Sick o’ Ween

Happy Halloween, party people!

I’m not sure why I just called you “party people”. It’s probably because it’s late, and I haven’t had much sleep, and have also had a drink (or two) because it’s been an interesting three days.

Let’s bring it back to Friday, which was awesome. We attended a local event at the aquarium here. Nellie dressed up, complete with glitter makeup on her face – which, by the way, is the worst idea ever. If you’re thinking of ever putting glitter make up on your almost 3 year old’s face? DON’T. Just fucking don’t. Because it gets everywhere and is impossible to wipe off, and that cute little flower you painted on her cheek will end up looking like she face-planted into a clown by the end of the night – and partied with sharks, stingrays, and jellyfish. We got goodies and had a blast. Saturday we attended a fall festival at the local nature center, which was even more awesome than the aquarium. Nellie rode her first pony, we got to see a bunch of cool critters, and caught a little bit of an outside viewing of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!”.

It’s good that we got all our Halloween out over the weekend, because by Monday morning the party was over. Nellie was sick with an awful cough and a fever, so I kept her home from daycare.

Tuesday, more or less the same, but with a slightly more spirited toddler.. Except into the evening, when she became feverish and cough-y again.

Kept her home Wednesday, when I decided to take her to the doctor. Turns out, she has a severe ear infection and croup. The ear infection was a big WTF for us all, because she never exhibited symptoms of an ear infection. Anywho. We had grand plans to take her Trick or Treating with her BFF Bella, but those were shot in the ass by Mr. Croup. Thanks, asshole. I dressed her up anyway because why the hell not? Took her to Josh’s parents house so they could see her, and she could get a change of environment. We’ve been instructed to one more day home for sure, then play Friday by ear.

So here I sit, on All Hallow’s Eve, with a slight buzz. Oh, did I mention that my treat this year was catching my child’s vomit in my hand? I DIDN’T? How did I leave that out? Nellie woke up coughing. The medicine we have her on is thankfully turning her barky/dry cough into a more productive one. Seems the little lady had so much mucous it was gagging her a little, so before I knew it the little girl I had cuddled in my lap was puking in my hand. Trick or Treat, smell my feet, I’VE GOT THE CROUP AND NOW YOU HAVE BARF IN YOUR HAND.

I have a feeling we might be in for another long night. I forgot to mention what Nellie was for Halloween. It was originally a purple glitter fairy/butterfly but today it just sort of evolved into Luna Lovegood.

Ten points to Gryffindor.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

 

Because of Bella

 

My daughter has an unusual excuse that she uses when she tries to explain her way out of something. When posed with the question, “Why did you do that?” a lot of children might rattle off a number of excuses, such as:

  • It wasn’t me.
  • I don’t know.
  • Because I did.
  • Because I was mad.
  • Because the thing in the closet told me to.

(P.S. if your child ever says that last one, move immediately. Nothing ever good comes out of a child saying something like that)

My child, however, likes to use this one:

Me: “Nellie. Why did you get in trouble at school?”
Nellie: “Because of Bella.”

Me: “Nellie, why did you throw that toy?!”
Nellie: “Because of Bella.”

Me: “Nellie! Why did you take off your Pull-Up and poop on the floor?!
Nellie: “Because of Bella.”

Bella is my best friend Rachel’s little girl. They are the same age. And apparently, Bella is Nellie’s scapegoat.

The other night, we were driving to the store when we discovered that Bella was at it again. Nellie was whining that her butt hurt. Nellie whines that her butt hurts a lot. I am pretty sure it’s her go-to “feel sorry for me” complaint, and I also suspect that she doesn’t really mean “hurt”. She says that when she has to pee sometimes, so I don’t think she really knows how to articulate having to pee.

So anyway, we pulled into the Wal-Mart parking lot and had the following exchange:

Nellie: “My butt hurts.”
Me: “Your butt hurts?”
Nellie: “Yeah.”
Josh: “Why does your butt hurt?”
Nellie: “Because of Bella.”

We rolled our eyes with a little laugh and decided to humor her.

Me: “Oh, really. What did Bella do that makes your butt hurt? Did she bite it?”

Nellie was silent for a minute, and then:

Nellie: “No. Bella bit me. On the penis.”

