Friday, February 25, 2011

Messy Messes of Emesis

I'm in a funk, there's no other way to put it. The frequency of my blogging kinda reflects my recent moods. I think the combination of my undiagnosed Seasonal Affective Disorder and the kids being sick since earlier in the month have given me a case of the poopy pants that I just can't kick. February always makes me consider why the hell I live in New England because I.fucking.hate.winter. I don't like being cold. I don't like being indoors. Snow is cool for about 3 days and then I'm all set. I much rather prefer to go commando and wear flip flops every day. I want tan lines near my eyes where my sunglasses should be. I want sand in my scalp, not dandruff. I want to work on my new garden, not snow blow the driveway. I know, I know, "weah, weah, weah" but let me vent. I feel better already. Just a bit more complaining and I swear it's done.

To re-cap the infirmary chronology, Greta got sick before G-man. First and only (knock on wood) ear infection of the winter for her. I forgot how awful those are. She got over it in about a week and a half. (Just realized I forgot to administer her dose of antibiotic tonight - sweet, now I'm preoccupied.) While it sucked to witness her in pain and discomfort, it was just as bad to see her personality totally morph from mood swing to mood swing. If puberty is anything like that, I'm relocating to a tent in the backyard.

Gusto is still fighting some mystery illness. He has an awful cough, but he hasn't had a fever at all. He's had a boogie nose for like two weeks. His mood fluctuates a lot and he mostly just wants to be held. He's not himself. He's also been puking about every other day. It's weird because it doesn't seem like a flu per se, but it's not just a little cold either.

By the way for those keeping score at home, this winter, the over-under for cumulative pukes between Greta and Gus is somewhere around twelve and a half. And how many of those landed anywhere near a toilet or sink, you may ask? Absolutely none. I'm not talking about little, formula spit-ups by Gus either. I don't even flinch at those. He and I will be mid-sesh with a bottle, I'll pat his back, he'll spit up a bit, a stray burp shrapnel will plop into my eyebrow, I'll rub it in to straighten out a few of my renegade brow hairs in the vicinity, and we continue. That's nothing.

When August actually vomits, on the other hand, the projectile spray encompasses an area greater than a fire extinguisher. For most of those explosions, THE WIFE was the unfortunate bystander. Last night, though, he got me good. My guard was down. When that ominous cough started, I shoulda been sprinting immediately towards a toilet, a trash can, a boot, anything. Instead, I half paid attention and patted his back. Next thing I now, warm thick formula exploded in waves over my shoulder and on my neck in varying directions of our entryway to the house. Think Lard Ass and blueberry pie a la Stand By Me. We stood there for a moment. Me dazed, he triumphant. Eventually, I shrugged and stripped the both of us down on the spot. Post-puke, he was all smiles and giggles as we ran through the house - white diaper/undies only.

Moving on. Feeling better. A couple bright spots and discoveries lately, truth be told. First: WSHL 91.3 FM. I stumbled upon the Stonehill radio station, a few weeks ago. What a pleasant surprise. Of course, there are the occasional, inevitable, embarrassingly immature broadcasts by awkward nineteen year-old know-it-all dee-jay tandems discussing private jokes that seem hilarious only to them, but overall, the music selection is consistently original and most of all, enjoyable. I'm listening right now on my bedside clock radio, as a matter of fact.

Speaking of the clock radio, Greta's arsenal of new moves, combined with her increasing confidence to dance unabashedly in front of her circle of trust (me, WIFE, Augey, Nana, Pep, Mimi, "CC", cousin Sophie, cousin Johnny, and Auntie Steph), is one of the highlights of the day for me. Generally, we jam out as a family of 4 at least once per day: before dinner in the kitchen, after dinner in the kitchen, or before bed in mummy's and daddy's bedroom. The shoulder shimmy, the Nana a/k/a Elaine move, the jump around on tippy-toes, and the newly-added, spin around on the floor like Marty McFly channeling Hendrix - I wish you could witness just one of the moves but G-sizzle's sight of anyone outside the circle watching is enough to paralyze her for hours without speaking, unfortunately.

One other note on little Miss G - and I have no idea if this is early, late, expected, right on time or what, but it made me so proud irregahdless - earlier this week, we were getting ready for her bedtime. Typically, that means she'll run around in the hallway between her room, her brother's room, and our room in a last ditch effort to procrastinate going to bed for however long she can pull it off. During this time, she also often hides in my closet. So that night, I decided to don the headlamp and read books together under my ties, suits, and dress shirts hanging just above our heads. We closed the door. I switched the spelunking gear on. Meanwhile, Greta had snagged a bunch of flash cards that are bent and torn and beat up from weeks of circulation, to go along with Good Night Moon and Oink or whatever else I had brought in to our hideaway. Anyway, out of nowhere, she started to count the number of cars in a flash card. One, two, three - all the way up to nine! Totally unprompted. I was shocked and very impressed. I didn't know what to do so I hugged and kissed her and told her she was "Gorgeous Greta the Great Genius!" like I used to chant when she was a baby. (Sorry, but normally every number is 2, every color is pink, and every letter is L-M-N-O.) Whatever annoyance or frustration that was leftover from a dinner of "NO!" to every question or request just evaporated in an instant.

