It’s like this. Exactly like this.
With a solid amount of tantrum and some epic snuggles thrown in.
It’s like this. Exactly like this.
With a solid amount of tantrum and some epic snuggles thrown in.
This weekend I spent a lot of time patting myself on the back for being so damn awesome. Gabe spent Friday night at my parent’s house while we did some big overhaul cleaning things to prep for the new baby and then it was awesome-sauce Gabe-palooza upon his retrn. We splashed in the wading pool, we watched a Saturday night movie and ate nachos, we went to new parks, we went to the Pacific Science Center and saw big dinosaurs and butterflies and bees! We get an A+ in parenting this weekend. And life. Photos can’t do it justice, but some videos come pretty close.
Parenting is 90% deciding what the next steps are in the middle of a situation you have never experienced and have no education in. It’s troubleshooting with minuscule information where the ripple effects directly impact an entirely separate person’s life.
It can be as small as creating boundaries for your tiny human or establishing positive body image practices by teaching them the proper names of private parts. These things end up being 1 choice made in a life time of choices that may ripple into a WAVE of adult behavior in 20 years. Who knows.
And sometimes parenting is about making decisions when your kid collides with another kid at daycare pickup, like what happened to Kamel on Wednesday. A normal pickup routine. He was chatting with the daycare lady about Gabe, getting the skinny, as you do. The kids were playing, running about, and Gabe smacked into another kid, their knees banging on each other and they fell to the ground. Gabe went into that wide mouth silent cry before his eyes rolled back into his head and he went limp.
Kamel was right there. Our lovely daycare lady was right there.
“Gabe wake up, wake up, Gabe. Gabe!”
And he did after a moment. And Kamel scooped him up and after another few moments Gabe went limp again, passed out again, but this time on his shoulder. Kamel pulled him off of him and saw his limpness, his head loose on his neck. Gabe was pale and sweaty and when he came to he cried and cried for water.
So what the hell do you do? Do you call 911? This all happened in less than 5-7 minutes. Once Gabe had some water and Kamel took him outside he seemed normal. Super sweaty, pale but his color was coming back, and normal. He looked at the ants on the sidewalk like he always does. He held is tiny plastic cup of water and sprinkled it on the cement while Kamel called me and they sat out on the curb.
“Ok….” was my initial response.
“Did he throw up?”
“Is he disoriented?”
My brain was visualizing the situation like a movie, trying to see if there were any pieces Kamel maybe hadn’t noticed.
“Well, do you THINK you need to call 911?”
“Well, SHOULD we go to the ER? I feel like it wouldn’t hurt…”
“But he seems fine?”
“I think you should call the pediatrician, explain everything that happened and let me know what they think.”
Meanwhile I’m texting people I know who know more than me about these things. They are giving me more questions to ask, but also reassuring me my kid probably doesn’t have a brain bleed. Me and head wounds – my biggest parenting irrational (rational) fear. We all have them. For you is it drowning? Is it choking? What are your worst dreams about? Mine involve head wounds, the kind that change you forever. The kind that aren’t very visible. The kind that sneak up on you later and have permanent consequences.
The pediatrician sent us to urgent care at Children’s. My parents were kind enough to jump in the car and pick me up and we met Kamel and Gabe there. They were already in an exam room when I walked in. Gabe had a tiny medical bracelet on and I could tell he had been crying. He was nervous and sitting on Kamel’s lap while the doctor talked to them both. She was the third person to examine him since they arrived, and for that I am very grateful.
They explained that sometimes toddlers hold there breath or can’t catch their breath when they are really upset and they pass out. She felt his head, she checked his eyes and ears, she observed him walking and interacting with us and her. The telltale sign of the diagnosis? That Gabe fell down, pulled his knees up and went into a silent scream before going limp. There was no head tenderness, there was no bump. His knee where he had collided with the other kid was fine. We said thanks and we walked out the door.
I mean, what the fuck parenthood? No one tells you that sometimes your child will just… be upset and not breath. And then pass out in a scary way! Twice!
No one could possibly explain what it feels like to go through all of the worst case scenarios trying to figure out which one matches up with what’s happening right in front of you.
No one tells you about all the times you’ll go to the doctor thinking one thing and then walk out with oops a double ear infection – didn’t realize that! Parents of the year… that explains his insane grumpiness lately. (Happened to us… oh, I don’t know, a million times.) No one talks about how little you know and how much of the time you don’t know it. You think one thing and it’s another, you are going about your day and then wham, blindsided by whatever it is that you now have to deal with, something that wasn’t even remotely on our radar 5 minutes before. “Did you know that your son has a yeast infection?” No… How about a double eye infection and croup? How about food allergies or skin issues or a million other relatively benign things that you could never expect. What about the not benign things that you can never expect?
