Nine Minutes

We are less than one week into June and I already am over it. I have a feeling it’s going to be long summer with an active almost two-year-old. Let me divulge.

My son loves being outside. Next to “eat,” “outside” is at the top of his vocabulary. Raiding the fridge and relocating mulch from our backyard landscaping are his two favorite activities at the moment, and among my least.

Yesterday, after being disappointed by our bare fridge, my son turned his focus to outside. Lacking in snack options with plans to go to the store later, I was already hungry-inspired grumpy. Adding to my petulance was the fact that it was 94 degrees accompanied by a stifling humidity. You know, the kind of heat where you can practically feel yourself cooking.

With nothing inside our nicely cooled house to hold my son’s interest, I reluctantly opened the back door onto what felt like the sun’s surface. I watched as my son traipsed around the yard, constantly setting his sights on a new activity. When he climbed back onto the deck demanding his water table to be filled, I checked the time on my phone believing we had surely been out almost 30 minutes and in need of a break inside. Nine minutes. We had been outside for nine minutes.

At that moment, I seriously questioned the concept of time and how all perceptions of it can be skewed. The sun and heat had literally melted away my ability to adequately perceive time. It was too much for my weak and hungry mind to take. I scooped him up without a word and ushered us back into the coolness of the house. I quickly closed the blinds behind us, shutting it out like a parallel universe.

With the revelation that time appears to stand still when I am out in the beating heat of summer with my toddler, I’m concerned about the effects the season will have on my mental state. I believe the only antidotes to this summer affliction to be a pool and an adult beverage.

I genuinely want to know how my readers survive the summer with their kiddos, so please drop me a comment!

The Mama-Q

I love my friends. It’s that simple; I love them. Most I have known since childhood and they are my people. But as things go, we’ve grown older, got married, had babies, and lost the majority of our free time and spontaneity.

Only an hour away, I see my close circle of friends less than a handful of times a year when we get together for scheduled events like Norwex parties, birthdays, or barbecues. If it’s a mom’s/adult night out, it feels like Christmas. But given everyone’s schedules and ability to find a sitter, most get-togethers have become “kid friendly.”

Don’t get me wrong, I love getting to see my friends’ kids and having them play together, passing down the friendly bond through our lineage. But it is a different atmosphere when our friendly gatherings are prefaced with “family.”

This was the case for this past weekend’s event. First of all, bless my friend for deciding to open her home and host a dozen of adults and their spawn for a potluck. With two small kids of her own, cleaning and getting your house presentable for company is a chore in and of itself.

This had been in the works for months, with everyone going back and forth on Facebook to find a date that works for them. Settling on last Saturday, everyone got excited and started sharing what they were going to bring for the potluck.

Enter my situation. In another life, I would have put some effort into cooking up something tasty. Yet to master the Pinterest Mom life with an almost two-year old, I immediately began strategizing what I could quickly grab from the store and navigate the shortest route to the checkout before my toddler had a complete meltdown.

You see, my husband started a new job about a month ago, returning to retail after a few years in a corporate office setting. Not his thing. So he made the difficult decision to jump back into the crazy world of retail, which of course entails working weekends.

My weekends have turned into toddler-and-me time, which is exhausting. I’m so happy to spend such quality one-on-one time with my son, but doing it alone on the weekends that had previously been devoted to family time has been a major adjustment on my part. Going places requires a little more planning and attention, which makes me tired just thinking about it.

So, when this party popped up on my calendar, I was excited, yet not as much as I should have been. I knew I was the one who would be schlepping him in and out of the house to get a plate of food, cutting it up, changing his poopy diaper, keeping an eye on him so he doesn’t leap head first off the swing set — all while trying to enjoy myself with my friends and maybe snag a hot dog before it turns cold (this did not happen).

And trying to actually have a conversation with my friends? Ha! We could not even finish a full sentence before someone’s kid was having a meltdown calling for “mommy” or another ran by and a distinct smell caught our attention. By the time we left, I could not really tell you what was going on in my friends’ lives besides them being busy and tired, and work was fine.

One of my good friends was actually apologizing to me on the way out that we didn’t really get a chance to talk because of “you know, the kids.” I feel like this is such an accurate representation of where we are in our lives. And it made me a little sad.

Maybe it’s not this way for all parents. Maybe those super parents exist and they roll into parties like this and just seem to handle it like it’s nothing. I know someday when the kids are a little older and more self-sufficient, we can kick back around a fire and enjoy a beer.

For now, we will keep trying to piece together sentences while managing our lives with small children.

