Sunday, January 29, 2012

This one jumps all over the place

Grace has a fever. She claimed her ear hurt right before bed, too. Joy.

I think it's probably this virus's last hurrah. She's not acting sick, and she pointed to her outer ear, but I'm still annoyed. I'd say I can't bear another bout of sickness, but obviously I can. It's not like I'm going to run away or croak. And a person as selfish as me could probably stand a little more trial by fire (okay, weak candlelight) anyway.

We put our children to bed early tonight. They seemed very tired. They were silent within minutes. And then, half an hour later, Grumpy the Dwarf woke up and started jabbering to herself. It's been an hour and a half and she's still talking away. To what, I don't know. Her toes? Crib bars? The flower print on her crib sheet? Is she like that lady in "The Yellow Wallpaper" who goes mad while she's shut in her bedroom?

We also babysat the neighbor kids tonight. Jeremy and I took turns going upstairs and watching them. The two boys were asleep by the time I got up there. The girls were still running all around the apartment like crazy things, jumping off chairs (this is okay with their dad), doing somersaults, giggling hysterically.

The picture I paint might not say "FUN!" but it kind of was. These kids have, uh, LOTS of energy, but they're really sweet. The littlest one is a little older than Emmy, but about half her weight. She fell off a stool onto her nose and started wailing. I picked her up, the wails turned to sniffles and hiccups, and the sniffles and hiccups turned to snores. I COULD NOT PUT HER DOWN. FOR AN HOUR. DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH MY ARMS HURT.

Worth it.

The other one talks a mile a minute, but something about her is just so engaging. I'm sure I'd be exhausted if she were my child 24/7, but for a couple of hours, it's a lot of fun. She seemed really interested in my piano when I babysat them last time. I know next to nothing about teaching someone to play, but I think it might be fun to try.

When Jeremy went away, I got sick. But I had to function. So I took a lot of Sudafed. The real kind. Did you know that Sudafed is also an appetite suppressant? I didn't. I lost five pounds completely by accident. I was shaky and weak by the end of each day, so it wasn't the sort of weight loss I would like to continue, but it put me over some kind of threshold. I'm still losing weight (two more pounds so far), and I suddenly have buckets of energy. I feel really young all of a sudden.

I got up to 1300 yards today swimming. It may have been more, but I tend to lose count, and when I do that I add an extra 50 yards to whatever I'm doing. I lost count four times today, so it might have been as much as 1500 yards.

It's AWESOME. I know I overuse that word, but it's so true. There's something wonderful about walking in looking like the most out-of-shape person in the pool (Gold's Gym attracts every single ultra-fit person in a five-mile radius), getting in, and smoking all of them. During my warm-up.

Someone please tell me why I ever quit. Dumbest thing I've ever done.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


This was the single nastiest cold virus I have ever had, or that my children have ever had.

-Extremely contagious? Check.
-Hangs out uncomfortably in your sinuses for several days before descending to the rest of your face? Check.
-Induces fever? Check.
-Causes uncontrollable coughing, if you're too young to take anything to dry you up and prevent it from spreading to your wee delicate lungs? Check.
-Creates secondary ear infections? Check.

I prefer my children to have a stomach bug. They started showing symptoms of a cold two weeks ago. Me, two and a half. Grace spent three days coughing and crying. And when she wasn't coughing or crying, she was staring listlessly into space. Emmy trudged circles around the living room and whined. She has nailed that one frequency at which all my sympathy neurons evaporate, and the only thing holding me back from rage is an ingrained duty to love my child. I prefer the listless staring. There was also a lot of screaming from both of them. Mostly at night, when they couldn't sleep, and their faces probably felt like your ears do at the bottom of a deep swimming pool.

Grace even fell asleep on me one morning. This has not happened since she was a tiny infant.

Admire her or stick random objects in her mouth? The terrible dilemmas of motherhood.

I finally took them both to the doctor last Sunday night. We waited for TWO HOURS. Grace, of course, perked up the moment we left the house and started hopping around the office. The doctor checked them both out, asked me a few questions, seemed very unimpressed with my list of horrible symptoms, and told me it was just a cold--a bad one, but no need to worry. He seemed sympathetic, but also very, "Why are you wasting my time with this?"

And then another four days of fever and horrible coughing and lots of pathetic moaning and almost no food or sleep. So I made another appointment and got to see our regular doctor, and the contrast between him and the one we'd seen before was amazing. I didn't realize how great he was with our kids before. He even listened to me like he believed I had an IQ somewhere above the single digits.

As it turned out, they both did have ear infections. They probably didn't have them yet when I'd gone in before, but I still wanted to decorate Dr. Champion's office with little post-its declaring, "I TOLD YOU SO!" and, "LEARN BEDSIDE MANNER," and, "WE LOVE DR. WALL."

Apparently this virus is making the rounds. It sticks for a few days--with a fever--and then goes away. I think the kids just got it worse because it's been kind of a stressful month for them, and their immune systems were falling asleep at the wheel. I have never seen either child so sick and miserable, not even when they had the stomach bug.

They are doing much better now that the antibiotics have kicked in. The coughs still linger, but they don't sound alarmingly croupy anymore.
Did I mention that Jeremy has been gone this entire time? Yes. Yes, he has.

Now that we're coming out the other side, I feel like superwoman. I managed to keep up with my exercise (well, videos at home, but they're tough... for me), I managed to cook meals on most of the days they felt like eating, and I only yelled at them ten or eleven times. For really, really stupid things. But hardly any of that has been this week. I'm... learning.

