Party of Five

Trigger Warning: Mentions pregnancy and childbirth.

I’m not sure why I’ve been so reluctant to write about this. It’s life-changing. It’s something that brings me all the joy. It’s something that consumes my almost every waking thought. It’s the fact that Hubby and I welcomed our third child earlier this year. Like, who wouldn’t want to shout that from the rooftops?

If I’m being honest, I know exactly why I have had writer’s block about it.  This blog has only a paltry few followers, but I respect and love them all tremendously, and I know that a few of them have experienced loss recently.  I am so heartbroken for them, and it feels selfish (and hurtful) to broadcast my own happiness.  So, I just want to put it out there, if you’re reading this and it hurts you, that I’m sorry.  Everyone deserves the easiest, most pain-free road to building a family.

But, we did have a baby. We have three kids now. Three. Three, you guys.

I still have a draft post, last edited in May 2018, entitled, “Will we have another?” The title is a total cliffhanger, I know, but if I had ever finished writing that post, my obvious conclusion was that we wanted to have another kid. After experiencing infertility when trying to conceive K-man, I’m always careful when it comes to declarations about what will or won’t happen with my reproductive organs.  But, Hubby and I very much knew we wanted to have a third child, if it was in the cards.

At first, we thought we would wait until Ell-Bell was a little older. Maybe we would start trying after she turned two (which happened last December).  But typical me, I got all impatient. I started pushing Hubby with weekly requests to move the timeline up a little bit. Finally, I convinced him to agree that we could start trying in September or October 2018. And then July 2018 rolled around. And Hubby was like, you know what? Why not. Let’s start trying now. And so we did. On the 3rd of July.  In between his overnight shift and my frantic preparations for a 4th of July party at our house, in case you want all the sordid details.

A few weeks later, I was in a terrible, horrible place mentally. Depressed, moody AF. I had ordered like 100 Amazon ovulation strips and pregnancy tests in preparation for what would likely be at least several months, if not way longer, of trying to conceive.  The tests arrived a few days before my period was due, and while Hubby was out for a run, I snuck a test. Not because I thought I could be pregnant, but because I am an addict. Need to pee on all the sticks, need to scrutinize all the lines, need all the information.

Of course, I got the faintest second line. And you know how that made me feel? After months of begging Hubby to start trying for another kid? After months of obsessing about whether we would experience heartbreaking infertility again? I got exactly what I thought I wanted, and I felt … embarrassed. And honestly, I felt a little bit of dread. What had I done? I duped Hubby into having another baby, much much sooner than he wanted. And now that I got what I wanted, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to handle it.

And honestly, that’s another reason why I didn’t blog about the beginning of my pregnancy. I was so ashamed to feel the way I did. Truthfully, I have always (unfairly) judged other women for not being 100% ecstatic about a pregnancy.

I think a lot of my feelings about the pregnancy, in the beginning, were inextricably linked to the fact that I felt sick. as. shit.  I had never experienced so much nausea or fatigue with previous pregnancies, and now I was suffering through it while trying to raise two hellish and manic toddlers (love them so much).

As my “morning” sickness waned, so did my negative feelings. Thank god.  Dread was replaced with excitement and a sense of relief.  We shared the news with our family and friends, and they were all excited for us (or at least pretended to be).  I will say though, if you already have two kids — especially if you already have a boy and a girl — people tend to assume your third kid is a “whoopsie” baby.  Side note: why is it ever okay to ask a pregnant lady if her pregnancy was unplanned?  Why do you need to know? Also, why do you want to know? You sick perv. Anyways…

Because we already had a boy and a girl, I can truly say that I had almost no preference as to the sex of our third child. (I won’t lie to you, I’m a horrible person and had a strong preference with the first two.)  So, we decided to go “team green” and find out baby’s sex at birth. What a weird and fun experience! I thought maybe I would connect less with “Melon” (number three’s in-utero name) without knowing if he/she was a boy or a girl, but it wasn’t an issue. The only problem was coming up with two full names. Maybe I’ve blogged about this before, but Hubby is the.worst when it comes to naming babies.  He doesn’t like anything good! Also, he doesn’t like anything, period. He sucks.

I spent the first half of my pregnancy stressing over how Melon would be delivered. K-Man and Ell-Bell were both C-sections, so I knew that was the most likely result for Melon, too.  But a small part of me wanted to experience vaginal birth if I could, so I tried not to close that door.

