Mommy Sick Day

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Moms do not get a sick day. It doesn’t matter where you live, whether you work or stay home…there is no break. Gone are the days when you wake up feeling cruddy and get to curl up under a blanket and be miserable while your mom fetches you liquids and cuddly things and entertainment for you. Now you still have to tend to other people…and take care of yourself…when you just want to lay as still as possible and be miserable until it passes.
I’m sick. Some nasty head cold that leaves my days filled with body aches and lots of mucus. But there is no break. My sick day has consisted of taking the kids to and from school, making sure they’ve eaten, and caring for basic physical needs. Nope, I have no idea what we’ve eaten in the past few days and I’m fairly certain its nutritional value was negligible…but I do know we’ve eaten. They’ve been bathed occasionally so that they don’t smell too bad. They’ve arrived at school and did stuff there.
But it’s when your sick that everything has to happen. Murphy’s law in action…when you want to do absolutely nothing, that’s when everything needs to be done. It’s when you end up dumping cereal all over the floor because someone put the box away upside down. It’s when two light bulbs burn out in your laundry room so you can’t see anything until you replace them. This is also when the door to door salesman decides to stop by again, and won’t go away. Or when two doctor offices call. Or when the blood donation place calls to ask you to donate blood. Did I mention most of these things happen when you’re trying to grab a quick nap because the kids are actually being quiet?
During my sick day, my child’s IEP meeting that only happens once a year happened. But of course I was in such a funk I completely forget. Thankfully Urpling’s teacher is an understanding and gracious person, and after calling several times over a half hour I finally answered and she agreed to a phone conference. Bless that woman! It’s also when King Toot ripped the top part of his nail off leaving a wound that caused him to cry suddenly and loudly every few minutes. But when I tried to put a bandaid on it, he screamed like he was dying and ripped the bandaid off.
Of course, potty training has taken a back seat, but I did manage to stick King Toot on the toilet and he pooped a poop as large as his head. I was extremely grateful to see that go in the toilet and not his diaper….until it plugged up the toilet and caused it to overflow…twice. My friend called three times until I finally answered. She asked me to watch her kids for 10 minutes because she had to leave and her husband wasn’t home yet. I explained I was sick and she was desperate so I agreed to watch them for 10 minutes…and the husband arrived about 40 minutes later. Around that time is when King Toot was banging on his door to get out. But when I tried to let him out, I discovered he had locked himself into his room. Sure, we have a safety knob on the inside of the door that is taped over so it should be physically impossible to lock his door now. But he did. I went to go get the screwdriver to remove the knob..but the lights were burned out in the laundry room so I couldn’t see. I replaced the lights, got the screwdriver, released the kraken…er…child, and then turned the knob around so it locks from the outside. During the past two days, I have stuck my kids in front of the TV a lot. Judge me, I don’t care, I want to die right now anyway. But the netflix played so long it stopped and asked if we were still there or something. Urpling decided to make it go again by herself, and proceeded to lose the remote. The only way to control our Apple TV and she hid it in some special place I couldn’t find. I cleaned the house looking for it. I was tired, cranky, and upset by that point so I just sent them to bed before I overreacted (more than I already had). Sir Smiley found it buried in the love seat when he got home that night.
So I ask one thing…when you see a mom who looks near death, dressed like she changed in the dark, with circles under her eyes…pity her. Send a little prayer up for her mental health and sanity, and maybe buy her a coffee…she’s gonna need it.

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What do you do all day? Part 2

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Wanna be up to speed? Here’s the introduction. This is the first part of my day. Basically, it takes up until about noon. Wanna know what I did the rest of the day? Hope so, since that is the illustrious topic of today’s post. Without further ado, I’ll pick up right after lunch.

