To fully appreciate why I was crying in the children’s dental office, surrounded by happy murals of cherubic forest creatures, you must first relive my week with me.
MONDAY: Monday morning Jesse left to Wisconsin on business. Right after he left, Brecken threw up twice. We had family in town from the east coast, so Brecken and Karis were sleeping in the baby’s room. I sent him back to bed, left the baby with my houseguests, and took Karis to school. Brecken had a fever, and I played nurse.
When Karis came home from school the houseguests took her to the beach. At 4:00 I remembered I was supposed to send cottage cheese samples to a lab for Jesse, so I ran out to the sample fridge and when I opened the freezer to get ice packs a rush of ice water gushed down upon me like my own private ice bucket challenge. Jesse had closed the door on a piece of bubble wrap, causing the seal to fail and the freezer to warm enough to melt the bags of ice we had stored in there. I sopped up the water, threw the samples in a shipping cooler, and reset the freezer, all while wrangling the baby. Then I rushed to Fed Ex to make the overnight deadline. (I made it!)
As I was running the baby’s bath I realized the water heater was out again. Awesome. Cold showers for everyone! I called the plumber. He wouldn’t be able to come out until Wednesday.
When the houseguests and Karis came home we all had a late dinner, I put the kids to bed, and the three adults went to a late movie. During the movie Houseguest #1 left for a while. When the movie ended she told us Houseguest #2 had called to tell her they had pinworm. (Houseguest #2 had worked with kids over the summer – which sounds delightful – but kids are gross little parasite hosts, and consequently infect devoted care-givers and volunteers with things like pinworm. Little monsters!) We hit a 24 hour drugstore only to find the shelves empty of pinworm medication. The pharmacist proceeded to tell us that he hadn’t seen it in months, and he kept an eye out for it because he used it all the time – NOT because he had pinworm, but as a prophylactic. So, just know that somewhere in Orange County there is a pharmacist getting up close and personal with pinworm so much so that he requires regular doses of prophylactic pinworm medication.
We came home, Houseguest #1 insisted on ordering everyone a round of pinworm meds online – because much like the lice incident of 2012 when my dad graciously left us a bottle of RID, that’s what you do – then we all staggered off to bed around 1:00AM.
TUESDAY: I woke up with swollen lymph glands and achy shoulders. I took Karis to school feeling like an asshole because she had been so excited to use her new fancy lunchbox, but I hadn’t had a chance to wash it yet.
While I was at drop-off, Jesse called to tell me he is going to have to miss my birthday because there was an issue at the plant, so he has to stay another day. I was so tired I didn’t even have an opinion about that. I told him not to worry about it.
I came home, loaded Brecken and Seren into the car – which any parent will know isn’t as simple as saying, “Hey, get in the car.” It’s usually a forty-step process involving yelling and crying and misplaced shoes – and took my houseguests to LAX. There was no traffic, and the two-hour round trip turned out to be my favorite part of the day, mainly due to Houseguest #1’s witty banter.
Once home, I put the baby down for a nap and proceeded to begin the pinworm decontamination process. When I stripped the kids’ mattress pads off I noticed their plastic mattress covers had disintegrated and their foam toppers were covered in mildew. Nice.
Twelve loads of laundry later I went to get Karis (because none of the moms I carpool with on occasion are ever available) and we headed to Target to get replacement mattress covers et al. Naturally we end up in Carl’s line, giving him a chance to inspect my brood and ask if I’m pregnant.
No part of Tuesday seems that difficult, but keep in mind I was soooo tired and achy. I took a cold shower (stupidfuckingwaterheater) and fell into bed.
WEDNESDAY: We have reached today! Today I woke up, got the kids up, and tried to get everything ready for school. Brecken was lethargic and said his heart was beating too fast. I felt his chest and yes, his pulse was alarmingly fast. He grumbled about being tired, and when I went downstairs to make lunches he threw up again. I gave him hot honey water for his throat, loaded everyone up, and took Karis to school. When we arrived at drop-off Brecken – without shoes on – thought he was going to school. He cried when I explained to him that kids that throw up in the morning don’t get to go to school. When we got home I sent him straight to bed just as the plumbers arrived. I locked up the barking dog and spent the next hour playing solve-the-water-mystery with the plumbers while entertaining a crabby baby. The end result was my plumber telling me “You’re cursed. This is a great water heater, and I’ve never seen one have a problem like this. Between this and the shower valve two weeks ago, you just aren’t meant to enjoy warm water. Ever.”
When the plumbers left I found Brecken sleeping in the baby’s room. He was in a deep sleep and I didn’t want to risk the baby waking him up, so I decided to push her nap until after I picked Karis up from school because it was an early release day. Meanwhile I called my mom to ask her how fast a heartbeat warranted me freaking out. He was sound asleep and his heart was beating 104 bpm. She said tachycardia was 120 bpm, so that was fine, just watch him and if he is lethargic take him to his doctor.