Turns out, though, that the door was closed for me.  I couldn’t find any ObGyn in my city who was comfortable performing a VBAC after two cesarians.  Maybe if I kept looking, I would have gotten lucky eventually.  But every time, I had to transfer all my medical records, pay all the fees, schedule all the appointments, before I could even find out if a practice was willing to try.  In the end, given my history of early c-sections due to pregnancy-induced hypertension, I decided it was not worth it to continue down the VBAC road.

So I settled on a practice I liked, and we scheduled my c-section for 39 weeks.  I somehow managed to make it through the whole pregnancy without hypertension, so Melon had a completely uncomplicated cesarian birth right on schedule.  When they delivered Melon, the baby began to cry right away.  Hubby was standing there peeking over the surgical curtain, and asked me to guess whether it was a boy or a girl.  “That sounds like a boy cry!” I exclaimed.  Now obviously, that makes zero sense, but I was right anyway! Melon was a healthy baby boy, weighing 7 lbs 5 oz and spanning 20.5 inches long. (He also had the most ginormous baby scrotum you’ve ever seen, but don’t worry, that’s calmed down quite a bit over the past few months.)

Melon (who will hereinafter be called “Finny” for the purposes of this blog) was the sweetest baby from the start.  Something about him gives me an incredible sense of calm. He is so easy going and happy, which is kind of a big deal, because his brother and his sister are a TON of work these days.

If you can believe it, Finny is going to be 7 months old already tomorrow.  He’s rolling, planking, sitting, chirping, and trying his darnedest to crawl.  I can’t wait to tell you so much more about him. And also, about the rest of my life.  Things are happening, people!

More soon!

Vee

 

Summer Struggle Bus

Lately, when I’ve had free time, I’ve preferred to sit in front of the TV and check out.  I mean, do you know how many hours of Bachelor in Paradise I have to catch up on?  You really can’t let that shit slip or things get out of control.

But today, with my precious few kid-free moments, I thought I might sit down and write some things out.  Because if I keep ignoring this, it may never go away.

The truth is, lately, I’ve been feeling down.  Like shit, actually.  I’ve been in a funk and I just can’t seem to climb out of it on my own.

It’s supremely frustrating, because all winter long, I dreamed about how much better everything would be in summer.  (Insert requisite Olaf meme here).  I planned to live it up and enjoy every last ounce before winter returned again, but things just didn’t turn out like that.  I’ve been too depressed, anxious, and tired to appreciate the season.

I really think part of the problem is that I spent so much energy just trying to survive this winter.  My fragile sanity was stitched together by barely a few threads once the weather started to warm up, and all I could do was realize how truly exhausted I was.  And then I took a few disastrous, solo-parenting, cross-country trips that took weeks to recover from.  And I swear to god Hubby has worked more overnights this summer than any other resident in his program.

At the same time, I’m having a bit of an identity crisis and feeling somewhat professionally unfulfilled.  What I would really, truly, love … is about 10 hours of work a week, preferably something that I can do remotely.  But that kind of work doesn’t come easily in my field — or maybe it does, but I just don’t know how or where to look.

I’m having a crisis of confidence about being a stay-at-home-mom.  I know how hard the work is, and I’m proud of myself for sticking with it for more than a year now.  But I also know that there are a lot of people who look down on what I do.  And as much as I would love to rise above that, I can’t help but feel insecure about it.  I miss being the bad-ass lawyer who covered all of the household expenses and put her husband through medical school.  But … I also really don’t want to go back to that lifestyle.  Can you even imagine how our house would stay afloat if I worked 60-80 hours a week while my husband carried on with his emergency medicine residency?  I mean, would we ever even see each other?  Would we eat anything other than takeout every night?  Would the kitties die from the inevitably unchanged litter?  Would we forget to pick our kids up from daycare?  I know there are plenty of families where both parents juggle high stress, high demand jobs, but I also know that I’m not cut out for it.  I’m just not that good at multitasking.

So basically, I’m just confused and dissatisfied all around.  I know I need to talk to someone, I know that therapy would help.  Or at least, it’s helped in the past.  But can we talk about how hard it is to figure out therapy when you’re responsible for two little munchkins all day? Can we also talk about how I am a complete noob and still don’t know how to find or use a babysitter?

On the bright side, I think my kids have still had an okay time the past few months.  Though it’s felt like pulling my own teeth out, I’ve made an effort to get them outside, go places, do fun summer things almost every day.  I know (and hate) that they’ve sensed that I’m sad from time to time, but I also feel like they’re doing ok.  They’re really good kids.

Until next time,

Vee

 

 

Shout out to Single Moms on the Weekend

I. Am. Exhausted.

I feel like I have been mom-ing non-stop for ages without a break.  Well duh, why would there be a break?  But you guys, it’s just been really hard mom-ing.

