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Alternate Title: Reason number 2,377,467 that I love Tyler

When I get sick, the world around me comes to a screeching halt. You need help loading the dishwasher? Too bad, I’m sick. The world is in danger of a zombie apocalypse, and I am mankind’s only hope? It’s gonna have to wait until next week, I’m sick over here. You have 3 tickets to the Superbowl? … … Gimme a second, I’m thinking. Yeah, it’s that bad.

Last week, I told Sarah that my throat was feeling a little scratchy. She replied with a compassionate, “oh no,” but her eyes told a different story. Her eyes grew wary with the thought of having a 15 month old child and a 31 year old baby to tend to for the next few days. I started popping vitamin C pills like they were candy, because let’s be honest here, men only take vitamin C or any other pill after they get sick, not before. If it ain’t broke…

I came home from work completely drained. Apparently, it takes a lot of energy for a body to fight a cold off. Tyler hasn’t caught on to the fact that, when daddy is sick, it is no longer “all about Tyler” in our household anymore. Kids are selfish little brats sometimes. While I would have loved to just lay on the couch with a blanket and a soft pillow while Sarah made me some hot chocolate and a delicious supper, I instead had to crawl around on the floor, laugh and talk to Tyler through my feels-like-I-just-swallowed-a-bucket-of-sharp-glass throat, and chase him from room to room. Meanwhile, Sarah was in the kitchen, making hot chocolate for Tyler and me, and making a delicious supper for us.

Eventually, I was given a bit of a reprieve. Tyler ran into me and gave me a giant hug. I took the opportunity to fall backwards onto the ground while hugging him. This was one of those hugs. Parents know what I’m talking about. This hug could cure world hunger, and bring peace and love to the entire planet. This hug makes angels cry and birds sing. Love was borne from this type of hug.

Tyler rolled off, pulled my shirt up and dug his finger into my belly button so hard that it made my boy parts hurt. Then he showed me his belly button. After that, he studied my stomach for a couple seconds. I didn’t know what was going on, but I could tell he was processing something in that little head of his. Either that, or he was pooping, but he tends to stare me right in the eyes while he does that. A moment later, he pointed to a scar that was roughly the size of a dime in the area of my obliques, and said, “Owwwwwwww.”

I actually had to look at my stomach to make sure that I wasn’t bleeding or cut somewhere. It never occurred to me that he would be able to associate a scar with an ‘ouch.’ I’m actually still rather confused how he was able to figure that out.

Feeling a moment of immense pride in my son’s ability to make that connection, I replied, “Yes, that’s daddy’s ouch. When really bad ouchies heal, they make a scar. This is daddy’s scar.”

Tyler leaned forward, put his lips on it and said “Muah.” This is Tyler’s best imitation of a kiss. This was on of those moments. Parents know what I’m talking about. It was this moment that reminded me that I was put on Earth to be Tyler’s daddy. It was this moment that I didn’t feel sick anymore. This moment existed for only me, and if I shared it with the world, crime would end, the ailing would be healed, and water would have turned to wine. Love was borne from a moment like this.

“Thank you, Tyler. Now it’s all better.”

Later, it couldn’t have been more than 5 minutes, we were playing on the floor with cars and tractors and farm animals. There was no storyline or dialog to follow. I drove the tractor in a circle on the floor, picked up a couple animals, drove in a circle, dropped them off, drove in a circle, picked up a couple animals… well, you get the picture. I started to feel drained and very ill again. I laid my head on the floor and told Tyler I was sorry and that “daddy doesn’t feel well.” Tyler played with his toys for just a moment longer. I closed my eyes for a second and let out quiet moan. Just then, Tyler put his hand on my head and started petting me. Tyler doesn’t have a solid grasp on being gentle, and his petting was slightly haphazard, but it didn’t stop this from being one of the most amazing moments of my life as a father. This was one of those moments that could have… well, I think you know. I’m talking singing angels over here. I was wrong earlier. Love was borne from a moment like this!


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Last Tuesday is one for the books. I had a long day at work, but I won’t bore you with the details. Upon returning home, I discovered that somebody had installed a lake in my backyard. Some could argue that it was due to the massive amounts of rain that we received that day, but I like my idea better. Sarah told me that Tyler wasn’t eating very well that day, and that he developed a cough. The awesomeness of this particular day kept getting better and better, wouldn’t you agree? Later on in the evening, Sarah informed me that water was dripping into our upstairs bedroom. Fantastic.

But I’m leaving out a key element here.

After Tyler had his dinner (peas, sweet potatoes, and rice cereal) we put him on the floor to crawl around while Sarah and I had our dinner. Sarah made a cheesy tuna noodle casserole, and it was delish.

From the floor, Tyler started making noises.

”NNnnnnnnnnt. NNNNNNNNNnnnnnnt. Uhhhhhnnnnnnnt.”

They were more of a grunting noise, and it’s a sound we’re very familiar with.

