Tag Archives: children

Sick Mom Walking

Join me as I accept my fate people.  I am 3- 5 days out from a rip-roaring stomach virus incident.  MAX.

How do I know this, you ask?

Because Monday afternoon, as I loaded Jr into his car seat after school he looked extra pooped out… he yawned a GINORMOUS yawn, and  informed me his tummy hurt “all day.”

Two hours later I was in the thick of the battle zone of a tiny person’s barf, and fever, and lethargy, and all that is parenting a child with a stomach virus.

I had sent up the flares, battened down the hatches, busted out the Lysol and pedialyte and readied him and I for the coming darkness, and the long, LONG night it would bring.

I feel it is prudent to mention, at this juncture, that my only back up going into all of this was Binky the Wonder dog….  The Mr departed that morning on one of his VERY infrequent business trips, and my parents were deep in the heart of Texas with vague plans to return sometime midweek.

To be honest having The Mr out of the way was a blessing – at the slightest hint of sickness in the house, he drops into some sort of pre-emptive man-cold mode, wherein he spends copious amounts of time panicking about catching the illness and determines he should just start  behaving as if it has already overtaken him.  Not needed or welcome when I have an active barfer in the casa.

As for Binky?  Well… he is good company, but he won’t crap in the yard which leaves me wheeling the tiny barfing human around the neighborhood bike paths in a wagon while begging him to “barf in the bag if you have to barf, buddy.”  So yeah.

It was a typical stomach bug – quick and dirty, affording me many “opportunities” to do LOTS of loads of laundry at inopportune times.

As an unintended bonus, when  The Mr’s parents arrive this weekend for their annual visit for Jr’s birthday, they will find a house that has been disinfected to the point that you could probably perform surgery on any surface of your choosing.  There is not one damn thing I haven’t scrubbed, laundered, sprayed, or otherwise decontaminated at this point.

Jr’s recovery set in as quickly as the illness had – and by Tuesday afternoon he was climbing the walls and jamming along to “Sing”  -which I had rented in an attempt to keep him occupied during a conference call. ( A plan that backfired when our internet and cable went down for a few hours in the middle of the day because the universe believes that I work best with a “challenge” evidently.)

But here’s the thing, and “primary parents”  tell me if you don’t feel me here:  I KNOW that shit is coming for me….

You can drink all the grape juice and diffuse all the frigging essential oils and partake in all the shameless bargaining prayer (No? Just me?) that you want to when these things hit your kids…

But you are UP. IN. IT.

You cannot tell me that your chances of ending up infected with that funk are not EXTRA HIGH when you are elbows deep in “the bucket” trying to clean it out from the last use when your kid walks up and yaks into it again (usually with the damn toilet RIGHT NEXT TO WHERE YOU ARE STANDING, WHY GOD WHY!?)  Or when said adorable germ carrier snuggles down in bed for story time, then unleashes a solid minute long combo of sneezing/dry heaving/WTF else is that noise even IN YOUR FACE before falling dead asleep while you try to hold your breath and run out to create a Lysol smoke screen to kill that shit.

There is not enough Purell on the PLANET, friends.   It’s a damn crap shoot at that point… it is cosmic forces…

I am in “the window.”

That period of days after the virus has departed your child where you wait to see if you too, will drop.

Where anything  you eat has that moment of “will this burn coming back up if tonight is the night?” fear every time you make a meal selection.

Where hoping that if you choke on your water during that video conference, it won’t lead to a power barf into your brand new super cute home office trashcan while your coworkers watch.

Nothing can help me now, people….  Only time will tell my fate.

(How many of you reached for the Lysol just reading this?  I know I would.)

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How I spent my random vacation.

We have 6 bedrooms.

Six.

We have 3 people (4 if you count Binky the Wonder Dog, and we probably should because he would be the first to tell you he is effing “people” and don’t forget it,) in our family.

It is too damn many bedrooms, but whatever.

So The Mr has one bedroom upstairs as his office, and I had previously taken one of the bedrooms in the finished basement as my office.

This left us with 2 fully-outfitted spare bedrooms. 2 bedrooms just sitting around waiting for someone to come along and sleep in them or whatnot.

The spare room in the basement is TRICKED OUT – you get your own LEVEL of the house, FFS. Walk-in closet, the best TV in the house, surround sound, my favorite sofa, and a private bathroom.

