Posts tagged Parker
Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr Day. My office was closed, as was day care. Monica was not as lucky as she still had to work. This meant I was on my own with both kids. All I really want to do on a day like that is hang out and watch TV, but that’s frowned upon when raising kids apparently so I had to find something to do throughout the day to occupy them. It’s cold so any outdoor activities were ruled out. I ended up taking them to the mall for a bit to run a few errands. That’s usually good for killing some time and wearing them out because they run around a bunch. I kept them in line with the promise of McDonald’s. Since the local restaurant has an indoor playground, it’s a good form of cheap entertainment. This is where I found myself at around 12:30.
The playground is simple in its setup. It’s a few tubes that lead up to a slide. My deal with the kids is that they have to eat a bite of their cheeseburger and then they can run through the playground once, then repeat. This way they still get to go play and they’re eating. It’s worked over and over again. After this time, I have some second thoughts about my approach.
Things started out well. The kids were behaving and actually eating their food. Oliver finished his cheeseburger and Parker was almost done. In hindsight, I recognize that Parker had a couple of odd sounding burps. These should have been warning signs. I told the kids that if they finished their food, I would get them some ice cream. Oliver was impatiently waiting for Parker to finish. I picked up Parker and put him on my lap, holding the small piece of cheeseburger he had left in my other hand. I had already finished my food. I told Parker again that if he ate one more bite, he’d get ice cream. He took a bit of the burger…then began to throw up.
Now, I don’t know how to fully explain what happened next or why. I can only point to the strange set of instincts that come from being a parent. You think differently and react in a moment’s notice when it involves your kid. The moment I saw what was happening, instincts kicked in and, left with no real options in the immediate vicinity, put my hand under Parker’s mouth. My two-and-a-half-year old son proceeded to throw up most of the cheeseburger he had just ate into the open palm of my right hand. After the initial outpouring was finished, I threw the vomit onto the tray which was thankfully empty. Then, before even cleaning up my hand, I grabbed the empty Happy Meal box that was on the floor near my feet. I placed this in front of Parker and he proceeded to vomit quietly into the box. Oliver was somewhat oblivious to this whole thing and while thinking about it now, it probably lasted maybe thirty seconds.
I want to take a second here to explain the setting. The playground area of this McDonald’s houses about six or seven small tables. They’re built for children so they’re low to the ground. Each has two to four stools around them. Since it was lunchtime on a holiday, the place was packed. There were at least a dozen kids running around and probably seven to nine adults. Our table was located in the corner. Since everything happened so quickly and quietly, I don’t think anyone really noticed, especially since I had Parker throw up into the Happy Meal box. I’ve been to this place when a kid blows chunks all over the floor. It has a tendency to clear the room out pretty fast. If anyone saw this go down, they did not let on.
At this point, my right hand is covered in vomit which I’m cleaning up with the last of the napkins we had. There’s a little bit on my pants and on Parker’s shirt. I wipe that up with whatever we have left and quietly tell Oliver to get his shoes. Proving once again that he’s my son, his response is “What about ice cream?” I tell him that I’ll give him ice cream at home. I explain that Parker threw up and we have to go now. Oliver is now at an age where he has little to no control over the volume of his voice. He responds to this by practically shouting “Parker threw up!?!” to which I shush him and tell him again to get his shoes. He was a trooper and complied. I grabbed our coats, got everyone dressed, and threw out the evidence in the nearby garbage can, hoping and praying that Parker didn’t throw up again. I was all out of Happy Meal boxes.
As I was walking my children out of the playground area, I saw a woman swoop in on the now empty table, claiming it as her own. She was completely unaware that moments before, my kid threw up into my outstretched hand. Fortunately, there was nothing on the floor or table that I could see. We managed to get home without further incident. Parker didn’t throw up again. Oliver got his ice cream.
I’ve been reviewing horror comics for six years for HorrorTalk. I now run a horror comics podcast called Funny Book Splatter. During this time, I have grown to truly appreciate the horror genre and a good scare. Nothing in that time, nor my entire existence on this planet, holds a candle to what I experienced this morning. That was pure, unbridled terror.
This morning, as with every weekday morning, I was ushering my kids out the door to take them to day care. I have this checklist in my head that I run down to make sure we have everything. The kids each decided to bring a blanket into the car with them this time. I open the door and we head out in the driveway. Parker lags behind just a bit, but that’s not unusual. I get to the car and open the back door on the driver’s side where Parker’s car seat is and toss the kids’ bags into the back seat. I turn around and Oliver is right there, but Parker is not. I then see his head bobbing up the driveway through the car windows. He’s running for the road.