……………… Well that’s a HELL of a thing to accuse your best friend of doing, especially when YOU DON’T HAVE A PENIS FOR HER TO BITE. We’ve had discussions with Nellie about what parts she has, but clearly it’s time for a refresher course. And in the meantime, I think it’s time I had a discussion with my friend Rachel about keeping her daughter’s teeth away from my daughter’s non-existent penis.

I’M WATCHING YOU, BELLA.

 

 

The Midnight Crapper

 

So there are a lot of things people warned me about when I was about to become a mom. Some of those things were:

  • How hard breastfeeding is.
  • How you will learn to function on 2 hours of sleep.
  • How you will always worry.
  • To be prepare for your infant to poop/pee/barf on you.
  • How you will never, ever sleep again. Ever.

We’ve made it through my child’s infancy and the first year of toddlerhood. Now that we are well into toddlerhood and Nellie is about to hit her preschooler phase, we’ve been faced with the hardest challenge yet, and that’s potty training. There are some things people (kind of ) warned me about potty training:

  • It will be frustrating.
  • It will be hard.
  • It will make you want to pull your hair out.
  • Your child won’t do it until they are ready.

But do you know what no one told me? Not a single fucking person?

That my child would shit on the floor. Repeatedly. 

For the past week or so my daughter has waited until bedtime, liberated herself of her Pull-Up, and shit on the floor of her bedroom. The first time, she just cried for us. We opened the door to her standing and pointing, yelling, “LOOK, MAMA. LOOK WHAT HAPPEN”.  It was all over her hands, smeared into the carpet, and on the walls. We frantically worked as a team to get everything cleaned up; me taking the shit-covered child and Josh dealing with the clean-up of her bedroom. While standing in the bathroom as I ran the bathtub, she got excited that she got to take a bath and began clapping her hands together while I frantically tried to get her to stop without barfing.

Look what happen in-fucking-deed.

After about a week of that, she began to (kind of) put 2+2 together and realized that her poop goes in the toilet. So instead of squalling for us and pointing at her feces, she decided she would – literally – take matters into her own hands. And by matters, I mean HER SHIT.  She’d scoop it up in her little hands, quietly open the door to her bedroom and sneak out into the hallway to bestow her gift unto the porcelain gods. Then she would come back into the living room and announce, “I put my poop in the potty! …..It on my hands…”

Sunday night’s debacle was particularly trying. It had gone on for over a week, and I’ve walked a thin line between wanting to clearly convey to her that what she’s doing isn’t acceptable without shaming her. I have kept a very neutral tone and face, and have said things like:

  • I’m disappointed that you took your Pull-Up off instead of coming to us and telling us you pooped.
  • I wish you had sat on the potty and pooped.
  • Please do NOT take your Pull-Up off again. Come tell us if you poop.

While inside my head, it’s really more like:

  • MOTHER. FUCKER. AGAIN? REALLY?!
  • IF YOU KEEP CRAPPING ON YOUR FLOOR, YOUR ROOM IS GOING TO SMELL LIKE A ZOO.
  • STOP TOUCHING THINGS. I’M GOING TO VOMIT HERE IT COMES – NOPE, SWALLOWED IT.
  • OH GOD IT’S UNDER YOUR FINGERNAILS DON’T. TOUCH. ME.
  • I’M GOING TO STAPLE THAT PULL-UP TO YOUR ASS.

Her little incidents have only happened at bedtime, so I’ve dubbed her the Midnight Crapper. Josh calls her the Shit Giver. We’re both hoping that this is just a phase and that SOON, she will learn that yes, her poop goes in the potty. Just not the way she has done it.

Poop In the Potty: UR DOING IT WRONG.

Parents: What the eff am I supposed to do to remedy this? Wait it out? Should I be more firm? WHY DOES MY CHILD NOT CARE THAT SHE HAS CRAP ON HER EVERYTHING?

 

Potty Training SUCKS. Know What Doesn’t? VODKA.

A few months ago I wrote this post about potty training Nellie. I bitched and moaned about how frustrating it was, wondered aloud if it was too soon and if we should just wait, and called Llama Llama an asshole. Because he kind of is one.

