

“Mommy, PICK ME UP ! PICK ME UP!” in that tone that signals full-on meltdown will happen if this is not done.

I.D. chuckled, and I picked her up. As soon as I was able to put down my phone, I logged into YouTube and pulled up her favorite, “Old McDonald Had a Farm” children’s music videos. Hubby came down with a scrubbed and pajama’d Babyboy to prepare their warm milkie sippy cups and try to herd her back upstairs, but this time I gave HIM the “I got it” sign, and I typed my notes as she watched version after version after totally insanely interminable version of freaking Old McDonald. But, I typed, and got it all done, and then rocked Babygirl to sleep, singing her requested song many more times: Old McDonald.

There were no more pages, all night long. Today, Saturday, there have been a mere handful of benign calls: a UTI, conjunctivitis, a sinus infection.

We’ll see what tomorrow Sunday brings. A beautiful early summer Sunday… Should be light. But, you never know.


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It’s after 11 p.m. and my kids are still awake…

Which is shocking and shameful, I know, for an almost-four-year-old and a two-and-a-half-year old. But, this is what you get when you let your kids take looong, late naps. I’m actually fine with it, A. because it’s Saturday and sort of a holiday, and B. because it was a wonderful day.

Our Saturday was basically unscheduled: we had no set plans until late afternoon, when we knew we were hosting the family Father’s Day barbecue. I love to plan meals and cook, so hosting this was going to be a treat. Late last night, I pulled a recipe for “super-easy can’t screw-up baby back barbecue ribs”, not the actual title of the recipe, but that’s what it was.

So when Babyboy and Babygirl were awake at the eyesplitting hour of six on this rainy, cool summer Saturday when we all really should have been sleeping in, Hubby and I decided we needed to get our groove on and get them out of the house for the day. Amid the usual morning melee of “MOMMY! He Hit Me!”‘s, “But I don’t WANT my diaper changed”‘s, and “I don’t want these Cheerios, I want those Cheerios!”‘s, and while balancing hot strong coffees with Desitin and the kitty litter scoop, we bounced around some ideas, checked the internet, and decided we would get out and to the city Children’s Museum by opening time.

And dammit, we did. Not only were we well-splattered with soap suds in the bubble experiment room five minutes after opening, but we had managed to pack the kids’ lunches. No waiting in line and then spending inordinate amounts of cash on overpriced toddler food at the museum restaurant!

Our triumph lasted until we figured out that we had forgotten the baby wipes… We did end up spending too much on an emergency pack of those from the museum gift store, but, hey. Almost perfect.

We went 1:1 with the kids, me and Babygirl to the toddler-friendly  cartoon-character-water table room; Hubby and Babyboy to the Construction Zone. This is the beauty of the Children’s Museum: It’s not really a museum, but rather, an educational Chuck E. Cheese. I raise an eyebrow at the blatant marketing of several cartoon franchises throughout the place, but feel virtuous as every exhibit has some redeeming scientific or social lesson embedded in there.

So the kids learned about the effects of various obstacles on water flow, and what construction equipment does which jobs and how; they had an early (and healthy, and cheap!) lunch outside on the docks, and then we corralled them to the car and towards home, via the ice cream shack and an impromptu visit to lovely friends who are moving out of the area next week. We were driving by their place and saw they were having a driveway Moving Sale; hence, they got all of us for awhile, including our kids with sticky strawberry ice cream faces; bonus!

We knew we had the Father’s Day Barbecue to do, and we pulled it off. That recipe called for slow cooking the baby-back ribs for several hours before slathering them with the commercial sauce of your choice and throwing them on the grill to get a bit of char. In the time it took Hubby to rodeo lasso Babyboy into his street clothes in the morning, I had opened the plastic wrap off of two large racks of ribs, cleavered them into manageable 3- or 4- rib chunks, doused them on both sides with Lawry’s Garlic Salt, threw them in the Crock Pot and poured in an inch of apple juice, setting the timer to 6 hours on low. The meat was falling off the bone well before cookout-time, albeit an unappetizing shade of light grey. I gently fished out each chunk, slathered both sides with a dark honey BBQ sauce we use, and then at grill-time, Hubby carefully set them meat-side down on a super-hot grill, and VOILA! Beautifully Caramelized, Slightly Charred, Super-Easy Can’t Screw-Up Barbecue Baby Back Ribs.

The barbecue itself was inside, not because of weather, as it has cleared up and was sunny at that point; but because of the World Cup. Italy vs. England was the entertainment for the afternoon, highly entertaining, that and a few Coronas with lime, easy family interaction, and (goshdarnit) good food.

Since we are newly obsessed with fitness, both of us fighting the seemingly inevitable Belly Fat of the Forties, somehow, we also fit in walks and runs for both of us, each of us with kids in the jogger stroller: mine with Babygirl before the cookout, where she fell asleep; and Hubby’s with Babyboy after the cookout, since he slept on the couch through the whole thing and was wide awake at 8 pm. Off they went.

Bedtime bathtime was pushed back to almost 9 pm, but the kids fell into the nighttime book-reading routine like usual, and we’ve had minimal stall tactics. Just the occasional murmury request for a back rub or a blankie or a “mommy? can we rock just one more time?”. I think that despite the late afternoon snoozes, they had such a full day that they’re tuckered out, and they’re both just about down…

And since I managed to get Hubby’s Father’s Day gift wrapped last night, I can now use these precious few minutes before I also collapse in blissful exhaustion to blog.


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