Month: February 2014

The Good Ol’ Hockey Game

 

Smiley_Olympics

Oh Canada! The Olympic men’s hockey finals this week  was kind of a big deal.  The night before, I set my alarm to go off just before the game started, 6:45 AM. The next morning, I woke up, went downstairs, and saw the fam already there. Were they up to watch, too, chock full of national pride?

Nah.

K was sleeping on the couch, while B and J were watching Disney Junior. Me changing the channel was met with snoring/mumbling from K, loud complaining from B, and J whining while angrily stripping down to her diaper. Pretty much a lost cause, so I  made some coffee, and went back to my room to watch the game there.

K gravitated upstairs not long afterwards, which left the kids downstairs…. alone! Cue the studio audience saying “Ooooooh”.   They were quiet, and I didn’t hear them doing anything (which is always a good sign, amiright, parents?).  I went to check on them at the first intermission. I found them in their coats and boots (J was still in her diaper, so this was all that she had on), just about to go out the front door.
Me – ‘What are you doing??’
B – ‘Nothing.’
Me – ‘Where are you going???’
B – ‘We are going to the car, to get my B.EA.R. book.’
The book was in clear view beside him, sticking out his backpack, so I showed it to him.
Me – ‘You mean this book?’
B – ‘Oh. Yeah.’
He grabbed it, took off his boots and jacket, and went to read it. Pretty sure he was lying about going to get the book. Maybe they were going to a bar to watch the rest of the game? Good thing he forgot to get the car keys. #heis4yearsoldhecantdrive
I stayed downstairs for the rest of the game, however, to make sure that they didn’t try to go on any joyrides.

When the game ended (Canada, what!? Knock knock? Who’s there? Gold medal to the face, that’s who’s there!) I tried to get the kids to watch the medal ceremony. After the first Swede got his silver, they got bored, wanted snacks instead. Kids, nowadays, they have no appreciation for historical moments, sheesh.  They gobbled some fruit up, then went back upstairs. A few minutes later, while I was humming Oh Canada, B told me that J had dumped the ‘metal things again.’

WTF?

Turns out, she had poured a big box of staples all over the floor. Maybe she thought that they were shiny confetti, and she was celebrating the victory? If picking hundreds of staples out of a carpet was an Olympic event, I would have a won the gold that morning (Knock knock? Who’s there? Silver staples in your feet, sucker, that’s who’s there).
‪#‎GoCanadaGo‬

Ill Communication

At what point is a situation considered an emergency?

Seems simple enough, right? You get the sniffles, you probably don’t need to seek medical assistance. Your buddy shoots you in the groin with a potato gun from a close distance, you probably want to go get your groin checked out after.

As adults, we know enough about ourselves that when something is seriously wrong, we can take the appropriate course of action. Kids, however, until they reach a certain age, they ain’t like that. They are totally dependent on you. So when something is wrong with them, like an illness, they can’t communicate to you what needs to be done. It’s up to you, as a parent, to figure that out.

I’ve come to realize, that unless you’re a trained medical professional,  trying to take care of your unwell child is a lot of guesswork.  You analyze the symptoms, maybe talk to someone, Google some information, and attempt to take care of the situation.  At the end of the day, though, all you can really do is trust your parental instincts.  You’ve probably noticed by now that I’m learning this parenting stuff on the fly. My instincts are pretty sorry, no doubt, but luckily enough for me, K has enough for  both of us. So when something is wrong with B or J, we’ve guessed right more often than not. There’s really only been one instance where our instincts were wrong, and we should have went to the doctor sooner than we did (that’s a story for another day. Don’t worry, everybody was just fine).

But back to my original question – when is a situation an emergency then? Now that is always a tough call.  One time, with B, when he was less than a year old, he had a fever that kept skyrocketing.  K and I remembered some advice for fevers from our prenatal class, so we followed that. When his fever reached a certain level, like 104 degrees, we decided that we needed to go to the emergency room.  Turns out that the advice we got was apparently wrong, and we got a ‘WTF? Why did you do that?’ reaction from the nurses. That’s the besides the point, though (Do you mask a fever, or let it ride? No really, I have no clue. I’ve gotten conflicting answers).  That situation reached a level where it was an emergency.

