The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: mother

Just the Tip

Many of my readers have been asking me for parenting and housekeeping tips, since I clearly know a thing or two about both.  So to keep ya’ll happy, I am instituting a new regular feature here at The Bearded Iris called “Just the Tip Tuesday.”  From now on, every Tuesday, unless there is some kind of family or political emergency that needs to be addressed ‘a-sap,’ you can check here for some practical advice on everything from spouse management, to wrangling your nekkid toddler,  to do-it-yourself-exterminating.  I do it all. And usually in heels and a Wonder Bra.

And since playing “Just the Tip” is probably how my sweet baby, Bucket Head, came to be, it is only fitting that my first “Just the Tip Tuesday” post be all about how I am managing his antibiotic schedule for the Double Ear Infection from Hell.  Have you ever been around an 18 month old with a double ear infection?  I believe I can best sum it up for you with a limerick (and thank you to Bernie B. for the inspiration!).

There once was a baby in pain.
From shrieking he could not refrain.
His fever — extreme.
Now where’s my Jim Beam?
Vomiting sure leaves a stain.

So yeah, I’m pretty sleep deprived right about now.  Hung over too.

Alright.  Enough of my caterwaulin’.  Here is my hot parenting tip of the week: the key to antibiotics is consistency.  Lord knows I am not a fan of antibiotics.  They totally fuck with your digestive track, and everyone knows that a good daily dump is the secret to lifelong happiness.  But there are times, like when your sweet baby has a DOUBLE GOD DAMN EAR INFECTION, that you just don’t have a choice.  I don’t want this angel to suffer any more than he already does having me for a mama.

Now, most of my life is just a hot, steamy mess.  I am not very organized.  (Who has time to tidy up when there is all this blogging to do?)  But I found out the hard way that if I don’t have a system in place to record medicine doses, I will forget to medicate my baby and then he won’t get better.  And that is how I came to invent my handy dandy Antibiotic Sticker Chart!  Here is what it looks like, for you visual people:

antibiotic schedule sticker chart

You will notice in my chart that there are 10 rows, one for each of the 10 days the little sicko will need to be medicated.  Each day has an AM and a PM sticker box.  Alls you do is give the child his dose of medication and then give yourself a sticker for being such a good parent!  Wooo-hooo!  It is that simple, honey.  Because I am such a giver, I’m gonna give you a copy for your own damn self.  Be right back.

Shoot ya’ll, I don’t know a PDF from a PDQ.  Just make your own damn chart.  It is not that hard.  Truly.

Look closely at this photo.  In addition to my kick-ass checklist, you’ll also notice a few alcoholic beverages. Please note, these are for the parent, not the sick child.  Trust me, a few libations can do wonders for pain management (again, for the pain of the adult, having to comfort the shrieking toddler all hours of the night, not for the pain of the infirm minor).

In conclusion, keep lots of booze on hand, some stickers, and a medicine chart the next time you have a sick baby.  And remember, this too shall pass.  See you next week for another installment of “Just the Tip Tuesday!”  Please be sure to let me know if there are any particular topics you’d like to have covered in the upcoming weeks.  Thanks, ya’ll.

Crafty Dog

This is my dog.

As you may recall, he looks nothing like Gwyneth Paltrow’s lady parts.

This is my jar of Crayola Crayons.

Isn’t it pretty?

And this is what happened when the two got together for a little intestinal par-tay.

Not my favorite way to start the day.

At least this time we didn’t have to go to the vet.  My vet is on speed dial because of this dog and his dietary habits.

Listen, this dog is trouble. He eats ANYTHING. Socks. Little People. Cat litter. He has a special affinity for dirty tissues….he’ll watch you blow your nose or wipe a kid’s nose and he’ll follow that dirty tissue with his chocolate brown eyes.  Then he’ll wait until you are distracted and he’ll snatch that booger-bundle right out of your hand.  He can wiggle his snout into the tightest or deepest of pockets for a tissue.  Then he’ll gobble it up and poop out a folded swan napkin the next day.  Not really sure how he does that, but it is a sight to behold.

That reminds me of the time the kids and I were stringing popcorn garlands to hang on the Christmas tree. Oooh-weee, that makes me sound like such a good Mommy, doesn’t it?  Well don’t kid yourselves, I was probably drunk while we were doing it.  Anyhooo, we were using upholstery thread and real sewing needles and listening to The Chipmunks Christmas album (which is probably why I was drinking), and the next thing I knew, Klepto starts crying, “Mommy!  My popcorn is gone!”  That dog was stalking her…like a lion on the savannah, waiting patiently for her guard to be lowered, and then, the pounce and the dash.  That so’mbitch swallowed her whole garland: popcorn, thread, and needle, faster than you could say “Turn that God-awful music down and pour Mommy some more eggnog!”