Bath tub intruder

Let’s talk poop for a moment, shall we? Changing diapers and wiping butts is definitely high on the list of undesirable responsibilities of having a baby, but it comes with the territory. So you roll up your sleeves and hold your breath and just take care of business.

I’ve been puked on, peed on, and pooped on numerous occasions in the past two years that it’s hardened me a little toward these bodily excretions. Let me clarify: as long as it’s my kid and I have the resources to clean up the mess, I can deal.

So, let’s dive into the event that led me to writing this.

It was Sunday evening after a busy and exhausting weekend. I had spent 90% of the weekend wrangling the kiddo since my husband was working. I was tired and needing to get caught up on some other things that had taken a back seat. It was nearing my son’s bedtime, so my husband was heading up bath time duty. I could hear my son splashing around and enjoying the water while I rushed around doing dishes and throwing in some laundry.

The next thing I hear is the bath water running full force again, my husband mumbling, and my kid in tears. As I climb the stairs, I hear my husband say, “I’ve got to clean your butt, Bud.” I knew immediately what had transpired.

I pop my head into the bathroom and ask the fated question, “Did he poop?”

“Yes, he did,” my husband responds as he is pulling a washcloth back and forth between my son’s little buns.

I tiptoe a little farther into the bathroom, expecting to see a little turd floating around. The tub is draining and, to my surprise, I don’t see any floating invader.

“Did you clean it up already?”

“Yep. I had to fish it out with my bare hands.”

At this, I burst into laughter. My husband continues to explain, “I tried to use a wad of toilet paper to grab it, but it immediately disintegrated into a million pieces as soon as it touched the water.”

I was in hysterics. I plucked my son from the tub, and wrapped in a towel in my arms, he laughed along. There we were, laughing at my husband who had just used his bare hands to scoop out my son’s turd from the bath tub.

It was the best thing. After an exhausting weekend, it was a funny experience that brought the family together. After all the rushing around to get things done, we could take this moment to laugh together.

Now, I don’t think it would have been quite so funny had I been the fisherman, so I made sure to thank my son for that.

What I’ve learned over the years is that poop stories are often funny, and can really bring people together. So my advice is that if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, take the time to laugh about it. Just make sure to keep some rubber gloves handy.

 

This week’s adventure: HFMD

It’s every working parent’s nightmare: trotting into daycare to pick up your child and the dreaded sick child alert sign is posted outside the door.

As of this date, there has been one confirmed case of the grossest/most miserable/longest lingering illness you can imagine. You’ve been warned.

You shudder, hold your breath, and try to get your kid out of that cesspool as soon as possible. Even though in the back of your mind, you know it’s a lost cause. Those little muggles have already been exposed long before a diagnosis is made, so it’s just a waiting game to see who becomes infected next.

Enter, Hand, Foot and Mouth. A wonderful name for such a disgustingly contagious virus. I like it – it clearly spells out the affected areas for an easy diagnosis. That is, unless you’re my child.

It started a little over a week ago. Woke up one morning and my son had a small rash of little red dots on his tummy. They must have been bothering him during the night because it was evident he had been scratching. Oh joy. He’s had a rash before when he’s caught random viruses, so I knew something was coming. No sign had been posted yet at daycare, so I was blissfully unaware of what was incubating in that tiny body.

Last week carried on and the rash lingered, accompanied by a runny nose. My son’s nose runs like a faucet nearly 24/7/365, so no real red flags there. The weekend rolled around and we got outside to enjoy some unseasonably beautiful weather.

Then the oddity started. Sunday evening I noticed his cheeks were a slightly flushed. I thought maybe he just got a little sun. He was a little restless that night, but still slept okay. Monday morning brought the real fun. Not only was his tummy rash still there, it was angrier and had spread to his back. There were raised patches that certainly looked uncomfortable, but his mood was more or less the same – he’s usually a little irritable in the mornings like his mama.

Thinking like any working parent does, I was plotting in my head how I was going to spin this to daycare to convince them he’s healthy and it’s just a little rash. I immediately snapped some pictures of the evidence and sent them off to the doctor’s office along with a brief description of symptoms. He was running a little warm – 99 degrees F – but definitely not feverish. I decided to roll the dice and sent him to daycare. I pointed out the rash to his teachers and let them know he’s had something similar before with a random cold, but to let me know if it got worse.

The day was rolling along until I got a the dreaded call shortly before lunchtime. Fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, I typically take that with a grain of salt because my center’s thermometer has been off on several occasions…but that’s another issue. Nonetheless, per their policy, he had to go home.

During this time, I had heard back from the doctor’s office and they said it’s probably just a rash accompanying a virus, and just to watch it. Not much to do.