On the other hand, there’s been a bunch of times where the kids were sick, and K and I had to debate whether a trip to the hospital was warranted, but ultimately decided against it. There’s no easy way around it. Every illness is different, and requires a different judgement call.

I can count on one hand the number of times where we’ve had to take B or J to the emergency room. The good thing is that each time, we didn’t walk out of the hospital feeling like we wasted the doctors’ and nurses’ time. That’s the other part of the equation; when you guess wrong, and your kid’s situation isn’t at the emergency level, so then you feel like a guilty, stupid burden on the healthcare system.  When we’re talking about your kid’s well-being, that obviously shouldn’t matter. It still sucks when the doctor pats you on the back and says to go home and make sure your child gets lost of rest, while they roll their eyes at you. And you definitely don’t want to get to the point where you are on a first name basis with the staff, due to your frequent visits at the slightest cough.

So between the guesswork and the totally justifiable irrational worrying about the nurses and doctors making fun of you, assessing what constitutes an emergency, isn’t easy, for real. I’ve mentioned before, that one of my fears when I’m by myself with B and J, is something bad happening to them.  It’s that fear of the unknown, just not knowing what I’d do, or how I’d react, or handle the problem.  It’s the fear of making the wrong decision, and what the consequences would be.  Situations can turn tragic quickly and easily.  Just scary thoughts, man.

Unfortunately, my parental instincts were put to the test a couple of weeks ago.

It was a routine Saturday. K had dinner plans with some friends, and I was just going to stay in with the kiddos. B and J were playing nicely together,  but then around 4:00pm, B barfed on the floor, out of nowhere. Awesome. I cleaned him up, then started to work on the floor, but then not long after, he barfed again. I figured it was something he ate, as he was acting like his normal self. Anyway, we threw him in the tub. K asked if she should cancel her plans. My decision? I told her nope. Go out, he’s probably fine, I’ll just keep an eye on him, I said. Anyway, we cleaned B up, got him dressed then told him to rest in his room. He proceeded to throw up again.  More cleaning up, but this time, I plopped him in our room. K again asked if she should stay home, and I again said nope, so she was on her way.

B drank some water and was watching TV on our bed, while I sort of entertained J.  Suddenly, he threw up again, all over our bed. I replaced the sheets, and grabbed a toy bucket, and told him to use that if he felt sick again. Within seconds, he threw up into the bucket. And then he did it again. I was super confused and worried by this point. He was whiny, but he was still talking to me coherently. He wasn’t burning up or anything like that, either, so I was still going with the idea that he must have eaten something that didn’t sit right.

J, however, was also starting to whine. Not because she was sick, but  because she was hungry. I quickly rushed to scrounge up something passable for dinner for her, and when I came back, there was more puke all over the bed.  While J happily sang and ate her food, I cleaned up B again, and replaced the bed sheets.  He threw up again into the bucket while I was doing this. I ran to get him some ice chips, which he refused to eat. Don’t blame him. From his perspective, the water I gave him didn’t go so well, so why would he trust me with anything else?

Not going to front, I had an overwhelming sense of panic come over me. This was bananas. Why was he throwing up so much? Where was it all coming from? My next (stupid) decision was that I needed to put J to bed, so I could worry only about B for the night. First, though, I figured that I’d call Telehealth (Telehealth is a service that we have in Canada, where you can call and talk to a registered nurse, and ask for health advice). While I was on the phone, I went to get PJs for J.  When I came back to our room,  B, who had been flat down on his stomach, bucket by his head, dry heaving into it, started rolling his eyes into the back of his head, like the wrestler the Undertaker. WTF! So between the eye rolling, and the Exorcist-level vomiting, I was freaked out to the extreme. B was not even making any sense. He was too sick to communicate clearly. He was just mumbling incoherently between the throwing up. His vomit also was changing colour. I cut the Telehealth nurse off and told her that I needed to get to a hospital.

