Monthly Archives: November 2014

What They Don’t Tell You About Having Kids Who Have The Flu

This blog entry is going to have to come with a disclaimer: if you are eating, have eaten within the last hour, have plans to eat in the very near future, or have a weak stomach, stop here.  Just close the page, and move on to looking at Kim Kardashian’s greasy ass.  Although, that is pretty vomit-inducing in and of itself, so maybe you shouldn’t do that.

I have a very real bone to pick with companies that manufacture diapers, baby needs, and any companies that feature babies and small children in their commercials. In all of these commercials, the children are sweet, smiling, and clean.  Even in commercials for children’s Tylenol, the child may be sick, but he or she generally just looks a little downtrodden and gloomy.  This sets parents up for a seriously rude awakening after being thrown headfirst into the sea of parenthood, wishing someone would throw them a damn floatie.

For those of you who do not know, 2/3 of my kids have caught the flu in the last week. Mallory caught it first, most likely from spending most of the afternoon last Monday at the cesspool we like to call our pediatrician’s office, and Leland ended up catching it from Mallory a few days later.  Needless to say, this week has just been incredible.  And by “incredible,” I mean, “fucking awful.”

I spent most of my days this week sitting in waiting rooms, sitting in exam rooms, filling prescriptions, dispensing medicine to screaming mouths, holding people in a headlock in order to effectively take their temperature, and crying into my coffee.

So, I’m here to tell you what nobody tells you about having kids who have the flu. Buckle up.

  1. If you have more than one child, if one gets sick, you’re pretty much screwed. One child is pretty manageable, because if they get sick, you just have to take them to the doctor, give them their medicine, and wait for the sickness to run its course.  Granted, one sick child is still a lot of work, but it’s easy to contain, because there are fewer potential hosts running around with their hands in their mouths, drinking from each other’s cups, and licking each other like wild savages.  When you add one or more children to that mix, it turns into a free-for-all.  What once was containable turns into a virtual pandemic.  Like a domino effect, each child gets down with the sickness, and I’m not talking about Disturbed.  Then, you find yourself visiting your pediatrician three times in one week, on a first name basis with the pharmacy tech at your pharmacy and the cashier at your local liquor store.
  2. You will catch vomit with your bare hands. And as soon as you catch said vomit with your bare hands, you will break into a full-on run to the nearest toilet/sink/trash can with it, trying not to slosh it everywhere, leaving a trail of drops in your wake, as your child wails inconsolably in the background and wipes his mouth with the sleeve of his shirt.  Not that I have any experience whatsoever with that.  I think my hands still kind of smell.
  3. You will scarf a value meal from a fast food place with the pungent odor of puke permeating your car. After spending close to 7 hours in a hospital, you will leave the hospital with your stomach growling like a dog that just caught a glimpse of Michael Vick.  You will load into your car with your sick child, who vomited that morning in the car, and despite the fact that you scrubbed the everloving shit out of the seat and carpet, the car will still smell like a bar bathroom.  You will make a beeline to the closest fast food place, and you will eat the entire burger in three bites, because you are that hungry.  The smell will not bother you, because at this point, this is a test in survival.  These people on Naked & Afraid don’t have anything on you.
  4. You will look like you belong on Monday Night RAW when it’s time to give the kids their medicine. If your kids are anything like mine, they don’t mind taking medicine.  My kids are usually extremely cooperative when it comes to taking medicine, so I knew when I attempted to give them their Tamiflu, and they spit it out all over my shoes, that it must’ve tasted like hot turd stew.  I smelled the medicine, and it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.  Therefore, I did the only reasonable thing:  I grabbed the kid like I was The Big Show, and I held him down while he flailed, screamed, and thrashed, effectively administering the medicine.  Unfortunately, there was no big, glittery belt for me to wear after I successfully gave him his medicine.  I was really looking forward to that.
  5. You will be woken up out of a dead sleep by the smell of what can only be described as a gastrointestinal explosion. Last night, I had the distinct privilege of cleaning a sloppy deuce that could’ve woken the dead.  As a matter of fact, I was so close to looking and acting like a zombie last night, that it actually did wake the dead.  I wasn’t sure where I’d placed my hazmat suit and gas mask, but I fought the good fight and did the job without any protective materials.  However, I’m pretty sure I’ll probably be growing a third arm, because that shit was radioactive.  No doubt.
  6. Your kid will, at some point, throw up in your purse in a crowded waiting room. No way could I make this up.  In a crowded waiting room, sitting elbow to elbow with people, my kid yakked into my purse.  Needless to say, taking my wallet out to show the clerk my insurance card was particularly interesting that day.  Anyone got a wet wipe?
  7. You will feel so bad for them, and feel so sorry that they’re so sick, that you’ll wish it was you. You will look at your poor kids, puking, running fevers, miserable and inconsolable, and you will wish you could switch places, and that it was you instead of them going through all of that, ten times over, if it meant they didn’t have to.

