Did I Tell You The One Where Christmas Break Would Not End?

1476175_10202797128275919_1196886460_nTeachers everywhere were rejoicing. Of that I have no doubt. It started all extra-nice. (See above photo for evidence.)  It was snowy outside, warm and cozy inside, and the boys loved each other. I was having visions of piling up on the soda, toasty warm, watching our favorite movies, reading our favorite books. Cocoa would be in hand, complete with marshmallows. Zach in his footed pj’s, Evan in his flannel sleep pants, me in sweats.  The world shut out, and the ones I love shut in against the cold. There was no school for me, and only my 3 scheduled days of work per week. It was going to be great.

Then this happened:1480549_10202798469749455_592936327_nIt snowed. I love our street in the snow. The houses look so cute and cozy, the neighborhood becomes a Thomas Kinkade painting. We put up the Christmas tree together. This year, Zachy was really able to  participate, which was adorable. I kicked the OCD into low gear as he put the ornaments too close together, and somehow resisted the urge to tweak them ever-so-slightly the entire time that tree was up.

This year, I even managed to somehow get all of the Christmas presents for the boys wrapped before anyone knew what they were getting. This was about as successful a Christmas as I could’ve asked for, considering some of our previous misadventures. The whole next day, the boys broke  played with their new things. Then Evan remembered how fun toys can be when you are only 3, and Santa brings you things like racetracks for toy cars or little train sets. And it dawned on Zachy just how cool big-kid stuff can be.

Magic: Over. Bubble: Burst.

Next thing we knew, there were fights. “Mommy, Evan did________.”, squealed Zach. “Mom! Zach has my _______.”, whined Evan. And so it went all the way up through the end of their Christmas break. It seemed like the longest one in the history of winter breaks. I seriously thought I was going to die. To make matters worse, I was fresh out of school. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t have that distraction. With me home more, John felt he deserved a break, and left most parenting matters to me. I’m certain the grey hairs on my head have multiplied as a result.

The eve of their first day back to school, I was working the ICU. It really is a good thing my patient was in a medically-induced coma and couldn’t hear me or tell on me. The tv in his room was turned to the news, where I saw the update where the boys’ first day back was called off due to weather.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

I’m sure my wail reverberated off of the walls of the ICU, into the adjacent waiting area and throughout the rest of the hospital. Nurses from outside the room rushed in to see what had happened, as I’m not generally an alarmist at work.

That day. That day I had been dreaming of, hoping for, wishing on….My hopes were crushed. My spirit broken.

The fighting a home got worse as cabin fever started in. Snow kept dumping on us. Just when it would start to clear up, more would come. And then it didn’t. The boys were finally going to go back to school. I was relieved, and by that time, I think they were as sick of us as we were of them causing chaos.

And then that “Polar Vortex” bullshit happened. Anyone remember the “I can’t put my arms down” scene in A Christmas Story? Well, we will never have a modern-day version of that. They cancelled school because it was too cold. For not one day, but days-yep, plural. When we were kids, our parents would just bundle us up. We waited a little closer to last minute to go to our bus stops. But our bus stops weren’t at our driveway, either. Generally, we had to walk. If it was dangerously cold–as in losing digits to frost bite despite gloves or mittens—my mom would crank the heat in the car to warm it up while I was getting ready and then drive me to the bus stop, where I would sit in the car until the bus was in sight. The lowest it got here was 2 degrees, and I am sure that I remember it getting a lot colder. As a matter of fact, I just googled that and discovered we had temps as low as -25 in 1985 in Cincinnati. But they closed school. There was no snow or ice on the ground, no slick roads, no frozen pipes at the school. It was just cold.

It seemed like winter break was never going to end. John and I were never going to have a single moment of peace. Armageddon was going to strike, Hell was freezing over, and we would have to home-school the children from now on. I was on the verge, man.

Finally, on January 10th, the boogers got on the bus and headed back. They were out of school for 29 days in total. I sincerely hope they tack the extra unplanned missed days onto the end of the school year. I am now on a mission to treasure every moment of silence until June, and promise to never take a peaceful moment for granted for as long as I live.

Finally,

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This Could’ve Been My Kid: Toddler Boy Called A Faggot At WalMart For Wearing Pink Headband

http://www.mommyish.com/2013/07/31/toddler-boy-called-a-faggot-at-walmart-for-wearing-pink-headband/

Anyone remember Evan and his affinity for all things pink and sparkly? I didn’t really care, but I was worried for him simply because of people like the man in this article. Because people are ridiculous. And dumb. And virtually intolerant of anyone or thing different from themselves.

