So, I Guess I Should Tell You About Christmas, Huh?

The short version:  It was hectic, tiring, good, and I’m glad it’s over.

Now, for the long version.

Remember how Jamie woke up sick the Wednesday before Christmas?  Well, he didn’t get better.  We spent the next two days fighting the fever (with limited success) and I powered through cleaning and Christmas prep to get it finished within 40 min of my parents arrival on Thursday.  In the wee hours of Christmas Eve Jamie awoke with a spiking fever and was pretty inconsolable.  We gave him meds for the fever but they just didn’t seem to want to work.  At 4 am we woke my parents to tell them we were leaving Liam in their care and heading to the ER with Jamie.

After a fairly short visit (and a doctor who used the word gestalt – remind me to blog about that sometime) we got the diagnosis – ear infection.  This was no surprise to us.  He was running a pretty good fever and had green snot pouring out his nose.  They gave us a dose of amoxicillin in the hospital and sent us home with a prescription for more.

We stumbled home to grab some extra sleep.

Christmas Eve is a bit of a blur for me.  It was Scot’s birthday (Happy Birthday, love!) and we were supposed to go out for a nice lunch but that got cancelled because J-man was so sick and Scot didn’t want to go out without him and me.  So, we got takeout from the Chinese place for everyone and ate at our house – which was fine.

Jamie continued to be difficult and unhappy most of the day.  I was hoping that after a full day of antibiotics, he’d wake up on Christmas and at least be a little happier.

After we got the kids in bed, we put together one of Jamie’s gifts, got the gifts put under the tree, and the stockings stuffed (after I spent a frantic 20 minutes looking for the damn Santa Candy).

(PS – forgive my picture quality.  Most of them suck and I’m seriously considering getting a DSLR)
We got up Christmas morning with the kids and Liam raced to see what Santa had left.  He took one look at the loot, turned around and said, “This is the best Christmas EVER!”  He hadn’t even opened a single gift yet.
We set about opening our stockings and I got breakfast prepped and in the oven.
So sinfully delicious.
After breakfast we got down to business with all the stuff under the tree.  Liam was a whirlwind and I missed a lot of what he was opening even though I was sitting next to him.  He seemed genuinely excited by just about every thing he got and the AT-AT was a big hit.
(that’s a Trooper Blaster he’s holding, I promise.)
Jamie, on the other hand, was difficult.  Nothing pleased him, we couldn’t assemble toys fast enough, he was displeased when they didn’t meet his standards.  He was all around a complete and utter crankpot that made my Christmas morning very difficult and stressful.  The toy we assembled for him the night before was a play kitchen from his Aunt and Uncle.

When the crying and pissed off toddler finally shattered my nerves entirely, I broke out the kitchen.  He immediately ignored the pile of wrapped gifts, stopped crying and started playing.

A Christmas Miracle!  The play kitchen saved Christmas.  
Eventually it was time for him to nap and us to clean up.  While he was asleep, we unwrapped all his gifts and assembled anything that needed it and got every toy out of its box.  I just couldn’t take the shrieking of his unhappy waiting and he didn’t care about the unwrapping part so we took care of it.
Then, I discovered that the ice cream cake I made for dessert had melted overnight because apparently leaving it outside in a snowstorm was not adequate to keep it frozen.  This is already going too long so I’ll just say that I had extra ingredients in the house, managed to salvage the actual cake layers, and rebuilt the sucker 10 mins before I served it.  It was delicious.
In the afternoon, Scot’s parents arrived and we did Round Three on the gifting.  Then I cooked supper with some help from my Mom (great gravy, Mom!) and we all had a lovely meal.  By that point I was so tired and worn out from early mornings, a cranky sick kid, and running non-stop for 2 days that I didn’t even finish my meal.  But what I did eat was yummy.
Once the kids were in bed and Scot’s parents headed home, I collapsed thankyouverymuch.  As did everyone else.
My parents were with us for 2.5 days and we had a nice visit despite all the craziness.  They got to see Liam do his thing at Tae Kwon-Do on Thursday and enjoyed being able to stuff stockings and get all the gifts out like they haven’t done in years.  I could wish that Jamie wasn’t feeling so crappy so they could have had more fun with him but it wasn’t in the cards.  The antibiotics finally kicked in the day they left. Poo.  At least he’s better now, though.  
I’ve spent the majority of this week taking it easy.  I got to see “Toy Story 3” and “Shrek Forever After” both of which I missed seeing in the theaters over the summer.  I read Anthony Bourdain’s “Medium Raw” and a book called “Waiter Rant.”  Thanks to Scot being home, I’ve gotten to sleep in on more than one morning.  It’s the closest thing I’ve had to a vacation in years and I’m reveling in it.  Next week it’s back to reality but this week is all about loafing.
I hope everyone’s Christmas was wonderful, your Festivus was Merry, and the Airing of Grievances few and trivial!

