Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Birds & Bees & Almonds, Oh My!

So last year Levi came home from school and said, "Oh! Mom, Mrs. Riley told me to ask you a question."

"Okay, shoot!"

"How does the DNA get from the dad to the mom?"

Deer in the headlights. Heart rate speeding up. I am so not ready for this! He's only 8! Why am I freaking out about this? I've told countless kids about sex in youth groups, but those were not my children, the same children who I get to see the joy on their faces on Christmas morning when they see what Santa brought them. Somehow knowing about sex and believing in Santa do not seem to go hand in hand.

But then God had pity on me, and Joey came into the room, screaming his head off, with a scraped knee. Thank you God for scraped knees! I took Joey to the bathroom to doctor up his boo-boo, but Levi followed me in there, waiting expectantly for the answer, so I stalled. "Ummm. What IS DNA?"

"You don't know what DNA is?"

"Well, yeah, I just want to see if YOU do."

So, he gave me some explanation, and I finally punted, "Well, it is really very complicated, and I'll have to think about how to explain it and get back to you."

And he never asked me about it again, and I was fine with that. Then, Dr. Leman came to our church, and he was talking about telling your kids about sex, and he said 8-10 year olds think about sex a lot! What? How can they think about it if they don't know what it is? And, he goes on to add, if you haven't told them by the time they're 8, you're behind! I wanted to put my fingers in my ears and say, "La la la la, I can't hear you!" But I reluctantly faced facts, and I bought his book, "The Chicken's Guide to Talking Turkey to your Kids about Sex." And basically, it said you should just be low-key, no stress, no squirmy discomfort when you talk to your kids. Yeah, sure. He called it "Kitchen Table Sex Ed." Part of that sounded good - no Big Talk, where you are both uncomfortable, and when it is done, you can take a deep breath, and wipe that off your list of things to do. No, instead it should be a natural progression, where you and your kids are comfortable talking about all things, and they know they can come to you to ask you any questions they have.

That sounds great! In theory. He said you should use every day objects that you have around the house to illustrate your impromptu talks. For example, whole almonds are about the exact size and shape of ovaries. Hmmm...yes, I can just imagine this conversation. "You know, kids, while I'm eating these almonds, I just can't help but think of...well, ovaries." Yeah, that's a natural conversation that happens every day at our house! On the upside, it could give me some much-coveted time alone - the next time my kids see me reaching for a banana, their eyes would widen with horror, and they would flee the room!

So, one day, I just decided to bite the bullet, and give it a go. Levi & I were eating at Chili's alone, and I brought up his question.
"Levi, do you remember when you asked me how the DNA got from the dad to the mom, and I never answered it?"
"Well, it's when they have sex. Do you know what that is?" At this point I am having to seriously fight back the urge to giggle like a junior high boy. What is wrong with me?
"Yeah. I looked it up in the dictionary."
Okay, so he has been thinking about it! "Well, that's good. Do you want me to explain anything about it or do you have any questions about it?"
Thank God! "Okay, great! Well, if you ever do, you can ask me or dad anytime you want." And we will try not to faint or giggle like a little boy. And we went on to order our food, and I felt good that the ice had been broken.

Fast forward a few weeks later, and we are sitting in church, and Steve is preaching a sermon about Gomer, the prostitute. I knew it was coming. Levi leans over and whispers, "What's a prostitute, Mom?"

Oh, dear God! Okay, breathe, breathe, kitchen table sex-ed, I can do this. "It's when people have sex for money."

"Have sex for money, have sex for money," he kept repeating, like he was trying to figure it all out in his head. Just kill me now. And I know this child, I guarantee you he is wondering if this might be a good way to earn that extra money he's always needing. "What is sex again?"
"Remember it's what you looked up in the dictionary."
"I know, but I can't remember now what it was."
Of course you can't! Okay, kitchen table sex ed is one thing, but church pew sex ed is entirely different. I finally said, "We'll have to talk about this at home." And dad can explain it to you since he's the one who's preaching a sermon about a prostitute!

Okay, so here's my thing about Kitchen Table Sex-Ed. The problem is, our kitchen table is full. With kids younger than Levi. Joey is already fascinated with his penis. It's nothing at all for him to just announce proudly to a complete stranger, "I have a penis! Do you have a penis?" Let me tell you, there is nothing that breaks the ice with a total stranger quite like moving past all the normal social niceties right to talking about your private parts. Yep, you're instantly bonded. Taking a 3 year old out in public is not for the faint of heart. So, I'm just thinking that he does not need to be armed with any more info than he already has.

