Personal Insanity


We had an issue last night. It was, as they say, “High Drama.”

First, let me give you the background. It was a crazy day. Conal and I ran errands in the morning and then scooted over to the library for storytime. Back home, we ate lunch, played for a bit and then it was naptime. Only Conal decided it wasn’t. He was more interested in screaming time. And crying time. Screaming, crying time.

So, that’s what we did. We had screaming, crying time for a good two hours and then a quick nap. By the time the far-too-short nap was over, it was time for me to rush around and get ready to meet Owen at his office at 5:10 so I could hand-off Conal before heading to my 5:30 meeting. What this all meant was that I didn’t have any time to make dinner. Owen and Conal were going to be on their own.

The hand-off was fine, I went to my meeting and was out by 7:40 to get home in time to kiss Conal good night and relieve Owen so he could go to his volleyball game. Phew! Owen left, I changed into running gear and headed to the basement for a run.

So, the point is, there was a lot going on.

When Owen arrived back home at 10:30, he smelled something funny. He looked at the stove and noticed that one of the knobs wasn’t in the off position — but the burner wasn’t on. Yeah, so, the gas was flowing but not being burned off. The gas was flowing into our house, freely. Just going wherever it pleased. And had been doing so, presumably, since Owen made dinner around 6pm. That’s 4+ hours.

Um, let’s just say I was a little nervous.

Owen called the fire department to ask if there was anything in particular that we should do, aside from air out the house (in 2 degree weather!). Why yes, the nice dispatcher said, GET OUT OF THE HOUSE AND CALL 911!

And so we did.

I grabbed up Conal and we went to sit in the car. Owen called 911 and the dispatcher said they would send over “a guy” with a meter to check things out.

Now, I expected to see a guy. A guy as in one guy. One vehicle, one guy. Well, we got our guy. He showed up in a vehicle with flashing lights. No problem. It is probably protocol, I thought. And then the other vehicle drove up about a minute later. No lights on that one, just another guy. And then the paramedics pulled up, with flashing lights. Followed, of course, by the big fire truck, red and yellow lights flashing like crazy, huge flood lights illuminating our entire yard, driveway and house, with 4 (or 6, depending on whether you believe Owen or me) guys.

That’s not “a guy.” That’s MANY guys. Many guys in head-to-toe gear walking around our driveway at 11pm.

They went in the house. Came out. Went in again. They talked to Owen. I sat in the car with Conal. Conal figured he was having a dream.

The paramedic left. The firemen determined that the gas level was safe and so they left, too. The guy — the first guy, the guy who, it turns out, was the one who originally advised us to get out of the house — hung around and told Owen that it is better to be safe than sorry and that you need to take precautions and, hey, if there is anything else that we need, we should just call. So friendly, that one! And at 11:30 at night, no less.

Then he left and the drama was over. We put Conal back in bed and decided it was high time for a cocktail.

I hope to never see those firemen again!

You know, whenever I write the word separate, I think, “there’s a rat in separate.” It’s a mnemonic that I included in the spelling book I just finished and it’s worked. I can’t get it out of my head. I’ll never spell that word incorrectly, that’s for sure.

Anyway, rats or no rats, we’ve got issues. Well, one issue, actually: Separation anxiety. It’s happening. Full-on.

Tuesday, I brought Conal over to Jen’s to spend the morning there, playing with Maddie and Cameron. I put my coat on and was saying good-bye when Conal burst into tears and grabbed me tightly. Jen picked him up and encouraged me to leave (we’d already discussed how these mornings without me are good for Conal), so I did. I felt pretty crummy but I do think it is good for him.

Fast-forward to this morning. We had a trip to the State Museum planned with Bridget and Robin. Bridget offered me a ride so I drove over to her house and, as I did, I told Conal that we were going to the museum and that he was going to ride in Maddie Graber’s car seat and wouldn’t that be fun! At Bridget’s house, I put Conal in the car seat, buckled him up and by the time I walked around to the front passenger seat, he had started weeping. He calmed down when he realized that we were all going together but, jeez!

And then, once we were at the museum, I had to leave him for a minute with Bridget while I ran to get change for a dollar. When I walked back over, he was crying. Loudly.

So, that’s what we have going on. Separation anxiety. Yes, I’ve read that it peaks at this age. It doesn’t make it any easier.

I guess we’re in the mischief phase now. That phase where the innocent boy morphs into one who looks for trouble at every turn. A boy who hunts for the most unsteady item on which to climb. And then stands — tippy toes — on said item while reaching for the one thing he is not supposed to touch.

A boy who has decided that the best thing about dinner is finding creative ways to eat his food, like using his sippy cup as a fork or his cracker as a spoon. A boy who, if given the chance, would head-butt everyone and everything. A boy who surreptitiously collects his mom’s or dad’s things (anything, doesn’t matter) and then hides them under, on or behind the sofa; in the trash can; on the basement stairs.

