Once upon a time, there was a family doing grocery shopping. They had a small child who liked to push the cart. He was often out of control. The family did their best to keep him out of trouble and succeeded most of the time…. Until one day, he knocked over an ENTIRE DISPLAY OF PICKLES. The End.
Once upon a time, we lived in a condo building. Besides Alister, there were three other children on our floor. Now, the good thing about having multiple families close by is having friends for everyone. The moms and dads have each other to commiserate with and the children have friends and it’s relatively easy to keep busy and find activities for everyone to be involved in. The bad thing is that when one of the kids brings home a foreign bacteria, you can count on the entire area to be on lock-down. Altogether, there were 3 boys and one girl. We believe the girl to be the culprit (what a bitch, right?)
The thing to remember when you send your child out into the world is that he/she should be wearing a hazmat suit at all times. One cough can lead to 2 weeks of despair. The girl in question spent the most time out in the world and therefore was the obvious scapegoat. She brought it into the building originally and then left to go back to her dad’s house just in time for everyone else to experience the fun.
The Sunday when things got completely out of hand, we were all having brunch together. It was a lovely time. We were all still in our pajamas, all I had to do was put Alister in his high chair and wheel it down the hallway to the neighbor’s place (sick girl’s mom’s). The oldest little boy was running around the table and suddenly he stopped and said “I don’t feel good”. And without further notice, he emptied the entire contents of his stomach right on the floor. To say he ruined the party would be an understatement.
Everyone high-tailed it out of there and ran for cover. Unfortunately, it was too late. Our friends, AM and ZM (not their real names), called us about 30 minutes later to tell us that their other little boy was suffering the same fate. There were fevers and bodily fluids from hell to breakfast all over their place. I think they had to give one of their sons a tylenol smoothie because 1 year olds don’t seem to enjoy taking medicine (who knew?)
We soon experienced the fun at our house. Now, the only good thing that ever comes out of having a sick child is that he/she might sleep a lot and want to cuddle. It’s a great excuse to sit in front of your favorite tv shows and get out of doing real work. Of course you can’t be bothered to scrub toilets and wash windows! Your little bucket of sunshine is sick! But really… there IS a downside. When you find yourself having to cover your floors with towels because there is projectile vomit flying around, THAT is when reality sets in and you’re ready for the fun to be over. We managed to get Alister situated in his own bed for a bit and AM was nice enough to bring us hamburgers. We sat down to regroup. A few bites in….
Aww, man. We went downstairs to Alister’s room to be greeted by the worst display of bodily fluids I’ve ever had the misfortune of seeing. I won’t go into any further detail because unless you are a parent, you’d be absolutely revolted by what we saw. We spent the next half hour cleaning the room and cleaning the child and finally cleaning it all off ourselves and went back upstairs where our food sat; cold and half-eaten. Now, most normal people would have lost their appetite and decided to go do something else, perhaps move onto drinking heavily to forget the horror scene in that room. Not us. We went back to eating like nothing ever happened.
The next day, I had to take Alister to the doctor. I don’t drive and my husband was at work. I was beginning to feel the sickness so luckily the doctor’s office was only a few blocks away and I could just throw him in the stroller and get on with it. We get there and see the doctor and are just about to leave when Alister decides to puke all over the doctor and me. I felt bad for the doctor, of course but I felt bad that it was a hot day and I was wearing sandals and there was puke in between my toes. I did my best to clean it off but still had the pleasure of walking home with puke squishing between my toes. (While I was fighting off my own urge to be sick everywhere because guess what? Moms don’t get to be sick! )
So finally we made it home about the same time Aaron did. He had to leave work early because guess what? He was sick too!! I’m trying hard not to be the martyr in this story but I feel as though I got the least amount of rest throughout this ordeal. I hear that a lot from other moms. Keep that in mind if you’re not a mom and you have one in your home to take care of you. Or a wife. If you’re the husband, take note of this and buy her lots of presents once you’re feeling better because she’s the one who can’t ever take sick days.
Also, if you are a non-parent, remember that having a child is not for the weak-stomached. You have to be able to clean up explosions that came from both ends, simultaneously and go back to eating lunch like nothing ever happened.
During the “in-between time”, when Aaron and I were long-distance dating (before 11pm was late for us), we had different sorts of adventures than we do now. I rather enjoyed going out dancing until all hours and liked it best if I could find clubs that had personality. My roommate at the time pretty much just went to dive bars and that became rather boring for me.