An Open Letter to the Parents of Pittsburgh

I have seen just about every abhorrent parental behavior whilst out and about with my children.  Chances are, so have you.  I’ve also probably perpetrated a couple of transgressions myself here or there.  I don’t claim to be blameless.  Sometimes, I am that Mom dragging her kid screaming through a store on the way to the exit.

But, seriously, people, bathroom stuff belongs in the bathroom.

A couple of months ago I witnessed something that left my jaw on the floor.  I was at the local mall with the kids and I’d taken them to the mall playground to run out some of their beans.  I was keeping an eye on them from the sidelines when I noticed a couple with their approximately 3 year old girl child.  They played for a bit, ran around with the other kids, and then called their kid over to a corner of the play ground (located smack dab in the middle of the Mall) because they felt she must surely have to pee by this point.

They then whipped out a potty chair, lined it with a plastic bag, and had their kid pop a squat right there in the middle of the Mall.

Hand to God, I swear on a stack of Bibles that I witnessed this first hand.

This little girl finished up her business, pulled up her pants, and then headed back out to play.  Meanwhile, her parents tied up the plastic bag lining the potty chair and threw it in the trash.  Don’t get me wrong, I understand that urine is sterile.  But damn, that is the very definition of GROSS.

I was horrified at the time but thought that, perhaps, I was witnessing an aberration.  A set of parents that just didn’t realize how gross what they’d just done was.  That, just maybe, they were so focused on potty training they forgot where they were.

This week I was proven wrong.  Parents everywhere seem to have no care at all for their fellow human beings whilst out with their children.  Particularly when it comes to bathrooms, potty training, diapers, and the gross things contained therein.

On Monday we took the kids to the library.  We headed up to the children’s section and the kids started looking at books and playing with the toys.  Another parent was there with his two children.  The younger of the two was probably approaching three and still in diapers (no judgment, there – Liam sure wasn’t ready to start potty training until well after three).  He starts going on about how the kid has a poopy diaper and needs to be changed.  I figured he’d chase the kid down, carry him off to the bathroom, and deal with the problem.

Oh no.  He chose an alternative option.

Let me digress for a moment on the subject of toddler poo.  Any parent will tell you it’s gross.  The second your kid is completely on table foods, you start changing the most disgusting diapers known to God and man.  Imagine having to have intimate knowledge of another adult’s bowels.  That’s what it’s like.  It smells awful.  I could go on, but let’s all try to keep our suppers down here.

Back to Dad and his little Dude.

He chased the kid down and changed his diaper RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LIBRARY.  My kids were running around while he was exposing the children’s section to his kid’s shit.  He got the kid’s dirty, shit-covered diaper off and set it aside while he put the clean diaper on.  HE LEFT THE DIAPER OPEN.

I did my best to hold my breath and avert my eyes while I chased my toddler around and not to appear like I was trying to keep the kids away from some other kid’s poop.  The diaper stunk up the whole area and made me want to gag.  My own kid’s diapers make me want to gag.  This was some random stranger and that made it all the more disgusting.

Finally, this guy gets his kid back in his pants and shoes and deals with the nasty diaper.  And we all act like the egregious affront to polite society that just took place didn’t really happen.

So, a little tip:  No one else wants to see that.  Family bathrooms  exist.  Take your kid there and deal with it.  If that grosses you out, try the back of your car.  There are options that don’t include having your kid squat to piss in public or leaving a shitty diaper lying around for all to see and smell.

Thank you and Good Night.

I Expect Santa To Bring Coal

Since he’s already torturing us with illness, that bearded bastard.

I woke up Sunday feeling really nauseated.  I thought I had eaten bad food the night before and it was just one of those things that would pass quickly.  I gulped some anti-nausea meds we had in the house and waited for the feeling of imminent upchucking to pass.

When it did, I got dressed, left the kids home with Scot, and went to the grocery store to do the shopping.  I had it all planned out and I couldn’t deviate from the schedule – too much to do.

What a mistake.

By the time I was done, I was aching all over and ready to collapse.  I came home, unloaded the food, put away the cold things, and flopped over in bed.  Scot had to care for the kids the rest of the day.  Sunday was the *only* day I had to give up to being sick.  Every other day before Christmas I needed to be functional so that I could finish prepping.