I mean, at least then, you wouldn’t be the one catching the vomit with your bare hands.

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Living With Small Children Is Like Living In A Fraternity House

Before I had kids, in what I like to affectionately refer to as “The Before Time,” I had my very own life, with my very own interests, hobbies, and leisure time to spend as I wished. A great majority of that leisure time was spent cutting out Greek letters, ironing them onto things, and then tracing the letters in color-coordinated puffy paint, because I was a sorority girl, and that’s what good sorority girls did during The Before Time.

It’s worth noting that during The Before Time, I spent my fair share of time with other members of the Greek community, namely, fellow sorority girls and fraternity guys. Equipped with the knowledge I have on this matter, I have come to a very interesting conclusion:

Living with small children is like living in a fraternity house.

When I had kids, I never would’ve thought that they would remind me so much of crazy, wild, immature young college guys, but they do. Only instead of doing keg stands, they’re trying to sip from their juice boxes while they’re dangling upside down off the couch, while watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and daring one another to stick a marble up their nose.

  1.  The noise level.  As you can probably imagine, a bustling fraternity house filled with guys coming and going can get pretty noisy.  Multiply the decibels by about 3405983495834985 and you’ll get something close to the decibel levels here at any given time.  When my kids play together, they look sweet and darling, but they sound like they’re remodeling the house.  What looks like a box of Legos sounds like a jackhammer.
  2. There’s always something dangerous and/or questionable happening. When you fill a house with young, immature guys who are looking to do something crazy to impress their friends, there is often something going on that probably shouldn’t be going on.  I’ve seen guys jump from roofs into pools, engage in DIY pyrotechnics, and dare each other to do a plethora of other ridiculous things.  Here, there are three miniature Evel Knievels, ready and willing to end up in a full body cast if they’re able to pull off a backflip in the bouncehouse.
  3. Sticky substances of unknown origins abound. This is actually pretty gross, but it wouldn’t be beyond the realm of one’s imagination to stumble upon a sticky substance of unknown origin in a fraternity house.  I touched the doorknob on the garage door the other day, and my fingers stuck right to it.  In what I can only describe as divine providence, I didn’t throw up all over everything within a ten foot radius.  After I got done submerging my whole sticky hand in a vat of Lysol, I cleaned the doorknob thoroughly with Clorox wipes.  I suspect it was one of my kids with a lollipop, but I’m not 100% clear on that.  Something tells me the source of the sticky doorknob will remain a mystery, and that the memory of touching a sticky doorknob will haunt me for the rest of my days.
  4. Bodily functions. Need I say more?  A house full of guys probably produces enough gas to run an entire fleet of jet liners.  Much like a house full of small children; very often, we are simply a parade of bodily functions, just putting it all out there for the world to see and smell.  It’s like a full-on sensory experience, designed to clear any given room we walk into.
  5. Streaking. Periodically, young, impressionable guys who lack appropriate decision-making skills find it humorous to run around the campus or across a football field, naked as a jaybird.  Like those guys, many children are known to strip down to their birthday suit and grace the world with that poignant visual.  Not mine, though.  Mine are far too civilized for that.  Clearly.

One thing is for certain, though: despite the fact that it’s sometimes crazy, sometimes gross, and sometimes wild, it is a lot of times very fun. Now somebody pass the puffy paint.

