Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Get Ready for Some Whining . . .

I mean, Come ON!!!! First, I have to single-handedly cart three puking kids and one irate toddler across four states. Then, my car battery dies. Then, my kids and I get caught outside in a wicked rain storm. Then they misspell a word on Jeff's long awaited headstone, and, now . . . HEAD LICE! Who am I? Job???

Yes, you read that correctly. Today, one of my kids (who shall remain nameless because she doesn't want the rest of the third grade to know she has head lice) came down with a world class, first-rate case of it. Another third-grader's mother called to let me know that head lice was traveling like wildfire through the third grade. (The same exact thing happened last year but we fortuitously avoided it). This year we weren't so lucky. After I spoke with the other mom on the phone I said to [my daughter], "head lice is going around your class, so don't wear anyone else's coat or hug your friends or anything like that because it's easy to catch, blah blah blah." To which she replied "I already have head lice." I said, "what makes you think that?" And she said, "I saw a bug crawling in my hair."

Keep in mind that at this point, Regan, Jack, Finn and I were crammed uncomfortably into the Alero (our little silver car) because the van didn't have any car seats in it and (as usual) we were running late to get to Family Night at Aubrey's play (she is in the middle school's production of "The King and I"). I had arrived home from work around 5:30 p.m. and couldn't remember what time the play was supposed to start, so I called Aubrey. She didn't answer her phone, so I left her a voicemail message. By the time I got home and changed clothes and turned on the computer to check the start-time of the play, it was 5:45 p.m. So, of course, I discovered the play started at 6:00 p.m. (and it's a 10 minute drive). None of us had eaten dinner. I was starving, the kids were starving, but it was going to be our only opportunity to see the play and I didn't want to miss Aubrey's performance. So, I made each of us a quick and sloppy peanut butter and jelly sandwich to eat in the car on the way over. It was as I was making the sandwiches that my friend (the third grader's mom) called to tell me about the lice outbreak. It was in the car on the way to the play that Regan made her announcement that she was already seriously afflicted. So, given that I was already rushed, late, starving, and exhausted (I was up until 1:00 a.m. the night before), I was in no mood to receive such news.

When we got to the play and got out of the car, I immediately checked Regan's hair and she was absolutely and undeniably infested. Big Time. So, after the play, I dropped everyone off at home while I ran to the drugstore to stock-up on lice shampoo and this nifty lice-killer spray. I then drove through McDonald's to supplement my children's peanut butter and jelly dinners. To add insult to injury--I ordered a Big Mac and discovered when I got home they gave me a Quarter Pounder with cheese instead-on TWO bottom buns (no "top" bun in sight). And the cheese wasn't even melted. Ugh! Fortunately, I only had time to eat half of it before Finn commandeered my coke and fries and Regan needed to have her hair washed (it was after 9:00 p.m. at this point . . .) and I still hadn't even thought about having to wash and clean the beds, the couch, the pillows, her coat, etc. As I was trying to simultaneously scarf down my food, feed Finn, and maintain some semblance of composure, I said to no one in particular "Why can I NOT get a break?" to which Jack replied, "Shouldn't you ask, 'Why can ALL OF US not get a break?'" I had to agree with him. Poor Jack had been ignored all night while we watched Aubrey's play and tended to Regan's crisis. Regan was feeling rejected and embarrassed because no one would sit next to her at dinner. Finn was eating dinner in his bath towel with wet hair. Aubrey was still in her play make-up and had given Finn a bath for me while I ran to get the lice shampoo and accidental Quarter Pounder. None of us had had a particularly good day.

Now, it is after 11:00 p.m. and I'm in the middle of a long night of laundry. The kids are in bed and I have time to reflect and really . . . it's not so bad. I mean, Job lost his farm, his house, all of his ten children, his reputation, etc. So, my daughter has lice and my baby has a diaper rash and my seven-year old got ignored most of the night? All of it seems so petty and minor. And I know some people look to me as an example of how much worse things could always be for them, but I want everyone to know that despite my elaborations on the blog, my misfortunes really aren't misfortunes at all (with the exception of Jeff's death of course). I only make a big deal out of them because I have to handle them entirely on my own. At least when Jeff was alive I had someone to commiserate with. Now, I bear the full brunt of these experiences all by myself.

