Saturday, February 16, 2019

Parenting Aid Station #1

Big week here.

The toddler had a second dental treatment to seal up a cavity. She handled that well, and my wife took a day to go with her. I haven't taken as many days, but fully prepared to take days when the kids inevitably get sick. I spent a lot of the week feeling like I did not see my kids enough, though. Just tough this time of year.

Valentine's Day is always a minor holiday, but one that we mark in our family with cards and a nice family dinner. I'd gotten cards for my wife and girls (and one for my wife FROM the girls) during a mini errand during the week. Got home on Valentine's day, and my wife went out to pick up some things. I set into starting to make the house ready when the 3 year old got sick, and immediately started showing signs of stomach flu. I went into full adrenaline mode and calmed her down, cleaned everything up and got laundry started after getting her into new clothes.

I told my wife I would take care of the toddler, as the baby is still nursing and she's also in a phase of not wanting to be separated from her mom. I knew I signing up for a long night, and of course it was. The kiddo was sick a couple of more times, and was shivering. We alternated between my cuddling with her, and her deciding she wanted to sleep in a fetal position on the rug. I got about three hours of sleep, but I expect she got four or five.

The next day I stayed home with her, and spent the morning trying to get her to keep down water and some bland food. There's a big learning curve for the three year old and basic how-to-be-sick skills, which seem like they should be inherent. They aren't. And I mean I've studied child development, so I should know that. But I'm stupid sometimes, too. So we had lots of talks about what stomach pain means, how to know when you're going to vomit, where to go and what to do if you're going to vomit. Overall the day was pretty good in terms of recovery, and she took a good three hour nap. She later decided to go to bed around 5:30 pm, and woke up totally recovered.

So thankfully that was a short stomach bug but it would still be fair to say I learned so much about parenting in that 24-hour period. Highlights include:

  • Separate sleeping spaces for the sick kid and whoever is caring for them. Very important.
  • Layer towels for easier cleanup in sleeping area. Your shirt, or a large camping tarp will also do.
  • An actual trash can should be in that space, along with some cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer.
  • A bidet is such a nice to have when your toddler has to go to the bathroom every ten minutes.

I messaged a friend who has a little one, as well, and found out that his five month old spent the entire day screaming for (apparently) no reason. We had a good talk about how we handle that, and I completely related to that from my own kiddos.

The experience got me thinking that what we need is a sort of parenting "aid station" like you'd have in a race. Just a place to come in from working out in the wild, and get some help, to check in and make sure you're OK to continue. That's a decent metaphor for what community is, I guess. My ideal parenting aid station would be filled with warm confident people who have been thrown up on, seen some truly horrible shit, endured no sleep, and kept going. They'd offer you a glass of bourbon and a hammock so you could grab 20 minutes before getting back into it.

Because there's no god damned finish line. And it's work -- and it's also delightful. It's a challenge that makes you grateful for help, but not expectant for it. No judgement. You're doing this shit.

Out for eight and one half miles on the trails this morning (Run streak day 87). A decent amount of ice and mud, leading to an exciting few stumbles and falls. Came home to prepare waffles, whipped cream, and strawberries, which is a favorite of my wife's.

Running has been going well, actually. 40 miles covered with pretty relative ease this past couple of weeks. Forced work stoppage this week means that I'll have more time to run, as we are going to put the kids in daycare at least a couple of those days. I no longer entertain the idea that we'll come out of a break like this ahead of the game -- that's an illusion. But for sure I'll use the time to get some good work in, see some new trails, spend time with my family.

I may even clean the van (@*&k.)

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