At the time of that post, we had really only scratched the surface with potty training. Little did I know how frustrating it would become once we jumped right in and committed to getting it done. Let me tell you this now: Potty training is,  hands-down, THE most frustrating I’ve ever had to deal with as a parent. Like, WORST. EVER. My kid is stubborn (don’t know where she gets it), a little sensitive, and cute as shit so it’s hard to stay annoyed. And also you don’t WANT to be annoyed at them with this, because making potty training a negative experience will most likely make them fail at everything forever in life and during their graduation speech they will be like WELL I COULD HAVE BEEN VALEDICTORIAN, BUT MY MOM LOOKED AT ME FUNNY ONE TIME WHEN I WAS POTTY TRAINING AND I’VE NEVER BEEN THE SAME SINCE.

Parenthood: You will fuck up, guaranteed. Have fun!

I wish I had some wise or clever tips for how we got Nellie pee-trained but I don’t have anything for you. One day after constant accidents and meltdowns over just sitting on the toilet, we sent her to school in panties and BAM. No more accidents. She just up and decided she could pee in the toilet. Yay! Parade! GIVE ME SOME DAMN CANDY. I don’t know why I thought this would be any different than any other milestone in her life. She has ALWAYS done things HER way, when she was damn well ready.

She’s had one regression that lasted about three days which prompted a visit to the doctor’s office to make sure she didn’t have a UTI or anything like that. During the regression she pissed all over my in-laws’ rug, which was really a bummer because that rug really tied the room together.

We are still struggling with poop training. She went once yesterday and I cheered and clapped like a drunk cheerleader at a pep rally.  We haven’t even attempted nighttime training yet. As for me? Well, I have seen new and exciting bathrooms that I’ve never visited before thanks to my toddler’s new skill. We patronized the bathroom to the local T.G.I.Friday’s three times in one visit the other night. Three! I haven’t gone to a public restroom that frequently since my days of getting super drunk and vomiting in public restrooms at family restaurants. Fun times.

If I could give one piece of advice to parents of potty-training toddlers, it would be this:

Give up all sense that you are in control here, because you aren’t. They will piss and poop on that damn thing when they are good and ready. In the meantime, buy them lots of candy and stickers, get ready to dance and clap and squeal like a crazy person when they DO make it in the potty, buy yourself some vodka, and have a seat on the floor of your bathroom because you’re probably going to be there for a while.

 

 

Anatomy Lesson

When we began teaching Nellie her body parts, we agreed that we wouldn’t “rename” any part of her anatomy. We taught her eye, nose, mouth, elbow, so when the time came that she asked, we decided we wouldn’t find cutesy names for genitalia. I’ve never quite understood why people are uncomfortable with the words “penis” and “vagina”. For crying out loud: that’s what they’re called! Why is an adult human calling a penis a “wee wee” more socially acceptable than calling it what it is? I’m not going to teach my daughter that her knee is a “leg bendy-thing” or that her mouth is a “chompy place”, or that her ear is a “hear-y hole”. So why would I teach her that her vagina was anything but a vagina?

I digress. Nellie learned what a penis was when she walked in on Josh coming out of the shower one day. When she pointed at Josh and asked what THAT was, we answered her honestly. We told her it was daddy’s penis. She tilted her head to the side and asked, “I has penis?” We told her that no, she is a girl like mommy, and that she has a vagina. She accepted our answer and bounced off to do whatever it is toddlers do.

A couple of weeks ago, I took her swimming. When we came home, I stripped off her bathing suit (or “baby suit” as Nellie calls it) and pulled her swim diaper down. I threw it in the trash and her suit in the washing machine, and walked into the bathroom. I was sitting on the toilet when my naked bundle of joy came running in.

Me: “What’s up, kiddo?”

My delightful flurry of curls and cute bent her legs at the “leg bendy-thing”, pointed between her legs, and yelled,

“I HAS A PENIS!”

She swatted her hands at the empty space between her legs where her imaginary penis was.

Once I’d picked myself up from the floor where I’d fallen off the toilet laughing, I composed myself.
Me: “No, sweetheart. You have a vagina, like mommy.”
Nellie: “NOPE. I HAS A PENIS.”
Me: “Remember how we talked about this? DADDY has a penis, because he is a boy. Mommy and Nellie have a vagina, because they are girls.”
Nellie: “I HAS A PENIS.”
Me: “Vagina, Nellie. You have a vagina.”