My driveway is not very long. It can comfortably fit four cars in a two-by-two formation. By the time I saw Parker making a beeline for the street, he was halfway there. I immediately darted around the car, screaming his name. It was at this point that I heard an engine rev to my left. A car was coming around the corner as my not-quite-two-year-old was getting closer and closer to the road.
A million things ran through my head at this second. Will he stop on his own? Will I be fast enough to catch him? What happens if he gets into the street? Will the car see him? What happens if the car doesn’t see him? How will I tell Monica that I let our toddler get hit by a car? All of these questions and more were throttling through my mind at once as my feet pounded the pavement. All the while, Parker is gleefully running towards the end of the driveway, blanket in one hand and a smile on his face.
I scooped him up in my arms just as he reached the driveway’s edge. It was at that moment that the car, revealed to be a senior citizen bus, came into full view and stopped short right in front of my house, just past the driveway. If I was a second later, Parker would have been under that bus.
I held Parker close, hugging him to my chest. He was completely unaware of how close he’d come to horrific injury or even death. His big eyes were looking all around and he was smiling up at me. I touched his head and told him how scared I was and how he should never run into the road because he could get hurt. I didn’t yell. I didn’t even raise my voice. I was just relieved that he was okay. My heart was beating out of my chest, but he was fine. The trip to daycare went like normal, although I didn’t say a word the whole way. Neither did the kids. It’s like they knew I was going through this all in my head. My hands were shaking.
Now, I’m sure I’m not the only parent to ever lose control of their kid or have them run off like that. I’m sure I won’t be the last either. Hell, I’m sure that one or both of my kids will scare me just as much at least a few more times over the course of their lives. I can say with confidence that during those few seconds, as I was running towards my child, I have never been more scared. Not clowns, not monsters, not home invasion. Nothing has ever terrified me as much as those few footsteps. I hugged both Oliver and Parker extra tight when I dropped them off at day care, thankful that this morning we ended up there instead of in a hospital. I’ll be hugging them just as tight when I pick them up today too.
Since Monica’s morning commute is longer than mine, the task of dropping off and picking up the children from day care falls to me. I’ve got the routine down to a science aided in no small part by the television and the gate that locks the kids into the family room. The second to last step in the process of getting them out the door in the morning is brushing their teeth. By this point, I’ve already gotten them dressed, fed the cats, cleaned the litter box, gotten their bags together, packed my lunch, and brushed my own teeth. It is at this time that I turn the TV off and usher them upstairs. On Monday, we ran into a bit of an issue.
It started out normal, with Parker running upstairs and disappearing into the kitchen. Oliver’s response to my request to go brush his teeth was to collapse on the floor. I picked him up while he made angry faces at me. He was playing and quickly broke and laughed as he made each subsequent face. Once I got him to the living room, I put him down because he’s almost four and he can walk. He collapsed once again.
I took this opportunity to nab Parker and bring him upstairs. On the way, I made sure to point out to Oliver that I would just brush Parker’s teeth first. That got him moving, although not all that fast. By the time he made it up to the bathroom, I had positioned Parker on the counter next to the sink. Oliver insisted on opening the door to the bathroom and turning on the light even though those things were already done, so he shut the light off and closed the door. Being that I’m petty and I sometimes do things to mess with my children, I turned the light back on before he could open the door. Oliver saw this and turned it off again just so he can turn it on. These are the kinds of things you get to deal with when you have children.
I was now getting Parker’s toothbrush ready. Oliver was annoyed because Parker was sitting in his spot. He climbed on his step stool positioned between the counter and the toilet, then the toilet, then tried to squeeze his way onto the counter next to Parker. I told him that there was not enough room for both of them and that he should wait his turn. This fell on deaf ears.
I then started to brush Parker’s teeth by grabbing the kid in a sort of headlock so he’ll stay still enough for me to do the job. While I’m doing this, Parker looks straight ahead into the mirror and in one fluid motion, pushes his brother clean off the counter. It happened so fast. One second Oliver was sitting there and the next he simply wasn’t.
It’s times like these that I’m faced with an internal struggle. On the one hand, my son just fell and hurt himself. He’s crying. As his father, I should comfort him. On the other hand, that was hilarious. So now I have to make him feel better while holding back my laughter which is no easy task. I did make sure to point out that if he just listened to me in the first place and waited his turn, he would not be in this predicament.
As 2016 came to a much needed close, I had every intention of writing a blog post a day in 2017, akin to what I did in 2008, however this time they would be about my kids. Each post would feature something they did or said that amused or annoyed me as a way to chronicle their lives. Here I am writing this on January 4th, having already failed at this task. Instead, maybe I’ll try to do this every week to have a bit more of a flexible goal. I’d like to write more here because I greatly enjoy doing so and people seem to like it when I write about the weird and funny things my kids do, so I will continue to exploit them for my own personal gain. Speaking of which, be sure to check out our Loot Crate unboxing videos over at HorrorTalk.