And even if they did tell you, if you’d been properly prepped and warned that this was parenthood, you’d probably laugh and shrug it off. It can’t be that crazy. You’d know, you’d see some of it coming, you’d see MOST of it coming. I mean, you’re the parent! You’re with them all of the time, you know them better than anyone in the entire world.
And then your kid bangs into another kid and is suddenly limp on the floor in front of you. It happened in the space of a moment. And we’re back in the 90% of parenthood… troubleshooting situations we have never seen and have no training in. What do we do? We call people who know more, we use our resources, and maybe we have an unnecessary bill from urgent care that says, “Your child passed out because he held his breath too long, bet you didn’t know THAT was a common toddler activity, did you? That will be $200.” And then we go home and eat crackers and have bath time. And that’s just how it is.
It is hot. I am hot. I am bloated and hot and melting – no I’m not melting, I’m WORSE, I am puffying up! Puffing up everywhere! my fingers and toes and knees! MY KNEES ARE SWELLING OMG did you even know that could happen to a person?
But guess what! We finished the nursery nook last Friday. Even untangling the mobile. There are sea horses, they have curly tales, they don’t know how to keep their hands to themselves. Once we get our little night time changing station all set, it will be reveal-palooza!
We went to a splash park yesterday. Here is a photo of my child not splashing because water shooting out of the ground is scary?
I was very excited to go because I figured seeing my kid running around in water might cool me off by osmosis? One of us needed to experience some relief. Might as well be the tiniest among us. But very little splashing occurred. A lot of walking and running in circles, which seems very counter productive to the cooling off goal we had in mind.
I want to say that a perk of the heat is the epic nap times that are bestowed upon us by the white noise machine that is a fan and heat exhaustion. But it mostly makes me feel trapped in our dark cave of an apartment (for the love of god DO NOT OPEN THE BLINDS and let the evil sunlight IN!!), bored and moaning about being hot and bored and bored and hot and when will the baby wake up so we can do something?! What do i want to do? Nothing! It’s too hot!!
My world is a fun house of emotions and needs.
How was your weekend? I had a raspberry/lemon/strawberry Popsicle and it made my LIFE whole. Did you get to have any moments like that? I really hope you did.
If you see a mom shopping at the grocery store with a wailing toddler in the cart, here are some things not to do:
1.) Do not roll up on the pair, without addressing the mom (even with a sympathetic look), and start talking to the wailing toddler.
2.) Do not get down on the toddler’s level, ignoring the mom completely, and start talking to the toddler about how it’s ok to have feelings. How everyone is sad sometimes, and how everything is going to eventually be ok.
3.) How about just don’t talk to the toddler at all.
4.) How about just letting the mom pick out carrots, alone, and let her deal with her shit-head toddler who is already making her wish she were invisible by sobbing and calling for “daddy.”
5.) Do not encourage your very own toddler to address the crying toddler and reiterate how, “everything is going to be ok.” And definitely don’t say stuff like, “Tell him, tell him it’s all going to be ok.” Because that is weird, and awkward, and fucked up, and also what the fuck do you know random mom at Safeway?!
If you see a mom at the grocery store shuttling around a wailing small child, trying to get through her grocery list, here are some things to do:
1.) Nothing. Leave them alone.
2.) Maybe…. you can give them a sympathetic… solidarity, stay strong, fist pump as you roll past.
3.) But really, nothing is probably best.
I get pretty stoked whenever we have a successful sit down dinner experience with Gabe. Successful being he eats food and sits with us longer than 2 seconds before declaring “ALL DONE!” He isn’t a big dinner kid, I think he eats his biggest meal at lunch. Which makes it a little tricky when Kamel and I need to sit down and eat and Gabe is all “No, PLAY mama! Over ‘DER!” and I’m like, bitch I’m hungry.
Anyway, the other day we had SUCCESS. And we were trying to get Gabe to say – on camera – “basgetti” as all tiny humans do, because who teaches them that? No one. It just happens from the mouths of babes. And it feels like such a milestone when they say something so cliche. Like “Aminals” or “shit” (we can all blame Kamel for that one).
So enjoy! A little taste into real life dinners at chef Duprez.
(Also enjoy “Medicine Go Down” from Mary Poppins, Gabe Style.)
This weekend felt like 3 in the best way possible. There was all the usual stuff, complete with getting things back on track from my time away, plus extra fun Birthday celebrations, cuddling a newborn and dropping off chili and cornbread for my recently un-pregnant friend Maggie, a solo pedicure where I sat quietly for an hour (reading two magazines! HEAVEN!), and a lot of park time.
Gabe was out sorts this weekend, refusing food, being extra grumpy and sleepy, just difficult overall. He even spiked a random fever on Saturday afternoon. Toddlers are mysteries. We only made it through half the dance class because Gabe was tired and squirrely and kept walking away from the group to go it alone. We did get some unprecedented participation, but he clearly wasn’t 100% feeling it so we went and had pizza instead.
