Monday, November 25, 2013

Learning to Adapt, 2.0

Today marks three weeks since Ren's last back surgery. It feels a lot like something from Swiss Family Robinson as we stitch together life without all of its parts. Recovery is happening, but it's happening very slowly.


So, we make adjustments, and I try really hard not to lose my schmidt.

Take cleaning, for example. Despite the fact that EVERYONE KNOWS that vacuuming is possibly the worst thing you could do with a bad back, Ren did not. He was crestfallen when the doctor told him  he had to lay off the vacuuming for at least three months. And, the only reason it was mentioned at all is because I specifically asked, "So, can he vacuum after surgery?" The doctor looked at me like I was a complete idiot, but sometimes you have to take one for the team and ask the stupid questions so your spouse will finally realize that YOU CAN'T VACUUM AFTER YOU'VE HAD BACK SURGERY.

I would love to hire a person to help us clean while we are one parent down. Ren, being the parent down, and also the parent stuck at home, would rather not. Now I know some of you will say I should do what I need to do to survive this. But I also have to be able to survive grumpy Ren, and nothing makes him grumpier than back surgery and paying someone to do something he thinks we should do ourselves. So, we both came up with plans. His was to have the kids each vacuum a room using a vacuum their size. Due to his vacuum fetish, we actual have enough properly-sized vacuums to do this.

I don't know if I should admit that.

Action shot -- blurry because obviously I am incompetent.
Mine was to buy a Roomba. Now, while Ren's plan instills in the kids a strong work ethic and a sense of team work. Mine is shinier. And electronic. Plus, it has had the completely unexpected bonus of being the perfect playmate for our  mischievous 2 year-old. Stow can't get enough of it. If he could figure out a way to get it into his crib, I'm pretty sure he'd sleep with it next to his pillow. I have to admit that I get more than a little pleasure watching him chase it around the room, dance with it, and put small toys on it so they can go for a ride. Unfortunately, the Roomba is just about as spastic as Stow, so Ren's plan definitely worked better in terms of actually getting the carpet clean. And it did make the kids slightly more aware of the need to help mom out. So now they also clean the kitchen and help with the laundry. (And, no, I am not, not under any circumstances admitting that Ren was right here. If that's what you took from this story, you've obviously misread. Ooo, look, a cow on a vacuum.)

Sky insisted we name this ibot. Short vowel sound, thank you very much.

The other big adjustment we've made post-surgery is that Stow has started going to daycare. Ren's lifting limit is 20 pounds. He's also not allowed to bend, twist, or squat. None of these restrictions are conducive two wrangling a 30+ pound 2 year-old. Of course, Ren was totally convinced he'd figure out a way to take care of Stow despite the fact he can't walk, and, you know, do anything. I, on the other hand, was totally convinced that if I didn't find some place to put Stow while I work, we'd be headed for another back surgery. Fortunately, there's a great co-op right on campus, and they were kind enough to let Stow come hang out until Ren is further along in his recovery.

Which is awesome. Except it's not.

I mean, I didn't realize I wasn't actually ready to have Stow in daycare until it was too late.  He made it easy for the me the first few days, crying as I walked away, begging me to stay, acting as if he was sorry to see me go. But, by the third day, he was over that. Now he just takes his Shinkansen thermos and his zebra lunch bag and doesn't even give me a second glance.

Stow's first bento.
To drive his point home (you know, the point that he doesn't really need me at all), Stow decided to do two things at daycare he's never done at home. He started using his own name and he started potty training. I'm not going go lie, I'm thrilled to know he actually knows his name. He's been slow on these kinds of things. But the potty training? I think he's just trying to make us look bad. The first day, when I dropped him off at daycare, they asked me if I wanted them to put him on the potty. Sure. Why not? We hadn't really gotten serious about the potty training thing, what with the back surgery and with the fact that Stow had all the urinary tract and digestive problems. But, what the heck? If they wanted to put him on the potty, I certainly wasn't going to stop them. I did not expect Stow to actually USE the potty, though.

Has he no regard for my feelings at all?

Obviously not. He's consistently used the potty at daycare since the very first day. Of course, at home, he screams when I try to take off his pull up and weeps when I put him on the potty. He's totally playing me and then rubbing it in. I mean, he even used the potty for the high school girls who work at the drop-in care place at our local gym. I'm sure he's doing it just to spite me. Or maybe he's mad at me for making him wear Pink P's leftover princess pull ups.

I guess I could see that.***

Action shot.

*** Actually, he loves the princess diapers as much as the "boy" diapers. It just doesn't make for as good of a story.

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