Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Gooey & the Chupacabra

"You'll never really know how much your parents love you until you have children of your own"... odd how that works out, and how true it seems sometimes. Even stranger that the person who said this was some guy at Saul Ewing that I never met, some random schlub that could be the reincarnation of Starkweather or Buddha for all I know.
Ok, I know that more than half of my posts are about the kids, but you'll have to suffer through... its little hard not to get caught up when it seems there isn't time for anything else. I'll start with the fun part though, to suck you in...
I'm home with Lily today because she has pink eye, and they won't let her into daycare again until she has been on meds for a while. Strange disease, pink eye. It doesn't seem to really ever do anything except make your eyes and everything they touch all gooey, but for some reason, daycare seems to treat it like the plague. As soon as she exhibited the first sign of goo, my cell phone was ringing, and I had to go and get her. She was pretty gooey, but in a good mood as always, and happily came crawling up to me with a small conjuctivitis infected stuffed rabbit stuck to the side of her face. As luck would have it, she also learned how to give kisses today. All afternoon she would play for a bit, then crawl over and want to be picked up... and all afternoon I gently peeled away Acme receipts and plastic dinosaurs from underneath her eyes and carried her around until she gave me one of her oddly-formed baby kisses on the cheek. Then, I would gently set her down again, boil some water, add a little rubbing alcohol in for good measure, and pour the mixture directly onto my face to ward off the onset of the goo...
Sam on the other hand, is unusually healthy at the moment... save one little problem... when Sam was younger, he was perfect. Well, not really, but he seemed like it. It was the little things in him that I was most amazed by... since everything was new - his smell, his eyes, his sounds, and the feel of his skin - he seemed perfect... and I dunno... fresh... unspoiled... A few months ago though, he ate something (we still don't know what) that he had a shockingly severe allergic reaction to. By the time we got in the car to go to the hospital, one eye was completely swollen shut, and the other not far behind. His tongue was swollen enough that he had trouble speaking, and his fingers were so big they would hardly bend. Needless to say, I drove really fucking fast.
I spent the day lying next to him in the hospital bed, and for some reason one of the things I remember most was how his skin had changed. He was passed out from all of the medication for most of the day, and I held on to him for a good six hours until he woke up. While he was swollen he was a little bumpy, like he was cold and stiff - but as the swelling went down his skin still felt different. Its hard to explain, but his skin didn't feel like a baby anymore, his arm felt like mine... weathered, tough... Over the next few days that went away a bit. It was a few days of some pretty hardcore drugs, and a handful more of Benedryl before the hives were gone... and it was weeks before I slept through the night. We still have to carry an epi-pen wherever we go, and I don't think there has been a day since that I haven't thought about it for at least a minute or two. For the most part, though, I'm over it. We've done all that we can do, seen a bunch of doctors, and are pretty prepared if it happens again. Just life, I suppose.. everyone has these things to deal with in one form or another, and I don't waste too much time playing out worst case scenarios in my head. Every once in a while it hits me though. On Tuesday I gave him a bath, and when I touched his arm I hit a rough goose-bumpy patch of skin, and it chilled me to the bone. It's sickening sometimes, how hard it hits me. Most days I have this amazing boy, and every once in a while, for a second or two, all I can see is this monster lurking inside of him waiting patiently to show itself again. Meanwhile, we wait, guardians of the Temple of Sam. Carefully watching the gates, syringes of epinephrine glinting valiantly in the sun, gooey pink eyes always watching... always watching...