For whatever reason, K-Man and Ell-Bell were both in a really bad mood for like, a month?

And then I took the kids to Missouri by myself for a few days, which was not nearly the catastrophe that Oregon was, thank goodness.  But still, being solely responsible for two kids while traveling is maybe the most draining thing I can imagine.  It took a full week to recover.

We returned from Missouri to … an empty house.  Hubby has basically been MIA these past two weeks, working the most horrendous schedule his chief residents could dream up.  6 days on, 1 day off.  6 days on, 1 day off.  Of course, the 6 days on are all night shifts, so I’m on my own for bedtime every single night.  And the 1 day off is completely consumed by Hubby catching up on patient notes.

There’s this awful direct relationship between Hubby’s level of exhaustion and my level of exhaustion.  When he’s working a crazy schedule, it means I’m working a crazy schedule.  And we somehow have to find a way to squeeze both of our needs for free time into his paltry days off.

Boo you, residency.  I miss my husband.

But you know what I’m having a really hard time with?  It’s the fact that Hubby is always working on the weekend.  Saturday and Sunday.  Like, pretty much every single weekend.

It’s not just that I have to mom alone on the weekends.  It’s that I have to mom alone while the whole rest of the fucking world is out and about as a family.  Being all “look how cute we are as a family” while I am miserably carrying both kids in my arms through the mall because neither one of them wants to be put down.

Ugh.  Shout out to single moms on the weekend.

Until next time,

Vee

 

 

Happy Monday

Let’s not forget that today is a solemn holiday here in the U.S.  I never want to disparage that because I really respect those who volunteered for their country and made the ultimate sacrifice.

That being said, I feel like I can simultaneously acknowledge the holiday and share this Monday funny.

About a month ago, my mother-in-law sent an email asking for my kids’ measurements — she had some leftover grey tencel fabric and wanted to make K-Man and Ell-Bell matching outfits with Paw Patrol patches on them.  Lord help me.  Like a good daughter-in-law, I ignored the email.  So she sent it again a few days later.  I ignored some more, and then I delayed, and then I went out of town, but she persisted, and eventually I sent her some measurements.

On Friday, these prison uniforms puppies arrived in the mail.

The mother-in-law never disappoints.  I just want to know why she hassled me so hard for measurements and then ultimately made my son’s and daughter’s shirts the exact same length.  K-Man had to wear a t-shirt under his outfit so as not to expose his belly button.

I guess I’ll just add these to the pile of clothing that my kids will never wear but I still have to keep for the rest of time.

Until next time,

Vee

Oregon Trails (Finally, the Finale)

It’s finally here, the last post about my cursed trip to visit family in Oregon.  At the end of yesterday’s post, I had turned in early at a hotel near the airport in Portland, ready to wake up at an ungodly hour to drag my kids onto a 6 a.m. cross-country flight.

Day 5: Tuesday, May 15

My alarm went off at 3:00 a.m., and I jumped out of bed and started getting ready.  I had a long day ahead of me.  I had booked the kids and I on the hotel’s 4:00 a.m. shuttle to the airport, where we would hopefully have plenty of time to make our 6:00 a.m. flight to Newark.  It was going to be a 5-hour flight, and then we would have a 4-hour layover (gross) in Newark before our final flight home to Upstate NY.

When the clock struck 3:30 a.m., I made my way over to the beds to start waking K-Man and Ell-Bell.  They are slow movers, and I wanted them to be dressed and ready so we could head down to the shuttle by 3:45 a.m.

I whispered K-Man’s name and started to gently shake his shoulder.  But then I was distracted by my phone buzzing.  Who could be texting me at this hour?

I checked my phone and saw the following text:

Your flight to Upstate NY is canceled due to air traffic control.  We’ve rebooked you on an alternate itinerary.  We’ve rebooked you today on our 11:25 p.m. flight via Chicago, arriving in Upstate NY at 9:37 a.m.

I blinked at my phone, completely dumbfounded.  If I’m being honest I had expected some kind of problem with the flights.  That’s just the way this trip was going.  What I wasn’t expecting was a full 17-hour delay in my itinerary, followed by a redeye.  Were they kidding me with this shit? Was there really no faster way to Upstate NY?  Was I really going to have to spend all day at the Portland airport with my two travel-weary children?  Was I really going to have to keep them up until 11:30 at night, and then wake them up again 4 hours later to make a transfer in Chicago?

I couldn’t bear the thought.  I started frantically searching the internet for alternate itineraries, all while dialing the airline’s customer service.  I was finding nothing good online, but I was hopeful that when I got on the phone with an actual person, they could pull some strings and find me something to get me even remotely close to Upstate NY before the day was over.