She stood up straight, looking at me thoughtfully. She nodded slowly, absorbing my words. She spoke, affirming to herself what she’d finally worked out in her head:

Nellie: “I has a pin-gina.”
Me: “Yes, Nellie has a vagina,” I echoed once I’d collected myself from another fit of giggles on the floor.
Nellie: “Bye!” she ran out of the bathroom, leaving me sitting there and shaking my head, still laughing.

So, my daughter has a pin-gina.  Pin-gina isn’t 100% accurate, but at least she’s getting the right idea.

How do you feel about teaching children about their bodies and using anatomical terms? Am I the only person whose kid has a pin-gina?

Potty Training with Pull-Ups!

So remember when I wrote this post about Nellie and potty training? I’m going to assume that you said “yes” and move along.

A few days after venting my frustration toward my daughter’s lack of toilet motivation, Pull-Ups contacted me with some encouragement  which was just awesome. She sent me a cool infographic about potty training, and asked if I’d like some special Disney character Pull-Ups to help get Nellie excited about potty training.

I got my Potty Break Package last weekend and when I opened up, I was absolutely floored! Not only did they send me two packs of Pull-Ups, but they also added a Cinderella Pull-Ups Potty Timer, a reward chart with Disney Princesses on it,  Minnie Mouse stickers to go along with the chart, AND a $25 American Express gift card to spend on potty training supplies! As soon as I pulled the Cinderella watch it out of the box, Nellie was practically dancing around me with excitement.

She wore her “potty watch” for the rest of the night and is so proud of it. Her potty chart is great – it’s divided into five categories (pulled pants down, sat on potty, etc) separated by different Disney Princesses, and each category has several spots to place stickers when they complete the task! Nellie’s chart is almost full.. Well, minus actually peeing on the potty.. We haven’t gotten there yet. But the chart is helping to motivate her where she didn’t really care before, and the watch is DEFINITELY helping. She is also always asking me to wear her “big girl Pull-Ups” with Cinderella on them.

Pull-Ups’ website has a lot of great resources for potty training for all stages of the potty-training process! They have a community of parents for support, great tips and tricks for potty training, and they even have a very special way to help get your child excited for potty training: an encouraging phone call from a Disney character! We haven’t set up Nellie’s Cinderella call yet, but we will be doing it soon. I know she’s going to be super excited.

Pull-Ups has generously offered to host a giveaway here, and one lucky reader will win a Pull-Ups Potty Break Package containing:

  • A pack of Pull-Ups Training Pants with either Cars 2 or Cinderella & Minnie Mouse designs
  • A Pull-Ups Potty Timer
  • A Pull-Ups Potty Training Chart with Stickers
  • A $25 VISA gift card
How can you win? Easy! Just enter with the Rafflecopter widget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And remember, everyone can visit Pull-Ups’ website and check our their great potty training resources, tips, tricks, and schedule a special phone call from a Disney character to motivate and encourage them!

Good luck!

Potty Training a Toddler

Nellie will be 2 ½ in July and is completely and utterly uninterested in potty training and all things having to do with the potty. Everything I’ve read says don’t push, wait ‘till they’re ready. Don’t worry, they won’t go to kindergarten in diapers! You’ll turn them into an anal retentive, shotgun-wielding maniac if you push them to use the potty before they’re ready. Not to mention it can cause bladder infections and a multitude of other problems.

So everything I’m reading/hearing/making up in my head because I’m crazy seems to point to the “don’t worry, it’ll happen when she’s ready” but HOLY FUCK KID, I AM READY FOR YOU TO USE THE DAMN POTTY.

We have tried gently suggesting:
Us: “Hey Nellie, would you like to use the potty?”
Her: “Nope.”

We have tried being REALLY EXCITED about it:
Us: “OMG! NELLIE! USING THE POTTY IS THE GREATEST EVER. LOOK. MOMMY IS PEEING ON THE POTTY RIGHT. NOW. Don’t you want to be JUST. LIKE. MOMMY?”
Her: “Nope.”