And, yet the awkward "sex talk" is something I would be fine to forego. I remember my mom reading a book to me, complete with pictures when I was probably a little younger than Levi. And what did I do? Run right over to the next-door neighbor to tell her this new and shocking news. It began with, "You are NOT GOING TO BELIEVE what you have to DO to get a baby!" Of course, she didn't believe me because who would do something so shocking and gross? And yet, I had seen the pictures - I had proof. So, I guess if we did go ahead with the awkward talk, we would only have to tell Levi, and he would tell Sam, who would tell the younger ones with great relish and most likely everyone else he knows too. I don't think I'm ready for that. So, for now, I guess we just go on with the waiting. Until the next question comes up. Please don't let it be at church.

Monday, September 28, 2009

My Second 911 call

Well, I have officially made my second 911 call since I've been in Midland. I wonder if they've got some kind of file on me now? If they do, I'm afraid it would be labelled "Crazy Lady who keeps calling for non-emergency reasons." I will say, this call was much less stressful than that first call.

Okay, so this was last Wednesday, and I was trying to get my house cleaned. The little kids wanted to go outside in the front yard and play. Our neighborhood is super quiet during the day. We live on a culdesac, and there is no traffic to speak of. However, they are usually not allowed in the front yard without direct supervision. It was a beautiful day though, so I said they could play right there in the yard, and we would leave the front door open. Joey just wanted to dig in the flower bed that is literally 18 inches from the front door, and Lily-Grace was playing with him.

So, all was going well, and I was getting some cleaning done, when the phone rang, and it was my friend. So, while I was chatting with her, I decided I would just go and sit outside with them. While I was on the phone with her, some motion caught my eye, and I looked up and saw 2 Hispanic men running out of the alley across the street from my house, they crossed the street, and kept running down another alley. That is weird. You just don't normally see grown men running during the day who were definitely not running for exercise. But they weren't carrying stolen TV's or anything like that, so I decided to let it pass.

Then, I called Steve to ask him something, and while I was on the phone with him, I looked up and right across the street were 2 more Hispanic men. One of them made eye contact with me, then crossed the street in a run, and disappeared between one of the houses on our culdesac. Okay, this is really getting weird! I told Steve about it, and asked him if he thought it was weird.
"Umm...yeah I think it's weird! Grown men just don't go running around the neighborhood in pairs. You need to get the kids inside, lock the doors, and call the police."

"Really? You really think so?"

"Yes, I think so! Now hang up and go do it!"

So, I hung up, but I calmly swept up all the dirt that Joey had piled up on the sidewalk and thought about my options.

Well, they seem to be gone, so what harm have they done? Maybe they were playing hide and go seek? What am I going to tell them when I call? There were 4 men running around here, and I just don't think that's okay! Yeah, that sounds reasonable. But, what if they had just committed some heinous crime, and as they were running away (because they were so dumb as to have no other get away plans other than foot) that one guy saw me, so they'll be back to take me out later. Yeah, I think I've watched too many crime shows. Also, I haven't taken a shower yet, and I really don't want to talk to cops when I look this bad. But, on the other hand, they're cops, they're used to dealing with people at their worst.

But, what finally cinched it for me was the thought that what if they had robbed somebody's house or committed some other awful crime, and the police came around asking questions later to see if anybody saw anything, I would have to say, "Yes, I saw 4 men running from their house, but I didn't call because I hadn't showered yet." So, I bit the bullet and called 911.

"911. Do you need an ambulance, fire truck, or police?"

"Umm, well, I don't think so..." and I went on to tell him the whole story. When he asked if I wanted to talk to a police officer, I told him only if they really thought they needed to. I resisted the urge to tell him that I was Mrs. Kravitz. God knows that's what I felt like.

Anyway, he said that an officer would be there shortly. And, lo and behold, if the one and only cop that I know in the whole city of Midland wasn't walking up my path a few minutes later with his partner. How peachy! I explained the whole story to them, and they said they had looked in the alleys and hadn't seen anyone. Then they started asking me if they were teenagers. No, I definitely could tell they were adults. I was starting to feel really stupid, when another guy from the neighborhood sees the cops and stops to ask some questions.

"I was just wondering what was going on here. I saw one guy hiding in the back of that red truck over there. There must have been 6 or 8 of them in the alley behind that house."