However, when I arrived to pick up the boy, his rash had spread to pretty much everywhere except his sweet little face. I was also delivered a nice little anecdote upon pickup. One of the little boys in my son’s class was diagnosed with HFMD the previous Friday! My mom voice was shrieking inside my brain. With that information, I scooped him up and immediately made an appointment with the doc.

A few hours later we are waiting in the exam room, eager to see the doctor who was able to fit us in. He comes in, checks my son over while asking me a bunch of questions. Determines it’s not HFMD, but probably just another rash that comes along with a virus. Then proceeds to swab his throat to check for Strep. Five minutes later, the test was negative. He sends us on his way, but to call back if it lasts longer than three days. And he is able to return to daycare.

To make this long story short, it turns out he most likely did have HFMD, as the blisters showed up the next day and a number of kids in his class had it. By this time, all those kids had been exposed to it days before the first kid developed his spots, so it was a lost cause anyway. It’s just one of those things that runs rampant through daycare and there is little to do to avoid it.

Being my first kid, I’m becoming more familiar that kids get weird illnesses that often don’t appear as expected. This certainly was the case for my son, as the doctor didn’t even see it. It was a long week, and I lost a couple nights’ sleep, but the spots eventually started to disappear.

HFMD was one tricky bastard. Well played.

4 Things that changed with my fur babies after my son arrived

There was a point in time that I loved my dogs so much. They were my babies — my fur babies. I anthropomorphized the shit out of those dogs. I’ve never been one to dress them up in cute doggie outfits or feast them on gourmet dog treats (I have my limits), but they’d get snuggles on the couch, new toys on a regular basis, and plenty of walks. After a long day, I could come home and stare into their big puppy eyes and feel the unconditional love. All that pretty much flew out the window the second I carried my new baby boy into the house.

Bringing home a baby changes a lot. After having my first kid, I knew things would be different, but I had no idea it would change the way I felt about my pups. I’d had dogs my whole life. I love dogs. I love my dogs. However, with each passing day the more they annoy the shit out of me.

In case you similarly find yourself falling out of love with your fur babies, here are four things that changed when it came to my dogs after my tiny human was born:

  1. Get the f*ck away from me

My dogs love attention from people and are drawn to me and my husband (or any other warm body) like magnets. I used to think it was kinda sweet that they would follow me from room to room, always needing to be near me. Now, with an extra body in the house that is already attached to my hip, I find myself tripping over one of those bozos every time I turn around. Approximately 64% of my daily vocabulary consists of the words “get out” or “go.” Mama needs her space.

  1. Stir crazy K-9’s

Prior to the baby, our dogs were exercised on a fairly regular basis, especially during the warmer months. They weren’t treated to daily walks, but several times a week they got to strut through our neighborhood, breathing the fresh air and peeing on every light post and fire hydrant in sight. Now their free time consists of me yelling at them to stop wrestling so close to where the toddler has decided to plop down. Every so often when the stars are aligned are we able to venture out and let the dogs stretch their legs. With the lack of exercise they have endured over the last year and half, they seem to have developed a coping mechanism by finding new ways to annoy me and my oldest dropping the occasional deuce in the house.

  1. Food thieves

I think mealtime with any toddler is a disaster, but add in two dogs that will happily steal food out of my child’s tiny little mitts and you have a recipe for a total meltdown any time we sit down to eat. My son screams bloody murder anytime my oldest dog locks eyes with him with chicken nugget in hand. With a picky toddler who is unable to keep his butt in the chair for longer than 46 seconds at a time, mealtime becomes a traveling circus and my feeble attempt at keeping the hounds away from my son’s barely touched food.

  1. Social media replacement

When my son was born, of course he was the most adorable baby to ever grace the face of this Earth, so naturally I plastered my social media feeds with image updates of every yawn, blank stare, and smile. A picture of his angelic face napping quickly replaced the snaps I’d take of my pups snuggled up together on their bed with #snugglebuddies in the caption. There’s a new apple of my eye and those dogs just got ghosted from my Instagram.

I quite possibly have two of the worst behaved dogs on the planet, and now with a tiny human to take care of, time to adequately train those two assholes is pretty much nonexistent. So I’m stuck with what I got. The fact that their faces haven’t been posted to every buy/sell/trade group known to man makes me realize that I must still love them on some level. It’s just buried deep beneath exhaustion, lack of patience, and the new responsibilities that come with raising a child. I have faith that someday my love for man’s best friend will return. Until that time, if you want to share a bottle of wine over the shit show that is life with dogs and a toddler, I’m your girl.

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