Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Here's The Thing About Parenting

Strangerville Live is this Friday! Grab your tickets if you haven't already. It's shaping up to be a great show. FYI also, you don't need to bring a printed ticket to the door. We will check you in by name.


My baby sister and her husband are out of town right now so I was put on a sign-up sheet of sorts for child care for their three children. They needed someone to come and stay the night. I was signed up for two consecutive nights. Essentially 48 hours. Or, as it turns out, 1200 years in child care time.

This didn't seem like a big deal. I mean, how much trouble could these three be?



Did you guys know that raising children is difficult? Like, really super hard.

They want something ALL the time. And 98% of the time, what they're asking for sounds like something their parents most definitely wouldn't allow. But what do I know? How do I know what is allowed?

I mean, I guess I could have read the 722-page document in micro print that my sister created, explaining every speck of her children's DNA.

But I didn't read it, because I kind of thought I could just figure it out on my own. And then once I got to the house it was impossible to read anything because that's like trying to read the owner's manual to a car while driving in a blizzard. Oh, and three children are pooping while you do it as well.

But even if I had read the manual before arriving, I doubt it would have instructed me on whether or not Emrie, the 7-year-old, really was supposed to take the giant bag full of toys to school this morning, like she insisted was the case.

I'm not kidding you about this bag. It looked like Santa's sack of toys. And it was so heavy that she had to drag it on the ground as she waddled off to the school bus that she insisted comes at exactly 8:05 AM, which I'm just realizing now I totally took her word for this and didn't even attempt to verify, not that I would have known how to verify the school bus schedule because I don't know any of the other parents and even if I did, I don't want my family to look like the mess that doesn't know what time school starts.

Unfortunately the youngest was sick when I arrived. Did you know that when a one-year-old has a fever, the doctor prescribes eleventy drugs and none of these stop the one-year-old's explosive diarrhea anyway?

I had to change her diaper so many times the government is automatically forgiving all of my tax debt for 2017 as an apology for the torture.

Did you know we're still doing diapers? That's still a thing. They haven't invented a way out of that yet. Some of your friends are probably changing diapers if they have babies. You should be nicer to those friends. Their lives are very difficult. Let them cut in line at the grocery store and clap when they get on planes.

Emrie stood next to me (later I found out she was recording a video), directing me to aim my gagging and possible vomit into a bowl she had retrieved for me as I changed said diapers while rapidly shouting phrases like "you can do this, Eli" and "oh shit" and "don't tell your parents I said 'shit.'"

Can someone explain to me why my sister's house is 98 degrees? All of my clothes are drenched in sweat (and, probably, human feces). Every 10 minutes or so I asked the children if anyone else thought it was hot and I never did get a straight answer from any of them but I think they disagreed with me considering that when I told them to pick out their jammies they each chose clothes that I imagine an Eskimo would wear hunting.

Did you know that children have 1500 different pairs of jammies? And they all smell like pee.

And I think I have tinnitus now. I got it because three children that came from my baby sister's body have been screaming into both of my ears for the last 48 hours.

It started because they are apparently the world's biggest Utah Jazz fans. The moment I arrived at the home, Emrie gave me a 2-hour lecture on the topic. Here's 15 seconds of those 2 hours:


And then this is what happened for two more hours after I turned on the game:


What you don't see pictured is me, checking to see if the youngest has pooped somewhere, and Duncan, running around in the backyard looking for a new family.

Did you know that when you're taking care of children, you want to go to bed at like 7:00? This is because children are Melatonin that you have to work really hard for. Plus they poop. Have I mentioned the poop?

I truly cannot believe that the human race has not died out yet. HOW have billions of people over the course of human history decided to reproduce? Some of them THREE times!

Single parents have been my heroes for a long time. I know some excellent ones, and I'm constantly in awe of them. But these 48 hours have given me a new perspective.

This isn't facetious. This isn't hyperbole. This isn't patronization. I really, truly mean it when I say that after experiencing these 48 hours, I don't feel like anything I've ever done in my life is very impressive compared to anyone who has raised a child as a single parent.