12:15 – After lunch, the kids ran around the house a bit while I cleaned up their dishes.
12:20 – I then put King Toot in his room for “quiet rest time”. The rule…I don’t care what you do in there as long as it is quiet. They need some down time…and so do I! Some days this works and I get a bit of a break. But more often than not it is like today…where every 15 minutes I have to go in and remind him to be quiet. Then I discover that he has pooped and is happily playing in it. Now rethinking my decision to potty train just yet.
12:25 – I finally make my lunch…and consume it. I also play Candy Crush and then watch Dr. Who for a bit of a respite.
1:30 – I pick up the house, including the misc toys that have been distributed every where.
2:10 – I head out to run errands with Urpling. We go and check the mail, where I have to remind her three times that she’s not allowed to squish the bags of packing peanuts. We then go to deposit a check, during which time Urpling asks for money to play an arcade game. I refuse. We then head to Goodwill where I buy some new movies and toys (well, new to us) for our church preschool. Finally we brave Walmart to buy a few groceries. Urpling helps me scan things at the self check out. She has a blast…even if each item took about 4 tries. Did I mention we spent every moment in the car listening to “Let it Go” while Urpling belts the song out at the top of her lungs? Well, we did. It was simultaneously adorable, hilarious, and aggravating.
3:10 – We get home and I unload Urpling and the groceries.
3:20 – By this time I have put all the groceries away and I load Urpling and King Toot into the double stroller to go get Sasquatch and two of our neighbor kids.
3:30 – We make it to school just as the kids are being let out and I walk the two kids who live behind me to their home. Sasquatch tells me about her bad day where the other kids blamed her for bringing acorns into the class, even though she didn’t do it. I console and commiserate with her.
3:40 – I drop off the neighbors, and then King Toot cries because he can’t go to neighbors.
3:42 – King Toot goes onto time out because the massive disappointment of having to come home caused him to shriek in a pitch that only dogs can hear.
3:45 – I get all the kiddos settled and they have a snack…which is left over candy from Halloween. Mom win…or fail?
4:05 – I work with Sasquatch on her homework. So grateful her math homework does not require drawing pictures to demonstrate the problem…considering she is very artistic and must include great detail in each drawing. Math homework can take a really, really, really, really long time when that happens.
4:20 – Leaving Sasquatch to work on her own math problems, I go to take a shower.
4:45 – I emerge and start prepping dinner. At this time I also make all the kids lunches for tomorrow. As I cook, I watch Dr. Who. Because, well, it’s Dr. Who. (Don’t ask me how many times I’ve watched Dr. Who. Mainly because cause I’ve lost track. Also, don’t tell me about the new season. I haven’t seen it and, “Spoilers!”. Bonus points go to you if you just read that quote in Dr. River Song’s voice…)
5:45 – Dinner and lunches for tomorrow are now ready. I get everything dished up and Sir Smiley proceeds to help me get everything on the table while we summon small ones to come eat.
5:55 – All the kids actually eat most of their food. King Toot does require a mixture of pleading, cheering, and a bit of force to get him to eat his. Sir Smiley and I thoroughly enjoyed it…as dinner turned out quite good.
6:15 – Our friend joins us and also enjoys the food I made, while I proceed to chase kids around. I manage to get shoes on all children’s feet, and both girls are wearing their vests for Awana. I do have to ask Urpling to put her shoes on 3 times before she responds and actually does it. In the meantime, Sasquatch is still somehow eating a miniature candy bar. How she can manage to turn a bite-sized snickers into 5 minutes of eating…I can’t quite figure out. It is, by definition, the size of one bite.
6:25 – I leave to drop all the kids off at church. I herd them each to their prospective room and then practically skip back out to the car. I drive home…alone…for the first time that day and enjoy the three minutes of solitude.
6:35 – I arrive home to help Sir Smiley lead our bible study. We go through a few chapters of the “Screwtape Letters” and have some deep discussion about virtues and how Satan tries to render them (and us) powerless to work for God. It was some good stuff.
8:05 – Sir Smiley graciously goes to pick up the kids for me so I can stay and talk to my friend. We hang out and chat until the chaos returns. Then she heads home.
8:30 – The kids come home. Sasquatch has said all her sections…plus some extra ones…and was very proud of herself. She had been struggling to actually focus enough during AWANA to say the verses she had practiced all week, so this was a big victory for her. King Toot at this point is past his expiration date, and he has turned sour.
8:45 – King Toot, having refused to actually nap today, proceeds to have a clear and epic meltdown. Not a tantrum…but an actual meltdown (there is a difference). I dressed him for bed, and then we wrapped ourselves up in a blanket and I rocked him and sang to him until he calmed down. Then off to bed he went. In the meantime the girls helped finish off the dessert from bible study.
8:50 – Put the girls to bed, and read to them. We’re now reading slowly through chapter books, and read picture books during the day. It keeps Sasquatch’s attention better…and mine.
9:07 – I reread a letter Sir Smiley wrote to double check it for him.
9:17 – The girls, refusing to sleep, start whining at each other because Urpling is singing too loudly and Sasquatch can’t rest when she’s being so loud. Urpling is upset because she’s singing to her animal and her animal can’t sleep if she doesn’t sing to it. I do a little negotiating and eventually convinced them both, begrudgingly, to quiet down.
9:20 – Sat down to watch the newest episode of Supernatural before calling it a night…only to discover there was no new episode this week. Oh the humanity! I now have to wait an entire week before watching the 200th episode. So I console myself with some…you guessed it…Dr. Who.
10:40 – I set the alarm for 6:15 am thinking I can get a few chores done before the kids wake up.

