Now that enough time has passed to let go of these, I can get a laugh of some of the FML moments from when I was solo before Christmas. Hopefully you’ve read my last post, “16 oz jar”.
Here are a few more moments:
This one I subtitled, “Puppy problems”: I may have hinted a few months ago that we went ahead and got a puppy. Because that’s what reasonable people do when they have 5 kids and their spouse is going to leave for 5 weeks…right? He’s a good pup, his main problem is he hasn’t quite mastered potty training; but it’s not terrible, but I want to strangle him, but it’s totally my fault because I get too distracted to pay attention to the dog that slinks off to poop in the corner. A few weeks ago, our oldest, #1, was assigned to take him for a walk. Puppy is about 6 month old at this point, and he does well on walks but traffic makes him skittish. He’s smallish, but can pull a bit. Anyway, I’m in the kitchen, where I live, and I look out the window to see puppy come tearing down the sidewalk and jump at the side door. I also see a car that pulls over outside our house. I let the dog in and figured he got off leash and boy #1 will come back any moment. The man in the car gets out and asks if that’s my dog. (I resist the urge to be sarcastic, “No, a random dog just insisted he come in my house and I gladly let him in”.) He then tells me I have a boy up the road that’s very upset his dog ran off then wants to know if he should go back and tell him the dog made it home. Sure, I say. (That was very sweet of him, I’m glad I wasn’t sarcastic.)
A few minutes later the 13 year old comes stumbling in the door, visibly shaken and crying. “The puppy got scared by a truck, slipped his collar, and ran out into traffic! I’m pretty sure he got hit by a car!” It takes me about 15 minutes to calm him (the boy, the dog seemed calm) down, reassure him that the dog seems fine, as he ran the 6 blocks home and doesn’t have a scratch on him. He finally calms down and goes off to watch TV (the boy, not the dog). I turn around and the dog instantly starts wobbling around, in circles, gets dizzy and starts falling over, crashing onto the ground. He can’t seem to use his front legs. Wobble, wobble, crash. *sigh*. Of course, the first thing you do in this instance is google “dog head injuries”, and of course, any head injury is “emergency rush to the vet!” I begin to panic, mostly because my idea of my evening quickly turns to the lovely image of dragging 5 children and a concussed dog in to the vet at 5 pm instead of hockey practice. And a vision of money. Lots of money. The dog, meanwhile, is still falling over, trying to rest, and clearly is “off”. I take a deep breath and consult my Ex-Husband-In-Law, my fellow practical thinker. We conclude that it’s either a concussion, in which case there is absolutely nothing anyone can do, or something much, much worse, which means thousands of dollars. Now, I love dogs and clearly they are worth more than cats, but there’s a line, I think. Especially for a mutt we rescued. (I did not just type that, everyone cover their eyes! I will deny it!) By morning, the dog is completely fine, and problem solved, save for a permanently traumatized 13 year old and a dog that is really scared of trucks.
The bloody toddler: I’m on the phone with wifey. The cutest thing has happened 30 minutes before: The 3 year old asked the 13 year old if he would play with him. The 13 yo agreed, ran upstairs, donned a superhero costume, and played superheroes all evening. AWWWW!!! So cute! They had a great time, fighting crime downstairs, while I am upstairs on the phone and cooking dinner. (Surprisingly, I happen to be in the kitchen). I occasionally hear crying but it usually stops right away, and turns back to laughter. Then, more crying and it must be serious as Batman starts heading up the stairs, searching for the comfort and attention only a mother can give. I meet him on the steps as he’s taking off his pointy batman mask, and find his face literally covered in blood! “I’ll call you back, bye!” as he tries to wipe a bloody handprint on the wall. I’m pretty cool in emergencies, so I figure I’ll find the source of blood first before I panic but am already figuring out the logistics of a little ER visit in the evening with the children.
This story isn’t that exciting now that I’m writing it. It’s pretty anticlimactic actually. By the time I had cleaned up the blood it had stopped, and for a minute I couldn’t see any source save for a tiny little dot on his scalp. Go figure. Just one of those, “just thought I’d throw that at you to see how you’d react” lessons? “You should be thankful it wasn’t serious” lessons? “I’ll give you a little story you can blog about” freebies?
The stomach flu: Sure enough, we needed to have a round of stomach flu when mama is gone, because it gets way too boring otherwise, being the only adult hanging around. Kid #5 gets it first, then kid #4, then kid #3. I guess if I had to choose, I’d get this curse while she was gone because I love her and wouldn’t wish kids with the stomach flu on my worst enemy. Of course, it’s not just ANY stomach flu. I discover when it isn’t disappearing in 24 hours (the ONLY perk to the stomach flu is its speed), that this one has its own name: Norovirus. It’s not 24 or 48 hrs; kid #4 had it for 5 days. Kid #4 started barfing about 30 minutes before I was to take him to a hockey tournament along with baby brother, a little fun weekend getaway. As baby brother had had it a few days before, I figured it was more than just something he ate the night before, and was quickly proven right after he barfed about 3 times in the first 30 minutes. Well, that was one long trip and car ride disaster avoided due to my extensive kid-barf experiences. The poor kid, being almost 5 and never having had the stomach flu before, didn’t know what the hell was happening to him, as evidenced by him running to the bathroom, only to barf on the way. There’s nothing sadder than a 4 year old bemoaning bewilderedly, “Why is this happening to me?” It was also impressive his human drive to find a cause to his suffering. “Why did you let me stay up so late last night?” (He had gone to a hockey game with dad, but, as usual, this was clearly mom’s fault.) “I threw up watching Spongebob so I don’t want to do that again!”
He stopped barfing after the first day (but probably puked over 30 times), but his “other” troubles continued past the next 2 days of high fever, and 2 more days after that. On day 5 he was feeling a bit better, finally eating a little, and perking up even though he still was running to the bathroom frequently. It was a day for #3’s school Holiday Performance. And, since I suffer from intense mom guilt because I rarely do these types of school activities (cuz they are kind of lame and our kids aren’t what you would call “willing participators”), I was determined to go. Mostly not so I could say, “wow, I’m so glad I didn’t miss that performance of a lifetime!”, more so I could say, “I did SO support your childhood!” We got there in time to catch the 2nd half of the first of 2 whole songs our daughter “performed” and the place was packed so we (when I say we, I mean me and my 2 littlest sidekicks) were way in the back, and the little boys couldn’t even see sister. But, dutifully, the 3 year old clapped enthusiastically with the crowd. Until about 5 minutes in, #4 had to go to the bathroom. Bad. He was sweating bullets. It’s fun gathering up two preschoolers and all of their winter gear in the middle of a school performance, quietly. We made it to the bathroom, and then made our way back to our seats with just a small amount of chaos. Until he had to go again 2 minutes later. By the 3rd trip I calculated the risk of leaving the 3 year old who was still fascinated with school performances to cut down on the disruption and figured it was a good risk. It was, and screw whoever in back of me who probably judged me for leaving him for 10 seconds. The poor 4 year old by this point was whispering, “I just want to go home!” Me too, kid. Me too.
We survived it though. We survived it all. Enough to chuckle about. Enough to realize it’s good blog fodder. And, lucky for you, the wife is gone for another 10 weeks.
I'm the stay at home partner. On the side I'm a childbirth educator, doula, breastfeeding counselor and nutritionist.