Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lice And Turds And Barf, Oh My!

Save yourself! The lice have arrived.

Finally, a fate worse than taking Paige to the grocery store - picking lice nits from Lucy's flowing mane of hair as she shifts, groans, grunts and yips at me when I catch a snarl with the lice comb. Yup, for the second time in four years, Lucy and I are experiencing the joy of spending an inordinate amount of time together in the bathroom trying to rid her hair of the dreaded creatures.

With Lucy's sensitive skin, I didn't think much of her itching at her head a bit recently. I was concerned enough to check it out the other day but didn't see anything like the infestation of four years ago. When I picked her up from daycare that morning in 2009, I recoiled in horror as I sifted through her hair to uncover what was lurking on her scalp. Lice. Crawling. Everywhere.

But this time, I don't notice anything until just before bed last night. There they are - the tiniest little nits - smaller than a grain of rice, dark in color and attached to her hair near the scalp. There aren't many and could have been mistaken for dirt if I hadn't known better.

We make our way to the downstairs bathroom so as not to bother her sleeping sister. I place the instructions from the treatment box on the counter and set off to gather some other supplies. Of course, as I come back into the bathroom she is studying the large sheet of paper closer than Chip Kelly on 3rd-and-3.

"Daddy, what are these?" she asks pointing to the large pictures of nasty looking creatures adorning the bottom of the page.

"Um, hmm, I wonder why those are on there. They certainly aren't the 'itchies' on your head," I assure her. Crisis averted. Father of the Year status cemented. (There is no doubt she knew why those images were on the paper but didn't want the real answer - I cannot blame her)

Allison pops her head into the bathroom and gives me a, "You got this?" That's our code for, "You're going to do this but I'm going to give a half-assed attempt at offering." To her defense, I do this all the time when Paige wakes up screaming in the middle of the night. Plus, she is washing every stitch of linen in the house, all stuffed animals and all articles of clothing at the same time. And, she's the only person living in our home who currently is earning a consistent paycheck, so I opt not to complain.

I won't go into the details of the treatment process. It sucks. You apply. You sit. You use the enclosed lice comb to pick out the nits. You do this until your back seizes because you're standing in an awkward position over your child's head for hours on end.

This all comes on the heels of Paige's latest push in potty training. I'd estimate she's 90 percent there. The remaining 10 percent breaks down in two categories:

1. Overnight - she wakes up reeking of urine every morning. Unfortunately for Paige, her mornings begin at 5:10 a.m. playing quietly by herself in her room, so no one tends to her needs until she starts kicking walls around 6 am. (5 percent)

2. When she has a "loose" poop - her understanding of what is about to come out of her body is remarkable. Regular turd? She asks to go on the porcelain, adult (I call it "human") potty. Something much nastier? She wants to use the "little potty," which is the plastic one sitting next to the big toilet. (5 percent)

When the turds hit this plastic potty, the attending adult has to wipe her, hold the dirty wipes in hand (they are not flushable), remove the crap-filled bucket from the plastic potty, dump it in the human potty, pull up her underwear with one hand, scream at her that, yes, she needs to wash her hands, and bring the poop-smeared bucket down to the laundry room sink to scrub it out with Lysol.

Of course, not to be outdone, Sugar, the freaking cat, decides that the very moment I am talking to my dad on the phone today, she's going to start making the horrific pre-vomiting sounds, which to the untrained ear resemble the noises you'd expect an eight-pound cat to make prior to yakking up a beluga whale. Despite being 36 years old, I try not to curse in front of my parents too often. Today, I barked into the phone, "Ugh, the effing cat just puked everywhere." Let's just say, I didn't say "effing."

At this point, I'd like Walter White and his meth-cooking team to show up and drop plastic sheeting over our house ("Breaking Bad" reference for the uniformed) until all this nastiness subsides. If that's not an option, then it looks like Lucy and I are about to set up shop again in the downstairs bathroom. I just hope Paige doesn't need to go No. 2 for the next two to three hours.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Running To Stand Still

I apologize for the lack of blog posts lately. With Paige giving up her mid-day nap cold turkey, I've lost my blogging time and any free time I have is used to do online research into how to abandon your family without leaving a trace. Let's just say, life sucks when Paige doesn't nap.

The weather in Oregon turned a few weeks ago. The rain began its hibernation early this year, the sun shook off its rust and we now are looking at a tremendous stretch of bright, 80-degree days that begin with a hint of a cool, refreshing Pacific Northwest crispness in the air in the morning followed by unlimited rays of warm sunshine by afternoon. These days are built for running.

Minus an unfortunate stretch of time in Wisconsin which I've deemed "those fat, alcoholic years," running has been a part of my life. Ran in high school because I sucked at most other sports. Ran well after college to attempt to shed the shame of those early Wisconsin years. Even ran when living in West Bend, Wis., when some hicks in a beat-up pickup truck drove slowly past me and yelled, "Run! Fat ass! Run!" Yeah, that one stung a bit.

I've deemed Paige my "Running Buddy" to get her excited about picking off mile after mile in our suburban town. And, once she dons her sweatshirt and sunglasses, asks for a snack, begs for a water bottle and demands a bag of Little People Princesses to hold and play with while we are running, I finally release the brake on the faded red Baby Jogger stroller (purchased prior to Lucy being born) and we're off.

Most days we do about four miles. Paige loves this one house about 1 3/4 miles away that has a cow mailbox out front (a mailbox with cow legs, head, tail and ears sticking out from it). We run to it, she howls in delight, I continue ahead to the two-mile turnaround and come back (to see the mailbox again on the trip back). Other days I'll push it to five or six miles but we always run past the cow mailbox.

On Friday, I sent Lucy to school with no lunch and not enough money in her school lunch account to buy. God forbid she can't eat popcorn chicken at school. So, I wrote a check and off Paige and I went in the Baby Jogger. Instead of popping onto the main street, we went in the opposite direction and twisted and turned our way through the subdivision's never-ending supply of roads where eventually Lucy's elementary school is located. It's a shade more than a mile from our house.

Of course, by going in the opposite direction, I was peppered with questions about the cow mailbox. Are we going to the cow mailbox? Where is the cow mailbox? Is this the way to the cow mailbox? The distraction of the cow mailbox caused Paige to forget she didn't bring her Little People Princesses with her. At the 0.9-mile mark heading toward the crest of a hill, it started. Screaming. "Daddy! Stop the stroyer! (all "L"s still sound like "Y"s).

I don't like stopping during a run, especially when I know my Running Buddy is pissed off. She explains the situation to me, I decline heading back to the house and try to start pushing up the hill again. Paige goes into bucking-bronco mode. I never thought 35 pounds of fury could stop my momentum but she is shaking the stroller so violently, it is impossible to move forward.

I begrudgingly relent and say we'll go back home. The shaking, screaming and shrieking stop. We run back to where we started, get the toys and traverse the same damn sidewalks to head to Lucy's school. As soon as we drop off the check at the desk, she immediately begins asking about the cow mailbox again.

The plan isn't to go that far but after our detour, I figure, "You want to get nuts!" (in my best George Costanza voice). We push to the cow mailbox and past it. By the time we arrive home we had covered a hilly seven miles. I am spent.

My Running Buddy isn't perfect. Far from it. But as long as the weather stays nice, we'll continue working on our patience and logging more miles than expected, and at least she's not calling me a "fat ass."