This should give you a general idea of my days. A few last minute notes:
– This is NOT all inclusive. I’m unable to jot down every single moment with great detail (and I don’t want to…it’s already long enough). It doesn’t include Sasquatch making a lego church, or Urpling pushing King Toot around in bike trailer. It doesn’t include Sir Smiley and I making kid sandwich hugs. It doesn’t include my kids running at daddy full speed and jumping on him…over and over and over again. Squealing and laughing every time.
– King Toot is a strong willed kid. No doubt about it. I talk about that in other posts. Feel free to read. But I want it on the record that while he screams a lot, he is not spoiled. I deal with him as fairly and consistently as is humanly possible. Also, while he is far from compliant…he is also my most snuggly child. Whenever I need a hug or some snuggles, he is always up for it. His favorite game is to say, “Iwuvoo” to me so that I’ll grab him and shower him with hugs and kisses. I wouldn’t change him for the world.
– Some days are easier. Some days I get a miraculous nap in. Or we sit all snuggled on the couch together watching a movie. Or I get to have some “me time”.
– some days are harder. I cry, or go to my room to scream and throw things so I don’t take my frustrations out on my kids. Or I’m so tired I’m just ready to be done with kids. Where I want to walk out the front door, not forever but for a day or so.
– All moms (and I suspect dads…although I feel I’m not qualified to speak for them) have these same daily struggles. The highs and lows will look a little different but we all have them. I like being honest about it. I love being a mom. There are moments I am trying to grab and hang on to with all my might before they slip away. Others I cheer like my team made the super bowl when they finally pass. But I love my life. This was a sample of it, to give you a glance in the window. Hope you found it enlightening..or at least entertaining.

What do you do all day? Part 1

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I wrote a bit of a preface to this post yesterday, which can be read here. This ended up being quite lengthy, so I shortened it up a bit for the sake of our sound-bite style culture. So this was my day yesterday…up until about lunch. This is a pretty typical day for me. In fact, this is falling during my rest and recovery weeks so this doesn’t even include my triathlon training I usually also include during the year. Be that as it may…a sample of my day (no, I did not intend to rhyme there. But I did. Because I’m a genius.)

