Wednesday, August 26, 2015

You Just Can't

I know I said a couple of weeks ago that I am a super positive person, but that was clearly either sarcasm or a flat out lie. Today, I shall prove how incredibly NOT positive I really am by pointing out all the things one CANNOT DO with a broken foot and riding a scooter. 

1.      Operate a trash can that utilizes a foot pedal to open the lid. 

Who knew that trash cans were a two-foot device? I think this would be the perfect time to justify one of those motion-sensor cans...

2.      Procure your own motorized shopping cart. 

It doesn’t really matter if you’ve broken your left foot or your right because driving is not the issue. The problem is getting inside once you reach your destination. Sure, you can hop on one foot to the trunk, balance on one leg while you unload the scooter, then scoot your little self inside to the carts. But then what? Push your scooter alongside the motorized shopping cart back to the car? 

3.      Put down the foot rest on a recliner.

Unless, of course, your healthy foot is part Hulk. Then you’re golden.

I wonder if this is similar to the way that men feel when asked to put down the toilet seat...?

4.      Carry your own plate and drink to the table.

Just give up on hot food altogether because your kid’s not going to carry freshly microwaved food for you. But you can garner sympathy for something that won’t burn their fingers. Sandwich, anyone? For the next 6 weeks? 

5.      Stop your crazy toddler from jumping off the mini-fridge onto the futon.

You probably also cannot one-foot-edly get him to the ER when this little activity ends badly…

6.      Stop your crazy toddler from jumping off the train table.

Fun times! Another potential ER visit!

7.      Catch your crazy toddler when he runs away from you.

This one might be a positive if #5 and #6 happened first…

8.      Enforce time out for your crazy toddler.

Good news—you CAN put yourself in time out! 

9.      Wash the bottom of your good foot.

There’s just no good way to balance enough to scrub that foot. And there’s no pedicure to cover for this shortcoming, either. The best bet that I have found is to drop my loofah onto the shower floor, stand on top of it, and twist back and forth. Does that sound at all efficient, effective, or any other positive adjectives to you?

10.   Get a slick, wet baby out of the bathtub.

This task isn’t easy on a good day. While crippled? Well, the kids might just be a little more dirty than normal for a few weeks.

11.   Check a mailbox that lives at the end of a rock driveway.

The children will not understand this. They will blow past you on their bicycles and mock your geriatric pace. Ignore them. Allowing a competitive spirit to creep in and overpower the fear and logic is foolish. Speed up while on those rocks, and you will die. 

12.   Sweep up the piles of goldfish, animal crackers, poptarts, and other crumbly junk food you’ve allowed your children to consume while you’ve been unable to provide proper nourishment. 

Actually, that’s only half true. YOU actually CAN sweep up the piles of crumbs left behind by your children! But… you cannot operate the dustpan. So all you’ve really managed to accomplish is push the dirty, disgusting, stale food remains into an irresistible pile of temptation for the baby and toddler, who have no qualms when it comes to eating off the floor.  

Thursday, August 13, 2015

My Broken Foot's Dream House

If I had known that I was going to break my foot, I’d have definitely made some preparations. Number 1 on the list would have been LOSE WEIGHT. 

People, let me tell ya-- there’s a reason Jillian Michaels employs so much jumping and hopping and push-ups in her workouts. It’s because lifting your own weight is a beast, especially when you truly are the size of some beasts. Within the first 24-hours of being confined to crutches, I had developed Crutch Burn under both arm pits and my entire upper body felt like I had just completed a week’s worth of P90X arm routines. Needless to say, I quickly discovered that crutches are more fun in 4th grade than they are in adulthood.

But, being the positive person that I am, I refuse to dwell on the past and “if only’s”. I prefer to focus on the future. So over the last couple of days, I have made note of all the amenities any future homes that I might purchase must have, just in case I ever have a repeat experience with a broken foot.

If you are in the housing market, I suggest you pay attention, just in case.

1.      My next home will have ZERO stairs, steps, inclines, declines, or uneven surfaces.

It’s bad enough that this entire, hellish ordeal is due to steps, but now, after already proving I am incapable of navigating steps while in top condition, I have to navigate them while handicapped. And rather than a single flight of stairs that I could possibly just avoid by sticking to one level of the house, I have random steps scattered throughout my home. First, there are the 3 infamous steps leading from my kitchen into the back half of the house (that includes the living room and my kids’ room). These steps are evil. They are composed of slick, ridiculously hard tile. They are chipped and cracked and currently mended with duct tape. I hate them. In addition to those, I have 2 steps going down into my bedroom. Meaning there are also 2 steps leading OUT of my bedroom when I need to use the restroom 2, 3, or even 4 times every night thanks to Preggo Bladder. Speaking of restrooms, there are 2 steps leading down into my shower, or one small step (technically, it’s a “lip”, but what’s a lip, really, other than a mini-step?) you have to hurdle to get into my kids’ shower.