After 30 minutes on hold, I finally got on with a representative.  He was way less than helpful.  Which, I guess, is not his fault, there just weren’t a lot of ways to get to Upstate NY that day.  When I discovered that it was only the Newark-to-Upstate NY flight that was canceled, I asked if I could still get on the flight from Portland to Newark, and then figure things out from there.  I was hoping that maybe once in Newark I could get on standby or something.  Or worst case scenario, I could rent a car and drive home from Newark, it was only a 4-hour trip.  I just knew I needed to get the FUCK out of Oregon.  ASAP.

The representative on the phone assured me that he had restored my Portland-to-Newark reservation, so I quickly hung up and got my things together.  I woke the kids up and we went downstairs and caught the 4:30 a.m. shuttle to the airport.

We got to the airport at 4:45 a.m., and I felt like we had a comfortable amount of time to get through check-in and security.  We waited in line for a kiosk, and then I swiped my credit card and told the machine I was headed to Newark.  The machine could not find my reservation on the flight to Newark.

“Fuuuuuuckkkk,” I moaned audibly.  I entered my itinerary number and the kiosk told me I was still booked on a flight to Chicago at 11:25 p.m.  So the representative on the phone had just been dicking me around, and he had not, in fact, restored my reservation on the Portland-to-Newark flight.

I needed to speak to someone, and quickly, but it was a free-for-all.  There was no line you could stand in to wait for an agent.  The agents were just free-floating from kiosk to kiosk, helping whoever was the squeakiest wheel.  I kept trying to flag someone down while keeping my kids close by,  but I was having a bitch of a time.  Time was getting tight. Finally, at about 5:15 a.m., I was able to get an agent to tell me that she would help me right after she was finished talking to the travelers she was currently helping.

Relieved, I waited patiently at my kiosk.  But I watched her like a hawk.  I watched her finish with the travelers she was currently helping.  And then I watched her walk in the complete opposite direction to go handle something else.  Quickly, I hoped.  And then I watched some other traveler walk up to the agent and start peppering her with questions.  “Get on with it!” I grumbled to myself, but instead, the agent hunkered down and started having a full-blown conversation with this other traveler.

I’d had it.  I stomped over to the agent and, as politely as I could, reminded her that she had promised to help us next, emphasizing that I was about to miss my flight.  The agent got huffy, told me she was doing the best she could and that she had no control over who walked up to her and asked for help.  And then she told me to go wait back at my kiosk, and that she’d be with me when she could.

I sulked back to my kiosk, fighting back tears.  I knew I had been rude, and I hate confrontation, but I was beyond frustrated with this situation!  I just wanted to get back on the fucking flight that I had made a fucking reservation for.

A minute later, the agent walked over to me and said, “Now, how can I help you?”

I tearfully (ugh) explained what was going on, and the agent hopped on her computer to see if she could help me.  It turned out, the “computer” wouldn’t let me get on the flight to Newark without having a connecting flight out of Newark also reserved.  After 10 minutes of typing and making phone calls, the agent had ironed everything out, and we were on our way to security at about 5:35 a.m.  For the second time this trip, I walked up to an empty gate and boarded my flight under the judge-y and watchful eye of the Final Boarding screen.

I quickly texted Hubby an update of our situation, letting him know I would figure things out once we got to Newark.  Then I put away my phone and hunkered down for our five hour flight.

The flight went by quickly.  K-Man was totally engrossed in his tablet.  Ell-Bell slept on and off for at least half the time.  I mean, Ell-Bell did throw up twice, but we somehow survived it.  The first time she threw up, I had an empty drink cup in my hand, so I managed to catch almost all of her vomit in the cup.  It was super awkward walking her back to the restroom whilst holding a chunky vomit cup in the air, but most of the passengers seemed oblivious.  As for Ell-Bell’s second vomit, well, it all just kind of disappeared into the folds of her neck.  So I let it slide.  Because I had been doing this for four days and I just didn’t care anymore.

As we began our descent, I started to worry about the task ahead of me.  How, exactly, was I going to get home from Newark?  There were like three flights a day from Newark to Upstate NY, and they were all canceled or booked for the rest of the day.  I could try and get on standby.  I could take an hour-and-a-half taxi to another NYC airport for a flight out of there.  I could take a bus back to Upstate NY.  I could rent a car … but wait, what were the chances that I could find a rental company with two car seats available for rent?  It all sounded so overwhelming, but I knew I had to figure it out.

