A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All
No, I haven’t been trapped under something heavy, unfortunately, thanks for asking. My husband does need to lose a few pounds, it’s true, but he’s been steering clear of my sniffling-sneezing-coughing-aching-stuffy head-fever-I need to rest-ass lately. Long story short: I’m sick. (ach-OOOOOOO!)
YesireeBob. One of my spawn brought home a wicked case of some hideous viral infection that feels an awful lot like the flu…ten days ago! Only I know it isn’t the flu because I actually got a flu shot this year and so did the kid who gave me this bug. So, it’s just a cold. A very bad cold. And now it has turned into what I suspect is a double ear infection. I’m heading to the doctor today to confirm this, if I don’t stab myself in the ear with a knitting needle first… the pain is that bad. Geez Louise, now I know why babies with ear infections cry so much. This is bad. And you know what is the worst? Being this sick and having to also take care of a gaggle of kids. I’m starting to think those kooky bigamists in Utah are totally on to something. Communal living sounds like a really smart survival technique at this point.
But before I go and get all loopy on pain pills and antibiotics, I just had to share what may have been one of the single most embarrassing moments of my life, compliments of my incredibly articulate six year old daughter, Klepto. “Out of the mouths of babes…” This is an expression that I know all too well. Lordhavemercy, that girl just has a natural born knack for embarrassing her Mama in public.
So here’s the dealio. I had to take the dog/cuisinart to the vet a couple weeks ago for a nasty rash on his belly. I was worried it might be ringworm since Klepto’s pediatrician said that kids can get this lovely fungus from pets, and as you may recall, darling Klepto had a nasty bout of it last fall.
It was a rainy winter holiday vacation day and I wanted to get Little Miss Ringworm out of the house and share the parenting load with The Gatekeeper, so I brought her with me and the rashy dog.
I guess I’m a slow learner… and as if I needed further proof of it, I’m a slow learner that I’m a slow learner. I keep taking this child out into the world with me thinking it will be nice mother-daughter time together and that we will strengthen our bond and resemble a Kodak commercial as we walk hand-in-hand, smiling with glee everywhere we go. But that never happens. Never. When she and I are out and about, I usually spend our entire time together doing one or more of the following things:
a.) whispering “stop it.”
b.) hissing “Stop It.”
c.) shouting “STOP IT!”
d.) apologizing to others for her behavior and/or my shouting.
Well, this little errand was no different.
I knew it would be difficult for me to control our very strong and disobedient black lab AND also actively supervise my very curious and impulsive child, so I laid the groundwork before we even got out of the car. I told her I needed her to be on her best behavior and help mommy with the dog. “No running. No shouting. No hiding. No touching things. Just stick with Mommy and we’ll go get a treat when we’re done if you do a good job, ok?” “OK Mommy!” she enthusiastically agreed.
The nano-second we got through the front door of the vet’s office, Klepto made eye-lock with and promptly raced over to a box of dog toys that were for sale near the pet food and bath products. It was like her spider-senses told her “Ooooh, contraband – 8 o’clock. Abort mission! Abort mission! MUST. RUN. AND. TOUCH.” I’m not exaggerating when I say I hadn’t yet crossed the threshold of the entry door when every person and animal in the building was assaulted by an indescribable cacophony: a deafening chorus of squeaking rubber chickens, conducted by none other than my darling daughter, who was grabbing two and three at a time in each hand and squeezing them repeatedly in various rhythms.
Naturally, since the rubber chickens were designed to be dog toys, every canine in the waiting room (and beyond) started to go berserk. My dog took off running toward the noise, practically dismembering my right arm and flying me behind him like a 5’7″ kite. I slammed on the breaks, growled “NO” in my best Cesar Milan pack leader voice, and yanked his choke chain with all the strength I could muster while simultaneously commanding Klepto to “Drop the chickens and have a seat, please.” Honestly, with kids and dogs like this, it is no wonder I bark things like “DROP IT!” to the kids and engage in baby talk with the dog. Frankly, it is a miracle I can form sentences at all anymore, let alone in multiple languages like dog and baby.
