Tag Archives: bodily functions

I’ll Drink to That…

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There are a lot of pregnant women in my life right now.

So, it’s not really a surprise that I would begin to find symptoms of pregnancy in myself.

Over the years I have probably taken fifty, well, at least twenty, maybe as high as thirty, negative pregnancy tests. I am notorious for thinking I’m pregnant when I’m not. The rule is that when I start feeling the glimmerings of certainty to the point that I start forsaking the coffee or alcohol it’s time to take the test. Yesterday morning I forsook a cup of coffee. It was time to take the test.

There are very few things more awkward than purchasing a pregnancy test, except maybe, purchasing one while your three children are knocking down the store shelves around you. You should’ve seen the look on the clerk’s face yesterday when I asked if he had any behind the counter. I saw a whole lot of condoms, but no pregnancy tests.

He blanched. He counted my children. He then made a thorough search to no avail.

“I thought I had some,” he said.

“Well, they are the ones everyone steals, right?” I joked.

He laughed halfheartedly. He’s probably still worried about me.

So, this afternoon I tried again at a different store. I surreptitiously tossed the box between the bread and the bananas on the conveyor belt. The checker boy passed it over the scanner quickly. I snagged the box before my son could read it only to realize it was empty.

“Um, is it okay if I grab another since this one is empty?” I asked.

The boy blanched and poked his finger into the empty box.

“Uh, yeah, that’s odd…” he said.

“They’re the ones everyone steals, right?” I joked.

He laughed halfheartedly. I am nothing if not original.

I then dragged my three children and three bags of groceries home through an ocean of whining and a growing storm of my own emotional turbulence. Four?!?!!? One way or another I had to find out soon.

I took the test and waited as my all-knowing urine climbed the uncompromising stick of certainty.

I have often thought it would be amusing for a pregnancy test company to change its indicators from “pregnant” and “not pregnant” to “sorry” and “congratulations”. What face would the women of America make when faced with this ambiguous empathy?

I, for one, would’ve breathed a little easier as my “not pregnant” today meant “congratulations”. I mean, sure, I would have been glowing tomorrow. After all, I do love my babies. But, I also might have shed a few tears tonight.

This means that now it’s time for my post-negative-pregnancy-test tradition, because after twenty, maybe thirty tests you know I have one, that is, a stiff drink.

So, huzzah! Pregnant ladies I drink to you!

The Chute…

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So, there’s a garbage chute in my building.

It’s a small innocuous looking door in the wall on the landing.

When we moved in I wondered if it was functional. Was it at an unspoken rule that nobody used this chute? If it was, why wasn’t there some tape across it or a sign? Is it possible there was a small pile of forgotten refuse gathering force in a dark extremity of the garage?

It kinda stressed me out.

And then I saw my neighbor use it a few times.

I mean, it would be great if I could just toss garbage down the chute instead of walking down two flights of stairs and into the garage every time. I checked the garage. Every garbage can of allocated color was accounted for. There was no chute.

I finally asked my downstairs neighbor. She took pity on me and took me to the garage to reveal the closet hidden away in the corner containing the mouth of the chute and one large garbage can.

Euphoria. Now all I need is a dumb-waiter to bring my groceries up.

So, on Sunday morning the first thing I did, as it is every morning, was to change Baby’s diaper.
It was a big one, full, weighted heavy with specimens of both types of waste, if you know what I mean, and I feel that you do. You’ve changed that diaper, too.

Well, the elder two were asleep, and I didn’t want to go back into their bedroom to throw it away, so I tossed it down the chute, from the third story. And then we went to church.

When we got back from church I noticed something that alarmed me.

ALL the garbage cans were in the garage, ALL of them, even the one from the closet.

I ran to the closet. There was the mouth of the chute with no can underneath. I checked the mouth of the garbage can. I couldn’t see the diaper. I checked the floor of the closet. There was something sticky smeared across the floor, but it looked and smelled like food. It could not be diaper contents. But… No, I don’t think it could.

Did the diaper fall in the trash can? Or was the poor ninety year old Chinese guy who bikes around and handles our garbage charged with sweeping up a substantial diaper off the floor that had dropped from three stories up?

I was sure I had heard the satisfying swoosh and fwump, hadn’t I? But, hadn’t I?

The world may never know.

Vacation…

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Last week we went to Disneyland. We went with the kids. This is called a vacation.

It was fun. It was exhausting. It was a typical vacation with small children.