And, like Kaiser Soze, "as mysteriously as he arrived, he was gone," my poopy pants seem to have disappeared. Thank you all for being my therapist. Check's in the mail. My parkah (or park-er for you massholes) is retiring for the season. Good day and good night.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Just Hibernating

It's a lame excuse but whatever creative bones exist in my body have been dulled by the seemingly unending shitty weather. The past few weeks, if I muster up the strength to write even just a personal e-mail, it's late at night after the kids and the wife are in bed. The house is finally calm and quiet. No tantrums, no television blasting noise, no domestic emergencies. I treasure those few daily minutes of tranquility so dearly that I usually toast to myself with a glass of wine or whiskey. But lately I've either bypassed those moments and went directly to bed, or my brain was too fried to write anything half interesting.

Irregahdless, here's a brief re-cap of the recent happenings in our neck of the woods other than clearing snow from the driveway and staying cooped up in the house every day. We've experienced leaks of varying amounts in basically every window of the house, which explains why one may see half-soaked and half-frozen beach towels laying around random sills on any given day. We were shrugging it off and hoping for the weather to improve but things got worse before they got better. One day, we found water dripping through our kitchen ceiling, which was sweet. I reported the damage to our insurer. The adjuster recommended a company that clears snow and ice from roofs. After I spent a couple hours dangling from a ladder with a shovel and hammer in my hands, I opted for the professionals. A few days later, as two guys chipped and shoveled icicles and pieces of shingles from our roof, they broke one of the sky lights. More sweetness. At this point, I'm just waiting for a pipe to burst or a tree to crash through the living room. No sense getting all worked up about it, so I segue to the kiddos instead.

Gigi is turning two next week and I scratch my head at the speed in which that's happened. She is going through a phase (at least I hope it's only a phase though we're going on two or three months now) when she either says absolutely nothing or cries when anyone other than me, the wife, her grandmothers, or her babysitter walk into the house. It bothers me partially because I fear she's painfully shy but mostly because the people who don't see Greta often don't get to witness her constantly expanding personality and vocabulary. For example, Greta is big into "hiding" right now, which she announces to us before doing it and usually amounts to one of four situations: 1) kneeling under the kitchen table; 2) in my closet sitting on my safe (you know, for our jewels and stacks of cash) below the shirts and ties; 3) under a desk in our kitchen; or 4) she's closed her eyes and thinks she's become invisible. It never gets old to me.

She also loves to walk around on her tippy-toes before and after her repertoire of dance moves and shoulder shimmies. When she wakes up from her nap, and I ask what she dreamed about, she says almost every time "Frosty, Santa Claus, and Mrs. Claus" a full seven weeks post-Christmas. She sings "kinkle kinkle little stah." She even gives kisses and hugs unsolicited every once in a while. She even tilts her head and looks at me with a convincing charm when she's trying to get out of eating something usually. She has me wrapped around her finger already. I could go on and bore with every detail, but I'll close out the topic with one last story. A few weeks back, the wife and Gigi had a girls' day out shopping complete with a restaurant lunch. Thinking she had Greta thoroughly impressed, the wife asked who her best friend was and she answered correctly, "Daddy!" Yes! Score: Me (1) Shell (O).

As for G-man, he's kicking ass and taking names. He's rolling around like a tumbleweed, sometimes ending up unhappily against a chair leg. His head and neck strength are improving every day. We torture him constantly with tummy time, but he takes it like a champ until he's exhausted face down on his belly screaming for someone to come get him. The nice part about Gus being able to keep his head up (aside from not using the N.G. tube!) is he can sit in a high chair where he's still trying to decide if he likes cereal yet. And G-man also had his first co-ed tub while sitting in the bath seat this week. He smiles at anyone who hugs, kisses, or cuddles with him. He babbles "da-da-da-da" every once in a while, which Greta likes to imitate. We are constantly encouraged by his advancement, which still seems to be very consistent with a typical kid. We're grateful.

Meanwhile, I'm getting a little older, fatter, and wrinkled in my large forehead every day. I know I can't beat the age thing. As for the spare tire, once the temp creeps up over 20, I'll don the running kicks and get back outside. Regarding the wrinkles, do guys really put lotion on their faces? Or should I just accept that my dome is morphing into a raisin? These are the things I think about when I'm stuck inside waiting for the snow to melt. If it snows again, and you see me on the roof with a hair dryer and blowtorch, please tell me to get down. The hibernation is almost over.