When we were on the ground I turned on my phone and saw a message from Hubby asking me to let him know when I landed.  I sent him a quick text and then started to pack everything up.  Hubby immediately called me and when I picked up, he sounded way too cheerful.  “Hi! How was your flight?  So I’m here in Newark, waiting to pick you guys up and drive you home.”

Oh. my. god.  You guys.  It took everything in me to not burst into tears as relief washed over me.  I love that man so much.  It’s not just that he volunteered to drive 4 hours to Newark to pick us up and then drive another 4 hours home.  This day was his ONLY day off in a stretch of 12 days.  And he had just come off 6 night shifts in a row.  And he had 27 patients notes to do.  And instead of enjoying his single day off or getting his work done, he opted to spend 8+ hours in the car for us.  My hero.

I hugged Hubby tightly when we got to the luggage carousel, and then we headed out for our 4-hour drive back to Upstate NY.  Well, it was supposed to be 4 hours.   You know how driving with small kids can be — numerous stops for potty time and food needs.  And then there was the apocalypse storm that we had to drive through (the reason that my flight had been canceled in the first place).  We hit a few bits of traffic where people were slowly navigating around downed trees in the road.

About two hours away from home, Ell-Bell threw up in the back seat.  Surprise, surprise.  We had just gotten back on the road and were not about to pull over, so I did something stupid.  Something that I’ve done more times than I care to admit.  I climbed into the back seat of our sedan and wedged myself between the two kids’ car seats.  I sat there for several minutes wiping up vomit and then, without thinking much, started to climb back into the front seat.  As I was making the climb, I had a brief inkling that I shouldn’t be doing this.  We were in weird fast but also start-stop traffic and it’s just really not a safe practice.  That inkling made me look up quickly right as I was standing on the divider between the two front seats.  When I looked up, I saw that we were speeding towards the brake lights of the car in front of us.  “Stop!!” I screamed to Hubby, and he slammed on the brakes.  And I flew through the air, face first into the windshield.

Time stood still for a few seconds as I peeled my body off the dashboard, crawled back into my seat, and put my seat belt on.  My whole forehead and nose were numb, and the bridge of my nose was stinging.  I looked up and realized with disgust that my face had put a huge spiderweb crack all over the right side of the windshield.  Holy shit.

Hubby was horrified.  “Oh my god, are you ok?”

“Um, I think so,” I stammered, blinking through the tears that were quickly falling down my face.  “Um, I don’t know, I think maybe I broke my nose.  And my forehead hurts.”  When we could, we pulled off at a gas station and Hubby examined me.  I had a split on the bridge of my nose that he said needed to be glued up — but not stitched.  He couldn’t say for sure whether my nose was broken, but it wasn’t disfigured.  There were no other cuts or notable symptoms, so Hubby (who I will remind you is an ER doctor) didn’t think I needed to go in to the hospital.

So we hit the road again and finished our ride home.  Hubby with his hands clenched tightly around the steering wheel, me obsessively pulling on the seat belt and engaging the automatic lock.  I honestly felt like there was some sort of Final Destination-esque plot on my life at this point.  I lowered my standards significantly and just hoped we would all make it home alive.

Well, after one final hiccup (K-Man pooped in his pants in the car again), we were finally home at about 9:00 p.m.  We went inside, and Hubby cleaned up my cut and glued it back together.  Somehow, magically, we convinced the kids to go to bed, even though they had been sitting all day and were operating on Pacific Time.  Hubby and I ordered a pizza, which I ate with difficulty since my nose was nice and swollen.

And then we went to bed.  And that was the very morbid end to my fucking trip to Oregon.

Thank you so much to all who indulged me and read through my entire 5-day bitch fest.  I really, truly, never want to leave the house again.

Until next time,

Vee


Post Scripts:

  1. I developed a really classy looking double black eye.  It was purple, and then it was purple and yellow, now it is a dull brown.  Nobody has dared ask me where it came from because it looks very sinister.
  2. Two days after we got back, K-Man woke up and promptly threw up all over me.  He would go on to be sick for a full three days.
  3. Three days after we got back, I learned that my beloved 92-year-old grandpa’s health is rapidly declining, and that my entire family is descending upon him in a month to spend some final moments with him.  So I have reluctantly purchased tickets for me and the kids to fly to Missouri — again, sans Hubby — in the middle of June.  Am I crazy?

 

 

Oregon Trails (Part Four)

Yesterday, I blogged about the most laughably catastrophic Mother’s Day I will ever have (hopefully).  Today, the story continues with my final full day in Oregon.  As far as disasters go, it was kind of a light day.