Hmmm...maybe they WERE playing hide and go seek! I was just relieved that I had a witness, and I didn't have to feel completely like Mrs. Kravitz anymore. But then he goes on to say that he saw a Border Patrol car go speeding by.

"Ohh!" both police officers said. There was a house nearby that was getting a new roof, and the Border Patrol will target the roofing jobs. When they see them pull up, they all flee like rabbits who smell a wolf!

Everyone was relieved the mystery was solved, and the cops went on their way to go deal with real emergencies or eat donuts or whatever! I have to say that there is a part of me that hopes they got away. It seems like they're here working hard to earn better money than they could get in Mexico. On the other hand, I'm sure those 2 guys who ran down my street were hiding out in somebody's backyard. Can I just tell you how freaked out I would have been if we had been playing in our backyard and 2 guys hopped over the fence?!? I can guarantee you there wouldn't have been any second thoughts about whether or not I'd had a shower before I called 911!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I Made The Team!

At the boys' school they have a pickle/popcorn day every other Friday where they sell pickles, popcorn, and Capri Suns to the kids to raise money. They like to have parent volunteers come in and pop the popcorn. They also use a phone tree with a recorded message whenever there is an announcement to make. Today I received this phone call:

It was the principal, and she said, "We still need three more people to pop popcorn for tomorrow. The first three people to call..." What? Their kid will get an A? extra credit? You'll get a portion of the proceeds? Where can this possibly be going?

"...will be put on the Popcorn Team." What?!? No WAY! Unbelievable! I wonder if I'll get to start?

Needless to say, I wasted no time in writing down that number and calling as fast as I could, hoping and praying that somehow my call would get through the tremendous volume of callers, each one of us vying for a coveted position on The Popcorn Team.

Yeah, so what if I was always on the B team? Never picked first for playground games of kickball? None of that matters now. Look at me now - First string. Popcorn Team. Eat your heart out, baby!

Tell Us A Story!

Our family usually eats dinner together. I really do enjoy that time even though it is almost guaranteed that someone will complain about what we are having, and there is also a pretty good chance that at least one child will gag while trying to "at least taste" some truly disgusting food - like mashed potatoes. Where did I get these children? I could eat mashed potatoes every day of my life and die a happy woman.

Anyway, supper time at our house is fairly lively and never quiet. We had a friend and his son (who is an only child) come eat with us, and they just sat and watched everything with wide-eyed wonder, and proclaimed, "This is better than dinner and a movie." Thanks, we do what we can to entertain the masses. It's not hard. Well, sometime a while back the kids asked us to tell them a story about when we were little, and so we did, and a tradition was unintentionally born.

Now, I have to tell you that I love a good story, and I realize there is an art to telling it right. I've grown up in a family of storytellers. We used to go to my Grandmother's house at least once a month and have Sunday dinner with all our extended family. And the grown-up table was always full of stories and laughter. As I got a little older, I would sometimes even forego playing with my cousins to sit and listen to the stories. I loved them, and I learned how to tell a good story. A good story does not include just the facts, you've got to add in what you were thinking and feeling and what everyone's reactions were, what made it funny or sad, what makes it something to remember. I remember when something would happen to me, I'd think, I've got to remember this to tell it at Grandmother's house.

Steve told me early on that he would never want to do my grandparent's funerals - too much pressure to tell the stories just the right way! I laughed at him, but he was absolutely right. Whenever there was a story to tell about our life, he might start out telling it, but I usually couldn't help myself, and I'd start interjecting things until he would finally say, "Why don't you just tell the story?" But I've got to say, that hasn't happened in a while - I think I'm starting to rub off on him. And at my grandparents' funerals, I bullied my cousins into getting up there with me and telling the stories ourselves, and I'm so glad we did. It would have been very inappropriate for me to start interjecting things into the stories from my pew at the church, but I just don't know if I could've sat still and listened to someone else mess up the stories!

But anyway, back to our supper table. So, our kids want us to tell our stories. And this is fun, and the kids get a chance to know about us as kids. But when you do this night after night, you start to run out of stories to tell! I didn't think it was possible, but apparently it is. So, last night I had an idea. We would tell a story after they told a story. They can tell a story from school or one of their favorite memories, and then we tell a story. I like this. As a bonus, if one of them tells a story, they all want a turn, and so we can get by with only telling one story a night. And Lily's stories almost always start out as "Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess..." and the boys groan. And Joey's stories start and end with "Um, um, um..." this can go on for several minutes, but he is highly offended if you try to interrupt him. He has the floor, and he intends to keep it!