I remember those days. I remember having to tell my son that, while there was nothing wrong with him wearing or choosing whatever he liked, that there were people in the world who didn’t understand that and would be mean and cruel to him as a result of his different tastes. That didn’t make it okay, but as his mother, I felt it was my duty to protect him from any potential threat. I would rather he learned that lesson gently from me at home as opposed to the way this innocent little boy learned. So he expressed himself in the house, but not out in public.

Right or wrong, it was such a story as the one above that motivated me.

If I reflect back on that time in his childhood, I feel guilty. His personal preferences have always reflected his quirky, spunky nature. He is not the same as everyone else. He knows it, we know it, everyone knows it. He may have outgrown the pink, sparkly phase, but he has shown other differences. That’s fine with us. His unabashed exhibition of who he is for all who care to get to know him reflect a comfort in his own skin that many of us only hope to have at some point in our lives. I hope that time all those years ago didn’t quelch any part of that within him.

If it did, I am no better than the oaf in this story.

We all have our heads crammed full of what we should be/ think/say/do…
You’re a girl. You can’t throw a ball.
You live in the city, so you have no values.
You’re rich, so you must not know what it means to work.
You’re a man. You aren’t worth shit if you don’t solely support your family.
What do you mean, you can’t cook? Aren’t you a real woman?
You’re poor so you must be lazy.
You’re straight, so you hate homosexuality. You’re gay, so you’re a deviant.

We are who we are. That’s the world I want for my kids, in a nutshell. A toddler in the midst of discovering he is separate from his parents can wear a damned headband-pink, green, sequined, lacy-if it makes him happy. Evan can be obsessed with history instead of XBox. We can choose for my husband to stay home if it works for us. And, yes I suck at cooking anything aside from 3 specialty dishes, but I can rock out some corporate finance while keeping you alive, so that’s okay, right?

Our preferences don’t make us better or worse people. We are not less simply because we have our own strengths and weaknesses that are distinct from the person sitting next to us.

Someone needs to teach that man a lesson.

Bitchypants

Toddler Challenges

Oh sweet merciful crap.

I never have enough time to blog about my Mommy Misadventures. My life is chaos, though right now, I am even off of work for a couple more weeks following the shoulder issues. We’ve had some big changes.

John got a job.

Zach started daycare (and abruptly stopped when I got put off of a work for a short while.)

I am wrapping up my undergrad business degree and preparing for grad school in a couple of short months.

But the biggest change is the challenges we are facing with Zach. Not that Zach is having trouble, but that we are a little bit. I forgot what the life was like of a mother of a toddler. I forget some of the simple stuff every day that one takes for granted. Like how it is no longer cool to have anything important within reach. Books will be pulled off of shelves. It will not matter if those books are expensive text books or cheap paperbacks–they all have equal right to destruction here. We do not discriminate in this house.

I forget how keys must be kept hidden from a toddler who loves them. It took a couple of occassions where we were frantically trying to find said keys while the alarm was going off on the car. Apparently that red panic button on the keyless entry is just to powerful to resist, but then you have to find the keys to turn it off.

Yes, you really can crawl around on the floor, picking up toy cars and blocks and puzzle pieces a million times a day.

The dial on the dishwasher has a gravitational pull that begs for little hands to mess with it.

The refrigerator is a fascinating place. And there is no appliance lock that can withstand the Power of Zachary. We have resorted to locking the fridge and sealing it with clear packing tape or we will end up restocking cans of soda, bags of cheese, gallons of milk, and a gajillion cups of Greek yogurt as often as we pick up toy cars/ blocks/ puzzle pieces.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, has power like a couple of plain M&Ms. Yeah, I know. Junk. Zach usually doesn’t get junk, but in a quest to find something to motivate him to use his words, his speech therapist recommended it. It worked. We try to limit its use to when the situation calls for the Big Guns.

DJ Lance What’s-His-Name on “Yo Gabba Gabba” looks strikingly like JJ from “Good Times”. And nothing will make a toddler giggle like these four words: I. Like. To. Dance!!!!! We can end any horrific mood with that one.