Sunday, January 08, 2006


Not so long ago, weekends began as mysteries. Where I would end up, who I would be with... would I wake up on someone's lawn... good times... Always a bit of magic in there though.
These days are a bit of a mystery too, but a different sort. When will Sam fall on his head... will Lily eat that crayon...if I stand more than four feet away, will Lily still be able to hit me with some high velocity vomit (yes, by the way, she can, and did on Saturday). To amuse myself, I have developed a "Someone's Hurt!" Injury Timetable (SHIT) for the kids. Over the course of an average day, I estimated that Sam will hurt himself about fifteen times, and Lily about ten. Only a small percentage of these injuries result in tears that last more than 30 seconds, but there are a significant number of injuries that can be avoided by employing the SHIT system. Here's what I do, feel free to try it with your kids -
First of all, the early stages if the system require a bit of intuitive parenting... educated guesswork, you might say. Start with an easy one to get yourself into the groove - for example, I've noticed that Sam can only run for about 30 paces max before he trips and hits the deck like a flounder. With a well timed distraction after about 20 paces ("hey look, a squirrel!" or "I think there is some yogurt under the car!") he'll pause and regain his footing just long enough to continue for the next 30 paces. The same distractions apply if he is trying to fit his head through a gate, or put his sister in the toilet - "hey look, a squirrel!" or "I think there is some yogurt under the car!" - and I have just enough time to extract Lily from the bowl. Lily was a bit harder to figure out, because she isn't fooled by the imaginary squirrels or yogurt, but a little physical comedy goes a long way with her... a fake slip on a banana peel or slapping yourself on the head will distract her every time.
This is where it gets a bit tricky. When they are left unattended, you have to assume that trouble is always brewing, and the countdown begins. If I'm in the kitchen, and everything gets quiet in the living room, there's about 45 seconds before somebody gets hurt. Believe it or not, I'm getting pretty good at the timing - as soon as I notice a lull, I can quickly finish whatever I'm in the middle of, and dash into the other room just in time to stop Sam from jumping off of the top of the couch. Lily has a telltale shuffle too - if the sound of her crawling across the floor seems particularly determined, odds are she is after something, and you have to reach her before the shuffle subsides. For all of the crap in our house, we're remarkably childproof, but she can get pretty creative, like trying to ease her teething pains on the sleeping dog, or seeing if she can fit her whole arm in the vcr. The key is to have both parents involved, so that if I'm tied up or on the phone and I notice something is awry, I can yell "SHIT!" so that Sara knows the "Someone's Hurt!" Injury Timetable has been activated, and she can get there to nip impending trouble in the bud.
System in place, our daily injuries decreased this weekend, but Sam has started cursing for some reason. I was thinking of renaming the system "Beware! Activate Response! Nearby Endangered Youth!" or "Red Alert! Find Falling Infant!" or even "Seriously, Protect Our Newborn! Get Everyone's Butts Outta Bedlam!" but they just don't seem to carry the same weight...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Hurling a budgiepeet

I know,long time,no blog. So much has happened since my last, as a matter of fact, that I don't know where to begin. I'll start with today and work backwards... sick, sick, sick. Called out sick from work - which I never do - because I coughed up what looked like a parakeet when I woke up. It didn't fly away, or have any rainforest-like wing colors, so I didn't go to the doctor, just went down to the couch for a while. Flipped from front to back, back to front for an hour or so... felt a bit better but got tired of the flipping, so I got up and made some pancakes, and then putzed around for the next seven hours. Loving the sick day though... wish I had more of them... oh yeah, I actually feel a bit better too, what are the odds.
Aside from that, nothing much to say about the last few weeks. There are some good stories, but I'm too crabby to tell them. Just one little thing, as long as I'm on line...I do seem to have these flashes of complete and utter heartache.
Hectic as December is for me, I step into January every year leaving behind a condensed version of what I wish life was like. Between all of the driving and childcare is an endless stream of family, college and childhood friends, and sleepless nights that are worth every second.
Too tired at the moment to drone on like Enya about lost love or time... but as hard as the holidays are sometimes, aches fade, and I have another year of memories to smooth things over. My parents overflowing dining room table, Luke or Jeremy picking up a guitar, waking up at Mar's and hearing all those old familiar voices, seeing Jeanne laugh (not just hearing it on the phone, but seeing it with my own eyes), Sam and Lily on Christmas, and waking up next to my wife without one of us rushing out the door.
So that's it, my month in a nutshell. Now I'm sick, tired, and missing every second of it.
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