6:15 – The alarm goes off. I wonder what insanity possessed me to decide I would get up this early. I decide to just lay there for a minute and “let myself wake up”.
6:50 – I wake up and realize that I had fallen back to sleep. So I play a little Candy Crush to “help me wake up”.
7:00 – I finally actually leave bed and get myself ready. Today this consists of brushing my teeth and putting on semi-clean clothes.
7:15 – I get the kids up. King Toot has a dirty diaper, and as I go to change it I realize the wipes are empty. I refill it and then get him cleaned up. Then I get him dressed while I remind the girls that they will need actual clothes to go to school. King Toot proceeds to show his displeasure with my choice for his wardrobe by screaming. Why? Because I told him he couldn’t wear his Captain America costume…which he’s worn so much it is now a bit gamey.
7:30 – I have the kids count their magnets. This is our reward system and we usually do it the night before…but I forgot.
7:35 – I start my bible study.
7:36 – Sasquatch comes out and announces that she can’t get into the office to practice her piano. I go let her in.
7:38 – I start my bible study…again.
7:40 – I get a call from my sister. We chat.
7:45 – While chatting with my sister, my neighbor shows up with her daughter who walks with us to school twice a week.
7:47 – I continue my bible study.
7:50 – Sasquatch comes out and says the keyboard won’t work. I inquire (okay…demand) why she hasn’t already finished practicing…let alone started. She shrugs. Sensing my displeasure, she finally practices her piano.
7:55 – I finish my bible study.
8:00 – I prep breakfast for all my kids, and myself.
8:01 – I put King Toot on time out for screaming at me…because I wouldn’t let him throw Urpling’s pumpkin across the room like a basketball.
8:03 – King Toot is removed from time out. Urpling proceeds to wrestle him to the ground because he has a toy she wants. I tell them both to knock it off.
8:05 – I now have breakfast ready and I call for the kids. Urpling is dragging King Toot down the hallway by the arm. She refuses to stop when I ask her to. She does not like being punished for it. So we begin breakfast with Urpling and King Toot both wailing. Score 2 for mommy.
8:09 – After fetching things for kids while they are eating I finally sit down and realize that I have no spoon and no milk for my cereal. I remedy this problem.
8:15 – King Toot has still refused to eat even one bite of his cereal. He also has handed me an empty glass. I ask him if he wants more. He says, “No!” I put the cup in the sink, he yells, “No!”. I ask him if he needs juice. He yells, “No!”. I finally tell him if he wants juice he needs to say “yes mommy”, or hold his peace. He mumbles “essommy” under his breath. I give him some juice which he promptly throws on the floor. He still refuses to eat breakfast and not wanting to be late I just let him get down. He then immediately grabs his bag of Halloween candy and hands it to me saying, “Peeeeeese???”. Then wails when I tell him he does not get to have candy in lieu of breakfast.
8:20 – I send the girls in to brush their teeth and hair while I clean up breakfast. I then realize I didn’t make Sasquatch her lunch. Guess she’ll be buying school lunch today.
8:25 – I discover Sasquatch is standing in the bathroom with her toothbrush (that has toothpaste on it)…frozen. I inquire as to what she’s been doing for 5 minutes and she stares at me blankly.
8:27 – Sasquatch has finally brushed her teeth and is now getting her shoes on, as does Urpling, while I put King Toot’s shoes on and go search for my own. While I’m trying to find my shoes, Urpling demands I find her Buzz doll. I tell her no. Meanwhile, King Toot is wailing because he wants to get going now that his shoes are on and none of his subjects…I mean family…are ready.
8:30 – Sasquatch kindly finds the Buzz doll for Urpling, I have my shoes on, and all of us head out the door with the double stroller and walk to school. We wave at the dump trucks, while our neighbor and Sasquatch come up with rhyming words together.
8:40 – We make it to school, just as the classes are heading in. Drop off neighbor and Sasquatch and then walk to visit our PTO president, who is also the crossing guard and preschool aid. I’m not sure when she has time to breathe. My kids demand snacks from her and she kindly complies. *sigh
9:00 – We walk back to the school drop off and drop Urpling off for preschool. Only then do I realize that she does not have her backpack. *facepalm moment
9:05 – I meet up with a fellow school parent and she passes her daughter off. We swap every week, so she watches King Toot every other week and I watch her daughter on opposite weeks. Doesn’t seem fair, since her daughter is a sweetheart and my son is, in the words of Rants from Mommyland, “a cupcake baked by the devil”. But I won’t complain. I walk home.
9:15 – I take a moment to surf the net and dink around on my iPad.
9:35 – I chat with hubby who is now awake.
9:45 – I feed the dogs.
9:50 – I clear off the bulletin board of the month’s worth of papers my kids have brought home or made. I leave the most recent creations up and file the others either in their memory boxes…or the recycling.
10:00 – I go through our mail and our stack of to-do papers from the mail. I pay bills, recycle the junk mail, and set aside things I need to run errands for.
10:10 – I call the animal licensing department as they claim I didn’t send in a renewal…even though I had.
10:17 – They actually answer the phone and then tell me it takes over 3 weeks to “process” my application. Whatever. At least I know they did receive it. I then go through all our paperwork and file it away in our file cabinet.
10:30 – I use the facilities. Then I chase the kiddos around the house, play with the dolls, assemble our Mrs. Potato Head, and play in the castle.
10:40 – I return various texts and phone calls. (Sir Smiley is now picking up dog poop and mowing the yard. I LOOOOOVE him.)
11:00 – Bathroom break for the kids. My visitor is potty trained and my son decided he needed to sit on the toilet too. I’m thrilled and hope this new fad actually sticks with him. I make plans to start potty training my stubborn child.
11:15 – I grab the kids a snack and then turn on Qubo for a few final moments before we go pick up Urpling from preschool and return my sweet visitor. I want to keep her as my son has not wailed this entire morning, and seems keen to impress her with his manners. I start blogging for the first time in months!
11:40 – I load up the bike trailer and head to school. Drop off sweet visitor with her mom and get Urpling. Head home.
11:55 – I didn’t get lunch ready last night. So I throw some meat on a plate, along with a cheese stick and squeezable apple sauce pouches and called it lunch. Kids eat that and some leftover Halloween candy. In the meantime, I check facebook. I used to eat lunch with them, but I found my lunch was always cold by the time I did. So now I just wait until they’re done and “put away”.