Day 4: Monday, May 14

I don’t even remember what time the kids woke up on this morning, which means it probably wasn’t 3:30 a.m., thank gawd.  And Ell-Bell was vomit free for 20 hours at this point so I was pretty sure the puke fest was over.  It was going to be a beautiful day!

We packed up quickly and checked out, because we would be staying at a hotel near the Portland airport for our final night of the trip.

I made my way over to my sister’s bright and early so that I could say goodbye to my brother-in-law before he left for work.  As soon as I got there, things felt oddly frosty, and I immediately regretted coming over so early.  It was clear that something was up and my sister was in a bad mood, so I figured she was just tired of entertaining.

About an hour into the visit, K-Man — who had refused the cereal breakfast offered to him, and who was generally anti-eating the whole trip — decided that he really really REALLY wanted to eat some goldfish.  I was all about him eating anything, so I said sure.  At home, he’s allowed to roam free with his goldfish because we are a bunch of messy fucks.  But since we were visiting and I have at least one ounce of common decency, I insisted he eat his goldfish at the table.  Apparently, this offended/enraged K-Man to his three-year-old core.  He lost his mind.  For about twenty minutes. He was rage crying on the floor, kicky, with hot tears flowing down his face and drool pouring out of his mouth.  My sister tried to be helpful, but there wasn’t really any helping the situation.  (I will say that her insistence on discussing what parenting books say to do in this situation was less than welcome, but it was coming from a good place.)

(Let me also say, as an aside, that my son K-Man is actually a very sweet, awesome, adorable three-year-old.  This trip makes him sounds like a 24/7 nightmare, but he’s not.  Exhaustion and lots of change can certainly eff a poor kid up).

At some point, the rage cry was finally over, but K-Man had abandoned any effort to eat his goldfish.  So he was still in a state of near starvation.  Eventually, he ran up and asked me for eggs and pancakes.  I knew that my sister had both items in the house, but I didn’t feel that comfortable volunteering her food to him.  Finally, I asked her if I could make him some eggs, and she said yes.  So I told K-Man I was going to make him eggs, but not pancakes.  He wasn’t cool with that.

“I want eggs AND pancakes!” He pleaded.  I wasn’t in the mood for another meltdown, and honestly, the only objection I had to giving the kid pancakes was that they weren’t mine to give.  So I sheepishly turned to my sister and asked her if I could make him some pancakes, too.

My sister hesitated, looked annoyed, and finally said, “well, yeah, but you CAN say no to him.”

Uggggghhhhhh.  Shut. Upppp.  Up until this point, I was trying very hard not to think about how my kids’ unusual behavior reflected on my parenting,  but this particular jab left little to the imagination.

I turned away, rolled my eyes, and started making K-Man some pancakes.

As the day wore on, I was really ready to not be around my sister anymore.  And then the straw broke the camel’s back.  We were sitting around chatting, and she casually brought up what had happened the night before.  You know, when I left dinner early because my kids were in the middle of two distinct and interminable meltdowns.

She went on to tell me that she was actually mad at me about it.  She was Mad.  At me.  I was completely shocked.  I didn’t understand.  Why was she mad?  She elaborated that it was supposed to be our special celebratory Mother’s Day dinner, and that I had ruined it by walking out.  Instead of celebrating the special occasion, everyone was thinking about me and I guess feeling guilty that I couldn’t join?  Honestly, I don’t even know.  All I know is that this revelation totally sank me and I started crying again.

My sister thought I was crying because I felt bad, so she started rubbing my back.  I let her, but I was actually crying because I was frustrated and angry.  Where was her empathy?  Did she not understand that, at this point, I was life-ing at about 5%?  Why else would I have made a scene and walked out the of the restaurant?  Was I really supposed to be thinking about anyone but myself and my two kids in that moment?

Honestly, I can understand why she might be mildly upset about my giving up and walking away from the dinner.  But I can’t understand why she had the need to tell me about it.  Not in my fragile state.  I apologized anyway because I didn’t want to prolong the conversation, and my sister was all, “Good, I feel better getting that off my chest.  I don’t believe in holding things in.”

At that point I volunteered to take my kids out for a drive to give my sister and her son some quiet time together.  I could not get out of there fast enough.  After a short car nap for K-Man and Ell-Bell, I stopped in at my mom’s and hung out with her for a while.

The visit was actually really pleasant.  K-Man and my mom’s dog started to get along and were super cute together.  And my mom was suddenly really social and grandmother-y towards my kids, and I realized that she really just shines better in smaller settings.  So I was able to let go of some of the resentment I was harboring towards her.