So what have my kids been up to? Mainly it’s been playing with the variety of toys they got for Christmas. Oliver’s favorites include his blue lightsaber (although he’s also partial to his brother’s red one), which he’s been whipping open repeatedly. It’s only a matter of time before that flies out of his hands and breaks something. Who knows? Maybe it’ll go out a window after all. He’s also partial to the toy microphone that Monica’s parents got him. It records and plays back your voice, so he’s been saying “Poop” into it over and over again so he can hear himself say it. That’s my boy.
Parker has been somewhat indifferent to the toys, picking up things here or there to play with them when he feels like it. He takes cues from his brother, often following him around or grabbing a toy that Oliver has put down. This become problematic when Oliver realizes Parker has taken something he was recently playing with and demands it back. They’ll figure out how to share sooner or later, I guess. Or not at all and they’ll just continue fighting. He’s been obsessed with the book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? lately. Our copy has these little windows that slide out to reveal the next animal. He’s been all over that book.
I’m not burying the lead with this blog post. We’re going to get right into it because there’s no other way to tell this story than by starting with that headline. The other day, I almost peed on my son, specifically Parker, the one year old. First, some background information for you. Since Monica and I have had our own place, I have peed with the door open. It’s my house and it’s my bathroom, so that’s it. I can’t explain why I feel so entitled as to urinate with an open door. It doesn’t make me feel special or anything. It’s not as if the act of closing the door behind me is cumbersome or difficult. Before you ask, yes, I close the door when company is around.
This habit was only slightly curtailed when I had kids and then only when they started moving around on their own. Plus, it helped a bit when Oliver was potty training (which is an entire other blog post) to understand that everyone else used the toilet. I could sneak off for a minute to go take a leak while Oliver was otherwise occupied in the next room with toys or the TV. I do not have that luxury with Parker. If Oliver was a handful, Parker is a dump truck of mischief. The kid gets into anything and everything and he’s friggin’ fast. He’s climbing on stuff and crawling / walking every where. He also seems interested in stuff that Oliver never was, such as the toilet.
This brings us back to the subject of this blog post. The other day I get home with the kids. They’re playing upstairs. I’ve got a gate up to prevent Parker from falling down the stairs. This allows the kids to play in either or both of their rooms freely. I go into the bathroom through my bedroom and leave the door open behind me. This is something I’ve done a million times. Just as I start peeing, Parker is closing in quick. He’s crawling in his little Gollum style, with his left leg up and his right leg down in the traditional crawl pose. I’m in mid stream when he’s suddenly between my legs, grasping the edge of the toilet to pull himself to a standing position. By this point I’m screaming “NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!” and trying to tuck my junk back in my pants while also avoiding peeing on my young son’s head. This is easier said than done but I’m happy to report that he got away dry. I then picked up him, put him outside the bathroom, closed the door, and finished my business. I’m sure I’ll receive a therapy bill for this traumatic experience some time in the future. Sorry kid. I guess I’ll start closing the door more often.
My youngest son Parker is now 9 months old. Between him and Oliver I’ve cleaned up my fair share of urine, feces, vomit, and more snot than should be possible to come out of a child’s nose. The most disgusting of these bodily fluids by far is drool. It’s unlike any of the others in that it’s almost impossible to entirely get rid of it. A drip of the stuff can get on your hand or shirt and it just won’t go away even if you wipe away at it countless times. There have been several instances where I’ll get to work hours after dropping my kids off at day care only to look down and find that there’s an obvious drool stain on my shirt. It’s par for the course really.
The consistency of drool is what makes it so nasty. It’s almost oily in texture, allowing it to slide freely from surface to surface, without you noticing at first. No amount of tissues, bibs, and burp cloths can keep the tide at bay. Speaking of bibs, they are a must-have at this point in Parker’s life. He needs to be in one at all times because the drool just keeps coming. If I forget to put on one, his chest is drenched within minutes. Even when he’s wearing a bib, that thing gets soaked so quickly. I’ll pick him up and suddenly get slapped with a piece of wet cloth…only it’s not wet from water…it’s wet with the saliva of my infant son.
You basically just have to try to keep up with the waterfall of spit that’s coming out of the kid’s mouth. Bibs help that. Having tissues nearby is a good backup plan. We were out today and I had neither so I sort of used his arm to wipe it up, like an older person would do. Just use your sleeve, right? He didn’t mind.
