Friday, October 19, 2007

Toughing Out Toddler Torture While the Hubby is Away

My husband’s recent business trip has definitely put a cease on any thoughts that I’ve had about having another baby. After spending fours days alone with The General, The Tank and my youngest, which I’ve newly named The Destroyer has led me to the conclusion that handling three boys under four is like trying to fend off a pack of hungry wolves while standing there with a fresh slab of meat around your neck. I never stood a chance.

After enduring hours on end of tantrums and bickering I decided that some serious intervention was needed to round up the cattle and draw them back to the corral. With the meanest and toughest voice I could muster up I tried to scare the herd back in line. The result was definitely not what I was aiming for; the only thing my booming outburst succeeded at was setting off the house alarm.

This was only night one.

The following days didn’t offer much relief. My hubby hearing the distress in my voice kindly suggested that I pack the boys up and head up to New Hampshire to spend the rest of the week with him while he finished up his work.

I weighed my options. Three more days of being tortured alone with no other adult companionship or endure the nuisance of packing up the whole house to head up to New Hampshire to share the insanity with my husband. Visions of more nights setting off the house alarm swim in my head. Option two it was!

The next day I packed up everything but the kitchen refrigerator and hit the road. Thirty minutes into our adventure and the car started to shake and it started to expel this awful order. “Mommy, Mommy the car is on fire!” cried the General. I looked in the review mirror. There was smoke coming from the rear tire. The smoke and the fumes of burning rubber only too clearly pointed to a flat tire.

I pulled over to the breakdown lane immediately called my husband seeking some advice and some sympathy. I don’t know what I was thinking....that maybe he would teleport himself there to change my tire I suppose. “Call AAA,” was the only thing he could offer. I dialed AAA, the gentleman on the other end told me he’d send a repair truck out and that the wait time would be between 1 and 2 hours. I felt like I just landed on Gilligan’s Island. I left my home for what I thought was going to be a short two hour journey, but there I was, on the side of I-91 by myself, with a flat tire and three toddlers.

Just when I thought my situation couldn’t get any worse, tears and screams of panic started to emerge from the back of the car. I calmly pleaded with the AAA guy, “You don’t understand, I have and infant and two toddlers under the age of 4 and I’m traveling by myself.”

Twenty-five minutes later a repair guy pulled up behind me. He put a doughnut on my car and I was off, driving 50 mph down the highway. You can imagine all the friends I was quickly making. “Mommy, who was that?” asked the General as a not so gentleman waived some choice fingers at me beeping his horn.

Needless to say I quickly exited the highway and took the scenic route the rest of the way.
Our time up in New Hampshire with my husband and his family went by smoothly.

When I got home I called my sister, who I knew would be very empathetic to my situation as she was home alone with her son for the week as well. As I was sharing stories about my house alarm incident and my time on Gilligan’s Island, I could tell she was only half listening.

“Are you listening to me?” I selfishly asked.

“Not really,” she replied. “I just left the emergency room with TJ; he stuck a rock up his nose.”

I couldn’t help but giggle.

“Boys!” she said, meaning “you know boys”.

“Yes, boys,” was all I could say back. And so ended my self pity….it could always be worse.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Not So Holy Bible Of Parenting

When I left the hospital with our newborn son, who looked to be the most angelic child I had ever seen in my life, I thought I was prepared for it all. The dirty diapers, the all night feeding sessions and even the crying. The endless crying. (At first I thought we brought someone else’s child home, because ours definitely didn’t cry this much when we were in the hospital when we had endless amounts of help to come to the rescue if we couldn’t figure out what was troubling our seemingly perfect baby.) After all, the nurse that discharged me gave my husband and me this handy thousand page book, that she assured us would cover everything that we would possibly need to know until our son reached the ripe old age of 5. Like what to do when this yellow pussy stuff is oozing out the side of your baby’s left eye. It even has detailed steps on how to change your baby’s diaper and even more detailed charts on your child’s growth patterns from birth to 5. We really thought we hit the jackpot, “cool, like a how to manual,” my husband, the new dad, said. As if we just bought a new car.

My husband and I treated this book like the holy bible. Before we gave our son his first bottle we consulted our handy manual only to find out that before we gave him a bottle that we had to sterilize it. Ok that makes sense. But, after further reading we learned that since we have well water that we have to sterilize the water before we could mix the formula. I instantly thought, “Wow, thank God we have this book because our son could really have gotten sick.” Then the next day when the doctor called to check on his new patient, we proudly told him of our finding and not too worry that we boiled our water for 5 minutes before we mixed the formula. And without hesitation Dr. Bill chuckled and said, “What old book did you read that in?” There it was plain and simple our first clue that this book was not the be all and all of raising a child.

Yet, for some reason night after night “the book” called out to us to consult it. At first, even after the little water incident, it proved to be handy. It reassured us that in fact babies do eat ten to twelve times a day and it’s completely normal for a baby to hold his or her poop for 5 days only to release what my husband now refers to as “the Mother Load.” But over time my husband and I began to notice that things started to happen to our son and to us as parents that just weren’t covered in the book. For instance, babies can simultaneously puke out their nose and relieve their intestines at the same time. Or what a child eats comes out their rear the same color that it goes in their mouth. No where in that book did it reassure me not to panic beacause it would be completely normal for my child to poop bright blue for two days after eating Cotton -Candy Trix yogart.

It’s been over four years since that fateful day the nurse gave us “the book” and I am convinced that the authors were paid to purposely leave things out for fear that parents would be leaving newborns unclaimed in hospitals all over America.