Maybe it wouldn't be so different if Jeff were alive (he would have NEVER undertaken the unsavory lice mitigation task. I can attest to the fact that the shampoo and subsequent combing of nits is particularly nasty), but he would have given Jack attention and read him a book while I did the shampooing. He would have rocked Finn and sang him lullabies while I washed and sprayed down the bedding. He would have told Aubrey what a great job she did in the play--because at least one of us would have actually seen all of it. (As it was, I spent most of it in the hallway chasing a sweaty and red-cheeked toddler). He would have given Finn a bath so Aubrey could relax after a 12-hour day at school instead of going straight to work helping with the little kids. It is physically exhausting and emotionally draining for me, for Aubrey--and for all of us, really. And it takes some very hearty and resilient self-esteem to keep going: it's very easy to feel like a negligent parent; an expendable employee; a marginal friend; and a general incompetent when I am constantly reminded of the things I can't do well (get someplace on time; feed children dinner; jump-start a battery, kill lice). I wish I had some happiness and excitement to motivate me. It is much easier to do it all with an undercurrent of joy and anticipation to push you along. Oh well. I trust things will get better and even if they don't--they will have to get a WHOLE lot worse before any of my complaining will be justified. Besides, tomorrow is a new day (National Shrimp Scampi Day, to be exact).

In the meantime, I woke up today with a sore throat and cough. I hope it's that Swine Virus. I could use a three-day quarantine. :-)



Mary M Clay said...

Oh Kelly! The phrase "when it rains, it pours!" comes to mind! Your positive attitude is an inspiration. Hopefully you and the kids can 'get a break' soon!

Oh well, hey! said...

Just a blog reader here, but as a mom who has had lice infestation - GOOD LUCK! We had the BUGS too - SICK! I had the hardest time getting rid of them. So a tip from a mom(at the time single mom - could have been your client, unfortunately) REAL mayonaise (not low fat, no fat, Miracle Whip, etc.) with a plastic bag to suffocate them - it has been a long time ago, but I think the magic time frame was 30 minutes! We were gifted a bug that didn't want to die and that was suggestion the 800-get these bugs out of my house - operator suggested...along with the tag line, "gives a WHOLE new meaning to nit picking, doesn't it?" AUGH - and my daughter had to be "nit free" to return to day care and I wasn't about to shave her head! Thank heavens that God provides ... the bugs eventually went away the guy I was seeing still came around and eventually we got married and now have two ADDITIONAL goobers to bug-head girl. Love your blog - it is "real" and I enjoy hearing about your awesome family. I am sure that Jeff looks upon you and smiles!

Terri said...

Like I said before and I'll say it again. "Everyday is a good day, some are just better than others" I love that quote, an old man told that to John when he worked at Barnes N' Noble. I'll never forget it. When John told me this I pictured this old wise man and when John went to see who said that to him the old man had vanished into thin air. That's how I pictured it.
Anywho, good thing you get messages becuase it seems like you could use one. Oh, and next time you have a bad day and you blog about it start it off like this, "So, there I was balls deep into head lice..." or what ever the mess be that you are in. That's always a good attetion grabber and then declare the day "Talk like an Ol' Rancher Day" then you can get away with saying "bastard and son of a bitch" anywho... go eat some icecream, (icecream always brightens my day) and enjoy yourself. You deserve it after all the obsticals that you faced yesterday, and you faced them head on and did a good job with all of it. If my kid told me he had head lice in the car I would have screamed and acted like a miller was in the car and drove us into a ditch and then once back home I would have had to call a neighbor or a bug exterminator to kill the rest of the lice in my house because I would have be terribly scared of touching any item that had come into contact with the infected kido, so I'd have to home make an outfit that resembled an astronauts outfit and wear that around that house because anything that I touched to try and kill the lice in I would have been jumping and seeming as thuough I had some disorder and then I would have been afraid all night that bugs were on me and I would have had a bad nights sleep. So, you should be proud of how you handled things because you didn't resort to what I would have done even if your kid got neglected and Aubrey had to bath Finn, I could tell you another time how I would have handled the other kids during a lice epidemic and let's just say the word "tent" would be involved. So, give yourself a pat on the back, you're doing just fine.