It is impossible to avoid the steps.

Every time someone needs a drink or a snack, I have to crutch my fat butt up and down the steps. Every time I need to pee in the night, I have to crutch my fat butt up and down the steps. Every time I need to shower, I have to crutch my fat, naked butt over that mini-step (more on that later…).

I’ve almost fallen to my death about 5 times now. Terrible, right? It gets worse.

Oliver, the baby, loves to climb the steps, but he can’t climb back down- a fact that I well know, but managed to forget in the midst of my own Battle with the Crutches. So there he went, right to the top of the steps, where he sat and reached for Mama to come get him. And I couldn’t because I can’t bend that far over with crutches crammed up under my pits. And I can’t put the crutches down and balance on one foot to get him because I’m a fatty with no core strength. And I can’t kneel onto the steps and get him down and then stand back up because that’s an unreasonable expectation for someone who can’t walk down 3 measly steps without fracturing a bone. So I went to Plan B.

I waved toys. I waved snacks. I clapped and cheered and begged for him to come on down. Seriously, I could have hosted The Price is Right.
Oliver cried and reached for Mama to come get him.

So I sent in the troops—Big Brother Andy. He pretended to run away and called for Oliver to catch him (one of their favorite games). He played with toys on the bottom step and cooed for Oliver to join him. He clapped and cheered and begged. He even tried to gently help Oliver scoot down on his tummy.

Oliver cried harder and reached for Mama to come get him.

After 20 minutes, I realized that the situation was hopeless. That baby was absolutely NOT going to come down those steps on his own. So I caved and sent Andy next door to get the neighbor to help. When Oliver was returned safely back to flat ground, she barricaded the steps with all of my living room furniture: the futon, the arm chair, a side table. It was genius.

Until someone needed a drink and a snack. Dang it. 

2.      My next home will have walk-in showers sans “lip” that are large enough to house a full-size beach chair.

How, exactly, are you supposed to clear that lip on crutches? If you put the crutches on the outside of the shower and try to hop in, you are basically hurtling yourself forward onto a slick surface with only one good foot to land on and no arms for balance. If you put your crutches on the inside of the shower and then hop in, your crutches slip on the slick surface and you fall over anyway. It’s a lose-lose scenario for a klutz.

I did make it (barely) just to endure a one-foot shower. Yes, we do have a small, built-in bench. But it’s gross. It’s slick and slimy from all the spilled shampoo, and it’s really only large enough to seat one cheek comfortably. So I just couldn’t bring myself to fully utilize it. I was concerned I might slip off if I tried. I did kneel on it a little with my broken side to give some relief to my poor, over-worked, fully-operational foot. But the water couldn’t reach the bench, so it wasn’t the most useful set up. I’m pretty sure that only the right half of my body got truly clean during the entire process.

And just so you know, being WET and one-legged is even worse than DRY and one-legged, so the shower exit was hideous. 

3.      My next home will have handicapped-height potties.

The hardest part of my day is going to the bathroom. Trying to undress while balancing on one foot is nearly impossible. (I have high hopes that Dolly Pop clothing will one day be created for humans.) But even after I manage that little chore, I’ve got to sit down on the shortest toilet in Texas, and there’s NOWHERE to put that injured foot. I can’t stretch it out, nor can I sit with my legs up, because no matter how I try to position it, IT HURTS. I really need to pee whilst propping my foot up. But, alas, most bathrooms aren’t equipped with footstools in front of the toilet.

But my next house might be…

4.      My next home will have cul-de-sacs in every room.

Day #2 went much better than Day #1 thanks to a friend who loaned me one of those knee scooter things. Good-bye, crutches! The only problem is that the turning radius of a kneel-and-scoot is not the best. And in my home, which is filled with large baby items such as the pack-n-play, the exersaucer, the walker, the high chair, etc, not to mention the teeny tiny kitchen and narrow hallways, the poor turning abilities are amplified. The only way to get turned around is to balance on one foot while picking up the scooter and repositioning it. 