When I called the vet I learned that the needle wasn’t really the most dangerous part of this equation…it was the thread.  Apparently, if your pet doesn’t pass the thread all at once, it can cause the intestines to bunch up and lose blood flow.  If that happens, the animal will die.  So there are two choices, poop out the thread, or perform surgery.  Time is of the essence in a case like this.  It has to be passed within 24 hours, or the risk goes way up.  And intestinal surgery is risky at best due to the high likelihood of infection (poop = bacteria).  The vet advised that I “watch the dog closely for the next 24 hours and if part of the string comes out, no matter what, DO NOT PULL IT.”  Um, yeah.  Santa is practically on his way and Dr. Doolittle wants me to drop everything and focus on my dog’s pooper?  I believe my reply was something like this:

“Hmmm, interesting idea.  Or, how ’bout this.  Why don’t I bring him to YOU and you all can watch him for the next 24 hours while I wrap presents and bake cookies.  It is five days before Christmas!  I have more important things to do than wait for this asshole, pardon the pun, to poop out my Martha Stewart Homemade Christmas Garland.  I’ll see you in five minutes.”

Lord, I know that sounds very insensitive, but seriously, I didn’t ask that dog to eat the string and I shouldn’t have to be held hostage by his butt-hole five days before Christmas while we wait to see if he is gonna live or die.  That is not the Norman Rockwell painting I envisioned when we rescued this beast from the Humane Society.

Long story short, we got our Christmas Miracle that year.  The dog passed the garland: thread, needle, and all. He didn’t die.  And that was a “Good Thing.”

In summary:

Microwave Popcorn:  $2.49

Upholstery Thread: $0.99

Sewing Needles: $0.49

Vet Exam and Radiographs: $128

Not having to watch my dog pass that nasty garland or tell the kids that he died 5 days before Christmas: Priceless.

© Copyright 2008, The Bearded Iris.

Appliance Heaven

Girls, if you are ever feelin’ unappreciated by your man or gaggle of kids, Iris has a hot tip for you! 

Get all gussied up and go shopping.  And by “gussied up,” I mean the works!  Do your hair.  Shave your toes.  Grab your highest heels, your tightest jeans, your best engineered push-up bra, and some drop dead red lipstick.  Now this is important: I’m not suggesting that you go shopping just anywhere. At a time like this, you certainly don’t need some under-commissioned department store dickwad to tell you that the whole point of eyebrows is that you are supposed to have two of them. No ma’am, you need to high-tail it to the nearest used appliance store you can find and strut your stuff.

It is amazing how much better you will feel about yourself when you have a few hard working men dropping everything to wait on you.  Of course, testing out the used appliances by sitting on them like this might have something to do with all the attention you’ll get…

It also helps to have a good friend who is a photographer follow you around the shop, taking your photo doing all sorts of crazy things. This always attracts a lot of Looky-Lous, and nothing says “PAY ATTENTION TO ME, PEOPLE!” like having your photo taken in public. I also highly recommend wearing an apron on these outings.  Used appliances tend to be a teensy bit dusty and you do not want to soil your best hot pants just for the sake of a little public admiration.  Do be sure to choose a cute sassy half-apron that accentuates your outfit and not the ginormous, stained “Recipe? What Recipe?” apron your mother in law re-gifted to you for Christmas.  

Oh, another hot tip ladies, especially if you are having trouble getting a salesman’s attention…bring a juicy ripe peach with you and start eating it right there in front of God and everybody.  You may also try bending over a bit, while eating the peach, to inspect the merchandise a little closer.  Salesmen always appreciate a shopper with an eye for detail.  

Another crowd pleaser that I like to use once in a while on these shopping excursions is to bring a frozen tray of meat along with me.  Lord knows you do NOT want to buy a deep freeze and find out after you get it home that your meat is too big for it.  Don’t you just hate when that happens?  So do yourself a favor and bring your family sized value pak of the Other White Meat along for the ride.  By the time you get home, it will be nicely defrosted and ready to cook for supper.  And it is environmentally friendly too, as no polar bears will be killed in this process.

Naturally, bending over just a bit while you clutch your family pak of frozen pork will only help you attract the attention of the salesmen, and/or manager.  

Lastly, if all else fails and you are still not getting the attention you so desperately crave, grab your apron, your peach, and your tray of frozen pork, and lie down somewhere prominent.  Toss your head back and eat that peach, honey!  If you don’t get a little love from this maneuver, you must be doin’ it wrong.    

“The best accessory a woman can wear is confidence.” — author unknown

 

Sticky Situation

True story.

Yesterday we took the kids bowling at one of those family arcade joints. We had a blast. My only complaints were that real bowling is way harder than Wii bowling and the place was crazy loud. Like Vegas. Bells, lights, chaos. It was “Cosmic Bowling” in black light…really hard to keep the 18 month old out of other people’s lanes, especially with his ball obsession. Also hard to keep track of the kids in the arcade. Especially three…they had us outnumbered.