We have tried being REALLY EXCITED and talking about all the AWESOME PEOPLE who use the potty:
Us: “Nellie, did you know that Spider-Man uses the potty? And Thor? And I’ll bet Rapunzel uses the potty, too.”
Her: “Who else uses potty, Mama?”
*getting excited. Uses more enthusiasm*
Us: “Well, daddy uses the potty! Gran uses the potty! Pop uses the potty! Tiana and Belle use the potty! IRON MAN USES THE POTTY. Don’t you want to be a big kid that uses the potty, too?”
Her: “Nope.”

FUCK.

We bought her big girl panties. They have Disney princesses on them. She chose them herself. Woo! Sirens and bells and whistles THROW A PARADE, IT’S UNDERPANTS, PEOPLE.

She wants to wear them, sure.

OVER her diaper.

We tried picking a special potty book – a book she only got read to her when she was sitting on the potty like a big girl. The result of that was ten repeated readings of “Llama Llama Mad At Mama” (and no pee pee), which is cute the first time but right around the ninth reading I wanted to take that little drama queen llama and throw him into a wood chipper. STOP THROWING PASTA YOU LITTLE ASSHOLE.

We haven’t tried a reward chart yet, but that’s probably my next plan of attack. Her teachers at daycare keep casually asking us if we’ve tried potty training at home yet. I always shake my head and explain that we feel she’s just not really ready, and we’re trying not to push it. Her teachers are totally understanding and assure us there’s no big rush, but HOLY FUCK KID JUST USE THE POTTY.

What do you think? At 2 ½, should we be a little more aggressive, or is it still a little early for that just yet? Should I paint the toilet seat like Elmo’s face? Or will that just teach her to take a leak on every Elmo she sees?

….That last one’s actually not a bad idea. TAKE THAT YOU ANNOYING RED BASTARD.

So… anyone got any pointers for potty training a toddler?

Ten Great iPhone Apps For Toddlers

I like technology. A lot. I think it’s nifty. Some may say that I’m addicted to it. To which I say – MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS I CAN QUIT ANYTIME I WANT TO.

Ahem. This post isn’t about my obsession healthy love for all things tech. This post is about my favorite iPhone apps for my toddler.

Yes, I let my daughter play with my phone. I didn’t until I got an OtterBox, because iPhones are super fragile. What’s up with that? Hundreds of dollars worth of technology, and you sneeze at it wrong and it shatters. You’d think they’d be able to come up with something a little more sturdy. YOU HEAR ME, APPLE? While you’re at it, LONGER PLUG-IN CORDS. SERIOUSLY.

…. Anyway. Back to my favorite toddler apps. I do let my 2 ½ year old play with apps I’ve downloaded just for her. It keeps her busy at restaurants while we’re waiting, keeps her engaged when I need to cook or do something that doesn’t involve her pulling at my leg and trying to climb up me like I’m a tree, and other things of that nature. I love that not only are these apps fun, but most are also educational. Without further ado, here are Ten Great iPhone Apps for Toddlers.