But Levi's stories are starting to have hints of the humor that we can all appreciate. He's starting to know when something would be appreciated by us all, and it is a tiny little glimpse into the person he will become. And I like it, and it makes me sad all at the same time. They are growing up before my eyes. And so the tradition carries on. I hope we raise four storytellers so someday when they come home, our table is filled with laughter and stories and shared memories. So, don't be surprised if you come over to our house to eat, and you are asked to tell us a story about when you were little. We need some new material!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cancer Sucks

Today was the day we had to take Joey to get his bloodwork done. This is his bloodwork to test his AFP - a tumor marker in his blood. It has been 6 months since we last had it done, and it has been in the normal range for over a year, so I'm sure it'll be normal again. But I just hate that we have to do this. I'm finally to the place that I wasn't sure I would ever get to - a place where cancer doesn't enter into my head every day. It still does a lot because we still have several cancer kids who we keep up with, but it's not an every hour, every day kind of fear that it was for a while.

I took Lily-Grace & Joey in for their well checks today, and while they were checking Lily's blood pressure, I felt my heart rate rise because I know that elevated blood pressure can be a sign of kidney cancer (and I'm sure a lot of other more benign things, but I just know enough to be dangerous!) And it just made me mad that I even have to give things like that a second thought!

On a funnier note, Lily also had to pee in a cup which she thought was just preposterous, but Joey was outraged that he didn't get to pee in a cup too! He was on the way to a full-out fit at not being able to pee in a cup, and the crisis was only averted by me promising him he could pee in a cup when we got home. Thankfully this was something that was quickly forgotten because I really would hate for this to become a regular fun-time event at our house, Oh! Let's hurry home so we'll have time to pee in a cup before bedtime! Yeah, that just doesn't bode well for future social interactions.

And it's also wonderful to have a 5 year old in your life because they'll tell you things that normal people wouldn't. She was asking why we have to get Joey's bloodwork done (this is new because it has just been so much a part of her life that she has never questioned it before - she would take her dolls to get their bloodwork done like other girls would rock and feed their dolls!) Anyway, I explained that we get it done so we know that Joey's cancer has not come back.
"But what if it does come back?"
"It won't."
"But what if it does?"
"It won't."
"But what if it does?"
I came this close to telling her to shut up! Doesn't she know that we live in a certain amount of denial? It makes us happy! I finally appeased her by saying that we would have tests done to find out where it was.
And she said, "And they'll have to cut Joey into pieces?" with a little more anticipation than was necessary.
"No, they will not cut him into pieces!" And thankfully the nurse arrived to end this uplifting and positive conversation.
Anyway, when we get to the lab, Joey immediately starts to cry in the parking lot about not wanting to get his bloodwork done, and couldn't we go to another lab because this one hurts! This was a lot easier when he was a baby and we had to do this every week so he got used to it!

But I am actually very thankful that this is not normal to him, and I pray it never will be! Today was just kind of a slap in the face that we are not normal! You can go along living out your normal life with your healthy kids, and being thankful, never taking that for granted, but one little test can send everything into a tailspin. I'm thankful for the peace that comes with more and more normal tests.

I would appreciate your prayers for a little boy named Carson. His family received the news back from their AFP test that his cancer is growing, and they are running out of options. If you have a minute you could stop by their site and leave them a word of encouragement to let them know you are praying for them. I know it would mean a lot to them.

I will let y'all know when I get our results back, and of course, we appreciate all the prayers you have for us too!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

They Never Tell You Things Like This

(if you came over from our Outflow group, this is not the post you are looking for - go down to the "Blessed" one.)

I'm not really sure who "they" is, but whoever they are, they never tell you a lot of stuff. For some reason while I was driving down the road today and passed a Walgreen's, I was reminded of a story I hadn't thought of in a long time.

When Levi was 3, he got a nasty virus, and he was running a very high fever. And when Levi runs a fever, he throws up. And so if he throws up, he can't keep anything down - even Tylenol that would bring his fever down. Well, his fever was high enough that we really needed it to come down, so our doctor told us we needed to give him a Tylenol suppository.

I will never forget this moment. Here's our poor little child, all pale and sickly, and he was already naked since he had just thrown up all over himself, so we were all in the bathroom, him standing there, pale, naked, burning with fever and covered in chill bumps, shivering, just looking at us. And Steve and I are standing there, holding this little suppository, and just looking from him to each other, like how the heck are we going to do this?