Words, coming from the mouth of a toddler who has a speech delay, are very interesting. Truck is Cuck. Except when he sees one and gets excited, shouting out the name, it doesn’t sound like CUCK. It sounds like a very vulgar term for male parts, and we get lots of looks. Similarly, when one has a southern husband who refers to pants as “britches”, and that same toddler gets a hold on that word…well, you can imagine what that sounds like. I remember the first time Zach came up to me, putting his little hand on the leg of my denim capris, saying, “Mama Bitch.” Gasp! Pause! ” Yes, Zach, those are Mama’s BRITCHES!”

The sliding window in the living room, which has a sliding screen, is a veritable Vortex. If it is opened the wrong way, one side is completely opened, no screen or anything. If it isn’t attached, isn’t too heavy, and isn’t too big, it’s going out that window. Yesterday, at various times through the day, I rescued my cell phone, the remote control, a binky, the beloved Lightening McQueen car, a ball, my planner, and the phone book. This morning, I cannot find the cell phone charger and must remind myself to check the shrubs under that window.

I’m reminded that, if you cannot say the word, it is perfectly acceptable to make up your own, so long as you are consistent. Lightening McQueen is loved in this house. But he isn’t Lightening. He’s Ahhhhhhh-Baba. I do not know. No idea. Not a clue. But that is his name. It is also the name for anything with the Cars logo on it. At all. And when these crazy “word approximations” (the term his speech therapist uses) come out, it is our job to know what he is saying, to speak his language so we can not only know what he wants, but repeaat the word back to him in correct form so he can learn.

Play-Doh balls aren’t for squishing and molding and playing. They are most obviously for throwing around the room.

Mashed ‘Tatoes are delicious. Until you have your fill. Then they are for finger-painting. On a similar note, it is perfectly normal to simply get tired of a spoon or fork mid-meal and just give up. And cutesy plates with cartoon characters don’t really encourage a child to eat like a human. They encourage the dumping of the food anywhere and everywhere just so you can see Mickey/ Elmo/ Lightening McQueen without all of that pesky food in the way.

Toys ‘R’Us has got to be the most identifiable store on the planet to a toddler who is in a car with a Mom who really just has to get somewhere NOW without stopping at Toys ‘R’ Us first.

It does not matter what it is. I you see it and want it, it should be yours and come home with you. The cart at Wally World. The ginormous aquarium at an orthopedic surgeon’s office. Every damned toy within a fifty-mile radius.

Toddlers create a challenge that, once we can say we have survived the toddler years, we often forget. I don’t remember having to do any of this stuff with Evan when he was Zach’s age. It isn’t that the kids are that different or that Evan was an angel and Zach is not. I just forgot. I let my mind slip because, while all of these seem like a massive pain, they are wha you do. This is a mom’s job, to teach a child to navigate the world around him. To tap into herself to see how keys really could be fascinating, how Toys ‘R’ Us really is a cool place, and finger-painting with mashed potatoes can be interesting. We see them do it, we try to prevent them from infringing on the rights of others in the process, and so long as it doesn’t hurt them, we let them carry on. They have their whole lives to learn lessons. Now is for them to learn of all of the little things in the world that can be so awesome. And I think we forget the challenges over time because, well, those challenges get completelyy overshadowed. You don’t see the mess, you see the smiles and hear the giggles and squeals of delight. You hear new words. You see the child you once nursed feed himself.

And you count every challenge of toddlerhood as a blessing. Because, lucky you, you get to witness every bit of it.

Holidays

It’s cold outside. It finally is starting to feel a little wintery. Thanksgiving is next week, which means Christmas is right around the corner. I’m not sure what is going on this year, but it seems as if everyone is rushing the holidays this year. Stores and local businesses were blaring Christmas music immediately after Halloween. My neighbors, who usually grace us with their tackiest of tacky decorations, are already in full swing. There is a countdown on the board at work–X number of days left. The trees have been up for weeks now, and stores have all of their Christmas decorations on full display.

I don’t usually buy into all of this. Last year, I didn’t even put up a tree. Our only real holiday tradition has only ever been going to visit John’s family. Even for the years I have had to work Christmas, this has been the case. For those years, we would just celebrate early or late, depending on my work schedule. This year, things are a little different.