iPhone apps for toddlers

10. Wee Sing & Learn ABC ($2.99) -This app teaches toddlers a multitude of things: Letters of the alphabet, animal names and the sounds they make, and various musical instruments. My toddler loves this app. It drives me a little insane, but it keeps her interested.
9. Animals for Tots ($.99) – This one comes with one set of animals (Forest) with the option to purchase another pack (Farm) for $.99. This one lets kids touch various animals, learn what they look and sound like, and what noises they make.
8. Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Animal Sounds (FREE) – One of the first apps I ever downloaded for my child, this one has cute little animals that make noise when you touch them. You can also shake the phone and they will wiggle and laugh. This app includes a few cute little songs that are surprisingly non-irritating.
7. Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Shapes and Colors (FREE) – Another one by Fisher Price, this one teaches toddlers colors and shapes. There are two levels; one where your child can play with shapes, shake the phone and make them bounce all over the screen and another where they can play a little keyboard with a song that goes with each shape.
6. Grasshopper Apps Little Reader Four Letter Words ($.99) – This app features nothing but four letter words, and pictures that correspond with them. Your child can learn to identify and recognize basic, four-letter words by dragging the picture to the correct word. As your child increases the number of times they match the pictures with the word correctly, the level increases by giving more picture/word options to choose from.
5. Parents Flash Cards (FREE) – This one helps teach colors, shapes, letters, and numbers with various levels including flash cards, and games where children have to identify colors, shapes, letters and numbers.
4. Kindergarten.com’s Alphabet Flash Cards ($.99) – This app teaches letters and corresponding items that begin with that letter. It also teaches adjectives by adding in descriptors to each item: “A: An apple is an awesome fruit.” I have already noticed this one increasing my child’s vocabulary; the other day she informed me that “a butterfly is a beautiful insect”. And then my head fell off from surprise.
3. Grasshopper Apps Farm Animals (FREE) – This one helps identify animals. When your child begins, they will see a few different animals. The voice will prompt them to “touch the sheepdog”. When your child identifies the correct animal, it will chime and give encouragement. The longer your child plays, the more complex it gets: adding more animals and making the pictures smaller.
2. Kindergarten.com’s ABA Receptive Identification by Class ($1.99) – This one is a new favorite. This app helps strengthen your child’s receptive vocabulary skills by having them identify objects, but here’s the catch: it doesn’t ask your child to “touch the potty” or “show me the cat”. Instead, it will implore your child to “touch the bathroom item” or “show me the pet”. If your child touches the incorrect item, the app will correct them by saying, “a blender is an appliance. Touch the bathroom item.”
1. Teach Me Toddler ($.99) – This app tackles numbers, letters, shapes, colors, counting, and ABC Phonics. It tracks your child’s progress as they learn and get questions correct. For each time your child gets an answer a category correct on the first try, they get a check mark. Once they earn 3 check marks, they earn a “sticker” that they can then put in a digital sticker book. The sticker books come with lots of different scenerios and corresponding items: beach, ocean, city, playground, etc. This is my child’s favorite app and the one she asks for most, and since she’s been playing it I have noticed a significant increase in her ability to point out colors, numbers, and letters. She calls this one her “Mousie Game”.

I got almost all of these apps (even the one that cost money) for free. I highly recommend you download the AppsGoneFree application – it lists apps that have temporarily gone free once a day. I’ve gotten a lot of really great apps for free thanks to this. Kindergarten.com also has a LOT of other great educational apps that I haven’t downloaded yet, but probably will. They are worth the money that they cost – trust me.

What are some of your favorite apps for your children?

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Blow

Blow

Nellie’s vocabulary is starting to amaze us as well as a lot of people who meet her and find out how old she is. At her two year appointment, her pediatrician told me that her vocabulary is advanced by 6 months to a year.

This post isn’t about me bragging about my kid. I mean, it’s not TOTALLY me bragging about my kid. Promise.

Anyway, some of Nellie’s favorite words include “Spider-Man”, “Tangled”, “Princess”, and the most recently added, “Mine”. She can be heard demanding, “I do it!” or “Nellie do it!” when you attempt to get something for her, do something for her, put something on her or take something off of her. You get the picture. She’s independent. The other day, she was leaning into the bathtub trying to reach a toy mermaid inside. She was standing on tiptoe in nothing but a diaper, wiggling her little fingers as she tried to grasp the elusive red-headed seamaiden. She finally uttered in frustration, as clear as a bell, “I. CAN’T. REACH. IT.”

And I did a double-take, wondering when the hell my once 7 pound 2 ounce infant learned to express herself using clear, fully-formed sentences.

I attest Nellie’s prowess in all things lingual partly to the fact that Josh and I are always talking to her. When we shop, I talk to her. “Look at this apple, Nellie. Is this apple red? No, it’s green. Mommy needs to find some oatmeal. Where do you think the oatmeal is, Nellie?”
I talk to her when we drive. “Do sharks swim, Nellie? They do! What else swims? Do elephants swim? No, they don’t!”
One of the things I do every single day when I pick her up from school is ask her how her day went, and what she did at school that day. Generally, the conversation goes like this:

Me: “Nellie, did you have a good day at school?”
Nellie: “Mmm hmm!”
Me: “What did you do today?”
Nellie: “Ummm… I color. I paint. I play with Rocco.”
Me: “You colored, and painted, and played with Rocco? That’s awesome! Who else did you play with?”

Sometimes, I will ask her what she ate for lunch. Her response is usually, “ketchup”. Yum.

The other day I went by to pick her up as usual. I was walking out the door with her on my hip, asking her my routine questions.

Me: “Did you have a wonderful day at school?”
Nellie: “Uh… Yeah!”