My tiny happy bubble burst (of course) when Ell-Bell up and barfed all over me again.  Goldfish and apple juice this time.  What the heck? It had been more than 24 hours since the last puke! Why was this still happening? Would I ever stop smelling like vom? And what would I do if she was still barfing on our long plane ride tomorrow?  Halp!!

After a few hours with my mom, we all met back up with my sister at a playground.  It was after 4 p.m., and we were in Oregon, but I put a little sunscreen on K-Man anyway, because that child has the complexion of a ghost.  I swear he was out in the sun for probably 20 minutes combined, but still walked away with a burn on his arms, cheeks, and neck.  Mom fail # 2,894,567.

As evening approached, my mom, my sister, my kids and I all piled into the small car to head to Portland.  They were going to drop us off at our hotel and say goodbye there, because I had a 6 a.m. flight the next morning.

Right before we got to the Portland hotel, we stopped for some McDonalds.  And as soon as we all opened and started eating our food, guess what happened? Yes, that’s right, Ell-Bell threw up.  Again.  All over my sister’s car, the borrowed car seat, etc., etc.  — you know the drill by now.  We pulled over off the highway for another baby wipe clean up (I’m officially an expert, by the way), and then enjoyed the rest of our dinner all smushed into that vomit-scented sedan together.

After we got to the hotel and said our goodbyes, I quickly got to work readying Ell-Bell and K-Man for bed.  I started a bath and then stripped both kids down.  And then I realized the bath was scalding hot so I waited for a while before putting them in.  And like an idiot, I did not re-diaper Ell-Bell.  So of course, she ran from corner to corner of the room, diarrhea-ing all over the hotel carpet.  Like a sick dog.  I chased after her and wiped up sick poop pile after sick poop pile, thanking my lucky stars that at least the carpet was dark.  Honestly, I almost took a picture of the crime scene, but then I figured that was a bridge too far, even for me.

Eventually I succeeded in bathing the kids and tucking them into bed.  Ell-Bell giggled and flailed and cried and refused to go to sleep until after 9 p.m., but that was just par for the course at this point.

I showered, re-packed the suitcase, made sure the diaper bag was fully stocked, and then I went right to sleep.  I was going to have to wake up at 3 a.m. to start the ball rolling for our 6 a.m. flight.

I know what you’re thinking.  Is there any chance that I made that 6 a.m. flight?  Check back tomorrow for the final post of my Oregon Trails.  You won’t be disappointed.

Until next time,

Vee

Oregon Trails (Part Three)

Okay guys, as painful as it is, we’ve gotta keep moving through this Oregon saga.  Somehow, there is still a lot more to cover! Check back on Day 1 and Day 2 to catch up if you missed those.

So if you read yesterday’s post, you know that Ell-Bell got sick at the end of Saturday, and lots of vomit ensued.  I was really hoping it was just a two-vomit bug (is that a thing?).  Read ahead to find out if my hopes were in vain.

Day 3: Sunday, May 13 (Mother’s Day)

Ah yes, Mother’s Day.  A complicated and emotional day for so many.  And for everyone else, a day of breakfast in bed, mimosas, trips to the spa, and posting angelic pictures of your children on Facebook.

Well, let’s get real.  My Mother’s Day was not of the breakfast-in-bed variety.  Instead, it began with Ell-Bell waking up at 3:30 in the morning.  Again.  Fuuuuck.  There was lots of crying, but blessedly, she eventually went back to sleep and snoozed on until 5:00 a.m.  Of course, her 5:00 a.m. waking was punctuated by her throwing up all over herself, the bed, and yours truly.

“Cool,” I thought to myself.  “Well maybe that time was the last time.”

Twenty minutes later, she threw up again.  Dang it!  So it was going to be that kind of day! Perhaps at this point, we should just switch to bullet points, because I’m exhausted just thinking about what happened next.