I guess the receptionist is trained to recognize which kinds of dogs (and kids) can handle waiting in the reception area and which ones need to be separated from the pack, because we were immediately ushered into one of the exam rooms. I’d like to call it “Rock Star Treatment,” but in reality, it was more like solitary confinement… a punishment, not a reward. Either way, I was happy to be able to sit down and rub my shoulder while Klepto and Devil Dog went about exploring every nook and cranny of the 8×8 cell exam room.
Naturally I was forced to discuss the rules with Klepto (again), but this time I had to specify about not touching the vet tools and exploring the contents of the trash bin. Ewwww. “Honey, there could be very dirty things in there… dangerous things that could make you sick. We never never never reach into trash cans. Especially in a doctor’s office. Gross. Double gross. Got it?” “Got it!” I’m guessing that this is where a more competent mother would pull something fabulous out of her purse like some sugarless gum or finger puppets or a stack of origami paper and a book about how to fold origami doll house furniture, but alas, I couldn’t even find my ringing cell phone in the feedsack I call a handbag (and note to self… change ring tone from “Superfreak” to a more innocuous ring.) Perhaps this would have been a good time to do something like tell a story or sing a song together or play a game of I-Spy… but I was too stressed out from the rubber chicken melee to regroup. So I sat there. Just waiting and hoping I could think of something positive to praise Klepto for rather than have to tell her “no” or correct her one more fucking time that hour.
Fortunately, less than a minute later, a very handsome vet-tech walked in the door. I’m going to guess he was in his mid-twenties. He was tall, with sandy brown hair and hazel eyes. He smiled and said hello… and I noticed that he had dimples in both cheeks… ugh, my weakness. Then he knelt down in front of me to pet the dog and we were face to face. He smiled again and we locked eyes. Wow. He was adorable. I’m a typical frumpy housewife and mother of three, so I don’t get this kind of attention very often. In fact, I’ve recently been called “Sir” on more than one occasion by various store employees… so hear me when I tell you that having a gorgeous young dimple-cheeked thing flash me a courtesy smile was enough to make me want to do a little jig… or perhaps a full-fledged lap dance.
A minute or so passed as the vet tech hypnotized my devil dog (and me) with his attention. I was a little jealous, actually, of the fervent belly rubbing the dog was getting. Lucky dog. Klepto broke the spell though when she loudly announced “LOOK! The dog’s PENIS is red!!! It looks like a cherry popsicle!” Gulp. The vet tech and I both laughed nervously and looked away from each other, and I had to quietly explain to Klepto in front of this cute man that “that’s just what happens to boy dogs when they are happy. Just ignore it. And NO… don’t touch it, please. That is the dog’s ‘privates.’ No touching.” Nice. But that is not even the worst part.
The vet tech started examining the rash on the dog’s belly and asked, “Any vomiting or diarrhea?”
To which Klepto enthusiastically replied: “YES, both my Mom and my baby brother have diarrhea today.”
GOD on a stick.
I honestly don’t remember what happened after that. I think I may have passed out. The last thing I remember was the look on the guy’s face. It was something along the lines of what a face might look like after suddenly smelling a rotten egg or some week-old road kill on a hot day. Not a good face. The magic was gone.
The vet tech audibly cleared his throat and left the room with the dog to update his shots and I was handed a bottle of antibacterial spray that I have to put on the dog’s belly a few times a day. Turns out, it isn’t ringworm… just a rash, possibly allergies.
So that was our little errand. Just another banner motherhood moment! Good life lesson there though… I guess I should probably not be discussing my bowels with my children anymore. Hey, it could have been so much worse. At least she didn’t say: “My Mommy had a #6 on the Bristol Stool Scale. It was double gross,” and then break into the Diarrhea-Boom-Boom Song. That would have taken the cake. Kids. Dogs. Diarrhea. Like the Molotov Cocktail of parenting… probably best not to combine those ingredients… especially in public.
Well I’m off to overmedicate. Wish me luck. Until we meet again,