BUT… one weekend, Aaron was in town and I decided we needed a bigger adventure. About 6 months before, I’d gone to a club in downtown Seattle that was considered a goth club. They played music like Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy, KMFDM, etc. I had a great time and I knew Aaron would want to go dancing there with me so away we went to The Vogue.
We wandered around the vicinity and I was becoming very confused. We were actually very concerned because the night we met, I walked us 14 blocks in the wrong direction to find the bar we were going to because I refused to let him use his GPS. I was stubborn that I knew where we were going. He didn’t know at that point that I’m never to be trusted with directions. I could get lost in a paper bag. He asked me several times if I thought I might be lost because by this time, he’d known me for about 3 years and was familiar with my malfunctioning inner compass.
There was one building that looked very familiar and we kept walking past it so I thought we might be close. We walked by it one last time before I asked the bouncer if he knew where the Vogue was. WELL… apparently on Saturday nights, this building was the Vogue. On Friday nights, it was a different club. By this time, I was cold and it had been raining on us for awhile and I was ready to go sit down and have a drink. We decided to pop into this place and regroup.
We walked in and were greeted by loud techno/dance music. As techno goes, it’s not always easy to decipher lyrics to the songs. People don’t often listen to techno for the deep and meaningful words. And if the words ARE deep and meaningful to you, you’re probably high on ecstasy. This music was completely unintelligible to me. I realized that it was Spanish. We were grooving to Latin techno! Aaron asked if I wanted to find someplace else to go or if I was fine where we were. The music seemed “dancy” enough to me so I decided why not stay and enjoy NOT being rained on. It did seem a little odd to me that I was pretty much the only woman there but then I realized that most of the couples were made up of gay men. This was way different than the dive bars I usually ended up in. I appreciated the variety right then. I did notice however, that nobody was dancing. NOBODY was dancing. It made no sense to me. There was techno/dance music. There was alcohol. Why wasn’t anyone dancing? I had to take matters into my own hands. I told Aaron that I wasn’t about to sit there for a couple of hours when we were in an establishment that was clearly made for dancing. So I did the only thing I could think of; I got up and started dancing. And then Aaron started dancing. I suppose we made a bit of a spectacle in our all-black, fishnets, vinyl, black makeup goth-y getup. But you know what? Other people joined us. And we all danced. It was awesome.
I’m really glad we decided to have an adventure and I’m really glad that we stayed at that club, even though it was not what I originally expected or wanted to do. Maybe the moral of my story is to try and have fun wherever you go. Or be flexible. Or maybe there is no moral at all and I like this story because it’s something that Aaron and I can look back on later and laugh at the time he wore black lipstick and eyeliner to go dance at Gay Latino Night.
Aaron and I like to remember the good old days, back when we could read whatever we wanted to Alister at bedtime and he was ok with it. We have an extensive library of children’s books. We have very old books of fairy tales that belonged to my grandmother. We have the classics, we have newer and more action-packed books. We have various Disney stories. Back in these days, it didn’t matter who read the bedtime story or what we read. There was always a story and it was good. Even ridiculous reading material was ok. I came into Alister’s room once when Aaron was reading to him and asked what story it was.
Aaron: It’s a technical manual.
Me: Wait, Alister came with a manual and you’re just now reading it?
Aaron: No, I’m installing a program and have to read this anyway.
See? We could read anything to him. If people still used phone books, we’d have been ok to read one of those.
Now it’s become more difficult. I’m never allowed to read unless it’s the middle of the day and Aaron isn’t home. I’m like the emergency backup reader. We are stuck in the same books for… days? Weeks? Months at a time?? I start to lose track after awhile. I stopped remembering the words to my favorite songs because they were replaced by Green Eggs and Ham or The Sneetches. Now I miss those stories because we have moved onto various books in the Thomas Train empire. When I say “various” I mean we alternate about 3 books. We have huge books full of Thomas stories and he only wants the same three so we can’t even read new Thomas. I hear this is a common problem for parents and I feel like starting a support group sometimes because if I hear Thomas and The Big Big Bridge one more time, I’m going to jump off the big big bridge and call it a day.
He got us pretty bad last night.
Alister: Dad, do we have new Spiderman?
(YES!! We love Spiderman!)
Aaron: Yeah, we have new Spiderman right here.
Alister: Ok, I want old Thomas.
What a jerk.
