June 7, 2012

Poison Ivy; New Cat; Travel with Small Children

Poison ivy update: it's going away! I hope! I started the steroids on Saturday, and the worst side effect I've had was "feeling kind of weird, and my eyes feel a little weird." No noticeable sleep-issue increase, no noticeable appetite increase, no noticeable rage increase. I'm taking it first thing in the morning (like, 5:45-6:15ish) with some food.

Today was the sixth dose of steroids, and the rash has gone from a blistery swollen "Oh, man, I don't think I can go out in public like that or it's going to actually legitimately scare people" to a healing rough pinkness with a few bumps. It still gets quite ITCHY, though, which worries me: maybe the steroids are suppressing it, but as soon as I stop taking them the rash will be back with increased vigor?


The new cat is, we hope, settling in normally. He's doing a lot of meowing at night, and we're hoping that's homesickness (he came from a home with eight cats and may be missing the company) and youngness and adjustment, rather than something he will keep doing for life.

Paul says the cat is spraying/marking, but I haven't seen/smelled any indication of it. I read somewhere that it's better to neuter a male cat as early as possible to prevent them from maturing into their spraying instincts, and this cat wasn't neutered until after age one, so...again, I'm hoping this is something that will pass off after the adjustment period, and/or something Paul is imagining. (He claimed our bathroom smelled like pee. We have FIVE males in this household, and the bathroom ALWAYS smells like pee.) We have some Feliway left over from a previous cat situation so I've been spritzing it around, but I always feel kind of like I might as well be spritzing "Dr. Brownhill's Magicalle Curing Potion for All Ailmentes!"

The new cat and the girl cat seem to be making good progress on a friendly relationship. First some hissing and puffing (her) with deference (him), then some wariness and skittishness, now some sniffing and acceptance and being willing to eat from dishes next to each other. Yesterday the girl cat jumped onto my lap when the new cat was already there: she'd seen him there, so it was on purpose. She settled in allllmost touching him but not QUITE.


My friend Heather is moving across the country with two little children, and she is hoping for toy/entertainment recommendations and travel tips. She will be in the car with them for SIX DAYS. I feel a little faint just thinking about it.


Suburban Correspondent said...

Okay, let me tell you a little story from the good old days, Heather. We PCS'd from Maryland to California (military move) with a newly minted 2-year-old and a 4-month-old 18 years ago. That is, BEFORE any real Internet, DVD players in the car, handheld games, you name it - IT DIDN'T EXIST.

And? The 4 of us were traveling in a Honda Civic hatchback. All I remember of this beautiful country of ours is the back of my husband's head, as I was sitting in the back seat attempting to nurse the baby (both of us strapped in, of course) as we drove.

Think about it - we couldn't even get a map of where the McDonald's with the playlands were! I swear, it was like Lewis and Clark, only harder.

So, no matter how bad it gets, Heather, remember - it's not THAT bad. And you could always try my friend's trick (she PCS'd from Long Island to California at the same time) - she told her 4 kids (aged 2-8) that if they were good in the car (a good, old-fashioned station wagon) and let Mommy and Daddy drive, they could all go to Disneyland. They made it there in 4 days. I believe that would be some sort of a record. By comparison, my husband and I were novices - it took us 10 days.

Josefina said...

I love "Dr. Brownhill's Magicalle Curing Potion..." I'm sitting here laughing. Yes, I've felt that way about different things. Not cat things, but the same feeling.

Suburban Correspondent said...

Also, Heather, the main problem with driving across country with kids (driving anywhere, really) is the bickering. They WILL take bickering to new heights during the trip, no matter how many toys and games you have supplied them with. I recommend duct tape applied generously to the mouth area when this occurs.

Chez Bacon said...

On poison ivy- if your rash was really bubbly/blistery, it is possible but not definite that a second round of steroids is needed. If the thought of going back or calling again is stressy, don't worry about it- you CAN tough it out without them, and it's very common for people to need a second round so you shouldn't have to deal with incredulous doctors.
For itch, the Ivarest lotion is the best stuff out there and way less goopy than calamine. It should be in the same section of target/cvs as the calamine.
I also recommend vodka. For poison ivy relief, long car rides, and dealing with spraying cats.

MonkeyBusiness said...

So I JUST got over a bout of poison ivy (let's not discuss the injustice of this given the paranoia I have about poison ivy and staying away from it - I HAD to have gotten it from our happily-burrowing-through-whatever-three-brain-cells-to-my-name beagle) and it was ON MY NECK which looked terrible and itched like hell - but at the end was the worst itchy wise. I think it means it is healing. But overall in the end you can only wait and see! Oh love it. I know that what helped me with the itching was to slather the stuff with aquafor to moisturize and help along the healing. Aquafor is really greasy and kind of gross but really is a miracle product.

Pickles and Dimes said...

OH, I love your new kitty! His markings are beautiful.

Life of a Doctor's Wife said...

Awww - so glad the kitties are getting accustomed to one another!