In related news, I’ve found that Parker really loves it when I toss him up in the air. I was always cautious of this with Oliver because I thought I’d break him or something. That caution is all but gone with the second kid. I haven’t dropped him or anything, but I’ve definitely been throwing him up in the air a lot more. He’s got a huge smile on his face the entire time too. You might see where this story is going. One evening I was sitting in my reclining chair, casually tossing the kid up and catching him. He’s giggling and smiling. Everything is great. Then I toss him up once more. I catch him and at that moment, the drool breaks free from the dam that is his mouth. Gravity pulls it towards the earth, straight down…and into my mouth.
Despite my instant revulsion, I didn’t just throw my infant son across the room. I immediately moved him to the side and started spitting into a nearby burp cloth. It was gross. It was the grossest encounter with baby bodily fluids I’d ever had at that point. (I’ve since had a worse one, but that’s a story for another day.) That hasn’t stopped me from playing with my kids though, nor should it. This kind of stuff is just part of being a parent. It’s something that someone — a doctor, an elder, anyone really — should tell you about. There’s a good chance your kid is going to drool right into your mouth. You’re going to get poop on your hands. You’ll get peed on. Boogers will be wiped all over you. Just hope none of them puke in your mouth / face. I’ve managed to avoid that up until now.
A little more than two weeks ago, I became a dad again. Parker Maxwell Ferguson was born on Saturday, June 13th at 10:47 PM. This is the story of his arrival.
After going through this twice, I can report that women tend to get to a point in their pregnancy where they just want it to be over. They’re really uncomfortable and agitated about it and they have every right to be. They are creating life after all. Monica reached that point in this pregnancy around the beginning of May. She wasn’t due until June 22nd. She went to the doctor for a routine visit on Thursday, June 11th. The doctor said that she would definitely go to full term. Two days later, as if both her and my soon-to-be-newborn son told the doctor “F You” her water broke.
This happened around 7 AM. I was downstairs with Oliver when Monica came down and told me that she thought her water broke. She eventually called the doctor who told her to come into the hospital around 1 PM. In the meantime, she relaxed, went for a walk, took a shower, and ate lunch. It was like every other day…except for the fact that liquid was literally leaking out of her. Yes, that sounds gross, but how did you think the baby was going to come out?
She also called her parents who agreed to come down to watch Oliver. This was a big concern for us because, depending on when the new baby came, we didn’t really know what to do with Oliver. As a very temporary solution, he could come with us, but someone would have to pick him up. If it was during the week, he’d be at daycare for most of the day. As it turned out, this was probably the best possible situation. It was the weekend. Monica’s dad had just started vacation so he was available to come down. It all lined up nicely.
We got to the hospital around 1:30 after I took at least 2 wrong turns. I can’t explain why this happened. I’ve been to this hospital several times when we were taking various lamaze classes and whatnot but for some reason, I just totally spaced out on the ride over. After getting into a room, the doctor confirmed that Monica’s water did indeed break. As a result, we were stuck there. She was officially admitted to the hospital as they won’t let you leave after the water is broken.
Monica was still mobile and not in much pain at this point. Contractions were coming but not regularly and they weren’t too severe. She was told to walk laps around the maternity ward for about an hour. This helps shake things loose. Again, if this sound gross, sorry. That’s how these things work. We set out for the walk while I was texting family and work folks. While we were walking, I pointed out a white board with “Welcome to the Maternity Ward” written on it along with a number of names. I assumed that these were the names of the new children that have been born. Monica, being far smarter than me, noticed that 99% of the names were female and that was unlikely. I think the one male name was a mysterious “Ray.” On a later lap, the names were confirmed to be those of the maternity ward staff. Then I instantly wondered if anyone heard me make fun of some of the names while we were walking by.
After about an hour walking, we returned to the room for another check. I think this was around 4 PM by this point. Things were progressing steadily. We both rested a bit, Monica in the bed and me in this odd pleather chair / bed contraption. This thing means well, but it’s an uncomfortable pain in the ass. Now, I get that the chair in the labor and delivery rooms aren’t really a cause for concern in the minds of hospital staff. After all, the men / guests aren’t the patients. The important people are the pregnant women who are about to go through an insane experience and literally produce a human being. Me being uncomfortable in a weird pull out bed is the least of their worries. The way this thing was supposed to work was by pulling the bottom of the chair out and then folding the back down so it would turn into a sort of bed. I didn’t figure this out right away so the bottom kept rolling out or the seat would slide forward while I was sitting on it. I didn’t figure out the right way to use it for a few hours. I should also note that this is the same type of chair that was there the last time we had a baby.
