Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A little bit drowning

In December we went to a parent social for all the parents of E's kindergarten class. One mom was there alone. "He's a dentist," she explained. "It's FSA-reimbursement season. All his clients want to get their appointments in before the end of the year. In the last two weeks of December he cleans teeth until 11 o'clock at night."

I never thought about dentists having a season. CPAs have a season. And we: we have a season. This is our season.

Each year the lovely husband's company puts on an enormous conference. It's mammoth, the size of small towns. And as the days count closer and closer to his conference, he's around less and less. When he is around, he's prone to looking at his laptop, iPad and Blackberry simultaneously. While talking on the house phone. With a small human climbing up his knee cap.

We're thick in the season, and I'm a little bit drowning.

We had a planned-out Sunday that included a friend's birthday party and when our birthday friend got sick and his celebration was cancelled, we looked at the gape in assigned hours and took our littles for two real haircuts and a trim. G had done so well at his first haircut; he was a disaster at this one. Clingy and scrunchy and "I'm gonna need you to hold his head down" was uttered more than once. Poor dude. We attributed his fussiness to Two-ness but when we got home, mister man had a fever. And then he began throwing up. And squirting out. Things were not good.

Monday was G's birthday and he spent it miserable and squirting but by evening, he seemed better-ish enough that we opened a few presents. His fever was gone and he was keeping his fluids to himself and when a newly-received mechanical dancing Elmo started dancing for him and he yelled at it, stop! STOP! we thought maybe he had rallied.

I'm kind of afraid of mechanical dancing Elmos, too.

The $65 (after insurance) eye drops that smite facial ear
infections! And for scale, a nickel. These drops smite your
liquid gold metaphor, too.
But Tuesday morning his eyes looked so bad that despite the other symptoms subsiding, we decided I'd stay home with him again. I took him to the doctor to rule out pink eye and there learned that his eye goo was really ear goo that had run out of tunnels to fill. He had a double ear infection that was forcing its way out his face. And I have to tell you, I felt humbled and a little gobsmacked. I'm eerie-calm in a tough situation. Do you have an emergency? You should call me because I'm great in emergencies. And sick kids don't upset me. I don't get all doomsday about things. I didn't even Tylenol him through the fever. He had wet diapers and all the snuggles he wanted and my lower back earned some Advil, but we kept him close and let things run their course and when the fever broke I thought he was en route to better.

And that's the kicker: even when you know what you're doing, sometimes you don't.

But he felt better yesterday, so he energetically tore apart each item of the house just as I cleaned the one behind it. He emptied a tissue box; I picked up tissues as he dumped out the Scrabble tiles. I picked up Scrabble tiles; he unrolled the whole roll of toilet paper into the hallway. I salvaged toilet paper; he emptied all the shoes out of the shoe cabinet. To be fair, though, he was looking for his favorite boots and the sight of an ooshy-squishy new two-year-old wearing nothing but a devilish grin, a diaper and some silver sparkle boots does heal almost all ills.

We're in chaos mode. I couldn't keep up with him. He rubbed his avocado face on the couch and dumped the paper recycling out all under the kitchen table and I was home with him for two days: somehow I think that in that time I should be able to make things cleaner, more organized. Instead it's far, far worse and I'm not sure I saved all the Scrabble tiles.

Then he and L had a dentist appointment today and he did fine, that antibiotics-ed weasel, and L came up with a pre-cavity, which sounds like PC jargon to me, and we know she's a sugar fiend but keeping her away from it is nary impossible; do you know how much crack she came home with from her daycare valentines yesterday? And now we have to decide laughing gas or full unconsciousness to treat it: $150 or $300; an hour or a day to shake it off; how you decide on your four-year-old? Ah, she's tough, she can handle it? Or, oh, my baby, knock her out? But would you ever put your kid unconscious less-than-necessarily? So I have no idea how to figure that out and a little bit more, I slip under the water.

E didn't go to the dentist today and that upset her. I thought she'd be thrilled. She didn't go because these were rescheduled appointments and I couldn't get her in without missing school and she gets so anxious about missing school so I booked her appointment for April (happy first day of spring break to you, young lady!) and now she's anxious that she has to go alone. But maybe she won't go alone; her sister can go lose consciousness at the same time.

And about that E girl: just for fun, she seems to be getting an ear infection, too. After she had her tubes removed, the holes never closed. Apparently. I'm in huge massive enormous denial about this. We have a follow-up appointment tomorrow evening, and this is with (hold your breath) a substitute doctor. Okay, she's a real doctor, but she's not our doctor. E does not take kindly to that change, but our doctor had the nerve to go have a baby in December. My whole very responsible plan was to insist on waiting another month to give the holes one more chance to close (which, let's be honest, they're obviously not doing) so that E could hear the news of re-surgery-ing from her regular doctor. Now that she has a fresh stream of gunk flowing out of her ear as of yesterday, I'm skeptical that I'll be able to get away with it. Maybe Dr. Earl thinks life at home with two kids is too much and she'll return to work early? Yeah.

But yeah. See how I embedded that? We're probably re-surgery-ing E's ears soon, and wouldja look, I'm totally underwater.

My own throat is feeling scratchy but there's no time for me to be sick myself so we will drink more ginger tea and pretend that's not happening. We will watch the house grow more hopeless until the lovely husband's conference concludes (three weeks! three more weeks!), because our life is too bursting for me to be the only homemaker, either whilst at home with a sickie or out of the house trying to maintain my own career. We will sink slowly and deeply and we will accept it, because this is our season.

This sounds like a complainy post, but I'm not feeling complainy. I'm feeling very them's-the-facts-y. Sometimes (although I don't understand why when I'm so obviously holding things together with magical thinking and purple duct tape) someone will ask how we do it all. The answer is we don't. Sometimes we get globby stuck in the muck.

And when that happens, I whisper to myself what I've whispered since E was that newborn who screamed all day long: one minute at a time. One foot in front of the other. One minute at a time. You can do anything for one minute. Okay, good. Now do it again.

One minute at a time. One foot in front of the other...

So I formulate a plan: if I let them attack the valentines candy I'll be able to sweep up the last of the recycling, and maybe I'll find the missing Scrabble tiles. L my pre-cavity girl shouldn't have extra sugar, though, so I should give her something healthy to eat.

I'll kill two birds with one stone: she can go lick the avocado off the couch.


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