Because, here’s the thing, you can’t control other people. And children are other people. They’re just more illogical people with poorer impulse control and lacking the physical coordination to do many things, like help in any way, or, sometimes, walk.

I thought my expectations were reasonable and loosely held. In some ways my expectations were surpassed and in other ways I had to seriously dial them back.

For one thing, my daughter decided she didn’t like the loud noises. And Disneyland is loud noises. She spent most of her park experience holding her hands over her ears.

Secondly, my six-year old son decided that he was already too old for the kid rides. He only wanted to do the big roller coasters. And standing with the characters was right out. That was for babies. That’s why he looks so sullen in all the pictures.

Thirdly, I thought we were going to avoid the chaos of meeting characters since my eldest has seen barely any movies and my daughter has seen a grand total of zero. But my daughter wanted to meet everyone. We even waited for ten minutes in a line to meet Flick from Bug’s Life whose book or movie they have never seen. I guess it’s human nature? If a bunch of other kids are in line to meet this guy, then I better meet this guy, too? Or maybe it’s just because he’s a giant blue ant?

Fourth, and with a story, the excitement of our circumstances made the bathroom experiences all rather urgent. The bladder usually demanded the most attention once we were severely entrenched in a line. It became a theme. I will tell you one variation on this theme.

It was Friday morning and we had finally agreed on a ride that everyone wanted to go on, the unlikely victor, the Mark Twain paddle boat. At the moment it was all we had, so we went with it. Sure enough, as soon as we were in line my eldest made me aware of the fact that he had to use the restroom. My husband suggested that they might have one on the boat. So, when the rope was pulled back my husband walked on with the baby, my daughter ran after him and I stayed behind to ask if there was a bathroom on board. No. No there was not.

So I asked my son how urgent it was. Could he hold it? No. No he could not.

At this point my daughter comes back in tears because she can’t find Daddy. I grab both their hands and with one crying and the other holding himself I search the bottom deck. James is nowhere to be found. How upset would he be to find himself taking a ride by himself with the baby? The boat isn’t taking off yet so we head up to the second deck. No James.

My son is getting desperate. So I tell them both we’re going to have to go use the restroom and come back. At this my daughter dissolves into a full-blown melt down. She wants to go on the boat! She wants her Daddy!

I drag her off behind me even as I’m being pulled forward by my son. I manage to turn around as we get off the boat and look up to see James on the top deck, holding the baby, and looking over the rail rather bewildered as to where we all might be. I wave madly in a type of marital semaphore we’ve perfected over the years and indicate the situation much to the entertainment of the paddle boats guys. James races down the stairs with the baby and past the rope just in time for the boat to launch away from the landing.

This was ten o’clock in the morning. Our day had just begun and we already had to wipe the slate clean of goals and expectations. We never did ride the paddle boat.

Of course, after that the day only got better, because after that there were no expectations. Everything was bonus.

Because that’s how it goes when you vacation with other people. And children are other people. And you can’t control other people, bladders included.

Potty Mouth…

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This is where it gets real, people.

I wasn’t going to blog about this. I wasn’t.

I’ve blogged about angry nipples and vomit cascading down bunk beds, but this seemed, somehow, to cross a line.

But my husband texted, “This is where it gets real.” And if my blog is anything I want it to be real, so here it is. The truth is this: I am not the only one who lives here.

This is not my first kid. The house was thoroughly baby-proofed for the first kid. When he started to crawl the floors were clean. When he started to walk my husband and I were very good about keeping the bathroom door closed.

But there are two more this time. I am severely outnumbered. The floor is a little dirtier and now there are Legos, immense amounts of Legos. If any child dies from choking on a Lego it will be this one. And, then, my daughter started to leave the bathroom door open.

She was doing very well closing it after her, until last week or so. Luckily, my baby has been mostly interested in the bathtub, until today.

Today, I hear my daughter cry, “Baby’s in the bathroom!”

I run in to discover him standing at the toilet bowl mouth stuffed with toilet paper he fished from the water. It had been used to blow a nose, his nose. Does that make it better? I feel like it must. Rest assured, whoever had used the potty last had, thank goodness, remembered to flush, which is not always the case. The wet covered his face, dripped down his chin, and saturated his front with toilet water.

I grabbed him and washed his hands, pried the wad out of his teeth, flushed the potty, closed the lid, screamed a little, and changed his clothes.