So there it is. The first half of my day. It doesn’t include everything. Every time I had to stop and remind someone of something, or wait for them to investigate a spot on the ground, or answer the same question 80 times, or to see something completely ordinary as though it was the greatest discovery in the known universe. These are all part of my day to day life. It’s not bad. It’s not fast. It IS time consuming. And it’s my life.

In keeping with parenting debates

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My last post was about one of the big parenting debates: spanking. Apparently I’m going for a theme, because this one will be about stay at home moms vs working moms. I constantly see these debates going on between them. Essentially both are trying to prove their importance to the other. Both sides feel misunderstood…probably because they are. As a SAHM, I can’t fully grasp what working moms go through. Because I haven’t done it. I can get a general idea, I can empathize, but I can’t actually understand what they go through. Same goes for them. So we sit and debate each other about our lives. Why? No idea. We want to feel validated and when someone else doesn’t validate us the way we want them to we react…and a debate ensues.
How do mothers…society really…determine a person’s value? By how busy they are. So we get a debate raging and working mothers bemoan how busy and stressful their lives are…thus they are important. So SAHM respond by attempting to prove how busy they are. How they have to spend all day every day with kids. Picking up after them, entertaining them, etc. So they are just as stressed and busy as working moms and thus are just as important.
I’ll be honest. I’m not here to do that. I stay at home BECAUSE it is less stressful. I’m not as busy. I have time to play with my kids, fold the laundry, and keep the house in order without trying to squeeze these things in at the end of a busy day at work. I don’t have to try to fit my quality time in with my husband and my kids when I’m already exhausted from working all day elsewhere. It’s why I chose to stay home. It doesn’t mean that I’m not stressed or busy…sometimes. Because I am. It doesn’t mean I’m not struggling day to day. Because I do. It also doesn’t mean I’m less important. Because I’m not. Being busy and stressed doesn’t make a person important…it makes them stressed and busy. Being a mom is what makes you important. Working moms, SAHM moms…we all have ups and downs to our lives. But we all are important!
Over the next couple days, I’ve decided to answer a big question SAHMs get a lot. WHAT DO YOU DO ALL DAY? I’m tracking my day today and I’ll split it up over the next day or two. But I wanted to introduce the concept today with this post serving as a preface. This does not prove that I’m more important. I’m important because of my three kiddos I’m pouring my life into and a husband I work hard to stay close to and support through all the ups and downs. But I also don’t sit around watching soaps and eating Bon-bons all day. So these posts will be a humorous look into what a SAHM deals with. I hope you all will enjoy it…tomorrow. Cause that’s when I’m writing it. I’ve already been writing this post for about 10 minutes and that’s plenty. I’m like George RR Martin. You need patience as you wait for the next epic installment.

The Color Crew

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Either the writers of today’s kid’s shows are on crack…or they want to drive me to crack instead. We don’t have cable. We use Netflix. The perk being that my kids do not watch commercials. They recently started watching Qubo through our antenna and suddenly I’m getting requests that they absolutely must have a goldfish…in a bowl…that is stuffed in the stomach of a bear. No joke. You feed the fish by feeding the bear and it goes in its stomach. Yeah, I refuse to get that. I digress.

But first up on my list of crack inducing shows is the “Color Crew”. This show has no dialogue. Yeah, no dialogue at all. There is an applause soundtrack and the characters make a lot of freaky giggling and cooing. Wait. They do say words. Colors. That’s it. Did I mention the characters are all crayons. All but one character…which is an eraser. The crayons all get together and a magic hat floats around until it chooses a color that gets to be it. The chosen one coos and makes happy giggling noises that could also be used on some creepy thriller movie just as effectively. Then they pick a partner and they head off to a blank coloring book page. They then proceed to color objects, occasionally giggling and cooing, and yelling out their color on occasion. Then one of them will make a mistake…cue frowny faces…and they have to call in Mr. Eraser. He’s accompanied by much deeper music as he thumps dramatically on the scene. He is also sporting a mustache reminiscent of the Parker brothers mascot. He erases the mistake (setting my children up for unrealistic expectations that crayon can ever be erased in any reality), wiggles his eyebrows in a slightly disturbing way, and then dramatically bounces off scene. At the end all the crayons dance together in a happy jubilee. And that is every single episode. My kids will watch this for HOURS.
Seriously. I. may. lose. my. mind. But hey, there’s always Barbie’s Dreamhouse…

