Get Back in Line, Fool!

I didn’t think I was bragging when I wrote The Glory Days a few weeks back. I didn’t mean to be bragging. I just meant to appreciate the moment, you know, not take good stuff for granted. But apparently someone Up There thought I needed to be bitch-slapped off my high horse and back into line.

Enter more than a week of passing that hideous stomach flu around, like a family game of Old Maid. Both kids spent two full days each puking their little guts out, with lingering wickedness lasting for another few days. Myself, thinking I was all well after one day of exquisitely painful cramps and one day of sore recovery, I jumped right into washing load after load of puke towels and restoring order to a house two days past mama.

But oh, the classic tale. Woe, the classic tale.  After two or three days of feeling fine, the evil bug made it into my big intestines. More cramping. More bed for mama.

Two more sick days for me, then two more well days back at laundry and puke duty. Finally everyone in the house had had it, we had to be done, right?

That’s when the headaches started.

I’m not a headache person. Almost never get ‘em. I always thought it was just the standard cop-out symptom. Now I understand. You simply cannot convey the horror of an extreme headache with the unimpressive word “headache.”

This one felt like someone was stabbing my eye out.

Anyone who’s had an eye stabbed out in headache form already knows the outcome of this story. But for myself, it was just too coincidental. I thought it must somehow be connected to the other bug. I tried Tylenol, but it didn’t help much. It seemed to come on every day between 10 and noon. On the third day, I called a doctor.

Apart from my pregnancies, I haven’t been to a doctor in my adult life more than two or three times. It’s a big deal for me. But what the hell was going on? Having such intense pain around my eye was a bit scary. But furthermore, I couldn’t live like that for very many days. I have kids remember?

The doctor confirmed the only hunch I’d had. Sinusitis. Piercing and extremely localized headaches often right behind or around the eye. No snot or obvious congestion, but I guess sometimes there isn’t.

She prescribed antibiotics, which I am taking like a good girl. And in the meantime I discovered Ibuprofen. It works. Just like the commercials.

Back to cleaning the house, which believe you me had fallen into a bout of extreme disrepair. I’m just thankful I was able to keep on top of the laundry. So far as I know, I’m current. No hampers of last week’s puke towels lying in wait, I’ve checked.

And that my friends, is cause for celebration.


How I Came to be Heaving 60 Pounds of Screaming Kid From a Waldorf Open House

You regulars out there are wondering where your semi-reliable Saturday post is, right?

Well, it all started when I ate my breakfast, Saturday morning. I had been feeling just dandy since I got up, a whole hour to myself to drink coffee and read. I was on top of the world really. Once the kids were up, I scurried around to get everything together for our morning outing– a visit to my favorite local bakery, then a Waldorf open house at 10.

I made breakfast tacos, a never fail way to get protein into the 3YO. Halfway through eating, my stomach started to feel… not so good. Hmm, too long drinking coffee, and then too quick cramming food in I thought. I’ll come right soon enough…

At the bakery it felt wrong to put a chocolate croissant down into the squirmy hole, but more wrong to go without (such are compulsive eating habits). Down the hatch it went. Then load into the car for the Waldorf school.

In retrospect I can see how I was just getting stupider. But at the time I was so sure it would blow over.

I knew enough to warn my friend, when we got to the school, to watch for any sudden excursions to the bathroom and corral my kids if necessary. I managed to stay reasonably coherent through the big open assembly room with the dreamy red watercolor hearts on the wall and miniature rubber boots lined up by the door; through the first and second grade classroom with each child’s homemade schoolbook open on their desk to reveal artistic crayon words and drawings in otherwise blank pages; through the smattering of questions my friend and I asked of the soft-spoken kindergarden teacher dressed in flowing white and pale pink. But once we settled in for play at the nursery, with it’s all wood kid-sized furniture, and faceless cloth dolls, I could avoid it no longer. I was sick.

The knot in my belly was low. Lower than throwing up. More in the impending explosive diarrhea region. The pain was pretty definite. Like the gearing up contractions of early labor.

Continuing my campaign of stupidity, I let my friends (and only possible backup) leave. The 3YO wasn’t ready to go yet, and when she’s not ready to go, going is hard. I couldn’t face carrying her out of there kicking and screaming, even if I did have someone else to carry the Little Guy. Somehow I convinced myself that in another ten or fifteen minutes, she’d be ready to file out in orderly fashion, we’d high tail it home, and all would be well.

However, in another ten or fifteen minutes, she was still decidedly not. But now the Little Guy was. He’d already deconstructed the baby doll swing into it’s independent organic pieces. Three times. He was done with this soft place.

For my part, I tallied the folly of my backup loss and my ever tightening gut wrench, and came to the sad conclusion that all hell was about to break loose.

Which it did.

Cue the 3YO’s wails, “BUT I DON’T WANT TO LEAVE!!!! I YUV THIS SCHOOL!” as I pry the cloth doll from her white knuckles, lift her up, wobble as I realize I can barely stand, then heroically, mythically even, manage to lift the now also screaming 1YO up with the other arm. Barely restraining a full 60 pounds of screaming kid, I make my exit.

I’ve had better drives home. The stabbing in my gut was now full force. The 3YO cried. The 1YO cried. I cried. It was the longest 15 minutes I’ve known in a while.

The cramping got even worse once I was home. I writhed in the bed as if I was in labor. At the worst of it, I couldn’t walk myself to the bathroom. I threw up once, as much from the pain as nausea. It was hideous.

I was in it’s grip all day. It was after 6 by the time the horror had subsided. My guts were still tight and incredibly sore, but I could move. I couldn’t help but think in self-pity, ‘What a waste of a Saturday!’ On the other hand, what the fuck would I have done if it had been a weekday, and My Man at school? Count your blessings, I suppose.

What was it, anyway? You’re sensibly asking. I was sure it was food poisoning, though nothing I’d eaten in the past couple of days seemed remotely suspect. Nevertheless, I was sure, up until the middle of Saturday night when the 1YO woke us up puking his little guts out. Then I reconsidered. He hadn’t eaten any of the same things I’d eaten the day before. A virus! What scandal. Who knew stomach viruses even came in such wicked degrees?

The Little Man was sick all day Sunday, and into today, Monday. He’s not puking everything up anymore, which is reassuring, but neither has he given up the puking.

And babies, wow. They just don’t know how to aim. I’ve washed seven loads of laundry so far, and it ain’t over yet. I had to break into My Man’s shirts, cuz I ran out. Almost ran out of everything. I thought 3 sets of sheets per bed, and 3 towels per person was plenty when I did the big Purge back in November. I wasn’t taking into account the stomach flu on a 1YO.

So that, my friends, is what I was doing over the weekend. Instead of sipping coffee at a local dive and writing one of the several posts buzzing around in my head lately. And now, my mom is coming to visit for a week. It will be awhile before I get to that ‘Kids and Cleaning,’ or ‘How to Build a Toddler Proof Stool’ or ‘Letting Kids Help,’ all of which are in the idea phase. Oh when will they just install these damn machines directly into our brains? So that I can blog while I’m sweeping the floor, or folding laundry?