I was all jokey about how my household looked like Europe during the Black Plague in my DadCentric post on Monday, but it ain't that funny anymore. I haven't been this sick in probably ten years, but of course that's not even the main problem. The girls are just a mess. Hacking and coughing and crying and whining and feverish and screaming pretty much 80% of their waking hours. Seldom and few are the moments that neither of them are having some kind of fit. It's heartbreaking. Actually, I've moved beyond the heartbreak I think, and gotten to the stage where I'm just like, "Really? You're gonna scream all day again? And refuse to eat or walk? And gush mucus? You can't just suck it up like Dad's doing?" Also, I think I've slept more than 3 hours at a stretch exactly once since the middle of last week, because the kids have been either waking up multiple times during the middle of the night, or, like last night, sleeping through the night but waking up at 4:30 a.m. So I'm really disoriented. Somehow, my wife has managed to not get sick yet. You might think I would resent her for that, but on the contrary, it's a great consolation that one of us is able to take care of business and not be a whiny baby.
I also resisted writing about this until now because it's really just what happens when kids get sick, which they are expected to do from time to time. We've just had extraordinary luck in that our kids haven't had any real illnesses since they were born. So here I am acting like it's the end of the world and my parenting abilities are being pushed to the breaking point, when in fact, this is all perfectly normal, and I know (and I'm sure you do too) families that have to deal with actual serious health problems every day. It's hard to imagine.
This is what you missed by not being at my house this week (you can also see my version of the child-safety gate on the stairs--a couple of overturned chairs):
"Okay," I said, because that's what I always say when my wife suggests something.
But then I wondered why we needed to go to the pet store.
"Are we gonna try some new fancy dogfood?" I asked. We're constantly tweaking our dog's diet to find a product that will minimize the farts, maximize poop firmness, and not cause skin reactions. We have a very high-maintenance dog.
"No," she said. "For the tadpole habitat."
"The tadpole habi...?" I said. "Oh, shit. The tadpoles. You're still talking about that?"
My wife's friend from work has gotten her interested in raising tadpoles, which the friend does with her kids. This friend was about to score like a kilo of prime polliwogs, and offered us a stake in it.
In case you're not a wildlife biologist, the thing about tadpoles is that they turn into frogs. It's educational, the reasoning goes, for kids to witness and nurture this metamorphosis.