This next part gets a little hazy for me. I’m not sure of the specific time frame, but I think we rested and hung out for about an hour or so. At around 6, we were going to go for another walk, but the contractions were getting more intense, so Monica asked for the epidural. This is a magic drug that comes down from the gods to numb pregnant women from the stomach down. It doesn’t paralyze them, but they’re not too steady on their feet. There is absolutely no shame in getting an epidural. I can only imagine the pain of childbirth. I’ve seen two of them and both times the epidural provides a very noticeable relief. There are many women that don’t want to get one when it comes time to give birth. Of those, a large chunk of them get it anyway. Science!
I was kicked out of the room while the anesthesiologist put in the epidural. It goes in as a catheter into the spine so there’s a steady stream of the stuff to keep the pregnant woman comfortable. I think what happened next was I checked in on Monica again and everything was OK. She was going to rest for a little while as the drugs kicked in so I took the opportunity to go downstairs and get a bite to eat. Not eating was a big mistake I made with Oliver’s birth, especially since that turned into a marathon. I subsisted almost entirely on Famous Amos cookies. I came prepared this time with a couple bananas, peanuts, cookies, and some granola bars, but I still needed some real food. I got a mediocre chicken parm in the hospital cafeteria and promptly got sauce on my white t-shirt. After I finished eating, I went back upstairs to find that the doctor was performing another check. She now said that Monica would be having this baby tonight.
A quick note on this. The doctor that said this was also the one that told Monica she would go to full term. So what do we believe, lady? Her estimate would actually get closer, claiming that the current nurse would see the baby born and her shift ended at 11 PM. (To put this in perspective, we went through four different nurses during Oliver’s birth. Their shifts are 12 hours long. Woof.)
We basically hung out for a bit here. Monica rested. I read many comics on my tablet. I read most of the pre-New 52 run of Batgirl starring Stephanie Brown and Red Robin featuring Tim Drake. Both of them were pretty good, but I found Batgirl to be solid for the entire duration. Now I see why people love that character so much.
Anyway, back to the baby. The epidural didn’t work entirely. There was this one spot on Monica’s hip that was throbbing in pain. She got a booster with the epidural that helped a little bit but didn’t fix the issue. This, coupled with a partially completed root canal that was not painful before, but began to throb like crazy, made for an unpleasant experience. Fortunately, she didn’t have to deal with it nearly as long as the first time.
I think it was around 10 where things started heating up. Monica was crazy dilated. The baby had dropped into the -1 position (Look it up!). It was go time. The bed transformed into baby mode as Monica began pushing. She actually had to stop for a sec so the doctor and the nurse could catch up. It was happening pretty quickly. Stirrups were popped out and her feet were propped up. All of a sudden, the baby was right there. Throughout this whole thing, I was at the head of the bed, holding Monica’s hand. I was not going down to ground zero. Let the professionals handle that. I’d just be in the way and there’s a lot going on down there. I got a peek down and saw the baby’s head. After a few more pushes, the baby was out. Just like that. It happened. Again, to put this in perspective, for Oliver’s birth, Monica pushed for a total of six hours. Pushing is the part of labor that you always see in movies. The woman is red faced and screaming and it’s a big hub-bub. In reality, that phase of the labor should take up to a half hour, as was the case here. Oliver was stubborn and didn’t turn the way he was supposed to so he just kind of got stuck until the doctor had to literally suck him out with a little vacuum.
Oh, I almost forgot. With a flip of a switch, a large mirror descended from the ceiling. This allowed Monica to see what was happening as she was pushing. She found this very encouraging and helpful in the act.
Right after the baby came out, I had this moment of panic. They don’t really come out kicking and screaming like in the movies. Parker was rather still and a little purple. All these horrible thoughts went through my head in that instant. Was there something wrong? What happened? Oh no. Then the doctor turned the kid around and everything was fine. He let out a little cry but nothing huge. The doctor let me cut the cord and then plopped the baby down on Monica’s stomach. In the meantime, the doctor pulled out the placenta and showed it to us which I will admit was a little gross. It’s basically a small sack of flesh, about the size of a deflated soccer ball. It was like a show-and-tell. Monica loved it. In the final push to get that out, a gush of blood followed. The doctor said something along the lines of “I don’t usually have my births look like a crime scene.” That was when I looked down and saw the blood splatter just about everywhere. It was all over the floor. Dexter would have a field day in that room.
So, that’s how Parker Maxwell Ferguson came into the world. He did so in less than half the time that Oliver did. Parker was one inch shorter and one ounce bigger than Oliver was.
The next chapter is him meeting his big brother and how the two of them get along.