We reached the car and I opened the door.
Me: “That’s great, Nellie! What did you do at school today?”
Nellie: “Cocaine.”
…………………………………

I’m sorry, what?

I froze midway through climbing in the car to get her into her seat.

Me: “I’m sorry. What did you do in school today?”
Nellie: “Cocaine! Cocaine mama!”

I looked at my little girl for a moment. I contemplated what to do. Should I go back in the school, demanding to know where exactly I signed in my enrollment paperwork that my child is permitted to have illegal substances with her milk and cookies? Should I go straight to the police? Should I have her admitted to a drug rehabilitation facility? She was acting more hyper lately. Maybe it was because of all the blow she was doing at school.

Me: “Nellie, WHAT did you do at school today?” I asked a third time.
Nellie: “COOKING, MAMA. COOKING. I COOKING.”

And there it was. My daughter wasn’t in danger of becoming the next Charlie Sheen at all. No tiger blood ran through her veins, and I could rest easy. She just has a penchant for playing with pots, pans, and pretending to cook. Food. Not drugs.

Me: “OH. COOKING. You cooked. You played with the kitchen.”
Nellie: “Uh, yeah, mama.”

Duh, mom. I mean, really.

Toddler Quarantine

Last Sunday, Nellie started running a fever of about 102. She was burning up all night and into the morning, so Josh stayed home with her. We kept her out of school on Tuesday as well and that evening, I noticed that she had developed some sort of rash on her arms.

And her legs.

And her back.

And her face.

You get the point. It was everywhere. Most of it was little, red bumps but a few were large and almost blister-like. Panicked that she had the measles, I uploaded  pictures to Twitter and Facebook asking for advice as to what it could be. Measles? Pox? SARS? Ebola? Plague? I got a variety of responses, most people thinking it was an allergic reaction or Roseola. I knew I couldn’t drop her back off at daycare with an unidentified rash (have fun Nellie! Don’t lick anyone!) so I took her in to see her pediatrician on Wednesday. Her fever had gone away by then, but the rashes were still blazing on her little knees and body.

Her doctor inspected her, taking care to look at her hands, feet, and mouth. He took a peek inside and nodded.
“She has some sores in her throat. I’m sending her back for a strep test, but I’m almost positive it’s not strep.”
Nellie tolerated her strep swab well, and charmed the lab technician with various animal impressions. After the test came back negative, the doctor gave his diagnosis:

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease.

Luckily, I have heard of HFM before as I have friends whose children have contracted it. It’s an extremely common childhood ailment, has a duration of about a week during which the affected child has to be quarantined from other children as it’s a very contagious virus. The doctor informed us that we were to keep Nellie away from other kids until the rashes were gone, regardless of whether the fever was still present or not. Rash = no contact with children. When I relayed the diagnosis to my husband he squawked, “WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?!” My mother in law had a similar reaction.

I stayed home with her all day Wednesday, and all day Thursday because on Thursday, Josh developed a fever and a migraine. By Thursday, Nellie had already been confined to our apartment for four days and was getting very whiny. She still wasn’t feeling great, and add that to the fact that it’d been so long since she had been out of the apartment and that made for one unhappy little girl, and one verge-of-going-crazy mama.

Once daddy began feeling better, we decided to take Nellie out for some fresh air. It was a beautiful day on Thursday; about 65 degrees and sunny. We took her to our local Greenway so she could have some space and not risk licking/touching/sneezing on any other children. She enjoyed throwing some pebbles and playing in the creek there.

Just because you’re highly contagious and have gross rashes on your butt doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun at the creek.

While we were on our way home, Nellie started coughing and a second later we heard the unmistakable sound of vomit hitting the backseat of the car (Nellie is still rear-facing). And then we heard it again. And again. And then one more time. Nellie started wailing, I pulled over, and winced at the sight of my toddler covered in throw-up. Luckily it wasn’t too much farther to home, so I handed our dripping child off to Josh and took care of cleaning the inside of the car. These are the magical moments of parenting everyone always waxes poetic about, folks.

We think that the sores in her throat are causing her gag reflex to be a little sensitive, thus the coughing resulting in vomit. She is still covered in rashes, but is fever-free. We hope that the HFM will clear up over the weekend and our girl will be able to be released from her solitude and integrated back into society. We could all use the return to our normal routine.