We actually went through some different scenarios, "Um, Levi? Mommy is going to give you some medicine that will make you feel all better, but she is going to have to stick it in your bottom." I could just picture the look of abject horror and the desperate attempts to escape that that would evoke. No, that was not going to work.

It's not like he was a baby, where you could just do it, and it would all be over and he wouldn't even question it. He was 3 now, and he understood things. Maybe we should just hold him down and bend him over one of our laps, while the other one shoves it in, um, I mean places it gingerly in. But then he would think he was getting a spanking for no reason while he was desperately sick, and he would flail and clinch, and make it nearly impossible.

So, there we stood, holding our little instrument of torture and relief, unsure of what to do to make this happen. Finally, Steve had a moment of brilliance that made me question if I really knew him as well as I thought I did - had he spent some time in prison that I didn't know about? I still wonder. He threw a toy on the far side of the bathtub, and casually asked Levi to reach over there and get it. While Levi was reaching over there to get it, quick as lightning, he put that medicine right where it belonged. Levi hopped up quickly, howling, holding his bottom, and looking at us with eyes of betrayal. I have to be honest that I was laughing so hard it made me look extremely guilty, and also made it very hard to comfort the poor little violated guy.

But you know, it worked. He got better, and we never mentioned it again. And I like to think that somewhere, deep in his subconscious, he learned a valuable lesson that will serve him well if, God forbid, he ever ends up in prison!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I'm happy to report that everyone is well and back at school, and today is my first official day of freedom! It's not that I don't love the little boogers and feel so privileged that I get to stay home and take care of them, it's just that, you know the saying "Absence makes the heart grow fonder"? Well, I need a little absence so my heart can grow fonder. It's true, and makes perfect sense, at least to me. And, I have to tell you, I had to work extra hard to get today all by myself. Last night Levi was having a terrible headache, and went to bed at 7:00. This is not normal for him. And this morning, he said he was still feeling bad, so I told him to go back to bed, and then I walked out of the room and wept real tears and banged my head on the wall. And then I went back in the room and said comforting things to him like, "I hope you are really sick, because there will be no TV and no video games. You will stay in your bed"

And then Sam threw in there, "And you won't get to eat breakfast or lunch." And I may or may not have corrected him. So I convinced him to just get up and get ready and go on to school, and I would write him a note that said he could go to the nurse if he wasn't feeling good later in the day. Please, please, let me get no calls from the school today!

So, I got the boys off to school, and I was taking the little kids to their preschool, and I managed to slam Joey's hand in the car door! Yes, I am the mother of the year! So, his poor little thumb was all red and the skin was broken a little, and he was bawling his little eyes out. But we wrapped it up in a wet paper towel, and he managed to recover, and I left, feeling as is I had dodged two major blows. So here I sit in my home...reveling in the silence...ahhh! That's nice.

But this is not at all what I started out here to write. I have a different story to tell. Our church is doing this program called Outflow, that I really love. It's about letting God fill you up so completely that you can't help but overflow that love into other people's lives. So Sunday night we were having this party with a comedian and food and you were supposed to invite people to come who might not have a church home. Well, truth be told, I just don't know that many people who don't go to our church. So, I didn't have a friend to invite, but that was okay, me & the kids were heading up there anyway, and as I was driving down Big Spring street, I see this woman walking along pulling a suitcase behind her. She looks like she could use a party, I thought to myself. But I kept driving, because really, who picks up homeless people with a car full of kids and invites them to come to a party at church? Nobody I know. Well, I got almost to church, and I just had this feeling that I needed to turn around and go ask her. I thought about how Jesus would hang out with the people the rest of society shunned. I knew that I would be miserable for days afterward if I didn't turn around, asking myself, What if?

So, I turned around. Immediately, the kids were asking me what I was doing.
"Well, I saw this lady walking down the street, and I thought I would ask her to go to church with us."
That seemed perfectly fine to them. When I got back to her, she was crossing the street, so I had to go past her, and then turn around to go to where she was going. The kids were acting like we were tracking big game, "Hurry, mom! There she goes! Oh no! I lost sight of her! Hurry! Turn around!" I'm thinking, she's an old homeless person pulling a suitcase, and we're in a car, I'm pretty sure we'll be able to track her down! Nevertheless, the kids were quite relieved when pulled into the parking lot where she was.