The one upstairs is smaller, you share a bathroom with our 5 year old (“Captain-NO-Aim”) and his army of bath toys, and you are right up in the day-to-day of our family’s crap. It was the 2nd tier spare room, for sure.

It was also time to transfer Jr to a true bed, since he was bustin’ out of his Toy Story toddler bed to an extreme degree.

So I developed “The Plan.”

The Plan entailed us moving the queen bed from guest room B into Jr’s room next door, then moving my office into said unneeded guest room, and then finally the changing of my old office into Jr’s exclusive playroom.

Genius.

We moved the bed into his room and got him rocking and rolling as a “big boy” (although he does still have to take a semi-hilarious running jump to get into the thing for the moment.)

Then came the last 2 steps.

And a confession. I have a LOT of stuff.   I had been cramming the clothes Jr had outgrown into that unused bedroom closet for going on 4 years, and when we moved in I had just shoved boxes marked “Keri Office” into my office closet and shut that dang door.  Then filled two bookshelves with a fraction of my favorite books in that room (hello, English degree nerd girl,) slapped some pictures on the wall and called it good.

A reckoning was coming, people.

I took a whole week off of work to make it happen, people. (And also because I had hella comical amounts of vacay accrued, yo.)

Things started off well:

Mimosa buneh ready 4 ALL THE PROJECTS.

But things, um… deteriorated kinda quickly from there…. (this is the kind of crap you miss when you don’t follow Keri on snapchat – @reluctntnburbs.)

I quickly discovered I hadn’t really purged ANYTHING from the time we had Jr…. I threw it in bags and moved it out of The Treehouse when we left the city.

There was this:

Uh oh.

And this:

Oh noes! It’s one of 80 hats I apparently liberated from the hospital!

Which escalated to this:

That escalated quickly.

And a LOT of this:

Chee-burger….

And this:

Ruh roh, queso. (With a SPOON, mind you.)

And of course this:

That salad is to keep my wine company, people.

Big ol’ shocker – Keri wasn’t handling change well. Because we have NEVER seen that before (ahem – hereand hereoh and lookie here…  I DIGRESS!)

Anyway – after I  succumbed to my weeping and eating honored my emotions regarding the treasures that avalanched out of my closets I discovered in my purge, so much more than just a clean office started to come into view. I was able to pack a few boxes for dear friends who have little guys that can get more use out of the tiny cutie clothes and I have taken two car loads of various gear to donate at A Precious Child.

Plus, in both Jr’s packed away gear, and the books and writings coming up from my former office, I have revisited so many special moments in the history of Keri.  I re-read papers I wrote in college (dang, college Keri could REALLY pick apart a Virginia Woolf novel.)  I sat in the Big Blue Marshmallow Chair, now newly rehomed in my office, and laughed and cried my way through the journal I kept for Jr during my pregnancy and our first few months together after his birth.  I brought up the table I use as a desk, remembering that it was a cast off from the University where my paternal grandparents worked, as a groundsman and a cook, and thought back to my memories of them as I sat, palms flattened against the top.  I repositioned, again and again, the mid-century modern typing table that my in-laws bought me after I fell head-over-heals for it during one of their first visits after we moved here, grateful that they love the history of things as much as I do.

Andplusalso, that cool old TV in the corner was my mom’s family’s when she was a teenager.

Did I get it all done in a week? No – I ended up taking the long way around, for sure. But it’s coming along nicely… both rooms are, actually.

And spending that week sorting and laundering and dusting and moving and living with those things that have gathered through the years allowed me stop and think and truly know what needed to stay, and what needed to be released back out to find another round of use and love.

Hokey? Of course. But it helps my heart, so I’ll take it.

Otherwise I am just the woman who spent her vacation drinking mimosas, eating chicken wings, and crying into a pile of 10-24 month sized punk band shirts.

(Let’s never speak of this again, shall we?)

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Come back, nap.

This is coffee.  Coffee took the place of Nap.  I liked Nap better.

I miss naps.

Like, I really EFFING miss naps.

Naps are just not part of my universe at this point, and honestly?  There is a nap-shaped hole in Keri’s heart.

In my past I was an EPIC napper.  A napper for the ages.  A napper on a competitive scale (but I didn’t go pro, because I didn’t want to risk losing my ability to compete in the nap Olympics, I guess.)

