Typhoid Mary And The Plague Monkeys (redux)

People? This has been a HORRIBLE cold/flu season. My doctor has told me this. Our pediatrician has told us this. The nurse at the night urgent care clinic has told us this. (And she recognizes my kids now.) The various doctors at the night urgent care clinic have told us this.

I believe them. Oh man do I believe.

Nevermind that the whole new day care thing is playing havoc with their immune systems. The season itself has it out for us.

I’ve had the flu. TWICE. The second time, Sean had it with me. We were barf buddies. And in case you were wondering, you never, ever want to be barf buddies with anyone. Also — watching your child wretch into various vessels and pots and bowls is much worse than when you’re doing it. You know what’s going on. But your 2-year-old? Freaked out. Hopping from foot to foot, trying to shake his head to ohmygodpleasemakeitstop!

Only it doesn’t stop. And he crashes into my arms when he’s done, whimpering, while I wipe his nose, tell him its OK, wipe his face clean, and wash our hands, and the whole time, I’m desperately trying not to gag and and get sick with him. We spent a lot of time cuddling on the couch, sipping on juice, eating Pedialite popsicles, and basically surviving on crackers.

And now I’ve caught the virus Allie had last week — the one that give you a cough that bends your body in half, the one that you can feel rattling your lungs and larynx — and gives you a rash. Yes. A rash. According to Hubbs, I look like I’m coming down with the zombie plague virus.

I look that good.

So that’s what I’ve been up to for the past two weeks. Here’s hoping yours were better than mine.

In other news …

Two cubic yards is A LOT.

We finished the kid area in our backyard over the President’s Day weekend. With a variety of gift cards and random found money (wahoo!) we bought the kids a play house, strapped it to the top of the car, and took it home. Then we leveled out the dirt patch that we had, laid down weed barrier, tacked it down, and had 2 cubic yards of rounded pea gravel delivered.

Shocker: I am not in construction. So after giving the guy at the quarry the dimensions and depth of our space, he told us we needed about 2 cubic yards of gravel. We paid, and went home. And the whole night I kept turning it over in my head: Two cubic yards? That doesn’t sound like a lot. I wonder if we should have gotten 3 yards. Because man, what if we don’t have enough? How stupid would that be? What if I measured wrong? Its entirely possible, I’m horrible with that stuff.

I needn’t have worried. We have more than we needed. The play house is buried in 2 inches of gravel and isn’t going anywhere. The whole pad is completely covered. It looks rather amazing.

And the kids are in heaven. They run to the sliding glass door, point at the play house and tell me “outside!” Constantly. It’s going to be fabulous during the spring and summer. I’ll throw pictures up here sometime soon.

Bolts & Chains Galore!

Do you have kids? Do you babysit kids? Toddlers mayhaps? Here’s my advice: Run (yes, RUN) to your local hardware store and buy chains for your doors. Sean can easily throw the deadbolt to our front door now. He’ll go to the door, tell us “I go walk. I go park?” and unlock the door. The only reason he hasn’t gone to the park by himself yet is because he hasn’t figured out how to grasp the baby proofing thingamajig on the doorknob. But the thing that made me spring into action? The mailman came to the door a couple of weeks ago and rang the bell. Sean ran to the door and unlocked it. It freaked me out, so I installed chains on the front and garage doors.

The sliding glass door was more tricky. I had to get a deadbolt-type thing and drill into the door casing. (Which freaked me out because I didn’t want to shatter the glass.) And then I couldn’t get the screws in to mount it to the frame. So I used epoxy. (I love epoxy. Just saying.) Good thing I did it too. Just yesterday, when it was freezing outside, the boy ran to the door wearing nothing but his Pull-Ups and a smile, unlocked the door, and yanked on it. When it didn’t budge, he frowned at the door, shrugged, and walked away.

Thank you, $5 deadbolt, for saving me from chasing a naked toddler around my freezing backyard.

Tear Jerker

K, our former day care provider, has called us twice since we left to check on the kids and to see how they’re doing. She called yesterday because the weather has been so nice and the kids she’s watching have been going in her backyard a lot — which was Sean’s favorite thing to do. She had a dream about him the night before: He was standing in front of her screen door, waving to her and smiling.

She got a little verklempt at that point, and said she missed them and knew they would be just fine in the new day care. She also mentioned that her husband, S, missed hanging out with Sean in the rocking chair, because her new kids don’t like rocking and cuddling the way Sean does.

Once we’re all healthy, we’re going to go over for a visit. Later that day I asked Sean if he missed K and her husband. He smiled and said “yeah.”

Elephant is sleeping?

We finally went to the zoo during the President’s Day weekend, and the boy had a BLAST. This kid loves animals. All animals. Safari animals. He plays animal games on my touch and on the iPad. He can better identify animals than both me and the Hubbs. If the kid tells you that four-legged, deer-looking thing over there is an antelope? Chances are it’s an antelope.