I picked Alister up from preschool this afternoon. All of the children were lined up so the teachers could do a head count. How did I know which one was mine? He was the one going down the line and making sure to hug each of his classmates goodbye. They did not seem comfortable with this but he persevered. He also told one of the teachers that he loved her. What a suck up.
I recently walked into the living room where Alister and Aaron were watching cartoons. I asked Aaron a question and started it with “Hey baby…”
I went back into the kitchen and sort of overheard Aaron telling Alister that he’d give him a quarter if he did something. I wasn’t sure what at the time. A few minutes later, Alister came into the kitchen with a quarter and said “here mom, here’s your quarter.” I was a little confused and could hear Aaron laughing in the next room.
Me: What’s going on?
Aaron: I told Alister I’d give him a quarter if he went into the kitchen and said “hey baby”.
At least I made a quarter that night.
Yesterday, Alister insisted that I put on underpants. He asked me again about my “bits” and whether my weiner was broken. Then he said, “it’s ok mommy, we’ll get you a new one”.
We live in a naked house. Not in a creepy way but we are pretty open about our bodies and the general idea of nudity. We don’t want to make Alister feel weird about his body or feel weird about seeing other people naked. (this is me, attempting to not completely screw him up because I’d rather him pay for us to have a nice old folks home rather than years of therapy to undo whatever damage I might do in the coming years).
I only grew up seeing girls naked because I didn’t have brothers. I did not grow up in a naked house. Alister has seen me naked practically everyday of his life. He only started wanting to bathe on his own in the last year.
One day, I was getting out of the shower and he looked at me and asked, “mom, are you broken?” I was a bit confused at first and then I noticed WHAT he was looking at. Ah, he noticed that mommy does not have a penis.
I tried to explain that mommies don’t have penises (at the time, we called them “weiners”, not because we feel weird about calling our body parts by their proper names but because some words just sound funny. Weiner is one of them.
We spent some time that morning with him telling Aaron and me that mommy doesn’t have a weiner but we still went for about a month of him asking me if I was broken.
He recently started learning the proper names for our “bits” as he was calling them. Anatomy according to Alister is that, “boys have bits or weiners, called penises.” and that “girls have bits or baginas.” Yes, mom has a bagina now. It’s starting to get a little weird to have conversations with him about who has “baginas” and who doesn’t. I mean really, who wants to think about Grandma’s bagina? Not me.
Having a little boy is weird.
Last Friday I received a text message from my husband that he was picking Alister and me up to go to a party at his new office that he shares with another company. They had some sort of potluck thing going on that was after hours. There were going to be kids Alister’s age there and food so it seemed like it wasn’t the WORST way to spend a Friday night. I was still a bit skeptical though. Usually office parties where children are welcome are kind of a drag. There are too many vegetable trays usually and I get bored really fast. I often end up hanging out with the kids because the adults are so dull that I want to shove a knife in my eye after what feels like an eternity of mindless chit chat. I start daydreaming of the time I can spend more productively (with a video game or possibly a coloring book). However I was pleasantly surprised when I walked in and was instantly handed a beer. (Not a veggie tray). Alister was given kiddie crack in the form of a juice box so we were both ready to party.
Aaron ended up being a participant in a board game. I was asked beforehand if I minded staying awhile so he could do this. Of course I was apprehensive because if I said yes, that meant I was committed and my couch time would be further away. Finally I said screw it. My couch is the world’s most uncomfortable couch on the planet anyway so what the hell?
I found myself clinging to a gal I met at a BBQ a few weekends before because she was fun. When someone comes up to me and starts talking about how they have dreams of going to Burning Man, I’m instantly their friend. She is also a stay at home mom and a desperate housewife so we had lots of common ground; mostly that our children make it so we want to hide in the bathroom a few times a day. So we did what any self-respecting wife/moms would do when allowed out of the house…. we took advantage of the unlimited access to all the beer we wanted. We made sure to ignore our kids properly and used the generous stock of juice boxes as pacifiers. They seemed to be playing together nicely so it all seemed ok. I was at a grown-up party for a change and it was AWESOME…..