I am so curious about how you go about naming a cat in your family. Does everyone get a say? Does one person have veto power? What if 5 people LOVE a name and two people HATE a name? I've read enough of your baby naming blog to know it's hard enough when TWO people need to agree on a name. And now... SEVEN people trying to come to an agreement?

VERY glad to hear that the meds are working for the poison ivy. I have sympathy itchiness for you.

Jody said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jody said...

We did one 1300-mile journey without a TV when the kids were 15 months old. I was turned around reading books a lot; we also had CD versions of Blue's Clues and a LOT of children's songs. Then we bought a DVD player and have now done (counting quickly) 8 3000-mile roundtrips that involve books on tape and a LOT a LOT of movies. I know I should feel guilty about not doing more counting-cows/cemeteries/license plate games but it's three days of driving in each direction and I feel no guilt. Movies movies movies.

Also worth trying: Books, magna doodles, those markers that only mark the special paper, magnetic games if you don't mind losing the pieces under the car seats FOREVER, those cards you can "sew" with shoelaces (a lot of these depend on having kids who don't get motion sickness) ...

It's also worth collecting a list of exercises/body movements you can do while moving, for example write each letter of the alphabet with your foot, moving only at the ankle, various head rolls that are safe, etc.

Final piece of advice: it's sometimes better to stop for an hour in a state park both morning and afternoon to give small children a chance to run/play/climb, but take longer to reach your final destination, then to power through without those things. Napping increases and bickering decreases with fresh air and exercise.

All that having been written, we now drive 10 hours at a stretch and have the kids plugged into movies the entire time. AAA recommends headphones btw because supposedly the driver is subtly distracted by movie dialogue when the picture can't be seen. (Presumably SEEING the picture would be even MORE distracting.)

Jenny said...

Melissa and Doug make travel games where the pieces are elastic-corded in: license plate games where you flip over the license plates when you see them; Hangman where you flip over the letters; Bingo; etc. Then you can't lose the pieces under the seat!

I have read about moms who make a little prize for each hour of the trip (some tiny toy or snack in a bag to be opened) but I am waaaaay too lazy for that.

Swistle said...

Life of a Doctor's Wife- What we do is we all talk about it and make lists for a few days (this part drives Paul crazy, but I LOVE IT). Then usually Paul and I choose the final name. This time we tried something new and had nominations followed by voting (three votes per person), to see which were the names that the most number of people liked. Then we eliminated names that got almost no votes, and voted again.

Throughout the process we keep reminding them that (1) there is no name that will be everyone's favorite; (2) the name we choose is likely to be at least one person's LEAST favorite; and (3) remember how all you kids hated the name Benchley and then after about a week you all loved it?

liz said...

How old are the kids?

I recommend Beethovan's Wig CDs (classical music with silly lyrics that won't make grownups want to vomit)

Swistle said...

Liz- They're almost-3 and almost-5.

Linda said...

I love reading about your cats. It's like I'm already a grandma!

Ceej said...

I just brought home a new cat and Feliway is the most magical thing in the universe, as far as I'm concerned. :) It woooorked!

Suburban Correspondent said...

Beethoven's Wig CD's are awesome! Those didn't exist 18 years ago either.

Anonymous said...

I have not yet done the cross country trek with my child, but I remember many cross country trips with my family from a very young age (starting at 2 and 4).

My parents always left VERY EARLY (4 or 5) so we would sleep a few hours before starting up on the constant bickering. I think it was a great plan. We also had the back of the car filled with books, color books, etc. My sister got easily carsick so she remembers dramamine hazed days.

We would then end our driving early so we could get the camper up, etc. and do some activities before heading off again the next day.

I actually have only good memories of those summer vacations spent in the car. Good luck to your friend!

L-Diggitty said...

Awwww!!! I'm glad your cats are almost/kinda/starting to sort of get along. I think you're probably right about the pee smell - living with 5 dudes is probably the culprit! Plus, cat urine is such a distinct smell, it would be hard for you to miss it.

I don't know have any suggestions for the road trip other than Xanax for your friend and baby bottles with a bit of bourbon in them... :)

Suburban Correspondent said...

Swistle, I mentioned Heather's request in my latest post, and I'm hearing wonderful reminiscences of family road trips in the comments over at my place.

Ruth said...

We drove from the UK Midlands to Central Germany (a mere 2 day trip) with a 2 and 4 yr old last summer.

No DVDs in our car (I just can't do it) but lots of CDs and ... the single BEST travel purchase I have EVER made was a soft travel tray for each kid. They are car safe (ie would not cause damage in an accident) strap easily behind the child and fit over any car seat (or none). And wipeable.

They are genius. The kids can have books/crayons/cars/dinosaurs etc safely on their trays and because the tray has a lip they don't keep dropping them and therefore I didn't spend half the journey twisted awkwardly round trying to retrieve the stegosaurus from somewhere under the picnic box beneath my child's feet.

We put a raised box with books/toys between the two kids and strapped that in two and they were happy happy happy.

After that trip we used the trays on any journey longer than about an hour and it always worked so well.

Just a thought for your friend. Have her google 'child travel tray' or some such. Bought mine in the UK but can't imagine they're not available in the US too.