I texted my husband, the one with whom I can share my parenting horrors without fear of judgment. He’s met my children. They look like him.

And he texted back, “This is where it gets real.”

The baby will survive. (But, I mean, just in case I’m keeping an eye on him.)

There’s a motto written on an index card hanging by my kitchen sink. It says, “Making dirty things clean.” It helps me to remember in the midst of the endless cleaning that this is the privilege of housekeeping, to perform the tangible illustration with my too physical body, the exhausting task of making dirty things clean into perpetuity. Me and Jesus, all day long, making dirty things clean.

I mean, this is where it gets real; you’re never too dirty to come back.

That’s why my baby just got a kiss on his cheek.

Trigger Warning: Bodily Fluids…

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Today was quite a day in the mothering department.

It began with vomit… again.

Yesterday began with vomit. I took it as a sign from God that it was time to do a deep clean. Much like the time I was putting off scrubbing the kitchen area rug when I dropped a raw chicken on it, cleanliness is next to, well, God wanted to be close to my kitchen rug.

So, yesterday the bathroom got scoured, the kitchen got scoured, sheets got changed, the apartment was vacuumed, and five loads of laundry got done, all before ten am. That’s how early all of this nonsense started. I used to have friends that knew not to call me before ten am.

So, today began with vomit again. Sometime in the middle of the night my son woke, vomited, washed his hands and mouth, and put himself back to bed on the other side of his bed. It was mostly dry when I happened upon it in the morning cascading down the side of the bunk bed with a bit landing on the extra pillow next to my daughter’s head (!). And as he so accurately put it, “It just looks like food now, Mom”, which it did, vegetable soup, to be as exact as I think you care me to be.

I gave up the idea of a deep clean number two and satisfied myself with damage control. Laundry was started, things were disinfected, wiped down, and sick children were sent to the shower.

On a side note, I never considered pillows washable until I had children when they became, out of necessity, washable. My son, the vomiting one, used to wake up and vomit only on his pillows. I have begged him many times to simply turn around and vomit on the blankets.

After all this, I managed to squeeze in a shower before the husband had to leave for the offices. I was washing the whatever off of me when my son walked in with a slight poop accident. “I thought it was a fart, Mom.”

Sigh.

I vaguely remember being clean. I remember when spit up on me was a big deal. I remember when I changed my first baby’s outfits five times a day in an attempt to keep him in clean clothes. I remember being peeved when I got wet at bath time.

But it’s been a long time. Even dressed up with makeup on I feel like I carry a film from the very memory of poppy diapers and picking sticky babies out of highchairs after jammy toasts. It would be better if I wasn’t so aware of, also thanks to motherhood, how things that you wouldn’t think could, can create particles and spread them to the ends of the known world only to be discovered years later. Is that a bean trapped underneath the baseboard? Yes, they can furl things from them with enough force to lodge them underneath a baseboard.

And rice! Why do I ever serve rice?!

At any rate, you can tell this post isn’t city-specific. Paint the details a different color and it becomes motherhood anywhere. It’s a messy business and slightly glorious. So, now I’ll give you the slightly glorious side, because there always seems to be just enough to tide you through the mess.

We have a family rule, no screen time until you’re five. We don’t own a television. It’s my own little creative experiment and it’s worked great so far. Like any other Mommy experiment you have to really want it and Dad has to be with you on this one. So, when people get sick around here I often think “This is where I’d be turning on a movie.” But, let’s face it, if I wasn’t breaking the rule last spring when I was the physical embodiment of morning sickness and my children were the physical exception to Newton’s first law, then the rule isn’t breaking. Instead, we end up doing like we did today and pulling a large edition of Little House on the Prairie into our laps and reading chapter after chapter on the couch. I made a mental note while I was reading, “Remember this, Barbara!” Glorious!

And then, I was feeding them dinner (Rice?!) with a side of trepidations wondering if there was anything else I could give them that would be more pleasant coming up. But they were feeling better, much better (just like yesterday). So, my eldest son insisted on cleaning the apartment by himself. And my daughter wanted to do the dishes.

“Alright,” I said, “I’ll vacuum the collection of food from under baby’s chair.”

“No, no,” my daughter said, “I want to do that, too!”

“Well, what should I do?” I asked.

“You sit down and edit-ate your book, Mom,” she said.

So I did. I edit-ated my book while the apartment got cleaned.

Messy and glorious all at the same time, like most kinds of life lived well.