But more decisions! How do I get to a hospital? I quickly estimated that by the time I called for an ambulance, and it got to our house, I could make a decent chunk of the way there myself, if I drove. So I scooped up J, put her in my car, scooped up B (who threw up all over me, and in the garage) loaded him up, and we were off.  I’ll tell you what, man,  alone with my thoughts, flying down the dark country roads, I was thinking of the most messed up things.  I was trying to figure out what was wrong with the poor kid, and all I could think of was maybe organ failure from dehydration, or maybe he was possessed, or maybe he caught some rare incurable disease. I was retracing my decisions and what I could have done differently. Just craziness. My heart was pounding like I don’t remember it ever pounding before.   I tried to converse with B, but he was barely audible. J was having the time of her life, go figure. Obliviously laughing and chatting away. And then she fell asleep randomly. I couldn’t get to the hospital soon enough…

I did call K, and filled her in on what was going on, and she met me at the children’s emergency entrance.  I took J to K’s mom, and hurried back to the hospital. Didn’t even notice my pants were covered in barf until K told me. The staff talked to us, ran some tests, gave B some medicine for the nausea and hooked him up to an IV, to get some fluids in him.  I’ve never simultaneously felt total relief but also like a failure, until seeing B with tubes sticking out of him while the IV machine beeped away.

The end result was that he caught a bad case of the flu, And was dehydrated.  We went home later that night, but had to come back the next day, as a precaution. That was it. Not the most dire situation, but still an emergency situation to me. Funny thing was, two other families with small kids were admitted and sent home within minutes, while we were at the hospital, in the rooms beside us. One with a supposed allergic reaction, one because their baby was a bit sick. Hey, better to err on the side of caution, I guess.

I can honestly tell you, though, that from that experience, and my questionable decision making, I’m a better parent because of it.  Clearly, the lesson learned is that K should never……eeeeever leave me alone with the kids again, right? Right?

Well...no, I guess not.

Well…no, I guess not.

Final note – the next day, yours truly was chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool, when,  suddenly, I  felt ill, and had to spend some quality time with the porcelain pool.  I stumbled back to our bed, where B was still on the mend, watching TV.

B – ‘Are you sick, daddy?’

M (moaning) – ‘Yeah, buddy, I threw up a lot just now.’

B – ‘You need a stuffy! That will make you feel better! Let me go get you one! Which one do you want?’

A stuffy is a stuffed animal. He took off to his room, and came back.

B – ‘Here daddy!’

He gave me his stuffed horse and Buzz Lightyear. And then he lied down beside me, holding his toy bear. Two sick homies,  in bed, watching Disney Junior, cuddling stuffies. Not gonna lie, as bad as I felt, I did feel a bit better then.

Yo, that answers my question. At what point is a situation an emergency? When even a stuffy can’t make it any better.

 

 

Remember The Time

 

 

I used to be sort of punctual. But now, when I need to go somewhere with the family?

We’ll get there when we get there.

I’ve noticed that small kids are blissfully oblivious,  in their own little worlds,  operating on their own clocks.  And their watches aren’t set to the same time as yours.  Like, not even close.   The thing is, sooner or later, since any other effort is futile,  their schedule becomes your schedule.

After B was born,  we were automatically programmed to be on baby time.  I was vaguely aware of this concept beforehand, but wow, the reality of it hit me like a slap in the face. No, for real. When I was on the after- midnight shift with him, when he would wake up crying and not go back down, I had to slap myself in the face to stay awake. But that was life, with little B and then with J. Baby time meant that our lives revolved around their feedings and their sleep.  When you’re used to doing what you want, when you want, changing your entire mindset is hard. You’re not living for just yourself; you’re living to keep these tiny humans living.

 

No more time for you!

No more time for you!

Once we got into a routine, we had to stick to it.  Friends would invite me to do stuff, and I’d have to turn them down.  Hey, would you rather pound back some beers with your buddies, or catch a few hours of precious sleep while your kid is zonked out,  and you haven’t slept in 20 hours?  Gimme some Z’s, yo, every time.