Jennifer said...

It is true, when it rains, it pours! I can contest to that, I have a ear infection, sinus infection and a slew of other ailment post-op that I have spent over $130 just this week and last just at the doc (I only pay 10 bucks everytime). Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you out! Weather if you drop the kids off at my house or someone drops me off, just so you can get some time to not deal with the crazyness you call a life, or something like it! I am here for you if you need anything in anyway shape or form.

Jackie said...

I am furiously itching my head now. Your 4 children are so very blessed to have you!

Think of it this way... only a good mother would even recognize that Jack was ignored. The not-so-good moms never even recognize their mishaps. In my opinion, you are one step ahead of the game!

I only have one child (well, 2 if a very ill husband counts) and I feel like I could use an "Aubrey" around here. She is a great girl!

Jenni Halley said...

Ok, you are totally hilarious to read. I love your writing style. And frankly I had a completely awful day today, did a whole lot of my own whining and just wishing Brian wasn't really dead. I have cried my eyes out about various things, and it has seeming intensified as the day went on. I took a deep breath, wiped away the tears and thought, I'll check the blogs I follow. Yours brought a smile, I promise not because I think this is really funny, but because I am relieve to know that others have days from hell. I also figured at least I didn't have to deal with head lice (so sorry about that). Hang in there, you are an inspiration to me to keep trudging along!

mka said...

Here's how to look on the bright side. Be glad that "man" was the sord misspelled on the headstone and not one of your names. Like in the paper last night in an obituary a lady was given the birthdate of Dec. 25, 1929, but then it said she was 69 years old. So the headstone typo is'nt really a problem. Most problems can be fixed, and most problems aren't really problems in the long scheme of things. Meaning don't sweat the small stuff. It doesn't seem like small stuff at the time, but ten years from now when you all still have head lice, you'll sit around saying, "Remember in April 2009 when we first got these things? They're just like pets to us now. Oh, here comes little Crawley now, he wants his chin tickled." Ha ha So actually head lice totally sucks, it makes for a good blog, and you can always one up people when they start whining about their bad day. And by the way, I'm sitting here totally happy with no head lice and I'm smiling as I write this. tee hee I'm such a supportive mom.(If I knew how to put a smily face here I would.)

mka said...

I should have proofread my last comment, because I typed sord instead of word, but I'm sure you knew what I meant, and I didn't type sord on purpose even though I was talking about typos. By the way, I still don't have head lice. Love, Mom

PJ said...

Thanks for the continued sharing, humor, insight, perspective, honesty -all the usual stuff that keeps me coming back to your blog! From a parent and pediatric point of view stomach flu sucks and lice suck too! No fun for anyone. There is no good evidence supporting suffocating lice with oil or mayonnaise. Shaving bald is a good solution if you are brave (good for boys!). Any 'nit' that is more than 1cm above the scalp is just empty or dead and doesn't need to be removed (except for aesthetics). Find more here: http://www.cdc.gov/lice/head/faqs_treat.html

Katie Clancy said...

Kelly, after the miserable day you had, I bet these posts cheered you up. You family in particular is pretty hilarious. The gift of humor is gonna get ya through it. And, PS stop talking about all the nightmarish things kids do, lice, etc. :) We thought the worst was over with John since he stopped sreaming non-stop all the time! I guess we have alot to learn, and I am grateful to have you as a teacher. I can say first hand that you are a fabulous friend. Don't ever change girly but if you do, make sure to preserve that wicked sense of humor. Hugs! Cyber hug for now, hopefully a real hug this summer.

colleen J said...

hi kelly,
i'm a continuing reader, but caught up today on a backlog of about a month's worth of entries...can only say that your writing just gets richer over time, in measure of both its humorist and contemplative veins. I am quite convinced few blogs rise to this qualitative level. It's ready for prime time!