Monday, July 8, 2013

Hectic Yet Hallowed

We've only been home from our Crystal Mountain vacation for two days (part II of that trip to come later this week) but so much has happened since then. The drama started Saturday after we arrived home. My husband took Jacob to hand wash our car, a task that Jacob usually loves. But when they arrived home, my husband reported that Jacob had complained of a side ache and sat in the car the entire time.

Hmmm. A side ache? I suddenly remembered that he had complained of a side ache this morning while we were walking around the mountain summit. So, I did what every fiber of my experienced-mommy being told me not to do: I looked to Google. I just wanted to be sure I could recognize the symptoms of appendicitis if need be. According to Google, side aches and fevers were top of the list. "Phew, until he shows signs of a fever, we're golden. This is easy," I thought.

I sat next to Jacob on the couch and handed him his Special Doggy (beloved stuffed animal that has clocked more mileage than most children). My hand brushed against his leg. His skin felt as hot as sun-scorched pavement. Uh oh. I grabbed the thermometer and took his temp. The thermometer hit 102 and I didn't even wait for it to finish reading. I jumped up, grabbed Jacob, and sprinted for Urgent Care. As I drove, my poor baby wasted miserably away in the hot back seat. Visions of ruptured appendices danced through my head.

Just my luck, Urgent Care was closed. We turned around and headed for the ER. Except this time, visions of $300+ hospital bills danced in my head. We walked into the ER waiting room and...waited for our room. We finally got a room and waited some more. Then we gave a pee sample (Jacob's, not mine!) and waited some more.

When I had just about given up hope, a handsome young doctor in freshly-pressed blue scrubs popped his sexy little head into our room. He smiled, ruffled Jacob's hair, and I did everything possible not to melt into the floor. At that precise moment, and for the very first time since leaving the house, I was suddenly aware of the fact that I was wearing a one-size-too-big Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle t-shirt, dirty cut-off shorts, and gardening shoes. All concerns regarding imminent ruptured appendices gave way to total mortification.

Dr. Handsome also turned out to be Dr. Bedside Manner. He told Jacob he loved his crocs and then asked if they could trade shoes. He asked Jacob about his Spiderman t-shirt with genuine interest. Damn, his interest feigning skills were amazing. He asked Jacob if he had any owies. Jacob began to recount every single owie he had in the past three years.

"Cat scratched me right here one time." (yes, we call our cat, "Cat."). "And I scraped my knee right here when I was riding my bike. And one time I had bumps all over my arm. And one time I hit my head here and when I was sleeping in my bed a spider bit me right here...." It was a long intake session. After patiently entertaining Jacob's history of ailments, Dr. Handsome got down to business. He examined Jacob's stomach, asked a few questions, and literally 40 second later we got our verdict: just The Virus.

What? Three hours of ER waiting (and likely a $300+ bill) just to have a doctor take 40 second to determine it's just The Virus? If the doctor hadn't been so dreamy, the trip would not have been worth it! I filled Jacob up with a Motrin cocktail and sent him to bed.

I spent Sunday doing two jumbo loads of children's laundry (the worst kind- so many tiny articles of clothing in one load!) and one load of my own laundry. I folded both loads of children laundry in a record five minutes. Sure, my folding was more like stacking and none of the socks have pairs...but for the first time in a year, I did all my laundry from start to finish (sorting, washing, drying, folding, putting away) on the SAME DAY. Miracles, yay!

While Jacob recovered from The Virus and my husband did back-breaking work in the yard, I took Ryan to the gym with me. He went to Childwatch while I did four miles of interval running and lunges with weights (trying to lose the stubborn last five pounds if it kills me- RRRG, I've officially accepted the fact that they will not disappear from just thinking about losing them while simultaneously stress eating chocolate). As always, when I picked Ryan up from Childwatch, his face erupted into his gap-toothed grin and he started screaming happily, "Mama, mama, mama!" from across the room. That is, by far, my favorite sound on earth.

After running errands (and buying way too many yummy and also healthy snacks to go with my already long Costco shopping list. New faves are freeze dried fruit, chicken meatballs, and quinoa couscous salad), I took the boys down to the park.

