Archive for October, 2011

Poop in the Purse

It’s 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, and I’m cursing under my breath, frantically driving toward my house to pick up a prescription for blood work for my 12-month-old son. The prescription is sitting on my kitchen counter, not in my purse, which is where I prefer to have said prescription when walking into the wait-an-hour-for-service laboratory.

Oh, and there’s poop in my purse.

Let me start from the beginning, well before the poop. (Yes, I am aware that there is poop in my purse. I put it there.)

When my son Max was born, he was an eater from the get-go. Kid ate and ate and ate. He left the hospital weighing 7 lbs., 7 oz., and at his first doctor’s appointment he was up to 11 lbs. We started him on rice cereal right around four months old, because he was so darn hungry every night. People would comment on how he was “so solid.” My family was relieved that we were indeed well on our way to raising a giant. My husband was all, “That’s my boy!”

So imagine my surprise when we go for our one-year check up and the nurse tells me his weight, “21 ½ pounds.” She checks the chart. What? No … that’s impossible. The doctor makes her get out the infant scale. We re-weigh him. The digital scale reads: 21.7. Shit.

Max hasn’t just not gained weight, or plateaued as many new creeping/crawling/standing/walking babies do between nine months and 12 months. Max has lost weight. About two and a half pounds.

So we go through the litany, What is he eating? Any changes in behavior? Loose stools? We should run some tests. And we do. And the first round results in more inconclusive questions and a definite his protein count is low.

And I, supermom extraordinaire, am devastated. Are we not feeding him enough? How much is enough protein? Should we try and feed him more times per day? Is he losing developmentally as well? Is there something serious going on?

So in addition to blood work, they want a stool sample. In the office, the doctor handed me this teeny padded envelope, which has her office address on it and tells me the instructions are inside, and that it “should be easier because he’s in diapers.” Um, okay. I have put off the sampling process until the night before our second visit to the cattle-call needle place.

I tell you this story because it’s too funny not to tell. It also helps lighten the there-could-be-something-wrong-with-my-baby moment. So I open up the package, and in it is a little cardboard envelope, a four- by three-inch piece of paper with instructions, two wooden sticks and two folded-up sheets of tissue paper.

I realize pretty quickly that the folded up tissues, which are huge when you unfold them, are for, um … adult-size samples. Indeed, the instructions read, “1. Remove backing from tissue; adhere to top of toilet seat. 2. Defecate on tissue.”

Whoa. What? (I mean really. Isn’t tissue a little weak in the overall strength department to hold the uh, result of said defecation? Why don’t you get a bigger envelop with like, a plastic baggie or something?) My second reaction was, Thank you, god, I am not doing this poop test for myself.

I figure out that the sticks are for the actual samples, and the little cardboard envelope is to put the samples in. So I’m in the bathroom, with two separate diapers filled with my son’s very adequate defecations, poking at each one with its assigned stick four freakin’ times each (cause that what the instructions demand), and then transferring what’s on the stick to the little opening n the cardboard … all while trying not to inhale. It can’t get any worse, right?

Until this particular morning, when I gather up my courage, my son, and the poop and head off to the lab, hoping there isn’t a giant line and planning to stop by the post office afterwards to mail off the poop samples. And the moment I walk in the super-duper crowded lobby and start signing us in I realize: The ‘script is sitting on my kitchen counter.

Which brings us to now, me racing home to get this ‘effin, stupid piece of paper, hitting every read light, with a baby in the backseat happily trilling and singing away, unaware that he’s about to be stuck with a needle for about four vials of blood and then there’s me, mentally planning when to release the poop into the wild and I just have to start laughing. Because the truth is, I’m no stranger to poop in the purse. I have a cat. But at least for the cat, the whole procedure is: Scoop. Plastic bag. Done.

As it turns out, when we return to the evil lab lair (45 minutes later) I go to sign us in again and ha! They never called our name from our first appearance that morning. So we sat, and ten minutes later, we were called. Which at first seems like we should be celebrating, but then the reality of needles sinks in and I just hope Max doesn’t have any residual memories of his blood work days.

Turns out Max is fine. Almost fine. He’s gaining weight again, and has a mild anemia issue. We’ve got two weeks until our next laboratory trip. Sans poop.

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Supermom n. a mother who successfully manages a household and cares for her children while holding a job or being active in her community.

I didn’t think I would become a supermom. It’s a funny term, I think, in that most supermoms don’t think of themselves as heroic, or “super.” They mostly just focus on doing their job, taking care of their families. They just happen to be doing many different things at once.

I know a lot of supermoms like this … many of whom, like me, work from home. Recently my publisher asked me, “How do you do it all?” Which is ironic, because this was mere moments before I went to see I Don’t Know How She Does It. (SJP helps me do it all! I must admit, some days SJPs voiceovers help narrate my day.)

Inherently, the problem with Supermom is the need/desire/want to do it all, and to do it all by ourselves. It’s a fine line between awesome life juggler and whiny silly martyr. So when do we ask for help?

Many of my girlfriends here in Florida, the land of the displaced, are in the same family boat. Little to no family nearby, very young or first children, trying to figure out how to work, stay home and balance life with our families. So when I need an extra hand, who better understands? But at the same time, I feel guilty, knowing that in order to help me, said supermom friend is actually cutting way into her own super schedule.

And my recent absence from this blog, due to an upcoming move out of state, leaves me even more in the lurch than ever before. Can I work, mommy, wife, clean out a house and manage the details of a huge move. In four weeks?

So I did what any good supermom would do. I hired the teenager from across the street to come over and play with Max for a couple of hours a few times a week. Today is her first visit. And in typical supermom fashion, I immediately start listing. Clean the spare bathroom, clear off the dining room table, clean up the toys? Clear table before babysitter gets here. Oh, and fold the laundry. No, just grab the vacuum, some plastic bags and head straight for your walk-in closet. Or maybe we should call the property manager first ….🙂

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