Parenthood: August 2006 Archives

How to totally freak out your mother

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Suddenly appear at the side of the bed in the wee hours of the morning and quietly say "There's something in this house. Something spooky. There's something in my room. It was coming towards me and then went into my closet."

I think he was dreaming but still, OH MY GAWD.

Dear asthma: you suck

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I want to wrap my hands around your figurative throat, asthma, just as you do my son's, and wring the life from your neck like water from a dishrag.

Last Thursday night Liam had an asthma attack. Unlike the ones in the past, this attack came on slowly because it knew that if I caught it I would drag it out by the hair into my driveway where I would beat it to death.
I took the boys to lunch and to the park that afternoon; Liam woke up with a cough and sat listlessly in the van on the way to Panera. He didn't eat much of his peanut butter and jelly sandwich, nor his yogurt. He ran around the playground at the park only to return and nestle into my arm a few minutes later before saying "I need to take a little break."
I cut our trip short, loaded the boys into the van and headed for home.

That night Liam's voice grew raspy and he coughed about eighteen times a minute.
I broke out the nebulizer, which we haven't had to use in a year, hooked up Liam's fish mask and sat him down for a twenty minute round of inhaled Xoponex. It's a bit more potent than regular albuterol but with less side effects, such as only the moderate need to tether the child to something substantive (and bolted to concrete). Afterwards I gave Liam two quick puffs of Flovent, a canister inhaled steroid like Pulmicort, but instead of Liam sitting for another fifteen minutes to inhale nebulized Pulmicort, he now takes twelve breaths of Flovent. Then he rinsed his mouth (Flovent can cause mouth sores, YEAY), took a Zyrtec and went to bed. We have all the drugs. All!

(A sidenote: I spent $130 on two boxes, or thirty days' supply of, meds. Because owning your own small business and working as a blogger from home means that you don't qualify as a group therefore don't get the cliquey little discount that the group plans receive. GARGH!)

When the allergy count shows high pollen, mold, or ragweed, Liam mostly has to stay inside behind the fortified walls of our sterile, allergen-free house. Still, he's better than he was a year ago, when even a trip to the mailbox during a high-allergen day would provoke an asthma attack that reduced him to listlessness and oral steroids for a week after. As a result he has developed genius-level game skillz. He beat Stars Wars for PSP2 in one week. AND HE'S FIVE.

He's doing better now, but still coughing, still with the meds, and his appetite still isn't the greatest, an effect of an attack. Hopefully the allergy shots he's been getting every week for the past year-and-a-half will help him kick this by the time he's seven. If I could give him my airwaves, I would.

That's what the creaking was

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I did last night's interview (thanks Geoff!) while perched on top of my washer because that's as far as our corded land line would reach. We never ever use our home phone, in fact, not even our family has our phone number because that's how much we don't use it. We're all about e-mail and free long distance after 8 p.m. on the cell phones.

So I had the phone cord stretched across my kitchen behind the door to my laundry room where I sat on the washer, hunched over on the edge, frozen, as the cord was nearly about to rip out of the wall. All of this because if Ewan heard me talking he'd start screaming and beating his head on his crib. He was mad that Chris didn't put him to bed and when I told him goodnight he threw his teddy bear and blanket at me in a sassy protest. He then sat in the middle of his crib and yelled "DAAAY!" "DAAAY!" for daddy. When I peeked in at him to see if he wanted me he flung his arms down in the hopes that they would shoot out of their sockets and stab me in the head because there was nothing else was left in the crib to throw.

The checkup

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Yesterday I took Liam to the doctor for his yearly checkup. It was his first Big Boy Checkup and at Big Boy Checkups you have to pee into a cup. (Him. Not me). So I apparently missed this memo about the peeing into the cup because had I received a memo Chris would've taken him because the kid peed on my foot. Shoed in flip-flops. Bare foot. Peed on. I shrieked "OH MY GAWD, STOP! STOP PEEING! STOP! STOP IT! STOP! IT!" and he was all "I can't! I haven't learned that yet!"

I've taught him his ABC's, his numbers, the all-important love of money, but I forgot how to teach him how to stop peeing?

Hi! NOT MY JOB! I'm the mother! The one with boobs! And no penis!

After I had to scrub down the pediatrician's bathroom and wash my foot (a whole other story in and of itself) because of Liam, the human sprinkler, we skulked out into the hallway because I knew that all of those nurses heard me screaming and thought "What an awesome mother."

But we got a full cup.

I called Chris on the way home and informed him that if he ever wanted to get busy again he should start handling the very boy stuff as the kids get older. (He's also sick now and on antibiotics. We're really germy people. Peeing all over bathrooms and such. But urine is sterile, so one in our favor!)

Also, I'll be on the radio again tonight around 9:10 p.m. because my voodoo has worked its magic on Canadian radio's Geoff Courrier. The topic is the subject of this week's column, the difference between protecting and over-protection. You can listen online by clicking at the top of their mast.