Napping has long been a favorite ritual of mine – waaaaaay back into the days of Keri-yore. (Yep, I just said that – it’s a thing now.)

When I was in middle school, we had the Ahhhh-mazingly ugly Blue Flowered Sofa in our living room.  It was something special, for sure.  The arm rests were large and rolled, and fit perfectly in the crook of your neck when you laid down on it.  So I did. Lay down on it, I mean.  Pretty much every day after school until my mom got home and woke me up, I would nap.  (I freaking miss you, Blue Flowered Sofa.)

In high school and college power naps were a MUST, since I was NOT making responsible choices about bedtimes AT ALL (I still kinda don’t.)

The months leading up to and directly following my Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis were one big blur of nap: sometimes inadvertent (falling asleep on the keyboard at work, a lot, every damn day, not knowing why I was so tired,) and on purpose (leaving my steroid infusion appointments, going directly to my parents’ office and eating a giant bag of fast food before sleeping the whole afternoon on my dad’s office floor.)  MS makes you tired.  Crazy tired.  But napping was also a way to hide, to postpone processing, and to shut down from fear and sadness for a while.

Slowly that fog did lift, and I reclaimed the concept of nap-as-recreation.   My favorite hobby.

As I settled into married life and became a mom to the cutest, fuzziest, bestest napping dog EVER, the Sunday afternoon marathon nap was solidified as a permanently scheduled calendar item for Binky-the-wonder-dog and me.   This was SERIOUS business – in the bedroom, curtains drawn, under the covers, see ya in a few hours for dinner, BIG TIME NAPPING.  When I was pregnant it became pretty much the whole day.

And then along came Jr….

The early days were ok, a bit foggy at first, but then we settled in and I would nap when he napped, at least sometimes.

But then he got older. Naps dropped to one a day, and I found I had to get things done at that time.  Then naps – sweet sweet naps – were gone completely.

Last Sunday I was dozing a bit while he colored on his latest superhero creation and it hit me, a wave of nostalgic, wistful longing.  MY NAPS!! My precious naps….  They have no place now.

And I still stay up way too late – now grabbing a little time for myself or writing or prepping for the next day of life for the family….  And we just go and we go and we go.

I am so freakin’ tired.

Oh naps…. I think I miss you most of all.

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Halloween Hangover

Jr BEGGED The Mr to blow up the Minion “just one more time” after Halloween. This happened. Look dude, when vampire Minion passes out off his pumpkin on the front lawn, Halloween is over, m’kay?

It’s snowing.  Along the Colorado front range tonight, it is FINALLY snowing.

Thank goodness – maybe it will serve to usher out what I have started referring to as our “Halloween Hangover.”

This year, in this house, Halloween just won’t freaking die.

Jr has been busting out costumes (or random parts of costumes) from the stash in his dress-up corner, and emerging from the basement play area to “trick or treat” though out the house.  He sets up stuffed friends with craft pom-poms at various locations and proceeds through the house collecting the pom-poms in his PB Kids personalized jack-o-lantern bag, and then comes back to the TV room for “the Halloween party.”

This party involves playing the Peanuts theme song and dancing. Over and over.

And over.

Don’t get me wrong – I totally believe in the Great Pumpkin, and I am strangely proud of how long a 5 year old can ration a candy supply (1 piece in his lunch, 2 pieces after school,) but let’s move Spookley off the top of the toy bin and start shining the play stove to cook up some Turkey, eh?

OR – if we MUST – then at least relent to letting mom pack up the colorful leaves and decorative gourds in favor of mistletoe and tinsel and stockings hung by the chimney with care, shall we?

We have had years of being fairly frightened of Halloween. Last year I had to carry him out of the garage kicking and screaming to get the trick-or-treat train movin’ around our ‘hood.  This year suddenly he is determined to see it last for.ev.errrrrrrrr.

The ridiculously warm weather has been no small contributing factor, I think.  I mean, it still LOOKS like Halloween outside – all leaves crunching under his little feet and clear blue sky against not-quite-yet-bare trees.  I get it, I really do.

But I am not here for it anymore, people.

The minute we got him home from school, I dressed him up like Ralph’s little brother in A Christmas Story and shot him out the back door to frolic in the 1/2 inch or so that had accumulated thus far.  Because we are moving on, yo.