You people--parents--especially the single ones--amaze me. I hope people tell you that every single day. But in case they don't, let me tell you this today.

Because I was a part-time single parent for 48 hours to three beautiful children that I love madly. But now I get to go home to my relatively quiet life where I don't have to tend to anyone else's poop. You full-time actual parents carry on, every day, doing amazingly-important work. And yet, somehow, I still see you contributing to the community, and working in my office, and running for office, and starting your own businesses, and supporting your friends, and on and on and on.

For 48 hours I didn't even change my clothes or take a shower because I was overwhelmed. And I even went to work during the day while someone else took over.

So, yeah. You people are rock stars. And I hope you don't forget it.

~It Just Gets Stranger 

34 comments:

  1. Here's the secret; those eleventy medications cause the explosive poop. BUT if you don't give them the eleventy medications, they cry nonstop and it's even more miserable.

    So next time you have a baby with drug induced explosive poop, give them lots of yogurt or a children's probiotic and lots of bananas and infant cereal. That will seriously slow down the poop.

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    1. I'm guessing he didn't feed them copious amounts of fruit loops or else we would have read about the COLOR of those blowouts as well.

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  2. Sincerely, truly, thank you. The poop truly is overwhelming some days. thankfully, they do get older and the poop part of everything becomes less a part of everythjng, until hopefully it won't even be a concern of mine at all anymore. To each their own poop! Now, remind me, is Emrie the one you have forever been trying to win over? Because it seems to me a few more jazz games, maybe matching attire, and you should be good.

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    1. Please tell me when that happens. Because my SEVENTEEN year old man-child still talks about his poop with me. I mean, part of me is grateful because he feels comfortable with his body and it's functions and also knows when to ask questions if things don't feel/look right. The other part of me though we were done talking about poop when he finished potty training.

      Also, my husband and I discuss our dogs poop EVERY DAMN DAY. Because one is old and one still eats any piece of trash he can find. So we have to make sure it happens.

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  3. What I hated most about my son as a baby was feeding him. Babies can't do anything without your help and you can't do anything else while feeding them. Now - I wish the most burdening aspect was feeding him . . . . .

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  4. I'm a mother of a non-verbal autistic 5yo. He is so amazing and I love him so much. Did you know that it is not uncommon for kids on the spectrum to not potty train until much later? I have a friend who's son didn't potty train until he was 10. I'm on year 5 and find myself begging him...literally begging with every diaper change, to just please try the potty. 😭

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    1. Bless you.

      Jeanine, will you shoot me an email when you have a minute?

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    2. Jeanine, I am so grateful for rock-star mothers like you who love and serve your kids even when it's incredibly difficult. You are amazing.

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    3. Thank you for that! I don't often feel rock star-ish but I'll take the compliment. 😉☺️

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    4. I'm a mom of an autistic child who wasn't potty trained until he was 5. I remember thinking it would never happen (GFCF diet helped flip a switch for him). My heart goes out to you, Jeanine.

      And he's hearing you. Best advice I ever got was to remember that everything goes in, it just doesn't come out when we want it to (it comes out when they're ready). And I don't mean poop, even if that sounds like it :-). Hugs to the both of you!

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    5. Thanks for that Liz! That is great advice! His motor memory is so amazing that I just know if I can get him to do it a couple times he will be fully trained. It's just getting to that point that's hard.

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  5. So Emrie doesn't hate...such a strong word...extremely dislike you any longer?

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  6. I just saw this post right after I had made this pie chart: https://imgflip.com/i/1orjx1

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  7. So, I'm not a single parent, but my husband works in Hawaii launching rockets for a month at a time. He left yesterday, and this post couldn't have been better timed. While I *wish* I had gone to bed shortly after my two kids, I don't sleep well when I'm the only adult in the house. Parenting (especially alone!) is hard. BUT I wouldn't give up my kids for anything in the world. Thanks for the entertaining and sweet post!