How To Avoid Getting Punched In The Face

I was a little torn on whether I should address this on my blog at all. I was going back and forth in my mind all day, wondering whether it was truly relevant to my blog, if anyone even cared about my two cents on the matter, and if it was even worth blogging about in the first place.  Then, I reread the news article, and I became so passionate and incensed all over again, that I felt like I needed to vent my frustration over it, even if it meant venting on a blog that only a couple dozen people read, if that.

The other day, a friend of mine posted a status on Facebook regarding a situation that went down at a Nordstrom store in California. Apparently, a mom was waiting in line to pay with a toddler that was having a pretty intense tantrum.  A 20 year old fellow patron at the store asked the mom to quiet her child.  That went over as well as you could possibly anticipate, and it came to blows in the Nordstrom parking lot, with the mother initiating the physical altercation.

In no way, shape, or form does this blog post condone or promote violence. I, for one, am not a violent person, I don’t believe violence can solve anything, and I don’t think the mother choosing violence is beneficial to anyone involved.  The only time I believe in violence is if you’re going for the last Krispy Kreme doughnut, because I will choke a bitch.  Not only did the 20 year old come away from it with several injuries, but the mom is most likely looking at charges pressed and a court date, and maybe even jail.  Also, I assume the child witnessed the altercation, which is clearly not the greatest way to demonstrate problem-solving skills to your young, impressionable child.  Unless you’re trying to raise the next Hulk Hogan or Jeffrey Dahmer.

Now that that’s out of the way, I can get down to the nitty gritty of this blog post.

Throughout my life before children, I was known to cast stones pretty regularly. I used to be pretty judgmental, pretty harsh, and pretty petty.  I can say only one thing regarding that person from the before time:  I have no fucking clue who she is, where she went, or why the hell she was such a bitch in the first place, because seriously?  Homegirl was a douche.

Parenthood strips everything down to the absolute basics. Some days, it’s a marathon, and at the end, your prize for running this trying, draining, exhausting, exasperating, frustrating marathon today is your survival.  You’ve survived.  Congrats.  Get ready to wake up tomorrow at 5 AM and do it all over again.

When I’m faced with people who I assume are childless casting stones and judgment upon a parent who is not obviously mistreating, abusing, or neglecting their child, I feel a very real, urgent need to inform that person that their tune is gonna be a-changin’ if ever they decide to have children. Not only is it the greatest, most fulfilling, most joy-inducing thing ever, but it’s fucking hard, man.  Not only is it hard, but the stress of dealing with small, unpredictable, cranky, emotionally immature people all day can many times be compounded by outside stressors, such as finances, hectic schedules, work, marital issues, family problems, illnesses, and other real world problems that contribute a great deal to our mental and emotional well-being.

Maybe this mom in Nordstrom was in the middle of the juggling act so many moms find themselves in the middle of each day. Maybe she was stressed out over work, financial difficulties, a fight with her spouse, car trouble, maybe she was preoccupied over test results from routine bloodwork, maybe she was tired that day, maybe she stayed up the entire night the night before wondering how she was going to make ends meet that month.  Then, on top of all of this, she has a small child, pissing all over the entire Nordstrom parade that day.  That, alone, is stressful enough as it is.  Compounded with all the other potential stressors?  I can see how she might have been on edge.

Then, here comes the expert. Dr. Sears reincarnate at the ripe old age of 20 years old, childless and clueless, but with the incredible insight to suggest that the child’s mother quiet the child down.

REALLY?! YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT HE COMES WITH A ‘MUTE’ BUTTON!? If I would’ve known that, I’d have been using that thing this entire time. Thank you for your wonderful insight! You must be a member of MENSA with that incredible brainpower of yours.

What a lot of people don’t understand is when small children have reached that hysterical, inconsolable point, there is no calming. At that point, you need to just ride that wave until it crashes on the shore, and let them boomerang back from that.  There is no talking that child off the ledge.  At that point, they need to just fall and come back to planet Earth, as messy, loud, obnoxious, and ridiculous as that may look and sound.

I can see that less than helpful “suggestion” by the 20 year old setting the mother off. I can see why she would tear her a new one, I can see why she would let her have it, and I can see why she would lose her cool, because I completely would’ve, too.  Would I have hit her?  Probably not.  But I would’ve given her a verbal lashing thorough enough to embarrass her in front of all of our fellow shoppers, and make her rethink ever saying anything potentially out of line to anyone ever again.

