Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Dreaded Stomach Bug: 5 Signs It's Over


Every parent has been there.  You're just sitting there being a nice, normal family experiencing what you think is nice, normal food digestion when WHAM! Your little one turns a ghastly shade of pale, gets super quiet, and blows his insides up all over the room.

You immediately begin fooling yourself, wishing, hoping, begging in vain.  Maybe it won't happen again.  Maybe it was just a one time thing.  Surely it's possible that this was a singular, thoroughly disgusting event.

But you've been to this very messy and smelly party before.  And deep inside you know.  This isn't over.  This is just beginning.  What you've got on your hands is a stomach bug and the only question now is who will fall next.

Every sloppy and sad episode leaves you pondering, for the love of all things bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, when will this end?!  You're down to your last set of sheets and your industrial supply of Clorox wipes is running low.  Every.Single.Time it happens you think, surely that's it, right?  This is over now.

And then it's not.

When you're knee deep in puke stained sheets, it's hard to see the light at the end of the digestive health tunnel but I promise you, this too shall eventually (literally) pass.

Here are 5 signs that the dreaded stomach bug is done.
  1. A minimum of 90 minutes has passed since you last started a new load of towels, sheets, and soiled PJs.
  2. Your kitchen has been used for something other than the dispensing of saltine crackers and Pedialyte. 
  3. The television is off or alternatively, broadcasting a program of an adult nature and I don't mean the X-rated variety, just the actual human actors variety.  
  4. No longer is it necessary to share the couch with a bucket and a bunch of wet spots.  
And the biggest indicator of all…

     5.  Your child resumes copping an attitude regarding his younger sibling, your ongoing and clearly inadequate care of him, or your refusal to resume above mentioned animated movie marathon.

But don't get too comfortable if you find yourself reaching all of these milestones and more.  If there is one thing I've learned in these offensive trenches, some bugs are built to last and they won't be satisfied until they've drained every last putrid drop.  

Image credit: ClevelandClinic.org

Friday, May 15, 2015

Mini-Vacays: A Hellish Heaven


We recently made two short trips as a family of four.  These were our first attempts at travel together and we have questionable mental stability so we decided to plan these trips back to back.  Spending a total of 12 hours in transit and 5 nights sleeping in the same room in 2 different locations not only solidified our standing as looney tunes, it catapulted us into elite status as frequent parent travelers.

Taking mini-vacays can be an economical and quick way to renew your spirit, connect with your loved ones, and let loose for a few days.  The picture is less than perfect, however, when taking these trips with your preschooler and baby on board.  Our adventure was filled with a series of highs and lows, of victories and defeats, of successes and failures.  We enjoyed moments of pure joy and relaxation and nearly (or in my case, actually) cried during moments of intense challenge.  In short, it was a hellish heaven.

Heavenly: watching my seven month old son's reaction to touching sand for the first time
Hellish: attempting to clean said sand from a tiny butt crack while holding a writhing, crying baby under a shower

Heavenly: baring witness to a group of lifetime three year old friends building a sandcastle with their dads while gleeful shouts escaped their smiling faces
Hellish: smearing endless tubes of sunscreen on a screaming boy's body while explaining the necessity of skin protection in the unrelenting Texas sun, even on a cloudy day

Heavenly: seeing your closest friends feed your baby's willing mouth with giggles and coos from both sides of the spoon
Hellish: taking turns holding and comforting the baby ALL NIGHT LONG because his little body has travel constipation and he's so full of puree he's about to pop

Heavenly: spending a tiny bit of time together on the beach sans kiddos because you are such bad ass parents that you managed to get both boys sleeping soundly in the same room together during daylight
Hellish:  realizing that both of your boys are actually screaming their heads off together, disturbing all of the other naps happening in the house and the subsequent acceptance that you are not, after all, bad ass, but maybe just bad

Heavenly: managing to get both boys asleep in their car seats at the same time on a four hour drive so you and your spouse can relax and be off entertainment duty for just a second
Hellish: enduring a forty-five minute meltdown in freeway rush hour traffic when your baby has had enough of his entrapment and just wants the eff out of the damn car seat