I spent the vast majority of Sunday in bed sleeping and reading.  I ate very little and choked down what liquids I could stand.  The body aches SUCKED.

Monday I was more functional.  Not 100% but I could watch the kids, Scot could head to work, and I could get some things done around the house in short bursts with lots of rest in between.  Tuesday was even closer to normal – just some random spaciness and dizziness to deal with.  Today, I’m fine.

Jamie, on the other hand, woke up with 102.2 fever.  Thanks a lot, Santa.  You could have kept that gift in that giant sack of yours.

In the hour and half between when he woke up and when I could call the doc, he dropped to 100.2.  Now I was confused.  I was going to take him to the doc to rule out an ear infection because he’s been known to get them without any symptoms at all so I tend to worry that he has them and I don’t know.  But at 100.2, it could be anything.

I called the nurses line at my pediatrician:  “We don’t need to see him unless the fever persists for 72 hours.”  Thanks for reciting to me what I already know.  But, it just so happens that 72 hours from now is CHRISTMAS DAY.  Grr.  We’re left with watching him closely and hoping he’s fine.

By waking up with a fever this morning, Jamie has also managed to screw me out of his two days at daycare this week.  He couldn’t go today and he has to be fever free for 24 hours before he can go back, so he’s not going tomorrow either.  I was really counting on those days to finish prepping for Christmas.  Now I have to do it with both kids underfoot which is infinitely more difficult.  Doable?  Oh sure.  Pain in my ass?  Assuredly.

So Santa?  This is not the Jolly Old Gentlemen I was expecting.  If this is your idea of a Merry Christmas, you’ve got another thing coming.  I’d call it Ho-ho-rrendous and you need to get those elves in line.

Christmas Photos

It’s the time again, folks – time for Christmas pictures.  Once again, a look back:

Christmas 2005
Christmas 2006
Christmas 2007
Christmas 2008
Christmas 2009
This year we did some professional shots of both the boys and we got one of them together as well.  

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, and Merry Festivus to one and all!

I *Will* Find The Person Responsible For This

Today was one of those days as a parent when I wished I had a magic wand.  It’s not all that unusual a wish when raising little kids but often you wish for it just because you’re tired of waging the battle it requires to turn savage children into civilized human beings.  Today it was because I couldn’t take my kid’s pain away and that sucks.

Jamie is working on teeth again.  I’ve known for about a week that he was getting one of his upper molars. It’s been s-l-o-w-l-y pushing its way through his gum – have I mentioned lately that my kids teethe at a glacial pace? – but he’s been increasingly cranky and inconsolable over the last several days.  He hasn’t been eating normally and he’s just fragile.  He cries and freaks out at the drop of a hat and then turns around and starts playing a game and giggling.  It’s like watching Bipolar Childcare Theater.

Last night he refused to eat a single bite of dinner.  For Jamie, that is simply unheard of.  That kid has never met a meal he wouldn’t try.  He refused PANCAKES of all things.  I saw him ignore a banana the other day and that’s easily his favorite food.   In the wake of this, I finally pinned him down and got into his mouth to see what was happening.

It was so much worse than just a single molar.

He has BOTH bottom eyeteeth also coming, in differing degrees of being ready to break through.  Well.  No wonder he’s been inconsolable.  Three teeth at once would make anyone cranky.

In light of that we’ve been laying on the Tylenol and Advil in alternating doses in an effort to keep the pain under some kind of control.  I’ve also been using Anbesol to numb those spots and give him some brief respite from the pain.

But today, no matter what I did or how I tried, things only kept getting worse.  He refused dinner again and ended up eating half an oreo and drinking a sippy of water.  He was screaming and crying and freaking out over the tiniest things.  He would come to me and climb into my lap while crying and when I got the tears to stop he would just moan.  He wanted nothing more than for me to take the pain away and was really mad that I wasn’t fixing it.

And then I found another tooth.

I was numbing up the spots I knew about and found that his other upper molar is also coming through.  I nearly fainted dead away.

So, I finally knew why he’d been so difficult but I still couldn’t fix it.  He’d had all the medication I could give him, and he was still refusing food and having meltdowns right and left.  Before I got him into bed, all he wanted to do was cuddle with me and moan.  In the end, all I could do was rock him, kiss him, and tuck him into bed.  And then go cry that I couldn’t help him.

But if I ever meet the person or deity that decided to make him go through the agony of breaking four teeth at once, I am going to give them a hard kick to the donkey omelets.