An Honest Mother’s Day

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It’s Mother’s Day. That day that honors mothers and the work we do. I love the idea. Motherhood is the most talked about calling. I can find hundreds of blogs, memes, internet threads, articles, trending hashtags, and any other media bit about motherhood. Yet it is also the most controversial.

I was pondering this today. I’ve read blog posts comforting mothers. Telling us it’s okay that we don’t have it all together. I’ve read posts commending mothers who haven’t caved to consumerism and instead stick to old fashioned ideals. I’ve even seen posts stating they refuse to celebrate Mother’s Day because mothers should be celebrated every day. Everyone looking to cleverly offer a new perspective on motherhood.

I am not that clever. Unlike Matt Walsh’s mom, I did take my kids to Disneyland. I do let my kids watch movies. I’m not perfect. I also wish I had clever words of comfort on this day of all days for all us hardworking mommas. For those of us who feel like we fail each day to be that perfect mommy we see plastered on our Facebook walls. But I have none.

All I have is a life lesson. I used to get my hopes up when Mother’s Day would approach. This day is MY day. It will be a day I get to do what I want and relax for a change. Each year would leave me disappointed. My husband didn’t do enough. My kids were naughty. Angels didn’t follow me singing a chorus of alleluia behind me. But I eventually learned that Mother’s Day works much better if I approach it the way I have learned to approach life. Prepare for (and then promptly discard) the disasters and enjoy the successes. Don’t know what I mean? Let me give you some examples:
I woke up at 5:45 am to get the grocery shopping done since our bare essentials were now non existent and I would have to resort to eating hamburger helper…without hamburger…and juice with a suspicious expiration date. Not exactly pampering. So I discard that…and remember that I also woke up to several notes taped all over the house:

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I also got to walk out to the car and get into it without negotiating three peace treaties and a cease fire…and I drove to the store without listening to Let it Go, the most ironically named song I’ve heard. Definitely something to enjoy.

Of course King Toot proceeded to smack me on the face when he was angry today…twice. The kids spent at least 90% of the morning shrieking, yelling, and tattling. I cried. Also, several preschool workers were unable to do nursery this morning so I spent much of the morning scrambling to get the nursery classes covered. I’ve discarded those moments…in favor of the moments where several people stepped up to help. I even got to attend service instead of working in the nursery myself.

My husband had to work on Mother’s Day so I have spent most of the day without him. But I choose to instead enjoy the fact that my sister, who has lived half a country away from me for several years, moved back to my city this week and we spent the afternoon together. Our kids played well together and it was a fun and (mostly) relaxing afternoon of conversation with my life-long best friend.

So yes, parts of the day sucked. There were some tears. There were moments where I felt I had failed. But there were beautiful moments filled with family and friends and selfless love. So I guess today is a pretty good representation of motherhood in general. There are moments of beauty. There are moments where you soar and you finally feel like maybe you’ve got it figured out. But there are also moments of failure and compromise. Those moments where you just hope to make it to the end of the day in one piece. We just need to choose where to focus. It’s Mother’s Day so I will focus on the positive…today and everyday.

Now excuse me, I must go feed my children cold cereal from a box while watching a movie because…Mother’s Day.

Some selfies with those little people who made me “Mom”

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Sasquatch…now six years old!

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My four year old Urpling

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The youngest little trouble maker…the two year old King Toot…

That-which-must-not-be-named

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Sir Smiley gave me the idea for the title of this blog. When I asked him what I should title this blog, he told me it should not be mentioned in the first place…and in popped the Harry Potter reference. This post is about poop. If you dislike poop or any mention of poop, then you should stop reading now. If you find nothing humorous in “potty jokes” then that’s a good indicator that you also should stop reading now. In fact, if you are squeamish in any way…go find a blog about ponies or unicorns because this may scar you for life. Consider yourself warned, and I bear no responsibility for any offense or vomit that may ensue after this sentence is complete.