  • On our way over to a Mother’s Day breakfast at my sister’s house, we stopped in at the grocery store to pick up some bacon.  K-Man had a screaming meltdown on the floor as soon as we walked in, because I refused to carry him.  I eventually had to bribe him with gummy bears so that I could move on with my life.
  • In the middle of the Mother’s Day breakfast at my sister’s, Ell-Bell let out another warning burp.  I raced her to the bathroom, where an impressive 30% of her vomit made it into the toilet.  This particular vomit was filled with milk curds and smushed up raspberries (you’re welcome).  So yeah, my breakfast was ruined.  Luckily, my sister came to the rescue to help me clean up, and she even lent me a shirt to wear for the rest of the day.
  • Next we drove about 45 minutes away to a waterfall for a nice picnic lunch.  About 5 minutes into the drive, Ell-Bell threw up all over herself and the borrowed car seat again.  I had to pull over and perform another clean up.  Baby wipes to the rescue once more!
  • While we were playing in the little lake by the waterfall, K-Man announced that he had to pee.  I was like, “cool, I’ll take you to the bathroom” and he was like, “nah, I’m just gonna pee in my shorts right here.”  I only had sweatpants for him to change in to, but it was a hot sunny day and he was already playing in a bunch of water.  So yeah, I’m that mom who let her son keep running around with pee all over his shorts.
  • At some point, K-Man ran off to a playground about 50 yards away and, under my not-very-careful supervision, decided to shed his shorts.  I was quite horrified to discover, when I was finally paying more attention, that my son was running around the packed playground in his undies.  He refused to put them back on, and I was not about to pin my son to the ground and force his shorts on in front of 50 happy people.
  • When we all decided it was time to go, everyone headed back to their respective cars.  Except I was left behind with the task of retrieving K-Man from the playground.  And that little buttface would. NOT. COME.  I begged.  I pleaded.  I bartered.  I pretended to leave without him.  Nope.  Finally, I swallowed my pride and army crawled through a damned play tunnel with my sick baby strapped to my chest so I could get within arm’s reach of that little turd.  I grabbed him like a maniac, forced him down the slide with me, and started dragging him away from the playground.  Because K-Man was fighting back and we were making the most horrid scene, I finally just picked him up and carried both kids back to the car.  I reunited with my family and they were all like, “what took you so long?”
  • On the drive back to our hotel, I heard some suspicious noises from Ell-Bell and pulled off the rural highway to investigate.  She wasn’t vomiting, miracle of miracles!  But then K-Man looked at me and said, “I’m just gonna poop in the driveway right there, I’m not gonna poop in my seat.”  Um, what?  I urgently asked if he needed to poop, and he repeated his desire to poop in the “driveway.”  I asked him to hold on and promised we would find him a potty, but then he said very casually, “I’m just pooping right now.  A lot is coming out.”  Are you FREAKING KIDDING ME? So I got back out of the car, pulled K-Man out of his seat, and started the clean up process.  And I’m sorry for the TMI, but it was NOT a healthy poop.  I used another mountain of baby wipes to clean poop out of the borrowed car seat, and then made my poor son stand pantsless on the side of the road while I de-pooped him.  You’re welcome for the show, rural Oregon!
  • After some rest at the hotel, I packed the kids back in the car to head out for dinner with my family.  En route to the dinner, I caught a yellow light that made me hit the brakes a little harder than usual.  And as I did, something flew from the backseat and bumped heavily into the back of my seat.  What on earth? I turned around quickly, completely baffled as to what I had left loose back there.  And as I turned, I saw … my son’s sweet little hand wrapped around my seat.  He was on the floor, looking up at me with shock all over his face.  Oh my god! I had forgotten to buckle him in to his seat!  And he wasn’t hurt, at all, but something seriously bad could have happened!  Holy shit did I feel like the worst mom in the history of everything ever.
  • Dinner, at my sister’s urging, was at a fancy Thai restaurant.  A place with no kids’ menu, and not many kid guests.  I ordered my kids $20 worth of food that I knew they wouldn’t touch, and then tried to play zone defense.  As predicted, when the food arrived, K-Man had no interest.  And he wouldn’t stay in his damned seat; he was crawling all over the restaurant at this point.  Meanwhile, Ell-Bell was also antsy and losing her mind.  Her crying escalated, and other guests started to stare.  I could feel my own family getting tense.  Finally, I’d had it.  Three days of mental and physical exhaustion, three days of trying to keep it together through catastrophe after catastrophe, and I was just done.  I picked up Ell-Bell, grabbed K-Man’s hand, and told my mom that I was just going to wait outside.  I left her my credit card to cover my meal, and then as soon as my face hit fresh air I started to cry.  Embarassing!  At one point, my sister came out and tried to take my place so I could go back in and enjoy my meal, but there was no way I wanted to go back in to that restaurant.
  • Back at the hotel, it took another hour and a half to get my unexplainably hyper kids to fall asleep.  After they eventually passed out, I sat in the dark and finally indulged in my very cold Drunken Noodle dinner.

So yeah, that was my Mother’s Day.  At this point, I was beginning to realize that this was no ordinary trip with two small kids.  There was clearly some cosmic design to crush my soul and discourage me from ever leaving the house again.  And it was working.  On the bright side, the trip was more than halfway over.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a replay of my 4th day in hell.

Until next time,

Vee