Okay, I thought, this could be awkward. I was wishing I was wearing my regular outfit of capris and a t-shirt instead of the cute new top that I had been so proud of. Somehow, I felt like that would help her relate to me better. Oh, who am I kidding? It doesn't matter what I'm wearing, we couldn't be more different!

I finally just took a deep breath, went over there, and stuck my hand out, "Hi! My name is Alayna. What's your name?"
"Hi, Lois! Our church is having a party, and I was wondering if you might like to come with me?"
"Well, okay, but I was just going to run in here and get me some chicken. Could I do that first?"
"Well, there'll be food at the party. Will that be okay?"
So we go back to the car, and I throw her suitcase in the back and introduce her to all the kids,who immediately start to chat it up with her like their mom picks up homeless people all the time. I love kids.
The first thing she tells them when she gets in the car is, "Don't worry! I'm not going to take your mama!" Good to know.
When we get to the party, I'm introducing her to everyone I see, and I have to give people credit, not one person batted an eye. Everyone was very friendly, like it was the most normal thing in the world for the pastor's wife to bring a homeless person to church with her. Maybe it should be.
She helped me get the kid's food, and we all ate, and she was nodding off during the comedian, although he was very funny. She told me about her kids and grandkids and that she had even been to college for a couple of years. I have no idea what happened to get her to the place where she was homeless. It was hard to follow her conversation sometimes, and she told me she had had to see a psychiatrist before. When the party was over, we went back and filled her up a couple more boxes of food to take with her, and she asked if I knew of any shelters where she could spend the night. None of us could think of any. Midland is not a great place to be homeless because there just aren't that many homeless people, and so there are very few places that help them.

I ended up taking her to The Deluxe Inn, and if that was the deluxe version, I don't want to see the regular one! But that is where she said was a good place to sleep. As we were driving there she was pointing out which buildings had good places to sleep, but that she didn't have a blanket and she just got scared sometimes. My throat started to tighten up, to be honest, I'd have been scared to stay at the Deluxe Inn, and this was security for her.

I got her settled in her room, and gave her a big hug and told her she mattered to God. I told her to come by the church tomorrow and they would give her a list of places that could help her, and I would have a blanket there for her too.

I walked back to my car, and took my children home and tucked everyone into their own beds, and the boys said that Lois could have slept in their bottom bunk if there wasn't any rooms at the Deluxe Inn, and I smiled. I'm glad they felt so generous, and at the same time I hope they never do anything to compromise their safety. Although I guess most people wouldn't pick up homeless people that they don't know with their kids in the car, but I never felt unsafe. I know God was asking me to pick her up, and he would take care of us.

And as I looked through my linen closet to find a blanket and a coat for Lois, I saw all the abundance we have - blankets to spare, and food in the fridge, and TV's to watch. And I felt blessed and also guilty. Why do we have everything we need while others go without? I know Lois may have made the choices that put her in that place to begin with, but she is a grandmother who has to find places on the street to sleep, and she is scared. That's not right.

God be with Lois today, and all the people who live on the street that we so easily look away from because we are not comfortable around them. And help us remember that while we may feel so very different from them, we are alike in the only way that matters - we are all your children, and you love us all the same.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hope Thwarted

Today was this

And this

And this
That's right. The first day of their preschool. God bless his teacher. It was also this:

"Take a picture of me runnin, Mama!" That is really all he wants to do. Last night Steve & I got a good 30 minutes of relative peace by having him run laps through the house. Whenever he showed back up, we would just say, "Ready....Go!" And he would take off again. It was marvelous. He never got tired of running, we just got tired of saying "Ready...Go!"
Anyway, preschool. My long-awaited day of freedom, of peace, of uninterrupted sewing or a hot bath or or deep breathing, I don't know! The point was I would be alone. I would drop them off at church and get back in my car giddy with the possiblities of the day. Instead, I got this:

That's right. The last of the mighty have fallen. Last night about 12:30, he came into our room, "Mom, I threw up." I groaned. Even though I knew this would happen, and in fact prepared myself for this reality, that he would not get sick on Sunday or even Monday when everyone else was sick. Oh, no! He would get sick on the day of my freedom. I have to say, by the fourth go-around, I am low on compassion. Did I mention he sleeps on the top bunk? Yeah, I don't think I even have to mention the splash factor. It was beyond words. I gave thanks once again for wood floors and the fact that we had had tater-tot casserole for supper last night, and he doesn't like that. So it was mostly clear and not too stinky.
So instead of solitude and deep breathing I will be doing more vomit laundry, and I think I'll go bleach every surface of my house. There's always Thursday.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I Feel the Love

WARNING: Graphic scenes described may be objectionable to some readers. If you are not or have never been a mother to young children, you may want to quit reading. Consider yourself warned.