For some reason, I am feeling a little Clark Griswold-ish. I want the family Christmas.  I want to bake cookes with Evan. I want the tree, and the surprises on Christmas morning. I want wreaths and garland. The problem is that I want those things…NOW! It really is far enough away from my norm to be bizarre. I’m not sure what is to blame. Could it be that the stores rushed me? Or that John and I will have been married eleven years as of Christmas Eve? Maybe it is Zach, and that this will be the first real Christmas he will be able to enjoy. Or the difficulties we have had with Evan that make me want to be close to these three guys in my life. Regardless, I just want to be here with them, We’ll put up a tree, bake the damned cookies. I’ll hang stockings with my babies. There’s no fireplace, but we can burn candles and make this place smell like a pine forest. Of course, John isn’t on board for any of this. Well, he is and he isn’t. I’ve tried twice now to get him to go with me to a store to buy a new artificial tree already. (Thought about a live tree this year, but the thought of Zachy eating pine needles doesn’t do it for me.) Of course both of these attempts were shot down. I plan on trying again today, but he insists that we are to wait until after Thanksgiving. (Side Note: I bought a turkey this year, for the first time in many years–for our little family.) He’s right. hat has been the tradition for both of us growing up. After the dishes are washed and leftover turkey is put away, you’re supposed to watch a Christmas special–most likey Rudolph–and trim the tree. But I want to do it now. Not next week, but now.

I just want to be with them. Only them. I don’t even want to buy gifts for anyone else. Just them. What is wrong with me?

The First Big Boo-Boo

I was sleeping. I had been up all night, and then John had class and so I stayed up with Zachy for that, too. When John got home, I sank into my bed like a rock and after a chapter of Little Bee, I was down for the count.

Sometime later…30 minutes? An hour? 12 hours? …after I fell asleep, I was awakened by a frantic John.

“Andrea, WAKE UP! There’s a PROBLEM WITH ZACH!!!!!

Wtf? A problem with Zach? What sort of problem? Bleary-eyed, I tried to make sense of the scene. He was holding Zach, wasn’t he? But wait! OMG. OhmyfuckingGod!!!!

Blood everywhere. Everywhere. Literally pouring from his nose. From his mouth. I kept wailing, “What happened to him, John?!?” But John was in hysterics and couldn’t answer me. It was all rather dramatic. We couldn’t tell where the blood was coming from, Zach was screaming. I was trying to put on clothes, for which John was cussing me. ( “I’m glad it’s not an EMERGENCY or anything!”—more on this later.) And I was trying to catch the story. Something about a kitchen chair. And he was pushing it around. Everything was fine. John rounded the corner and was just right there, picking up a few toys from the floor when he heard the BANG-CRASH-BOOM! Zachy apparently had pushed the chair over to the counter where there was a carousel of his sippy cups drying. Damnit, the smart baby wanted a drink! And he pushed the chair to the counter and climbed up. He can deduce from the blood smear on the couter that he hit there first as he fell, raking his face first on the edge of the counter, then the door of the dishwasher, then the chair and the floor. Ouch. Holy shit.

The problem for me wasn’t the blood. I’m conditioned for blood, even when it is my own or my child’s. What got to me was the possibility of teeth/ jaw/skull/nose fractures with those kinds of blows to the face. “Get him checked out, just to be sure.”, I was thinking calmly in my head. So we went to the ER, where sweet, adorable Zachy wooed all of my coworkers, and I heard someone explain that we have the baby and then we have a ten year old!!! Yeah, that’s right. We’re somewhat rusty on this toddler shit.

Zach is fine. Since he won’t have anything to do with ice packs, he is getting popsicles galore. Turns out he tore his frenulum and he has the fat lip from hell. Some monster bruises appeared to be forming, but now, further removed from the incident, even those don’t look as if they are going to be that bad. No stitches, no head injuries. Just some antibiotics for the mouth laceration to prevent infection, ibuprofen for pain, and a little boy who looks like he’s been on the losing end of a fist fight. But some analysis is required here.