Then my kid decided to be… well, my kid. Like any good party beverages, the juice boxes started to catch up with him. Everything started to happen at once. Aaron was still playing his game and as a dedicated wife, I didn’t feel right making him take Alister to the bathroom when it was easy for me to. But then it wasn’t. It probably would have been fine had the ladies’ room key been accessible right then but it wasn’t handy so I did the next best thing; I took him into the men’s room (which required no key). The problem with the men’s room is urinal. Alister is so fascinated by the urinal that we could have hung out there for hours and that would be a fun party to him. I managed to get him out of there but not for long. By this time he was asking for juice boxes so that he’d HAVE TO GO TO THE MEN’S ROOM. I was becoming so familiar with the layout that I was already having ideas of how they should decorate.
As the fluid intake became a problem, so did the sugar. Who knew that uncut juice would cause such a problem? I mean, I did but I was busy getting drunk so it didn’t factor into my decision-making that evening. We were all looking after each other’s children to make sure nobody got hurt but who was looking after their sugar intake? Certainly not the drunk people. We had our own consumption issues. Things became even more interesting when I had my back turned to the fridge and someone said, “hey, whose kid is that with his mouth on the water/ice maker?”
I looked behind me and, yes, that was MY kid, hugging the fridge, with his mouth on the dispenser. Somehow I knew it’d be him. None of the other children there were nearly as take-charge as Alister when it comes to… um, anything. If there is ever a child who would have his face stuck to the fridge and run to the urinals all night just for the novelty, it’s my Alister. Once he discovered the giant row of switches that controlled all the lights in the office, the party was over. The harsh flourescent office lighting took away from the ambience… fun’s over.
Looking back, that was a good time for Alister to let everyone know it was time to go home. One of the employees commented that the place was a mess and Aaron replied that it actually looked like our house (wall to wall toys, not beer bottles). The other children were no longer adorable and were turning into demons.
The next day, Aaron had to go in and drop something off. He said that things must have gotten pretty crazy once all the kids left because there was an empty bottle of Fireball and some shot glasses on one of the tables.
I’m guessing those people needed to get drunk after hanging out with so many children that night…. I completely understand.
We went to Portland, OR one weekend for Valentine’s Day. We weren’t even in an actual relationship at the time. In fact, we’d been on a break for about a year and a half. This was what we refer to as “the in-between time”. We didn’t even live in the same country. He is from Vancouver, Canada and I am from Seattle, WA. I came to live in Vancouver with him for a short time (in the before time) and when things didn’t work out, I went home. So as any smart and self-respecting people would do, we saw each other from time to time on weekends. I always promised myself it was the end and I’d never see him again. I even had a serious boyfriend for a few months. Then I spent The Saddest Christmas Ever with this drag of a guy who gave me a folded up $50 bill and told me to go pay a bill (as my gift). I had been laid off a couple of weeks before so I guess this was, in his mind, a loving a practical gesture. I felt terrible. My boyfriend was clearly a jackass, I had no job and my family had moved away to another city and I was very lonely. When my in-between love, Aaron asked me a few days later how my Christmas was, I cried. The next day, he showed up at my house with presents and took me to lunch. I came back up to Vancouver for a few days and completely forgot about the douchebag I was dating back home. When we went out a few days later, there was the stupidest argument ever, which sealed the deal. I was out of there. The next few weekends were spent with Aaron. He would come down and life was fun again. So of course when Valentine’s day in 2009 fell on a weekend, we opted to drive to Portland and had an amazing weekend of fun and adventure, not to mention drinking and lots of sex. Funny… when you have lots of sex, you open yourself up to a lot of things. Pregnancy for example.
A few weeks went by and there was no period. You know, same old story. I peed on a stick and nothing happened so I thought we were ok. A couple of weeks later, I was at work and stepped out for a morning coffee/cigarette break and found myself wanting to vomit. I couldn’t consume caffeine or nicotine properly so something was obviously up. I mentioned this to a few of my coworkers who happened to be friends by this time and they all said the same thing.
“Go home at lunch and take a pregnancy test.”
That’s about the dumbest advice ever so of course, I took it. I like to cause myself as much stress and chaos as possible or I don’t really feel as though I’m living life to the fullest. So, I did as I was told. And guess what? There they were… 2 pink lines. The 2 pink lines that distracted me from doing my work for the entire rest of the day. I refused to believe this was happening. I was taking birth control pills and Aaron and I only saw each other on the weekends. This was a fluke. I needed a second opinion. So I bought 2 more tests and went to Planned Parenthood for one of their tests. A total of 4 positive pregnancy tests. The shock and disbelief turned into blame. This was clearly HIS fault. So while my egg was being all sparkly and neat and tidy, his high-powered rocket sperm just waltzed right in like it owned the place.