Okay, so I won't win any awards for my patience and long-suffering, but these last two weeks have really changed a lot of the ways I relate to them. I'm not magically calm all the time, but I'm moved to pity more often than I am anger, I enjoy being with them instead of enjoying the kids, but being bored with their repetitive games. Well, I'm still bored by repetitive games, but my enjoyment of them has begun to overshadow that.

I think we needed this little pruning. Spending every single miserable moment with them for two weeks straight had the exact opposite effect I would have expected. I feel more loving and nurturing toward them, not resentful and angry. Funny how that works.

It's easier for me to say this now that Jeremy will be home tomorrow. I told the girls they won't see him until Thursday, just in case he doesn't get in until after they're in bed. If not, though, we're going to pick him up from the airport. I won't tell them what we're doing, though. He'll just appear in the car. I can't wait! They will either scream a lot because they want to punish him, or they will be overjoyed. Either way, it should be fun.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Den of Pestilence

Well, it's been quite the month.

Since mid-December: illness, illness, travel, strep, travel, illness, illness, illness, husband gone for two and a half weeks, fever, can't leave the house for days and days except for necessities, illness, ear infections, Grace waking up in the middle of the night all of the time and thinking it's morning, so she comes out to the living room and sits in a daze, like, "Why am I so exhausted?" and/or crying in confusion and waking me up.

It's been AWESOME.

Really, though, now that the end is nigh, I'm feeling okay. Tuesday was a low point. The kids were at the absolute unhealthiest, I was imagining days and days of not leaving the house (Jeremy doesn't get home until next Wednesday), and the sleep deprivation was really creeping up on me.

I texted a friend, "Do you think you could come over this evening? I'd really love to just hang out with a friend." Now, she's a busy lady, especially this time of year, since she's our church's resident baker. And she just threw a party for her three year old on Saturday. On Sunday night she picked up some diapers and diaper rash cream for me (poor, poor Emmy). Not a moment's hesitation on that one. Just, "Sure! What do you need?" So I didn't really want to make ANOTHER request, but I was about to lose my mind, and she's one of my favorite people.

Not only did she say, "Sure!" but she also said, "Can I bring margaritas?"


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Listen to me whinge

If you live in Utah, get your Sudafed at a Costco. They can sell you four boxes for four bucks. This, sadly, was the high point of my day. Jeremy seems to have passed on his cold to ALL OF US, and while he's gallivanting around frozen Quebec, we're here all trying not to kill each other. All things considered, though, the girls have been fantastic.

I'm just tired from all the various illnesses. It's been three weeks of us passing various microorganisms around, and I feel like something furry died in my face. I'm a wuss, and I (usually) never get sick. Coping has been an ordeal.

My friend brought over a workout DVD on Monday. We did the 30-minute workout. It didn't feel that difficult. Then I did my core training workout yesterday. I was sore from Monday, but wanted to do something.

Yeah, I can barely walk today. Everything from my ribcage down feels like a giant internal bruise. It's a good pain (and somehow I'm suddenly at the lowest weight I've been since right after I had Emmy), but it sure puts a damper on the taking-care-of-small-children-alone thing.

She's coming over again tonight to work out. This ought to be interesting.

When Jeremy came home from the Philippines in November, I helped him unpack. Well, actually, he unpacked halfway, gave up, and I got so annoyed with his stuff lying around that I just did the rest myself. He would've gotten around to it eventually, but there's something about unpacked stuff that drives me 'round the bend.

Then I Very Logical Placed half of it and completely forgot about the whole thing.

Monday morning, he got up at 4:30 to get ready to leave. He shook me from dead sleep around 5:30 or 6. "Hon. Hon. Hon. It's important. Hon. Wake up. Hon..." and so on, for probably ten minutes. I don't know. I was asleep. It might have been only ten seconds, but I doubt that, knowing me. I do remember the note of panic and agitation in his voice. I finally sat up, all, "What? The murglebats haven't gone to bed yet. I need ten more minutes," ready to scratch his eyes out if I'd had the energy. Slowly, as if he were speaking to a two-year-old: "HON. Do you know where my passport is?" Me: "Um. Um. It's in the... the thing in the pocket of the thing, the, uh, the.... overnight bag."

He scurried off to go look and came back empty-handed. So I dragged my rear out of bed and helped him look. We scoured the entire apartment. He even drove across the street to work to look for it there. No luck. His taxi left, which meant he was going to miss his flight.

And then. It was like a lightning strike. I suddenly remembered the Very Logical Place. Realization hit so quickly it was almost painful. Maybe it was just the coffee finally getting to my brain cells. I went into our closet, picked up a bag of stuff, and pulled the passport straight off the top. Turns out I'd shoved everything I didn't know what to do with into that bag and then thrown it on the floor of the closet to deal with later. Because there's no way I would forget where I put his passport, right? Especially not if it's ON THE FLOOR OF OUR CLOSET in a plastic bag full of random garbage like a package of airplane toothpaste, a pair of paper slippers, and a flash drive.


He missed his flight, but he did catch a later one and still made it to the worksite on time. It was just a much longer day of travel than he'd been hoping for.

But the thing I take away from this isn't that I'm a moron and need to start stapling locations of things to my forehead. No, the moral of the story to me is this: Unpack your own stuff before it makes your wife insane.