A boy who screams all the time. OK, scratch that: We’ve been there for a long time.

But the other stuff is fairly new or, at least, new in its frequency and delight. And it doesn’t stop. It’s all mischief, all the time around here. You may think I am kidding. I am not. You may think I am exaggerating. I am not.

OK, maybe just a little. But only a little.

And now a quick shift: We’re heading to Long Island this afternoon. With any luck, we’ll miss the bulk of the traffic and Conal will sleep for most of the trip. That’s what I’m hoping for. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

The good news is that we made it through the weekend. The bad news is that my membership in Mother Wimps has been secured.

You don’t know about Mother Wimps? Where have you been? Obviously not at Chez Jobber, this past weekend.

Here’s the thing. Conal had a fever on Friday. I knew he was off — his nose had been running for two days and, on Friday, he was just off. He was barely eating and wouldn’t nap. I gave him Tylenol, thinking that it would help him sleep. It didn’t. At 4:30 (well after I had given up on the nap) I took his temperature. 101. Not super high, but high enough to freak me out.

He’d never had a fever before. I’d never witnessed my son being ill. It was horrible. Conal was inconsolable. When Owen got home at 6:45, Conal had been crying — more or less non-stop — for an hour and a half. I couldn’t take it. I wanted to cry. I wanted his fever to go away, for him to feel better, for his aches and pains to be relieved.

It didn’t happen.

He slept through night and was a little better on Saturday. But Saturday night? No. He woke up three times, shrieking and clutching Blue Bear. Each time I went up to console him and he was just so sad and scared. It made me terribly sad. And, I’ll admit, scared.

He woke up in a much better state on Sunday and I realized that, yes, I am a wimp. A wimpy mom who can’t handle a simple cold with a fever. Toughen up, you say? I’ll try my best.

This is what I did:

  • Put the cushions back on the sofa.
  • Picked the crayons up off the floor and placed them on the coffee table.
  • Carried the cat’s toy basket from the sofa to the corner where it belongs.

This is what happened:

is a bee. For real.

Although it does kind of remind one of this.

For the record, the bee was dead. So it was really just a bee corpse. But, you know, still. It was a bee. In my toddler’s mouth. And I didn’t know it was dead. At first, anyway.

If you have recently welcomed a boy into your family, or you are pregnant with a boy, or you have any interest in making a boy a part of your family sometime in the future, you might want to skip over my posts for the next few . . . years.

In fact, you may want to stop reading this blog. Just close your browser completely and never come back here. Forget the url. Lose my email address. Pretend you never met me. Dodge me when we happen to be shopping at Hannaford at the same time.

I will be sorry to see you go, but I will understand. I don’t want to scare you with my reports of the destruction and grossity grossness of boyhood. Well, toddler boyhood. Conal’s toddler boyhood, anyway. I don’t want you to think that boys are hard to handle and that they do crazy, scary things. I don’t want to give you the wrong impression of life with a boy.

Not all boys relish in the hard-core boyness of boydom. So, don’t worry! You know how on those diet ads they’ll say something like, “Results not typical” when the spokesperson has lost like a hundred pounds? Well, that might be similar to what’s going on here. You know, maybe my tagline should be, “Destructive and gross actions not typical.”

Unless they are . . .

But they might not be! I mean, I’m sure that not all boys think it is hilarious when their moms suction the mucus out of their noses and, at the end, they do a super-quick head turn so the string of mucus slaps across their faces, nose to ear. Sure, some boys think that is funny. Some boys think that when the nose suctioner thingy comes out, it is time for fun! But, not all boys do. Of course, I don’t know these boys. I only know the boy who thinks mucus suctioning is a great big joke fest.

Similarly, not all boys like to get dirty. They don’t all like to lick their dirty hands and then rub those spitty, dirty hands on their faces. No! They don’t all like to do that! It’s not fun for all boys!

But, again, I don’t know those boys. I only know the boy who thinks that licking his dirty hands and then rubbing them over his face is second in the Whoopee-doo Fun Times list only to mucus suctioning. Or, as we have recently learned, hiding the remote in very bad, bad places. Or, possibly, smooshing cottage cheese or ketchup in his hair. Or shoving his mouth full of food, only to turn around and pull the food out. Or throwing his mom’s cell phone away. Yeah, those are all right up there on the list, too.

Anyway, the bottom line is, I don’t want to scare you. But, these are the things that happen around here and you can be pretty sure I’ll have more of the grossity grossness and destruction to report. If you need to move on, I’ll understand. Just, you know, if you do dodge me at the grocery store? Don’t give me the evil eye. I’ve got my hands full over here.

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