Wednesday morning, I gave Joey his normal sippy cup full of chocolate milk. He downed it in 2.4 seconds, burped, and threw the whole thing up all over my kitchen floor. I looked at it, blinked, and was thankful that we were still in the kitchen on the tile floor. As a bonus, he managed to not even get any on himself or me. I admit it was strange how there was no warning - no gagging, just a burp and copious amounts of vomit being spewed on the floor, like a baby might spit up, except, you know, much more volume and stinkiness. I cleaned it up, and we went about our day. He acted fine, playing, being happy, just not eating anything for about 2 days.

Thursday night, I went to bed at 10 o'clock, and I think the last time I did that I was 9 years old. At 11:15, Lily-Grace came in, crying that her tummy hurt. She climbed in beside me, and I rubbed her back for a while, and then I decided I would try to take her back to her room. We got to her doorway, and she started to vomit. I just stood there beside her, holding her hair back, and trying to decide if I should risk trying to get her to the bathroom that was a few feet away. Would it work? Would I be able to successfully get her to the toilet before the next wave of vomit came, or would I only pick her up and she would start to vomit on the way there, and I would have a path of vomit to clean up instead of a relatively contained area? These are the thoughts that go through my head while my child is vomiting. In the end, I decided not to risk it since we have wood floors throughout the house. Have I mentioned how nice that is? I give thanks for those floors numerous times a week. However, while it does make for easy clean-up, it also makes for a very high splash-factor. That vomit was all over both of our legs, the wall, the door, the bedside table, and of course all over the floor.

I called for Steve, and we fall into our well-oiled routine. I take the child who has thrown up into the bathroom to clean them up, and he starts to clean up the mess. I love that man. Since she was wearing long pants, I decide we can forego the bath till the morning. I wash her hands and face and feet, get clean pajamas, and take her back to her bed which was still clean. I give her a bowl and a rag, and tell her to please try to get it in the bowl if she has to throw up again if she can't make it to the bathroom, which of course is the best option. Steve has gotten most of the mess, but it still stinks to high heaven, so I get some cleaner and spray the floor to get it a little better. I wash my own legs and feet and head back to bed, wondering how long I will get to sleep before the next episode. I foolishly hope that maybe hers will be as easy as Joey's was, and it will be an isolated incident. Three more trips into her room that night put those hopes to rest quickly. Change the sheets, wash the child, put the sheets on to wash, go back to bed, lather, rinse, repeat. The next morning, Steve found her asleep on the rug at the end of her bed, a small amount of vomit on her pillow. Bless her heart. I guess I didn't hear her, and she was too tired to come and get me. So she has laid around looking like this for the past few days, with occasional bouts of playfulness, just enough so I think she is getting better.

Last night, Steve woke up feeling awful. He never threw up, but I could tell he felt terrible. He has to preach two sermons this morning. I feel just awful for him. I'm praying he gets through it without having to run out in the middle of it. We were all dressed and ready for church this morning, although I wasn't sure if Lily-Grace should really be going, but she hasn't thrown up since Friday afternoon, so I think she shouldn't be contagious. We are about to walk out the door when Levi suddenly grabs his stomach and says he doesn't feel so good. Sigh. At least he made it to the toilet. You have to celebrate the small things during times like this.
I just want to know one thing - how does everyone else get this when I am the one cleaning up all the vomit, cuddling with the sick children, kissing their little sick heads and faces? It just doesn't make sense. Sam & I are the only hold-outs, and I told him to stay strong. We'll see.
I came into my room to eat some breakfast so Lily wouldn't have to smell it - she has been very sensitive to smells during all this, and I feel bad, but it's not like I can tell the rest of the family that they don't get to eat just because Lily can't take the smells. So, while I was eating in my room, Lily-Grace came in there to ask me to please come into the living room so she could sit in my lap. I told her I would come in there as soon as I finished eating. She eyed my food with disgust and walked quickly out of the room. As she was leaving she said, "Brush your teeth before you come hold me."
Thanks. I feel the love.