Saturday evening my friends surprised me with tickets to the restaurant (Hit It Here Cafe) in the Mariner’s stadium for a 30th birthday party! The weather was fantastic, the game was great, and the company was even better.
(You can’t escape being pregnant even at your own party)
(This photo took 3 strangers and about 7 re-dos before we could get it about right. And even then we’re missing Tricia and Jack who took off early because: KIDS… they ruin everything.)
(The rocks were icky and he stood on only 1 leg for quite a while)
(Maternity shorts. I never thought I’d see the day.)
(Two feet into the park and: HOLD THE PHONE – GRAVEL!)
(The best way to finish off a weekend – some Little Mermaid.)
– Newborn snuggles
– Piles of laundry
– Gabe’s 500 meltdowns
– Liz saving the day and babysitting on Saturday night.
– My freshly painted pink toes
Sunday night the fish finally kicked it. After we spent $50 on guilt-upgrading its tank. After buying a 2.5 gallon new house, with new fruity-pebble-looking gravel, and a new pump for cleaning… the fucking fish DIED.
It had been chillin’ at the bottom of the tank for a while. If I wiggled the tank it would swim around again. Until Sunday when it wouldn’t move from one corner of the gravel floor. Even when we wiggled it. Even when Gabe continually told it to, “wake UP! wake UP!” when we told him we couldn’t bother the fish right now, that it was sleeping.
Kamel kept looking at me with a grim face.
“It doesn’t look good,” he’d say.
Well… I didn’t know how to keep it alive anymore. I got it a new house! But I think it was too late.
And of course the fucking fish died right before bed.
I started telling Gabe, “Oh, well he died honey.” But Gabe just kept insisting the fish wake up, so I switched to a more age appropriate tactic and Monday morning when the tank was empty we told him the fish was at the doctor? Yeah, the doctor. And he’d be back once Gabe got home from school. He kept asking to be picked up so he could investigate the empty tank. Yup, that fish went to the doctor.
When we flushed it after Gabe went to bed I did thank him for being my kid’s first pet. And I did apologize for probably totally fucking it up and being a terrible keeper of fish. Sorry fish.
But wow, fish doctor’s are pretty fantastic. Look how young and viral this one looks. It still even has all its fins! And through our fish doctor insurance it only cost us $7. Pretty excellent PetSmart coverage if I do say so myself.
**Update: The fish above FUCKING DIED TOO. UGH. About 20 minutes after introducing him to Gabe. Awesome. This is really not fun anymore.
**Update 2: The fish had a SECOND COMING. And after leaving it, seemingly dead, in the tank overnight because it was too close to Gabe’s bedtime to create hubub, IT LIVES! This morning it LIVES! From completely sideways, floating at the top, unmoving, to swimmin’ around like a damn water ballerina! IT’S AN EASTER MIRACLE!
Thursday morning came and we did not get on a plane. The luggage was still half packed on my bedroom floor. Alllllllllll of my warm weather outfits went untouched. My bathing suit still has the tags on and will probably be returned.
Instead of putting the final touches on our trip prep on Wednesday night, I watched Gabe throw up all over himself and our couch. Then throw up all over our bath tub and our bathroom floor and walls. And then Kamel and I spent the next two hours alternating between holding him, doing loads and loads of vomit laundry, wiping up floors and upholstery, while also canceling flights, haggling refunds, canceling hotels, the rental car, and on and on.
We spent Thursday and Friday cleaning up our vomit covered house, running Gabe to the doctor, dealing with toddler diarrhea and the smells, my god the smells, checking fevers, administering Tylenol, and praying we wouldn’t get it. The upholstery was disinfected by professionals, the bathroom rug and towels and pillow cases were all washed three times. It took me 3 days to fully unpack us all, to unpack the luggage that had gone nowhere. And we all went back to work on Monday.
Because sometimes, on the eve before a big trip, the longest trip to anywhere we have booked since our honeymoon, where we’ve made plans to take an air-boat through the everglades, to spend afternoons on the beach with family, etc… etc. Sometimes the night before all of that your kid throws up all over your house and you have to play the parent card.
Sometimes kids ruin everything.
Sometimes being an adult means NOT sucking it up and throwing everyone in the car at 445am the next day and forcing a 6 hour flight from hell. Sometimes it means saying no and making good choices for other people even though it means your big floppy sun hat will probably stay in the closet for another year.
Sometimes it’s all in the timing.
And thank god it didn’t happen on the plane. Because toddlers give you no warning. They just projectile vomit like a fire hose. In his eyes, in his ears, down his shirt, in his shoes. Thank god it didn’t happen 12 hours later.
But it means we’re not in Miami. We’re not seeing family. My weekend and the two days off I kept were spent problem solving and pushing fluids and washing my hands and moping around the apartment.
And Gabe was sick and now he’s better and we’re still here when we should be there. And that’s just what happens sometimes. That is parenthood.