He had a great day. We saw all the animals, and he waved to each one and when we’d leave the exhibit he’d say some variation of: “bye alligator! Have a good day! See you soon!” My only headache was that for the first time, Allie insisted on walking everywhere. Which meant that I had to push around an empty stroller and keep a tight hold on her hand while toddling at a glacial pace. (She allowed me to pick her up and carry her up the steep hills, however. Odd, that…)

Sean was especially happy at the giraffe exhibit, because it was feeding time and they were running around — I always thought the animal programs made the video go in slow motion when giraffes run. They don’t. It seriously looks like they’re going in slo-mo. Its rather awe-inspiring. AND there was a baby giraffe. Sean was very happy to see a baby giraffe. I’m still hearing about that baby giraffe.

Maggie the baby giraffe, picture from the Oakland Zoo.

Allie enjoyed herself too: She pointed at them, her eyes wide as saucers, and looked at me as if to say “are you seeing this? I had no idea those things were THAT big!”

Also, we have horrible luck with the elephants. EVERY time we go, the zookeepers are cleaning out their pen/adding food and the elephants are in this back lot where we can barely see them.

We stayed all afternoon, and even got the kids toys from the gift shop on the way out. (Allie hugged and held onto a hot-pink giraffe, while Sean meticulously chose a 20-pack of plastic safari animals, most of which are now scattered throughout the backseat of my car.)

But the only way we could get the boy to willingly leave the zoo was to tell him that the animals were tired, that they wanted to go to sleep, and that he could visit them another time. As we walked out of the gates, he turned and waved. “Bye zoo. Night-night! See you tomorrow!”

The next morning, at 6:15 a.m. to be exact, after I had changed his diaper and put his pajama pants back on, he walked to the living room, pulled on his yellow rain boots, grabbed his jacket, and held onto the garage door handle. “We go to zoo? I see alligator? I see giraffe? I see elephant?”

“Oh sweetie,” I yawned. “It’s too early. The animals are still sleeping.”

“Still sleeping?”

“Yup. Still sleeping.”

We’re going to have to go back soon. The kid thinks the animals are still sleeping.

Calling Grandma

As previously established, Grandma, Grandpa, and Uncle Michael are rock stars in our world. And when we can’t see them often enough, we have to be satisfied with phone calls. I’ll always put them on speakerphone when the kids are awake and let them talk. When I first started doing this a year ago, it didn’t hold much amusement or interest for Sean. But now he brings me the phone, hand it to me, and say “call Am-ma?”

So he’ll sit on my lap and we’ll call Grandma and talk to her through the speaker phone. Most conversations go something like this:

Me: “Say ‘hi Grandma’ Sean.

Sean: “hi Am-ma!”

Grandma: “hi Sean!”

Me: “Say ‘I love you Grandma.”

Sean: “I yuv yoo Am-ma.”

Grandma: “Awww. I love you too, Sean.”

Sean: “I yuv yoo too Awn!”

And so on and so forth. This weekend we called Grandma once during the day because he wanted to talk to her, and then before bed, so he could say goodnight. The next night, he called Grandma at work and Grandpa to tell them that he got a toy car.

Allie likes to get on the action too. Although she mostly jibbers and throws in an occasional “appl” and “bed!” (def: bread. It amuses me that her best words are food related.)

Its times like this that I wish we had a film crew following us around. Their faces are priceless when they first hear that voice on the other end of the line.

Everyone Just Play Nice

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

I remember hearing that from my mother, other mothers to their children, and from teachers growing up. For the most part, I’ve taken that to heart. Its probably why I haven’t posted anything lately. I haven’t had a lot to say, and what little I have wanted to say … well … its best that I don’t.

It isn’t very nice.

Now before you tell me that its good to get things out, to express yourself, to get things off your chest, to just let loose sometimes …. I know. But. (Oh yes, BUT.) But there are times when expressing yourself in that way makes you feel better to the detriment of someone else.

Some people make themselves feel better by dragging others down with them. They’re the people you try to avoid. Their words stick to you like lint but weigh you down like bricks. You can’t escape them. You feel like you can’t share the good things in your life with them because they’ll take it personally — like your success is an affront to their existence. How dare you? How dare you be happy when they are sad? Was that a smile?! Well!

Did you know that I HATE you because of it?

And when they see the look on your face, they’ll scrunch up theirs, as though offended. “Oh, I’m sorry,” they’ll say sardonically. “Did my feelings just burst that little bubble you had going there? So. Very. Sorry,” as their words drip sarcasm and ooze condescension. They may even sneer at you while they say it. 

And sometimes it will really get to you.

So today, as I was listening to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata — my go to “I’m in a mood” piece — a strange thought hit me. Its right when the song turns from melancholy and sad to defiant and even triumphant.

And this thought made me smile. It made me giggle. Its utterly absurd, and yet maybe helpful. So I’m sending this out into the universe:

I’m rubber and you’re glue.

I know, I’m incredibly mature. But think about it: If I’m rubber and you’re glue, when you say that you hate me, what you’re saying is that you hate yourself. And really, that has nothing to do with me, now does it?

And when you make those snide little comments? You’re pointing out things you don’t like about yourself. Maybe you should focus on the issues you have with yourself instead of pointing out perceived ones in me. Or things in me that remind you of .. well … you. You really shouldn’t be so rough on yourself.

And if you love me? You love yourself too. And if someone puts love out into the universe, they should receive just as much in return.

Don’t you agree?