Heavenly: checking into your room and seeing that you have enough space and a wall to separate you from your sleeping children so you and your man can have mini-vacay sexy time not in direct sight of a toilet finally
Hellish: realizing you had a witness to sexy time when, after the fact, you hear feet impatiently thumping the roll away bed on the other side of the wall

Heavenly: taking a leisurely stroll along a river while your boys see fuzzy ducklings paddling along and boats of tourists waving as they ride by
Hellish: realizing your leisurely stroll has taken way too long and now you're super late for dinner and your oldest reminds you of that by protesting loudly in the restaurant and upon being carried out by your spouse for some space, proceeds to slap him repeatedly on the face in front of a crowd of onlookers

Despite the obvious and numerous hardships involved in taking trips with littles, the good outweighs the bad.  After all, one must experience pain to appreciate pleasure.

And we are experts at appreciation.

Image credit urbannabaptistchurch.org.



Friday, May 1, 2015

Time Away


Listen.  I'll be the very first person to tell you that, despite my recurring complaints and sometimes excessive level of stress, I love my job.  I wouldn't trade being home with my boys for any other job in the world and I feel very fortunate to have the option to do it.  I do not take that for granted, believe me.

But mama needs time away.  Or I'm gonna snap.

The Man and I are very supportive of each other's needs in this regard and for that, I am extremely grateful.  With this supportive spirit in mind, The Man and I agreed that I could go on a week long yoga retreat so long as it didn't mean he would have to take a week off work to take care of the kids and we wouldn't have to spend a fortune on babysitting.  That left us with his parents or mine.

Not only are his parents willing to take them, my MIL is rearranging her own vacation in order to be available and she is really stoked about having them spend a week in her home. Hells to the yea!  Sandy beaches, sunrise yoga, and sundown cocktails here I come!

But before a stay at home mom gets to luxuriate in the absence of her spawn, she has hella hoops to jump through.  I'm not saying it's not TOTALLY worth it, because it absolutely is, it just takes a ton of work to get some time away.  A synopsis of the entire production may look something like:
  1. Pump and freeze 128 freaking ounces of boob juice.  128 ounces! Better get started because it's going to take about 85 days and a few clogged milk ducts to get that much.
  2. Peel, steam, puree, and freeze pounds and pounds and pounds of fruit and veggies for the baby to eat because you know, you can't have him eating store bought food just because you're lazing about on a beach in the tropics.
  3. Pack obscene quantities of clothing, toys, lovies, white noise machines, toys, books, shoes, diapers, undies, wipes, on and on and on till the suitcases (and your arteries) burst.
  4. Find and buy dry ice to pack the hard earned breast nectar because if that shiz melts on the way it was all for not and you may flip the fuck out.
  5. Put the kids in the car and drive 525 miles to the grandparents' house. Hellish?  Nah.  It's super fun to watch Frozen on repeat for eight hours or so and listen to boys crying/screaming/talking incessantly about fictional characters.
  6. Deposit your children safely into the loving arms of the grandparents.  Yahoo! But wait...
  7. Get back in a car and drive 100 miles to the nearest airport.  
  8. This is where it starts sounding stupid.  Starts?  I know, I know.  FLY back to Houston where you started.
  9. Exhale and hit the nearest airport bar to pound ritas till your lips pucker up.  You're on vacation mofos!
  10. Hit the plane with a nice lean and officially leave the country and your parenting duties behind.  
  11. Get your vacation on!  Sleep, sleep, eat, do yoga, drink, sleep, lay around, etc.  One week later…
  12. Fly to the airport nearest your in-laws.
  13. Drive 100 miles to their house and collect your kiddos.  Yahoo!  You missed them, didn't you?
  14. Drive 525 miles home again while clinging desperately to the state of zen you achieved in savasana in the sand.
  15. Unpack, unpack, unpack, wash clothes, wash your kids, wash yourself and maybe cry a little.
  16. Take the next several weeks (months?) to get your kids back on a routine and used to hearing the word no again.  
I don't want to single out stay at home moms here so I wanted to also include an example for those fortunate working dads who have negotiated a little time away from the family.  
  1. Pack a carry-on with personal items.
  2. Drive to the airport.  
Just saying.  

Photo Credit Matt Carter's Author Page.