Nonetheless, you still gotta do you.  For our own sanity, we had to get out and do stuff, in public.  So, we learned to plan  family outings around the naps. Break the cycle, but not really. Sometimes that was effective and we had a pleasant experience out.  Sometimes, unfortunately, we were that family childless people like to glare at and give the evil eye to in restaurants,  because our baby was screaming his/her head off. Looking all aghast at us or whatever. No guff, Sherlock, I realize she’s crying, and I’m trying to calm her so you can enjoy your spinach dip in peace.  And no, complaining to the waiter about us doesn’t help the situation. What’s he going to do? Tell me to leave? Take our kid to the kitchen, until you are done your meal?  What did you expect when you came here, anyway? Fine romantic dining? The staff are dressed like they’re on safari, and there are smiling robot animals everywhere.  Now stop staring at us, and focus on whether you want regular or sweet potato fries with your veggie wrap. Hater.

Don't forget to get refill on your glass of Haterade, too.

Don’t forget to get a refill on your glass of Haterade, too.

Whoa, sorry, got sidetracked.

Even as the kids enter the toddler stage, time is still on their side, not yours. Like I said, they are just blissfully in their own worlds, oblivious to their surroundings and to the concept of time.  To them, there’s no rush to do anything.  Me saying “Hurry up so Daddy isn’t late for work!” while B goes for the Guinness World Record for longest time taken to put on a jacket, is pretty much a daily occurrence.  Funny enough, when I tell them that they can’t do something fun, like go to a birthday party, they’ll bust a move, and get cleaned up and ready to go ASAP.  Model kids, all of the sudden, like their last name is Cleaver.  Go figure.

What? I used to watch Leave it To Beaver when I was little. The Beav seemed like a swell guy.

What? I used to watch Leave It To Beaver when I was little. The Beav and his bro seemed like swell guys.

The net result of this oblivion is that I’ve basically given up trying to be on time, for anything, ever. It’s pointless.  Occasionally we get lucky and win the punctuality battle, but more often than not, it’s a lost cause. You give yourself 15 minutes to get the kids ready, it takes 30. You give yourself 30, it takes 45. Something inevitably happens that causes us to run late.  B and J put up a struggle, or they want something to eat, or they hide, or they barf or take a dump and have to be changed. I don’t know, it’s always something.

For example, a couple of weeks ago one Saturday morning, B had basketball.  Man, back in the day, if I had somewhere to be Saturday morning, I’d shower up, maybe get in a quick game on the old PS2,  eat some food, splash on some Drakkar Noir, and be on my way. And show up early!

So, my plan that day was to shower quick, get him ready,  and go. Simple right?

Wrong.

Instead, this went down:

– Before I got in the shower, I gave B his clothes, and told him to get dressed.

– When I was done showering,  I found B in the playroom still in his pyjamas, watching TV, clothes beside him.

– I got him dressed.

– He refused to leave, because he wanted to sit at the table and eat breakfast. Attempts to explain to him that we would be late fell on oblivious ears. Finally, bribed him with breakfast from Tim Horton’s to get him to leave.

– Got his coat and boots on, and told him to wait, because I forgot to get his water bottle.

– I filled his bottle, came back, and found him outside, trudging through the knee deep snow on our front grass.

– Trudging turns to running and laughing. Running and laughing turns to falling. Falling turns to crying because he’s cold and covered in snow.

– Had to go back in the house, to get him changed.

– Finally put him in the car, and we were on our way. But we had to stop at Tim Horton’s first, which had a long lineup in the drive-thru, because….well, of course there was a long line.

– Got to the basketball gym. Rushed to get him in his gear. B found it funny to mess with me by pulling my hat down over my eyes so I couldn’t see.

Ended up being 15 minutes late, total.

Anyway, so that’s my life now.  If I make plans with you, I’ll see you when I see you.  Man, I even thought that I’d have this post done a week ago.  What can I say? Free time is precious, and a good chunk of mine is taken up by my kids. Yet, even though my life revolves around their schedules, and I’ve been lamenting it,  I still wish that I could spend more time with them! These are the best years, and all that jazz.

How messed up is that?

 

 

 

 

 

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