Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Five Stages of the Stomach Flu

Once again the plague has come to my door. My family has been visited by the stomach flu and only two have come out unscathed. (And no, I was not one of the spared. I was scathed. DEFINITELY scathed.) 

So today I come here to simply present



There is no way I can have the stomach flu. I mean sure the baby was puking pretty bad yesterday and I mean, I guess some of it may have gotten in my eyes. And maybe my mouth. BUT! This vague feeling of nauseousness that I'm currently experiencing? I'm sure it can't be the stomach flu. I mean -- for the love of all that's Holy I JUST HAD the stomach flu a month ago. A loving, all-seeing higher power certainly wouldn't let me get the stomach flu twice in two months, right? RIGHT?????


Are you #$*&(ing kidding me???? Am I to be SPARED NOTHING!??! I cannot #@$ing believe this! F#@ YOU UNIVERSE!!! I shake my fist at the skies in a rage right up until the point where I begin to lose control of my limbs!!!!!


Listen -- the fever I can handle. I'll deal with some chills. I'll even accept a really bad case of the runs. I mean really bad, OK?? But please, please, please, please NO VOMITING!!!


It's coming for me. It's coming and there's gonna be vomit and there's nothing I can do to stop it. All that's left is to wallow in debilitating hopelessness and curse the fact that we only have one bathroom in the house. And now...the puking...


I know now that my body is intent on the sole purpose of squeezing all of the contents of my innards, you know, outwards by whatever means necessary. I'm dying. Oh, no I'm dying. I'm dying. 

(cut to two hours later) 

Come for me sweet relief of death!! I'm ready to go to the light! 

Is that you Grandma???

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Scabby-Kneed Girl

My daughter is currently sporting a bruised leg, a minor scrape on each elbow, and a ping pong ball-sized carbuncle towards the base of her scalp...

...which means we're running just about par for the course this week when it comes to injuries sustained.

At twenty-one months old this girl has two older brothers with whom she is DETERMINED to keep up. Unfortunately her physical coordination is no match for her personal enthusiasm, and so it is that she winds up on a daily basis with bruises, bumps, and bonks of all shapes and size sprouting from each part of her body at an alarming rate.

As we move out about town lately I can't help but notice the choruses of, "Oh no Sweetie!! What happened?" that greet us wherever we go. It has reached the point where I am seriously considering changing supermarkets for fear that, one facial bruise from now, some well-meaning checker will turn me in to child protective services.

Because at this point hiding would seem to be my only option. There is simply no slowing this girl down. She continues to hurl her tulle-clad self at the world with reckless abandon. Like a mini mountaineer, she scales every surface of our home gleefully, often finding her way to the top of the bookcase or fireplace mantle before I can retrieve her in a panic. It's kind of exhausting...

...and it is also kind of awesome. I'm genuinely happy to have such a fearless little female human under my care. I love to watch my daughter as she sees her brothers take on a highly ill-advised tree climb. She scrunches up her little face in determination before following right along in spite of being half their size.  

I am embarrassed to admit, as a proud feminist and women's college graduate, that I find in myself a desire to "contain" her that I never felt with my boys. I fight against this odd and foreign voice that wells up in me as I watch her scrambling and scaling that seems to believe that she is too fragile....too pretty get hurt.

I have to actually force myself to remember that injuries are part of the growing process for boys and girls alike, and so I let her dare and roam and bump and bang and cry. I know that she is building some great life skills -- boldness and fearlessness and a feeling that she can keep up with the big guys -- and I pray they will serve her well.

In the meantime, if anyone does question the various scratches and nicks she gets along the way, I just smile and say, "Yup - that's my girl."

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Ride

When my son was sixteen-months-old we received a hand-me-down tricycle from a neighbor.

My son LOVED it. His Dad outfitted it with new handlebars and a shiny new seat and my son's face would just light up whenever he got a glimpse of the thing. Long before his feet could even reach the pedals my guy would sit on top of his tricycle happily or push it up and down the front walk, squealing in delight.

Eventually his little legs grew big enough and he mastered the pedals and spent long afternoons zooming up and down our driveway.

When he turned four we moved our son up to a big boy bike with training wheels. Outfitted with a slick new Spiderman helmet, he was finally ready to leave the confines of our gated house behind and take to the open sidewalk!

Since he didn't have the leg strength to get the bike going I'd give him a nice big push to start off each ride. We live in a bustling neighborhood in Los Angeles, so I walked next to him as he made his way slowly forward, warning him all the way to watch out for upcoming driveways. I instructed him on how to push the pedals in the opposite direction in order to stop and walked a few steps in front of him to form a human blockade until he had it figured out.

Then there was the problem of concentration. One of the wonders of being out on a bike for my son was that there was just so much to look at from his new bike-y perspective.  He'd reach out to touch trees and flowers as he passed. He'd search the skies for passing airplanes and turn to shout important Toy Story 2 plot points to each and every passerby.

Time and again I'd remind him, 

"You need to look where you're going or you'll crash!"

and he'd ignore me and crash into things and then, completely unfazed, he'd dust himself off, get back on his bike and keep rolling.

For hours on end we explored the neighborhood on two wheels. Soon my kiddo no longer needed a push to get started and he almost never needed help getting over the bumpy parts of the sidewalk.  

Each day he rode a little faster and a little more confidently -- which left me quickening my pace so that I could stay right by his side providing reinforcement and reminders and standing at the ready to grab him if he fell.  Sometimes we'd be joined by his brother on his tricycle and his sister in her stroller. When I was supervising all three of them I had less time to monitor my big guy's biking skills, and so I had to just sort of linger behind, only jumping in to get involved at signs of trouble.

Then finally yesterday afternoon I took my son out for our usual after-school ride. As we started down the sidewalk to make the loop around our cul-de-sac I found myself having to run at a brisk pace to try to keep up with him. I was getting winded after the first lap, and by the end of the third loop I realized it was hopeless -- I just couldn't keep up anymore.

And so I stopped running and I let my son head off without me by his side. All I could do was hope that all that time I'd spent shouting instructions and providing all those lifts over bumps had somehow implanted in his little brain all the lessons I'd offered along the way. I had to trust that he would remember them as he headed off on his own, leaving me behind to worry and to hope. 

And if that ain't a perfect metaphor for parenthood, folks -- I don't know what is.