I’m the mom. I think, by most standards, I am supposed to be the one to freak out. That so is not the case here in this house. No, I don’t like seeing my kids hurt. And I react a little differently when it is my kids as opposed to one of my patients. Now John? John freaks out. Picture a hysterical woman in a hoop skirt running and screaming, “ATLANTA IS BURNING! ATLANTA IS BURNING!” and you kind of get  a picture of John in a first-aid siuation. He did it when Evan had croup. He didn’t think to wake the respiratory therapist in the house who treats croup allthefuckingtime. He just ran around screaming and rushing me out of the house, and when we finally get to the ER, I stop and realize what is going on and that, while it sounds bad, it truly sounds worse than it is. And then the time Evan cut his foot: John was carrying 7-year-old Evan, fireman-style, through the house, screaming, “we’ve got to go now, he needs stitches! He may need surgery! It’s bad. SO BAD!”, all while freaking Evan out, too. Turns out that once I cleaned the blood off of his foot, it was a tiny cut that a Steri-Strip and band-aid from the medicine counter would fix. But while I was working on it, John was still freaking out. As in, “Andrea you aren’t a doctor yet and he needs to go to the hospital NOW! Are you depriving him of medical care?” No, I’m giving him medical care right now. He’s getting a Band-Aid and some Neosporin, Asshole. And then today, with Zach. I got yelled at for putting clothes on first. Because while it was bad, I was at least able to do what I always do.

Take a quick second. Assess the situation. Okay, Zach is bleeding badly. His color is good, so he isn’t bleeding too much. He hit his head, but he is alert, so likely no massive head injury. he is crying, and those of us in the industry know that the problems are when they stop crying or cannot cry. Then you have a big problem. He won’t let me get close enough to it to see where all of the blood is coming from, and since neither of us saw exactly how he hit, we don’t know. He could have injured underlying structures, so let’s get him looked at and make sure he’s okay. That’s what insurance is for. No need to call 911. Throw on clothes, grab a change of clothes for him now that his sleeper is all bloody. A couple of diapers and my cell phone and out the door we go. On the way, call Ev’s school and let them know we will be late picking him up because we have an emergency. Simple as that. Within 3 minutes, we were en route to the ER, and I even got to wear clothes! No need for screaming or hysterics or cussing or carrying on. Yes, Zach is hurt, but it isn’t life threatening. See, assess, decide on a course of action, and then do. Don’t react. That makes it even worse.

Somehow I will get all of this through to my Drama Queen of a husband. In the meantime, I have a little boy who is fine, and is getting spoiled like it’s nobody’s bid-ness because today, he sustained his first (and hopefully last) big boo-boo.

A Million and One Different Directions

Yep, that’s my life. I’ve been pulled in a million and one directions this past week.

First of all, there’s work. Work has been crazy. Exhausting. Busy. Every night that I’ve worked, we’ve been cut down to 4 therapists at night instead of 5, which means we all run our asses off. And so I come home cranky and tired and ready to just sleep and chill, in that order. But I don’t get to do either.

Because then there is school. I’m still in my Operations Management and Corporate Finance courses. I’m not sure what’s up, but never before have 2 classes thrown me for a loop like these two. Each course has the standard 3 papers per week, plus 2 hours of either live or recorded lecture, plus about 150 to 300 pages of reading, But the corporate finance papers are hard. Don’t get me wrong: I have 2 papers left in each class and I still have A’s in both courses, but those A’s have taken work. I usually work Thursday through Sunday which leaves me Monday through Wednesday to complete all of my school work. But there’s a catch.

Because John started classes. Which means on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I may be off of work and have all of the time in the world, but on those days, Zachary roams the house with abandon. We started by me trying to do both: school work and  be Mom Extraordinaire. It didn’t work. What really happened? I would type a sentence and get up and intervene in impending disaster. And feel horribly guilty that my time with Zach should be with Zach, not doing school work. And watch him destroy something with the mindset that, so long as it isn’t harmful to him, its okay. He tore an entire pack of flourescent pink index cards to bits and was working on the orange ones when I finally gave this up. So the new pla n is to not bank on getting anything done while John is class, which means my school work is now arranged around 2 schedules. And then came the NICU…

There was one day last week where I got 3 calls, and each one was regarding something else I have to do to get ready for the opening of our new Level III NICU at work. A ventilator inservice here. A mandatory class there. Licensing requirements. Drug screen, immunizations. It’s a liitle bit crazy. Because I have no time, this cuts into time I have alotted for other stuff. And then there’s Evan.