I honestly have no memory of the next few hours. My brain is so fried from sleep-deprivation that I guess nothing made it into long term memory storage. Let’s assume I kept cleaning. After I brought Karis home from school I put the baby straight to bed knowing she’d only get an hour of sleep before I had to wake her up to go to the dentist.
We did homework. I gave everyone a fifteen minute warning, and told Brecken to put on his shoes about seventy-three times. I woke up the baby, who was slightly unhinged and giggled with a crazy sheen in her eyes due to lack of proper sleep. As I was getting Seren dressed I heard Karis yell, “MAAAAHHHHHMMM, Brecken trusted a fart!” We all know what that means. I will spare you the details. Just know that it cost me around ten minutes of time, several disinfectant wipes, and the rest of my dignity.
Now we only had two minutes to make the ten minute drive to the dentist. Just as I was herding the kids into the car Jesse called my cell. “Why aren’t you at the dentist? What the hell are you doing?”
“How do you always manage to call when I don’t have time or hands?!” I said, while wrangling Seren into her car-seat.
“The dentist just called me to tell me you missed the appointment. It was at 3:00.”
“What? No it wasn’t. My calendar says 3:30.”
“No. 3:00. What are you even doing? Jesus, get it together, Princess.”
Oh. No. He. Din’t. Did he really just tell me to get my shit together? The same man that loses his wallet, car keys and phone ON A DAILY BASIS just told me to get it together? He was lucky he was all the way over in Wisconsin because had he been any closer I would have murdered him. I settled for yelling into the phone, “MY CALENDAR SAYS 3:30. CALL THEM BACK RIGHT NOW AND TELL THEM I’M COMING.”
I continued strapping people into the car figuring I had to go to the grocery store anyway, so even if they cancelled my appointment I could still take advantage of having everyone loaded up. As I drove toward the dental office Jesse called me back. “I checked my text confirmation and you were right, it was for 3:30. I told the dental office their mistake and they said it was okay to come in.”
You’re goddamn right it was.
As we were unloading in the dentist parking lot Brecken stepped out of the car without shoes on. When his feet hit the ground he realized his oversight and reached in for a pair of flip-flops. He insisted on cramming them over his orange-toed black socks. Good enough.
We all filed into the office only eleven minutes late. Karis and Brecken got taken back for x-rays and Seren made a point of touching every toy in the area so as not to miss coming in contact with a single germ. I sat down on the cheap vinyl bench, idyllically framed by the mural of Bambi and an unnaturally happy squirrel. I noticed the artist’s signature; Amy Fisher. That Amy Fisher? I hope not. I don’t want to live in a world where attempted murderer home wreckers are painting children’s murals on dental walls. I leaned my head back against the wall, covering some pink wildflowers by Bambi’s butt, and glared at the Dora the Explorer decals the dentist had stuck over the mural. Some people have no eye for aesthetics.
Then I cried.
Not loudly. Not dramatically. I didn’t even let more than three tears fall because I didn’t want to catch the attention of the front desk girls. I just needed a release. It has been one hell of a week, and it’s only Wednesday.
Tomorrow is my 37th birthday. If no one throws up and I get to take a hot shower at the end of the day, I will consider it a great start to my 38th year. Fingers crossed!
UPDATE: ( AUG 20 ) I should have been more specific. If no one throws up, and I get to take a hot shower at the end of the day, AND I DON’T HAVE TO MOP UP DIARRHEA, I will consider it a great start to my 38th year.
3:00AM Brecken politely informs me he has accidentally shat all over the bathroom. He wasn’t crying or freaking out, which was a serious bonus. I cleaned up everything, started a load of laundry, bathed him, and put him back to bed. I’ve mentioned before that if cleaning up gross kids in the middle of the night were an Olympic sport I would earn gold every time. It only took me about 30 minutes. I was choking on the stench, so I sprayed air freshener all down the hallway before going back to bed.
5:15AM Brecken politely informs me that he made it to the toilet this time! Except then he vomited, so there’s a mess both inside and outside of the toilet. Again, I commended his calm demeanor and he waited patiently as I cleaned up the much larger mess, started another load of laundry, and finally put him in the tub. Once he was back in bed I sprayed Lysol over every surface even though I had thoroughly cleaned it. One can never be too careful. That had only cost me 40 minutes, and after I cleaned myself off I fell back into bed, but couldn’t sleep because the morning commuter traffic had already started. I did eventually fall asleep and dreamed about holding a new baby and being almost mauled by a tiger as I sat wedged in a small wooded enclosure trying to avoid rusty nails and splinters. Naturally I slept through the alarm and had to wake Karis up in a hurry to get to school on time. We made it!
Dude. Today can suck it. I want a do-over. Isn’t there a law against having to clean up literal shit on your birthday? No? Well, there should be.