MOVING. ON.

So snow on, snow storm…. blow the Halloween Hangover from these halls, pronto.

 

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Legos and longing -second thoughts on working mom-dom.

I am sharing this piece which I first posted on Spirit of Power early this week, because the response has been so overwhelmingly supportive, and because the topic has consumed my thoughts since the spark was lit in my little mind.  I have joked that I seem to have triggered my midlife crisis (which it very well might be,) but I hope that I can channel the upheaval into something mildly more practical than buying a sports car.  (ha)

Original Post Here

mommy and me

Late this morning over a quick lunch break, I was diving down the rabbit hole of Instagram to let my mind wander from a project I was a bit stuck on for work. I stumbled on a simple post of an ADORABLE baby sitting in the sun in a chair, giggling at his mom off camera. SO CUTE! I clicked to read the caption of this cuteness.

Two minutes later I was broken, sobbing and groping for tissues in a haze of envy and guilt and sadness.

The cutie-patootie’s mom posted the smushy picture of him to celebrate her first day as a stay at home mom. It is a simple thing, upon first thought. It was the second wave of my mind’s wandering that kind of ripped me in two.

It was her first day of being with that smiling boy at home, completely on purpose. Not because she was on vacation and trying not to think about the email that must be piling up and the fires that will need putting out when she returns.

Not because the baby was sick, or because plans for his care fell through, or because she was working from home with him there as well due to a heavy snow storm. (The latter of which never truly works, resulting in guilt about sticking in a video and begging the kiddo to please be quiet for that conference call, followed by work guilt because productivity drops when you have one eye on the laptop and one eye on your offspring.)

It was her first day without division in her mind, her heart, and her time. No internal war to be everything to everyone. For the first time, she was all his. Concentrating on him, and his surroundings, and nothing else, is ok for her now.

Years ago, before Junior came along, I would daydream about that being my reality

It wasn’t in the cards, and I adored the lovely Christ-centered daycare Junior attended during his first year of life. I am so proud of all he learns and of the way he has found his place in his little community at the academic center he attends now, truly I am.

In our neighborhood, there are many moms who stay home with their children, and I think it has accentuated some of the things I fear Junior misses as a “day care kid.”

He misses the flexibility of schedule to try new activities, or have a play date with neighbors, or even stay in pajamas all day “just because.” There’s no chance to abandon an activity to head outside for a bike ride or snowman building or kite-flying, regardless of perfect weather conditions.

Days are full of hurrying out the door late, off to day care as mom worries over email and deadlines and trying to cram it all in, while also figuring out when doctor appointments and dentist visits and haircuts might fit in to the picture. Of course, always keeping fingers crossed that Junior doesn’t get sick and bring the whole precarious mess to a screeching halt.

It’s a tough realization to find that I am resentful of my child for getting sick, when he does, because it throws off the tightrope walk that I am barely pulling off with him healthy.

Evenings are a blur of pick-ups and meal prep and rushing toward bedtime routine to (hopefully) get him in bed before “tired” turns to “overtired meltdown madness.” Usually I am thinking of the To Do list I need to get started on once he is asleep and praying that he will drift off quickly. Then in a few short hours the whole scene plays out again.

It feels like our family, and especially Junior and I, are running and running to get to some place or goal or SOMETHING, but never getting there.

Suddenly today, while inhaling my lunch and trying to distract myself from the reality of my truth, it smacked me square in the face.

Today is the first day of a really great new normal for that mom and her sweet smiling son.

Today for Junior is just another day where his mom bustled him off to “school” early because she was stressed about looming deadlines and semi-dreading what the impending snowstorm would mean for her ability to work tomorrow (while trying to squeeze in some “one eye on each” activity with him, if possible.)

You know what? That sucks.

My proudest accomplishments lie not within deadlines met and task lists checked off. They are measured in the way he pulls my ear down close to his mouth and whispers “I love you mommy,” and in the joy on his face as we build a new incarnation of a superhero hideout out of legos.

I do imagine what it would be like to focus just on him.

I don’t know what a next step would be – Instagram mom’s new SAHM path can’t be mine right now.

Parents who do stay at home with their children have challenges and feel conflicted too, I am sure. I don’t mean to discount the mountains each person must climb each day.

But I think that the search for a new normal has begun today…. in my heart, and I pray also in my actions.

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