You cannot parent when you have no voice. Either literally or figuratively. Babies are really bad a charades. And, if you don’t have a voice in how your child is being raised, you might be their parent, but you’re not really parenting.
Sorry that sounds a bit judgy. Fuck it, I’m sick, I’m allowed an “I’m a judgy bish” day.
This week I’m dealing with literally having no voice.
I have been sick for more than a week. Runny nose, coughing, headache, blah-blah-blah… I won’t bore you with the details. Sunday night, though, was a real turning point for me, as I struggled to sleep (despite the copious sleeping/anti-anxiety medications my psychiatrist has me on) because my throat hurt like I was being burned from the inside with a torch.
Still, on Monday morning, I figured, meh – just a cold. I’ll drink some water and shove Zicam up my nose and it will clear up in a couple days.
I did tell British Husband as he was leaving for work that if I didn’t feel substantially better the next day that he would have to take Penelope to her Well Child doctor’s appointment for her 18 month jabs. Our pediatrician has a strict “no sick parents” rule when it comes to bringing a kid into the office.
I digress. This happens a lot on this blog, so get used to it.
The day started off well enough, Peej just wanted to cuddle and watch Sesame Street. Then we did some art projects where she colors until she’s bored and then I try to sketch in what picture I see in her scribbles. She managed to eat breakfast without too much coaching or fighting, and then went down for a nice nap.
It was during this nap that my day went pear-shaped.
I am searching for a new job. Or, as I state in my cover letters, “Excitedly re-entering the workforce after taking time away to build my family.” (Yeah, right… we’re poor, our marriage is in trouble, I’ve always been the primary earner, so I don’t get to be a SAHM right now, no matter how badly I want to be one. Besides if British Husband and I finalize the decision to divorce, I don’t want to have to scramble at that emotionally charged moment to try to find a job and build a nest egg… b/c right now I got nothing.)
I had been feeling sluggish all morning, but being the Type A overachiever I am, I was sitting on the couch, (much like I am now,) zapping my resume and witty cover letter out to any and all companies hiring a senior level digital marketing strategist and creative content maker (Are you hiring one of these? If so hit me up in comments!) when I reached to take a swig of coffee (the lifeblood of SAHMs everywhere… or at least me, because I don’t drink wine at 10am out of a coffee cup… again, that’s judgy… but, I digress. WAIT! See there it is again.)
I took a drink of coffee and gagged because I could not swallow it. As the hot liquid dribbled down my chin and onto my clean shirt (a prized possession of any SAHM) I tried to shout out “Oh, shit!”
It came out more like “Murble, gurble!”
I couldn’t swallow and I couldn’t speak because my throat was so swollen.
So what do I do?
I call my Mom in Florida -of course- to ask her if I should go to the doctor.
Despite that my Mom is supposed to be enjoying a vacation, not parenting her 46 year old adult daughter who probably already knows the answer to the question she’s asking, she humors me.
First, she tells me I shouldn’t be talking.
I retort by saying, “I know, but when has that ever shut me up before?”
Having known me my whole life, she concedes the point. That is when she asks me a question that makes my blood run cold:
“Do you have white spots at the back of your throat?”
Let me side step here for a moment and say I can deal with almost any emergency with a solid and steady hand. I am the calm person with a bunch of weird knowledge and certifications that people look to when shit hits the fan, sometimes literally. Here is an assortment of emergency situations in which I have persevered (although, in a couple of instances, I incurred a little PTSD) —
*My 13 month old baby swallowed a button battery and had to be rushed to the ER to have it removed via surgical procedure. I was totally fine, despite aging 10 years in 24 hours.
*I watched as my 11 year old brother smacked the back of his head on a diving board while attempting a backflip. I had to rush to pull his ass out of the water because I thought he was unconscious (he was not) and concussed (he was.) Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy – he then owed me his life, which meant I extorted him for all of his Dead Kennedy and Ramones cassette tapes and demanded he forgive the loan of $1 he gave me earlier (with 50% interest) to buy an ice cream cone.
*My Dad woke me up in the middle of the night to help him determine if he should take my Mom to the emergency room because she got up to let the dog out and get a drink of water -and due to her chronically low blood pressure, (which I also have)- she passed out and crashed head-first (or, head backwards, as the case may be) through the glass oven door leaving her with large lacerations on the back of her scalp… IT WAS FINE, I was only 16 and was my MOMMIE, but cooler heads (mine, not my Dad’s OBVIOUSLY) prevailed! After picking out “shatter proof glass” from her hair and scalp I informed him that, YES she needed to go to the emergency room for stitches. So he took her, and I thought “why did I have to be in this situation, I only ever took one first-aid class because it was required for graduation,” and paced about the living room nervously trying like hell not to wake my two little brothers up and put them into my panic them because Mom was in the ER and the oven door was smashed out…. BUT. I. WAS. FINE. I was so fine that a week later I helped my Mom dry shampoo her hair around her stitches so she could go back to work without her head looking like she dipped it in a vat of oil. I was FINE FINE FINE FINE FINE. That incident TOTALLY didn’t scar me for the next 30 years, did it?
I digress. You see a theme, right? Here’s more:
*I was barfed on by my cousin Lori (who had the sugar flu – flippin’ slushies) in the back of my parent’s mini-van when I was 11. Not at all grossed out. Patted her back and told her to let it all out (all over my brand new white Guess shorts and cool mesh off the shoulder Madonna shirt.)
*I had to perform CPR until the paramedics arrived on a woman who collapsed in front of me walking down the street in San Francisco. Totally calm, focused, attentive. Serious as a heart attack, which is what the lady had, incidentally.
*I once pulled a small child from a car crash which had just killed his father. I sat with him in my car playing “thumb war” until help could arrive, while the others who had pulled over to help tried to find something to cover his father’s body with. I was shaken up badly, I will never forget what I saw. One of the worst moments of my life. But in the moment – calm, collected, acted expediently.