I needed to write this post as sort of a cleansing…a cathartic exercise. My family has had some stomach issues in our home for weeks. The kids struggled with it for a couple weeks and now seem fine. Sir Smiley and I have been struggling with this since Christmas (literally Christmas Day…as some of you may have read about in this post) but it never actually got better. We would have a day or two where we thought we were finally over it and then either Sir Smiley or myself would get sick again.

The last straw was this past Thursday. It got so bad that I could barely leave bed except to go pass enormous amounts of liquid from the wrong hole and then crawl back into bed. I didn’t eat anything solid for well over a day and a half…closer to two days actually. I lost six pounds in a one day period. So I finally caved, called the doctor, and got a last minute appointment to find out what was going on.

Why did it take me close to six weeks to finally go in? Well, because this is a GI issue. There’s really only one way to truly check and see what’s going on and that’s through a…STOOL SAMPLE. I have never had to give one but it sounded fairly ominous. But in I go, and meet with a complete stranger (my regular doc was already booked up…although to be honest I’ve only met her once too) and then start having to graphically describe my symptoms. No, not a runny nose…a runny butt. I feel gassy, gross burps and such. Yes, that includes flatulence and lots of it. Yes, it does have a distinct odor. How frequently do I need to use the bathroom? How best to describe that one….too frequently? As often as a student checks the clock at the end of class? As often as a pregnant woman in her third trimester? I got the third degree and by the end I felt a bizarre mixture of relief and mortification. Mortification at all the embarrassing information I just had to relate in only a few minutes, and relief that this doctor actually cared about figuring out what was going on and was going to run the full gamut of tests to figure it out. If it wasn’t a virus, she was going to find out what it was.

So I headed to the lab to have blood drawn. Simple enough. I still did not know what would be required of me to give a stool sample. I had a vague idea that I would have some kind of container I would have to poop in and then I would turn it in. I was mainly concerned about the size of the receptacle I would need to take a dump in.

After I finished giving blood, they brought over a big bag. The tech asks me if I have ever given a stool sample before. I can only imagine the look of apprehension as I shook my head no…staring only at that huge bag. So she proceeds to then describe to me the process…and my mortification only grew with each step. First, she shows me these hard, clear, plastic tubes…about two or three inches wide. It had some unknown (and shall remain unknown) liquid in it. She shows them to me closely and points to a line across it (I also see on the label in huge letters…”Do Not Drink!” and could only think, “Dear Lord, did someone actually drink their sample and now they include a warning label?!). Apparently I am supposed to put exactly enough poop in these tubes to fill it up to the line and not above. I was seriously praying that the bag contained some other tools to help in this, as I doubted I could poop into something so small and still be so precise. She informs me that these must be stored at room temperature. Mmmkay. Then the tech pulls out some clear, coffee mug sized jar (Why, oh why are they all clear?!) and then tells me to fill this one at least a quarter full and adds that it needs to be refrigerated. Say what?! I am supposed to store this…in the fridge? With my food? I was appalled.

Moving on from storage, we now enter the procedural part of our tutorial. The tech pulls out something she calls “the hat”. What an unfortunate name. Why they call it this is beyond me. it vaguely has the shape of a hat I suppose, but you wouldn’t want this anywhere near your head. This has a lip to hold the bucket part in place on a toilet…right under your butt. Then you poop in it. I thought “Sh** pit” or “Crap Trap” were more appropriate names for this device. I did experience temporary relief at the size of the hat…at least it was large and I didn’t have to worry about aiming or precision. But that relief was short lived as the tech hands me gloves and a plastic spoon. A. Plastic. Spoon. Apparently this was to help me “ladle” the poop into the tubes. The hat (or shat hat as I took to referring to it) had a nice little spout on one end to aid in pouring…so it would in theory help you get your poop into the larger jar. I just stared at the tech in horror as she asked me if I understood what I was supposed to do. I answered to the affirmative and walked in a daze out the door.

I was successful in collecting my….specimens. I will not traumatize you with details, but I honestly think I would rather have diarrhea the rest of my life then go through that ever again. It was emotionally scarring…and I will be haunted by the memories for the rest of my life. Hopefully in the next week we’ll have nailed down what’s wrong though, and my life can finally start to have some semblance of normalcy after months of health issues.

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“The Hat” in all its glory…