Ryan brought his snacks to the park and was much more interested in carrying them around, spilling them, and picking them up than actually playing on the big toy. I did manage to convince him to go down the slide a couple times.

At one point, Ryan was walking around the park carrying a hot dog. He tripped, fell, and dropped the hot dog in the bark. As he stood up with the hot dog in hand, he realized he had bark stuck to his palms, he dropped the hot dog to wipe his hands together only to angrily discover that the hot dog was back in the bark. As he bent to pick it up, he fell once again, picked up the hot dog, dropped the hot dog to wipe his hands, and the cycle continued until he finally gave up on his barky hands and ate the barky hot dog instead.

Trying out big brother's scooter.

Drunk walking

This morning, heading to my mom's house (after another four mile interval run- I'm on a roll!), Jacob smacked Ryan in the face with a rolled up piece of paper. I scolded Jacob, made him apologize and then told him I was very angry about what he did. Jacob was quiet for a second, looked at me in the rear-view mirror, and said solemnly, "Mommy, you're not mad because I don't see any steam coming out of your ears." This, ladies and gentlemen is what Too Many Cartoons looks like!

On the way home this evening, I stopped by the grocery store with both kids. As we walked through the produce aisle, Ryan let out a throaty growl, "RRRRR!" I had never heard him make that sound before and it caught me off guard. He did it again and then pointed to the seafood aisle. I pushed the cart in the direction he was pointing until we were next to the display of live crabs. "RRRR!" He repeated pointing to the crabs. Jacob and I busted out laughing. "Silly baby!" Jacob screeched, "crabs don't growl!" I guess we need to work more on our animal sounds... Ryan grinned as we continued to erupt into laughter.

While Ryan may not impress with his animal sounds, the kid is smarter than I give him credit for. This evening the boys were playing in my room as I was picking out yoga pants (let's see, THESE ratty yoga pants or THESE ratty yoga pants? so many options!). Ryan threw a snack wrapper on the floor. "Ryan, put your wrapper in the garbage can." I directed, paying more attention to deciding which pair of yoga pants smelled worse, than to the plight of the wrapper. Later, I walked into the kitchen and found Ryan's wrapper sitting on top of the garbage can lid. I hadn't actually expected him to understand my command and then follow it. Next lesson: how to open the garbage can lid.

My favorite command that Ryan follows is when I tell him it's time to change his diaper. If he is in a cooperative mood, he will grab a diaper, plunk his butt on the living room floor, and lay down to wait for me. I really need to harness this command-following behavior before he turns two....

Later this evening, I told Jacob to brush his teeth. Ryan started to say "shhh! shhh! shhh!" I looked at him funny, clearly not understanding what he was trying to say. Desperately, he repeated it over and over, on the verge of throwing a tantrum, "shhh! shh! shhh!" he cried. He finally toddled down the hall and pointed to the closed bathroom door. I opened the door for him and he pointed to his toothbrush, "shhhh! shhh! shhh!"

"Oh, brush teeth?!" I asked and handed him his toothbrush. He smiled and grabbed it from me with his chubby little hands. "Shhhh" was his way of saying "brush!" I resisted the urge to pick him up and crush him in a tight squeeze. A minute later, after brushing all of his seven teeth, I told Ryan to put his trooth bush away. He walked into the bathroom, set it down on the counter, and toddled right back to me. Gah! Slow death by cuteness!

Jacob and I settled down for the evening by playing a quiet game of Zingo (one of our favorite children's "board" games, I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone!) before bed. Then I tucked my two sweet babies into their beds and kissed their heads. The soft hum of their bedroom fan complemented the muted dimness of the early evening as night settled into their rooms. As I slowly closed their door, it felt as if I were closing the portal of a peaceful third dimension. I stood in the hallway just outside the door and let out a sigh, a heavy sigh filled with a mixture of relief and adoration.

Suddenly, an unexpected bomb of mommy-sentiment hit me in the face. For a brief second, I pushed aside thoughts of the dirty dishes in the sink, the toys strewn across the floor, the bags and lunches to be packed for the next day, and the two work assignments I had promised to complete this evening. I thought one thing only: These are the precious childhood years that are so transient and yet so precious. These are the moments I'm supposed to treasure.

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