Our house the sick ward

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If you are eating lunch right now, go away and do not come back until you are finished. Today I'm discussing something that doesn't jibe with eating.

For the past three days Ewan has had a fever of over 100 degrees. Its peak was 103.9 (fevers in little kids are only dangerous when they hit 105) yesterday and I dosed him with Motrin and held him for three hours while applying a cool wash rag to his face. He's also vomiting, yeay! - all over the kitchen, the boys' bathroom, our bed - and I've spent the better part of this week in an attempt to find food and drink that will stay on his stomach. I've gotten about six hours of sleep in the past two days; this morning Chris let me sleep in while he took care of Ewan after Ewan threw up all over the bed again at four this morning. I think Chris was afraid of how I shuffled around the house like a zombie and refused to wear a bra.

That shuffling noise wasn't coming from my feet.

The yeah funtime journey! began Sunday night when Ewan awoke with a shriek. We both bolted into the room like we were brandishing pitchforks and storming Frankenstein's castle; when Chris scooped him out of his crib he noticed that Ewan felt hot. Fever: 103 degrees. I called our pediatrician's emergency exchange; we're giving him Motrin; I took him to the pede Monday; we're just waiting until the virus is finished with his little body. Ewan is listless and feverish for the most of the day; Monday night after a dose of Motrin his stomach gurgled and I knew what was coming, yet had no time to do anything about it. I braced myself as he spewed all over me, the kitchen table, the floor, the stove, the refrigerator, and anything else with a surface. It was awesome. Liam gagged and ran out of the room; I sat for a moment in total vomit-covered disbelief.

Of course all of this coincides with deadlines and the monster is baaack! This is the last cycle before the OB visit, folks, and then embarrassing displays of hormonal instability over! I first noticed that my symptoms were a few days early while at the reunion. One of the drunk stoners threw a little tantrum because I took the seat he wanted and I rose from the table in a way befitting my dramatic southern roots and growled "By all means, don't let me get in the way of you getting totally sauced, since I see that in ten years' time your goals are still the same. WAY TO AIM HIGH!" Then I gave the Fonzee thumbs-up and flashed a razor grin.

For added good measure, because I was on a roll, I called up my cousin - whose dead car was left in our drive for seven weeks with no phone calls as to when or if it would be gone and we've been unable to finish dry-walling the garage or pull Chris's car inside - and said "You need to get this car because the monster is here this week AND I MAY SET IT ON FIRE." Honestly, sometimes controlling the hormones is like putting a leash on fog. And the cramps! During college I had mild endometriosis wherein I curled into the fetal position for several uninterrupted days until a prescription offered me walking-upright hope. The past several days have not been entirely unlike those.

Our mothers have swooped in, eager to help as we mostly keep them on the bench due to our naively independent parenting style. The boys' one-day-a-week sitter started back to school this week which means I'm considering hiring a college sitter OH THE FUN; so Chris's dad took the boys swimming while Chris's mom is here tending to Ewan while I fulfill my contractual goodness. Of course because she is here, his fever went down and he hasn't puked since this morning. OF COURSE.

Sometimes you just have to laugh at Murphy's Law.

The Lil' Mimi look

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I love my boys and still pine for a daughter, but every now and then something comes along that causes me to reevaluate my blessings and thank God for totally NOT giving me a daughter. Among these things are dating, dating, the whining, the borrowing of my clothes without asking, dating, those freaky little My Little Ponies, and play make-up.

When I was a little girl my mother bought me a large plastic bust of a Barbie head with corn silk hair and her very own makeup. No amount of effort or makeup could ever make my Barbie look like one of the models in the TV Guide; in fact, the Barbie head resembled a hooker-clown.

My friend's daughter recently received a gift of play makeup from her (the friend's) mother-n-law. I noticed it because she looked like she might have been beaten up at the circus.

My friend told her MIL: "Next time get her REAL makeup instead. This stuff's impossible to get off. Plus she looks like some sort of freaky streetwalker. You know I had to get this stuff off with tool grease?"

The lil' Mimi look

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I love my boys and still pine for a daughter, but every now and then something comes along that causes me to reevaluate my blessings and thank God for totally NOT giving me a daughter. Among these things are dating, dating, the whining, the borrowing of my clothes without asking, dating, those freaky little My Little Ponies, and play make-up.

When I was a little girl my mother bought me a large plastic bust of a Barbie head with cornsilk hair and her very own makeup. No amount of effort or makeup could ever make my Barbie look like one of the models in my mother's Good Housekeeping magazine; in fact, the Barbie head resembled a hooker-clown.

My friend's daughter recently received a gift of play makeup from her (the friend's) mother-n-law. I noticed it because she looked like she might have been beaten up at the circus.

My friend told her MIL: "Next time get her REAL makeup instead. This stuff's impossible to get off. Plus she looks like some sort of freaky streetwalker. You know I had to get this stuff off with tool grease?"

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