I believe I’ve already mentioned my lack of core strength. So, a mere hour into my scooting and turning adventures, I managed to fall off the contraption. Instinct kicked in, and I caught my fall with my broken foot. Instinct kicked in again, and I yanked my foot back off the ground, managing to throw me even more off-balance. Thankfully, there was a chair nearby that I was able to stumble-hop-fall into before I totally crashed and burned on the ground.

Clearly, my instincts stink.

5.      My next home will have Panic Corners where I can be shielded from children on 3 sides.

One of the most crucial instructions I received from the doctor was to ice my foot several times a day. Even as he was saying it, I was wondering how in the world I was going to manage to sit still for 20 minutes at a time, multiple times each day, with 3 needy kids vying for my attention. What I did NOT anticipate was the fascination my kids would have with my ice pack. After all, it’s not like it’s fancy. It’s not colorful or textured or unusual in any way. It is ice cubes inside a clear Ziplock bag wrapped in a raggedy hand towel covered in mystery stains. And they LOVE IT.

The first time was, of course, the worst because I was completely unprepared for the fascination. I had the older two kids in front of a spell-binding show on Netflix, and the baby was busy running laps around them in his walker. Everybody was distracted and happy… until Mama got out the ice. Suddenly, everyone needed to investigate. Everyone needed to touch it. Stroke it. Request to lick it.

After a few minutes, Netflix called the older two away. But the baby was entranced with that ice pack. He could not leave it. He needed to have it for his very own. So for a full 10 minutes or so, he tried to steal it. And every time he grabbed the bag and tried to yank it away, my poor, sad foot jostled a little bit.


Eventually, I couldn’t handle it anymore. There was nothing I could do, so I called on Andy to build me a barricade by strategically placing some of the larger baby equipment around my foot rest so that the walker couldn’t come near enough for that ice pack to be disturbed. It worked remarkably well. But it just wasn’t quite good enough for Andy’s satisfaction.

Being a boy, Andy felt that the barricade needed to be bigger and more elaborate, so he got a few of his larger toys out of his room to add a second layer to the barricade. But, being a boy, he felt that the barricade needed to be BIGGER and more elaborate, so he got a few more toys out of his room to put on top of the original structure to give it a bit more height. But, being a boy, he felt that the barricade needed to be BIGGER and MORE ELABORATE...

The final barricade consisted of every, single toy from Andy’s room, along with the bedding from each boys’ bunk. The baby couldn’t have reached that ice pack again if he had tried—which he didn’t because he was so distracted by all the new toys to play with. Unfortunately, the barricade also effectively stranded ME on the couch.

6.      My next house will have built-in cup holders with key pad codes, cages, and an alarm system to alert me of intruders.

My children have really enjoyed the last few days of TV meals. Since Mama can’t maneuver the stairs with the baby, the dining table is out. So they’ve gotten to eat 2 out of 3 meals reclined in the theater chairs in front of a show each day. Bully for them.

I cannot sit in the theater chairs because they are too low to the ground, plus I cannot close the foot rest with only one working foot. So while the kids are lounging in their leather recliners, I’m sitting on the scratchy couch. And while the kids are perfectly entertained in perfect comfort, I get to choose between staring at the wall and getting a giant crick in my neck from watching TV with my head at a right angle. And while the kids have built-in cup holders and giant arm rests for their plates, I am stuck balancing my plate on my lap and cramming my drink in between the couch cushions so it doesn’t fall over.

Now, don’t get me wrong—we do own TV trays. But since Mama can’t get the baby into his high chair for meals, he is now fed from his walker. And from his walker, he is able to pull over TV trays. Able and willing. Able, willing, and on the prowl in search of unsuspecting TV trays, much like a hoodlum teenager looking for a cow to tip.

Despite my best efforts, including the ditching of the trays, I managed to lose two drinks to that baby yesterday and another to my Wild Child. That’s a grand total of three drinks spilled. Three drinks wasted. Three drinks that now needed to be replaced. Three additional trips up those blasted steps to the kitchen.  


If someone has already taken the time to invent a lockable cover for thermostats, I see no reason why someone cannot invent a Drink Protector.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Don't Be a Sucker!!!

I am a sucker.

That has to be it. That has to be the reason that I continue to be coerced into bringing one or more children with me to do errands that are often far from kid-friendly. 