To get Evan treated and to make a full diagnosis, we have to do a million things. Tests, evaluations. Therapy appointments. Waiting on psychiatry referrals so the specialists can manage meds instead of our family doctor. Children’s is a one-stop shop, but there are a gajillion people there that all do something different. The Division of Developmental Disorders and Behavioral Psychology handles all Asperger’s evals, diagnoses, and treatment plans. And then the therapist handles his bi-weekly therapy. Now we are waiting for a referral to go through for psychiatry so we can get some medication management. This in and of itself is turning into a full-time job. A job, I might add, that is not well-managed by someone as disorganized as John. Which leaves me. I’ll do it. I won’t complain because I am grateful that Children’s is a stone’s throw away. If anyone is ever going to have something go wrong with their child, this would be where they want to be. In fact, there are people who fly in from other countries to have their child’s life-saving surgery done here. Yeah, I am that lucky, and I know it. But there is more to this, and it is another post altogether.

Zach? Well, Zach is the most laid-back, non-demanding person in this family right now. Yeah, how sad is that? That a toddler is the lowest maintenance? Pfft. But I keep trucking away. I somehow get it all done. I have no idea how. I used to be one of this smug people who would tell you that it is all in time management. But time management is only as good as the amount of time you have. I manage 150 hours worth of crap in 100 hours of time—not an exact figure, just an example. And it sucks. I know where my priorities are at: work–because I have to provide for the family and Evan needs my health coverage now more than ever, Evan’s treatment–well, just because, and my family. If I have to drop classes, I can. If I have to tell my boss I cannot do the NICU, I can. If John has to drop his classes, he won’t handle it well, but he can. I’m just trying not to have to do any of those things.

One day, I swear, I will be able to relax. I just hope it sin’t when I’m dead.

The Grossest Baby Story Ever Told

So I was taking a break from studying today and visiting some of the blogs I follow and have neglected in my busy-ness, when I hit some inspiration from Stephanie, aka SarcasminAction over at Musings of a Sarcastic Mind. She had a gross, baby-poop-related tale of woe. It dawned on me that I may have never shared one of the grossest and retrospectively hilarious stories of Evan’s babyhood with you all. Since most of the few people who will read this have young children, I thought you all might enjoy this little gem.

When Evan was Zach’s age, I was a stay-at-home mommy. Yeah, I hated it. I’m glad I did it because I think Evan really benefited from having me with him, but it really couldn’t have been further from my personality. But I was home and we had our routine. John would be at work, and we would alternate playtime with mealtimes and naps. During his afternoon nap, I would work on the house while he slept in his Pack & Play right around the corner. Until one fateful day.

I was vacuuming, of all things. Evan  was asleep in his usual spot, or so I thought. I kept smelling something bad. I checked the ‘fridge for spoiled food. I emptied the garbage, just to be sure. I had to find the stench in my house that usually smelled of candles and potpourri, not whatever the hell that awful smell was.

I round the corner, thinking that maybe Evan has pooped and needs a diaper change, and nothing could have ever prepared me. As soon as I opened the door to the nursery, the smell smacked me in the face. Poop. Lots of poop.

Because Evan had taken off his diaper. So there was baby poop everywhere. On the Pack& Play, on the blanket, on Evan. It was smeared between his fingers and toes, was under his little nails. Even in his hair. I’m not kidding. I was already gagging. I hate poop. But that isn’t the worst. The worst came when Evan saw me and got happy to see his mommy. And he give me the biggest of Evan smiles.

And he had baby shit smeared all over his teeth. And tongue. And then I graduated to full-on retching. And my germophobe mind started to work and I thought about the E. coli in human shit and freaked out. So I tried to call the pediatrician, but really I would say a word, retch, say another word, retch….And so it went until I asked them if he would be okay. The nurse was laughing at me, because I literally kept gagging while on the phone. She assured me he would be fine so long as it was his own that he ate and not someone else’s. To which I responded with more retching.

It took me forever to clean Evan up. Every time I would get started, I would gag. A few times, I actually puked. I had to call John home from work to help me because I couldn’t finish the job. I did manage to get Evan cleaned up, finally. I left the room as-is and just shut the door, saving that part for John, who was on his way home since I was weak from an afternoon spent gagging and puking. And from that point on, when we dressed Evan, we did so in layers: Onesie, shirt, pants over top of diaper, which we put on backward to keep the easy-access tabs in the back where he couldn’t get to them should he manage to free himself of the clothes.

We look back at that story and laugh now. Of course Evan was about the age Zach is at now, so he has no memory. We have fun telling him the story of the time he ate his own poop. I think that has to be the best gross-out story in the Land of Parenthood. Well, that and the time he literally puked in my mouth.

We deal with so much shit as parents. Literally.