This brings me to the point of my post: people need to be sensitive, compassionate, and show empathy, instead of being judgmental, rude, and obnoxious.  In this life, none of us know anything.  We are all just doing the best we can, with what we have available to us.  This parenthood journey is a learning curve, and we are, for some reason, always given the test before the lesson.  Maybe it would do the world some good to give a knowing, sympathetic look instead of a disgusted glare next time you see a kid having a tantrum at a department store.  Maybe we could ask if mom needs a hand with her groceries, instead of rolling your eyes at mom and her sideshow circus act of wild, heathen children.

I mean, if you’re not down with that, I guess I’ll just have to punch you in the face.

Weekend Recap

Normally, people post weekend recaps on a Sunday night, Monday the latest, but since I obviously think I’m pretty slick, my weekend recap is sliding in through the backdoor with its lipstick smeared and a hickey on its neck on a Tuesday night.

Last weekend was pretty eventful.  As everyone knows, Friday was Halloween, and despite the fact that I had Halloween hyped up in my head as something I’d need at least two weeks and a couple Valium to recover from, it went surprisingly smoothly.  We trick or treated in our neighborhood, and even though the last few years, Halloween has royally blown as far as trick or treaters and neighborhood participation goes, this year was starkly different.  The trick or treaters were out in droves, and the kids got to fill up their buckets with lots of delicious candy.  I know it was delicious because I ate most of it.

Carl dressed up as a werewolf, Leland dressed up as Donatello, and Mallory was a candy corn.  They really seemed to enjoy their costumes, and they kept all of the elements of their costumes on the entire time we trick or treated.  I thought that Carl would for sure chuck that hairy werewolf mask out of the wagon five minutes in, but he did great, even though it looked like he was wearing a giant toupee that covered 87% of his face. They were on their “trick or treat!” and “thank you!” A-game, and I was so glad, because the last thing I wanted was for my kids to be those senseless heathens that walk up to the door and stand there with a slack jaw and a glassy look, waiting for candy to drop into their buckets via osmosis. Once we filled up our buckets, Carl took over candy distribution at the house. This part went as well as you could possibly expect when you have a sugared up 5 year old handing out candy to other sugared up, costumed children. When I realized he was heaving whole handfuls of candy into these kid’s buckets, I reminded him that we were only giving out two pieces to each child. Have you ever seen the movie The Green Mile? When Percy, the prison guard, brings in John Coffey? And the whole time he’s walking him to his cell on death row, he keeps shouting, “dead man! Dead man walking!” Well, that’s what Carl was acting like. “TWO PIECES! TWO PIECES ONLY! TWO PIECES!”

After we finally ran out of candy, the Candy Nazi was able to come inside and we were finally able to go to bed and put Halloween 2014 in the history books. The next day, I bravely took both kids to the local indoor bouncehouse place and to a sit-down dinner at a local pizzeria by myself. That was also surprisingly pleasant. The kids sat and actually ate their pizza, let me eat my pizza, and by the end of dinner, I was thinking, “if these kids keep this up, I’ll have to shut down my blog because there will be nothing left to write about.”

Today was a teacher planning day, and we spent most of the day out back. We just had a teacher planning day not even two weeks ago, and I’m wondering what exactly these teachers are planning, because I’m beginning to think they’re really planning how to drive me batshit insane, because filling an entire day with activities for all three of these scallywags is enough to make me get all twitchy. Luckily, the weather here has been beautiful, and the kids have been taking advantage of being outdoors in such mild, nice weather.

Tomorrow is Leland’s 4th birthday. I can’t believe he will already be 4 years old- I remember the day we brought him home from the hospital so vividly. We have a small celebration at home planned, with just immediate family, and a homemade chocolate cake and some presents. I also plan to make his favorite for dinner tomorrow night- meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and green beans. Then, hopefully, we can have a little time to get back in the swing of things and catch our breath before Mallory’s birthday and Thanksgiving come along like a steamroller- that is, unless they spring another teacher work day on me.