This was Jack’s spring break week. Unfortunately, the Professor’s spring break was the week before, so he went north to visit his family for that week. He had taken Liam with him, but still he was gone for about 2 weeks straight. Then he returned just in time to see the friends, then left again, and had to travel this weekend, too. Basically it’s been like a month since I’ve had a normal, quiet week with my partner/co-parent. I love me some Gilmore Girls but the evening loneliness is getting kind of old. He’ll be back for a day and then gone again Monday, but just a bit longer now til summer and the semester is over.
Anyway, with Jack on spring break and the Professor gone to work out of state as usual, we had some juggling to do. We got it all arranged – the little boys would go to daycare like usual, and I would take Jack to work on Tuesday, he would go to roller skate day camp on Wednesday, I would take Thursday off to have a special day just with him, and then the Professor would drive back here, pick him up, and then head back to his job out of state to do some stuff this weekend, but with Jack in tow. I would have loved to have taken the week, or even part of the week, off to have an actual spring break, like many of our friends did . . . alas, the billable hour precludes such niceties. I had to do what law firm parents the world ’round do – somehow find a way to meet the needs of the kid and the job, while not going absolutely crazy with stress.
Ahhhh, the best laid plans . . . Tuesday was going well. I had packed up some magazines, coloring stuff, snacks, and Jack’s innotab, and he was doing just great with all of it. I was actually getting a lot done, and then at 3 I get a call – Liam is complaining of an ear ache and crying. OF COURSE HE IS. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD.
Jack and I left work early (and I was in such a groove! he was doing so well!) We picked up Liam, who by this point was more or less screaming, sweating, and fidgeting because he was in so much pain. He could not sit still. It was his right ear, inside, “way down deep.” You could hear his screams from outside the daycare – it reminded me of when he was a baby and used to get ear infections – and also, truthfully, of my own self in labor, sweating and unable to be still during the height of the painful contractions. I ran down the hall to grab Craig, and Liam’s teacher helped me by carrying Craig out while I carried the screaming Liam out. Jack trailed behind, trying to be helpful but really just being super annoying, bless his 6 year old head. The four of us headed out to an urgent care which is literally 3 miles away but it took me 20 minutes to get to because the western area of our city is just absolutely THE WORST. It would have been quicker for me to drive 15 miles to the one near our house, and I regretted my choice more or less instantly. But this place already had Liam’s info in the computer since this is where we came when he ripped his fingernails off, so this is where I chose, in my seconds to think with a kid screaming in my ear.
When I brought him, still screaming, into the urgent care center, I could see everyone’s nerves instantly tighten up. It was nerve-shredding, for sure. For once, I didn’t care that my kid was making a spectacle – this was an urgent care, and he was in so much pain. Nobody said anything, of course, how could they complain? But also I’ll note nobody offered any kind of help, although I had a baby on one hip and a 4 year old on the other, plus a diaper bag, purse, and 6 year old in tow. I guess they were all in their own world of pain (although I think most were there to get a drug screen for work).
So while intellectually I knew Liam was fine, there is something primal that is triggered when your child screams in pain that just cannot be turned off. It shredded my nerves, absolutely shredded them, and I rocked and soothed him as best I could while also wrangling Craig, who was desperate to get out the front door and into the busy parking lot as quickly as possible. Jack had a lot of orders barked at him by a mom with zero patience that day – he handled it like a champ, though of course he’d also been in my office being quiet as a mouse all day, so he was pretty wired as well.
Long story short, Liam had a bad ear infection. It took us over an hour to get back through the purgatory of West [City] and over the bay into our town, and then I get to the pharmacy with his script for numbing drops and antibiotics, and the lady tells me it will be an hour and a half. At the end of my rope at this point, having heard Liam scream for about 3 solid hours, I begged her “HE IS SCREAMING IN PAIN, CAN YOU PLEASE DO IT FASTER.” She agreed to half an hour. I drove us home, grabbed some children’s Motrin, gave it to him, then headed back to the pharmacy, and grabbed those numbing drops like they were liquid gold. (That shizz cost us over eighty dollars, so they practically were liquid gold.)
That more or less shut off the screams instantly. Bless him, during the short drive home he fell asleep, sweat still beaded on his forehead. He was so exhausted from the stress of that painful half-day. We got home, and you’d better believe we ordered Domino’s for dinner – I had no energy or willpower to cook something. I got everybody fed and to bed. Earlier in the day I had managed, while juggling the three ring circus, to call the roller skate camp and see if Jack could drop in on Thursday instead of Wednesday. It would be useless for me to pay the money to send him to camp Wed, and then have Liam home with me anyhow (he had to stay home one day and recover). Bless them, bless them, bless them, they let us switch without notice or any kind of charge. I will definitely use that place again.
So. The week’s plans went kaput. I had a conference call scheduled for Wed afternoon, purposefully set at that time because I was supposed to have all the little duckies in their various caregiving situations. Instead, I had two boys at home! Erg. I took Craig to daycare on Wed anyway, which allowed me to get some things done. I also spent some time with the boys – the day off was supposed to be a special day with Jack (which was supposed to be Thursday, so I’d planned meetings and due dates and such to accommodate a day off on Thursday, Ugh ugh ugh). So I did my best to make Wednesday a special day off with the two of them instead. I only billed about 4 hours that day, and in the extra time, I managed to do approximately eleventy-billion crafts with them, take them on a nice long walk and then let them swim in the little blow-up pool in our backyard, which they loved. Jack even told me that it was the best day of his life! We had pink lemonade and pretzels on the back porch, and then the little girls who were visiting next door came over and swam while I took my conference call inside the house and watched them through the window. I picked up Craigsy right on time, then we all came home and had dinner of leftover Easter feast. I got them to bed and then crashed myself.
Boys in the pool
Craftin’ like a boss
Thursday, Jack went to skate camp, everybody else went to daycare as normal, and the Professor came home to pick everybody up and do a mountain of dishes. He left again the next day, taking Jack with him for special father-son time in the state where he works. Jack’s been dying to see where daddy works, to see daddy’s office, to meet daddy’s students – this was his chance! I myself had normal work days Thursday and Friday, and here we are on Saturday – having done our week’s grocery shopping by 8 am, and starting the other chores. Craigsy is sleeping, and I parked Liam in front of tv so I could binge-blog – as you’ll note, I did three posts today. Thus having indulged in my one little hobby, I’m back into the fray to keep up with the dishes, laundry, and pre-cooking for the week. Next week I travel to Birmingham for work, and my parents are coming to keep the kids for us. It’s a chaotic life over here, but I’m keeping my head above water. Just a few more weeks til summer, baseball games and swimming pools and more relaxed morning routines. I can make it!