Daddy is clearly NOT a sucker. When he needs to run to the store for milk, he just walks out the front door, all by his lonesome, and goes to the store for milk. Does he care that he left at least two heartbroken little boys behind crying big crocodile tears because all they wanted in the whole, wide world was to push the mini carts at Brookshire? I’m not sure he even noticed. When Daddy needs to use the restroom, he goes into the bathroom, closes the door, and takes care of business with no audience. Is he daunted by the banging on the door and the begging to come in and the weeping and wailing right outside? No, not even a little bit. 

It is completely and totally, 100% UNFAIR.

For one, it is completely unfair that men, in general, act on logic without being swayed by irrational emotions (namely GUILT) the way that women tend to be. Secondly, it is unfair that men are aware of women’s irrational, emotional, guilt-induced tendencies and then use those tendencies as a weapon against us.

So here is how 99% of Mama’s errand-running and appointment-meeting and business-doing are destined to go:
1.      Mama will prepare to leave, either the premises or just the room.
2.      One, two, or all children will begin to tear up, pooch their little lip(s), and ask pitifully if they can go, too.
3.      Mama will gently yet firmly explain that she really needs to go alone.
4.      Tears will fall. Begging will begin. Someone might lie on the ground and convulse.
5.      Daddy will look at Mama and say in a logical voice, “They’re going to cry the whole time you’re gone…”
6.      Mama will start to feel a twinge of guilt. The convulsions increase.
7.      Daddy will say in a hopeful voice, “It would really be helpful if you could take AT LEAST one of them…”
8.      Mama’s resolve begins to crumble. She likes to be helpful. And the room is starting to flood from all the tears.
9.      Daddy will say in a persuasive voice, “I could get a lot of work done around here if you took someone with you…”
10.   Mama caves. 

And THAT is how Mama ends up sitting on the toilet with one child on her lap and two more examining the ins and outs of the bathroom while Daddy watches TV alone in the other room.
But the worst—the ABSOLUTE WORST—place to be suckered into taking a child/children with you, is to the OB-GYN.

I’ve been sucked into taking the kids with me for my last two OB appointments. Neither were at all pleasant. Here’s a glimpse at how they went…

Appointment #1: 1-year-old only in attendance
Activity: Initial (internal) ultrasound
Result: Cheerios brought for entertainment strewn EVERYWHERE in the examination room. Pacifier dropped repeatedly, so half-naked mama repeatedly forced to hop off the examination table and run like mad to retrieve said pacifier before doctor walks in to a full moon. Entertainment Cheerios supply depleted, so baby resorts to ripping chunks off of Mama’s paper gown and lap cover. Obese Mama’s lap cover and gown, which were already insufficient, are 33.3% destroyed by the time doctor arrives. With Mama flat on her back and slightly busy during the examination, baby’s feelings are hurt and shows his displeasure by wailing throughout the remainder of the appointment.

Upon arrival back at the house, I swore to my husband that I would NEVER again be suckered into taking the baby with me to an OB appointment under the false assertion by my husband that, “He’ll be easy! He’ll be contained in his stroller! He won’t be any problem at all!”


But I never swore anything about the other two kids, so…

Appointment #2: 4-year-old and 2-year-old in attendance
Activity: Urine sample
Result: Mama, I need to tee tee first! (Mama dances while waiting…) Mama, what is that? (It’s a cup…) Mama, what are you doing? (I have to tee tee into this cup…) Why? (They have to test my tee tee to make sure the baby is okay…) How do they test your tee tee? (I don’t know, baby. They just run some tests…) Can I have a cup? (No.) What is this? (It’s the marker so I can write my name on my cup…) Can I write something? (No.) I want to tee tee in a cup! (No, you can’t tee tee in a cup. Only mamas get to do that…) Mama, you know girls don’t really tee tee, right? They only pooh pooh. (No, baby. Girls tee tee…) How do they tee tee? (They just tee tee…) But why don’t they tee tee like THIS? (Because girls aren’t made like boys…) Why not? (They just aren’t, baby…) Well, I bet you could do it if you tried! (Well, maybe, but I think I’ll just sit down…) Why? (Because that’s how I feel comfortable using the potty…) But why? (Please let’s be done with this conversation!)

Upon arrival back at the house, I swore to my husband that I would NEVER again be suckered into taking the older boys with me to an OB appointment under the false assertion that, “It’ll be easy! They can just sit with you and watch TV while you chat with the doctor! It’s not like you have to do anything crazy like that ultrasound last time!”


I have another 5 months-worth of appointments. We’ll see how my resolve holds up…