So, I must confess, there were moments when one child was unsupervised, but never for long. It was like triage…always keep eyes or hands on baby, know the general vicinity of the middle child, hope the best for the first-born.

But overall, the kids did great. They played the games, won a gazillion tickets, traded them in at the goodie counter for some lead-based, petroleum derivative, made-in-China choking-hazards, and then we went home for dinner.

A couple of hours later, we were eating together and having a wonderful family discussion about politics and the upcoming election (go OBAMA!) Our 8-year-old son was truly engaged and asking great questions about the difference between democrats and republicans. Our 5-year-old daughter was hanging in there, trying so hard to understand our very basic explanation about taxes and helping others. And the baby, well, he was throwing his pieces of chicken onto the floor for the dog and pointing to his facial features shouting “EYE!  EA-OH (ear)!  NO (nose)!  MOW! (mouth).” It felt like our own modern version of a Norman Rockwell painting: the whole family, eating a nutritious homemade meal together, discussing current events. Ahhh…the good life. Well, a moment of the good life, anyway. It was suddenly interrupted when my 5-year-old daughter shrieked “OUCH!  My panties are sticking to me!” Then she got up, ran into the bathroom, and slammed the door.

WTF? My husband and I looked at each other across the table like “you go,” “no, YOU go.” Then we heard her make a sound like an animal caught in a trap and I got up and knocked on the bathroom door.

“Honey? Can I come in?” I asked.

“OK.”

“Why are your panties sticking to you?”

“I don’t know. But it hurts!”

“Can I see?”

“NO!!!”

“Please?”

“OK.”

So I gently pulled down her blue cotton Hanes skort and slowly tried to pull her little Hello Kitty panties away from her body. It was no good. They were indeed stuck to her. Stuck like glue.

“Honey. What is in your panties?”

“Gum.”

“GUM? How did it get there?” I hadn’t given her gum in weeks! Not since the dentist appointment…the dentist appointment from Hell.

“Well…(long pause, eye shifting, here comes the lie)…when we were at the arcade…well, I accidentally slipped and fell down…right on a piece of gum…and it went into my panties.”

“A chewed piece of gum? There is a chewed piece of gum in your panties?”

“Uh-huh.”

“From the floor of the arcade? A piece of gum that someone else chewed and spit out onto the floor?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Honey. (Ahem.) Did you pick up a piece of chewed gum off the floor of the arcade and stick it in your panties? Tell Mommy the truth. You aren’t in trouble, I just need to know the truth, ok?”

“OK (quietly, eyes down). I picked it up and put it in my panties.”

(HOLY FUCKING SHIT!!!! WHY IN THE HELL WOULD YOU DO SUCH A THING????? THIS WAS NOT COVERED IN MY PARENTING CLASS!!! MY CHICKEN IS GETTING COLD AND MY CHILD HAS A PIECE OF SOMEONE ELSE’S GUM STUCK TO HER TWAT!!!)

“OK sweetie. Thank you for telling me the truth. Let’s see if we can get your panties unstuck.”

So I slowly pulled the fabric away from her skin and sure enough there was a HUGE pink wad of chewed up bubble gum stuck right to her little va-jay-jay. Right in front. Front and center. Oh for the love of GOD! I didn’t know what was the grossest part…the fact that it was a piece of gum chewed and spit onto the floor by a random stranger, or the fact that this wad of germ infested ABC gum was stuck to her sweet little beaveroonie.

Do not panic! Focus. I peeled the gum away from her skin as gingerly as possible. This was no easy task. It wasn’t like a Band-Aid…I couldn’t just rip it off. Her body heat had melted the gum and made it very gooey. I had to slowly peel it and then pick away at the little bits left behind. Poor little girl. The vulva is definitely not the body part you ever want to have your Mother picking away at. After what seemed like an eternity, I got most of it off; there was just a little pink sticky residue left, and that came off with the help of a little vaseline on a paper towel. (Got that? Try to get a tip like that from daytime TV! “Next on Rachel Ray: How to Remove ABC Gum from Your Vagina.”)

My poor sweet baby girl was rather embarrassed by the whole affair. I stuck her right into the tub and she said, “Mommy. I’m really sorry.”

“That’s ok, baby. We all make mistakes.”

“Mommy?”

“Yes, sugar pants? I mean, yes gummy-bear, er, sweetie-puss?! DOH! Yes, honey?”

“Are you mad at me?”

“No honey. I just want you to promise me something…promise Mommy that you’ll never pick up a piece of chewed gum again, OK? It is very dirty and germy and gross. You can get really sick from touching other people’s chewed gum. OK? And definitely don’t ever stick it in your panties again…K? Double gross.”

“OK. I promise. (Long pause)…does that mean I shouldn’t put it in my mouth either?”

ARGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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