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  8. So does this new found appreciate for parents mean you're buying Cathy a trip to Hawaii for mother's day? Every mother's day I give my mom a homemade card thanking her for not smothering me in my sleep, I know it was a challenge.

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  9. Spoiler alert: when you have kids, you get used to the poop, and even find yourself discussing poop with other adults.
    "How's it going?"
    "Good, just took the kids to the beach for vacation, had a lovely time. You?"
    "Oh pretty good, except Bobby's explosive diarrhea. It's been a week of it now."
    "Oh how awful, have you tried bananas?"
    "Yes but no luck yet. We're starting a new probiotic now. By the way, did you get those reports from Mike? Deadline was yesterday."

    That's my life now. Work and poop. Throw in some hand foot and mouth disease and toddler hunger strikes and you've covered everything I've talked about today.

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  10. We had a kegger when our two youngest (13 months apart) were done with diapers. Unfortunately the cleaning up of poop didn't stop then. I have cleaned pooped up at least three bathrooms that were not mine own. Two public and one of my best friend. The two public ones had to be cleaned with what I coule find in the bathroom. IE hand soap and toilet paper. We refer to all those incidences as pooptastrophies. There are no other words to describe those three very vivid, etched in my brain forever, pooptastrophies.

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  11. I'm not feeling sorry for you. My three nights with them involved explosive grass green diarrhea all over the carpet that was then walked through. Which led into bath number 2 for Miss LuLu. You know I can't handle diapers either so Emrie stood next to me during the clean up holding that bowl under my chin while I gagged uncontrollably. She kept saying "you're doing a really good job Shelly. I know this is hard for you!" She's a really good cheerleader. Meanwhile Ander was skipping around naked yelling " Call McCann! She'll clean it up!" He was talking about Cathie. Cathie however wasn't about to come help. Her response was, "N.O. Icky icky icky". While I was cleaning up the mess Lucy went into Emrie's room found some bright red lipstick and smeared it all over her face and chest which led into bath number three for the night. It's a miracle, but we all survived. The next day Emrie told her nanny "my Aunt Shelly is allergic to poop." Exactly Emrie, I am allergic to poop.

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    1. It's amazing Bob and Cathie ever changed any of our diapers (I'm only assuming they did).

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    2. Small question - what is Emrie doing with bright red lipstick in her room???? She didn't take to street walking while her parents were away did she??????

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    3. "Call McCann" made me LOL.

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    4. Krishelle wins! But I am helping by scrubbing the carpet......

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    5. HAHAHAHAHA! They must love me the most because we had no pooping incidents that got out of hand when they came to my house!!! ;)

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  12. WHO WON THE BASKETBALL GAME???!!!!!

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    1. We weren't able to finish it, because bedtime. But Emrie came out of her room first thing in the morning, having already looked it all up, and giving me a full play-by-play. The Jazz were killed. And there were some very upset children over this.

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  13. This was both entertaining and validating. As a pregnant mom who can barely function at the moment, this was a great pick me up today.

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  14. The horror of diapers is one reason why kids are so close together. I didn't think that once I left the diaper stage, I could ever talk myself into going back to it.

    I'm also super amazed by single parents.

    The other night when we were brushing our teeth, my husband looked at me and said, "Four kids is really hard." I replied, "Imagine, some of our friends only have to keep one dog alive!" I wouldn't trade it for the world, but it sure is exhausting.

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    1. And imagine, some of our friends have ten kids!!

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  15. FYI, they were definitely counting on you not knowing the rules.

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  16. My brother watched my kids for about 24 hours (including an overnight) last weekend and he had many of the same reactions you did. It was so validating to have him say things like, "HOLY COW THEY NEED SOMETHING ALLLLLL THE TIIIIIIME! THERE IS NO SITTING DOWN EVER!"

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  17. My five year old autistic sister peed while at the park the other day. The glares from other moms didnt bother me nearly as much as the fact that i forgot to bring a change for her. Potty training is a riot.

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