”Is Tyler pooping? Yes, Tyler is pooping.” I try to bring yes and no into most of my conversations with Tyler, so that he may begin to understand what those words mean. I also, desperately, want him to know what the word “poop” means because I want him to be able to eventually tell me when he needs to perform such a task. I don’t know when potty training is supposed to start, but the sooner he learns what he’s doing (and how disgusting it is), the better.

Sarah, being a stay at home mom, deals with poopy diapers much more often than I do. As such, I take her advice on the subject (among other things, her credentials include being pooped on). She said that I should give him a couple minutes, to be sure he was “done”. So I finished dinner. Tyler started doing the “I’m tired” routine very shortly after that. You know the drill. Whining, eye rubbing, whining, head lulling, whining. I scooped him up and informed him that we’d be making a journey into the living area where I would wipe and clean his bottom, and fit him with a hot-off-the-showroom, clean diaper. Upon completion of this adventure, we would put some warm and fuzzy pajamas on the little guy, and go do our nigh nighs.

Our kitchen has linoleum floors (I know, right? I’m living the high life over here), and the dining area has hardwood floors. The living area is carpeted, and this is where Tyler decided to show me all of his love. And this is when I realized that Tyler was not tired, but very, very sick. I fully understand that I can embellish certain things, to make them more entertaining – nothing big, because I think the facts are humorous by themselves – but I’m here to tell you that I’ve never seen vomit like this before. We’re talking Selma Blair and The Exorcist here. I was holding Tyler so that our heads were next to each other, him facing behind me. All I heard was a gurgling sound. Still holding Tyler, I turned to see what was going on and, in doing so, created an arched trail of vomit on the floor. The carpeted floor.

But that’s not the worst part! It got on ME. It was all over my arms. Honest to God (although I can’t think of a God that would allow this to happen to me), I had no idea so much fluid – and partially digested baby food – could fit in Tyler’s little belly.

”HOLY CRAP!” was all that I could think to say.

”What’s up?” Sarah called from the kitchen.

”Tyler just threw up EVERYWHERE!”

Sarah, like a ninja, just seemed to materialize in the living room with towels in her hands. She tended to cleaning up Tyler, while I rushed to the sink to clean myself. Delilah, the eternal helper, tried to lick the carpet clean for us. Although I was tempted to just let her do it, so that Sarah and I could clean and comfort Tyler, I shooed her away. I sat on the couch with Tyler – stripped to his diaper – and Sarah started spraying cleaner on the carpet. I felt so bad for the little guy. He just seemed so “out of it”. As a testament to how out-of-it he was feeling, he actually snuggled with me on the couch and rested his head on my chest. Normally, the boy fights sleep as if it’s his last night on Earth. To his credit, he’s very good at going to sleep when we put him in his crib though.

He vomited again in the middle of the night in his crib, so he had to sleep in our bed. This went on until we decided that we should probably get advice from our family doctor. The catalyst for me was Wednesday evening, when he vomited onto the tray on his highchair. It was green and white from the mucous and breastmilk. Tyler went in on Thursday and came out with the catch-all diagnosis of “Upper Respiratory Infection”. We decided to give him 24 more hours before trying antibiotics. I won’t get too much into it, but antibiotics have been linked to allergies and asthma in little ones.

Thursday evening, as if he understood that he was on a get-better-or-get-pills countdown, Tyler started feeling better. Sarah was exhausted and crashed on the couch, and her two boys played on the floor. Tyler was crawling everywhere and had finally regained his smile. The relief that the smile afforded me was immense.

When Sarah woke up from her nap and I told her how awesome Tyler seemed to be doing, she replied, “My throat hurts.”

On Friday evening, my throat started getting scratchy. On Sunday morning (right now), I want to cut my head off so that the pain will go away. It’s no secret that I’m a big baby when I’m sick, and poor Sarah has to deal with it.

The silver lining on all this is that Sarah feels much better today, and Tyler’s doing well, aside from a phlegmy cough.

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I got home from Nashville on Wednesday night. On Thursday, Sarah tells me that she thinks Tyler is getting sick.

What?

On Tuesday, Sarah and Tyler went to spend the afternoon with Sarah’s sister (Jiillian), Jilian’s daughter (Lexi), and some friends of Jillian. A girls’ night thing, apparently. Well, I guess Lexi, who’s around 18 months old, was congested and moody. For whatever reason, they assumed she was teething, and not a carrier of the black plague, as I would have immediately deduced, had I been present at the time.

With a heavy tone of sarcasm, I can tell you that Friday was a LOT of fun. Tyler cried and cried and cried. And when he was done crying, he cried some more. We foolishly tried giving him a bottle. Tyler has been breastfed exclusively, save one night. Trying to give him a bottle while he is sick is a mistake that ONLY new parents can make. Well, we made that mistake. I had already, in previous days, had a couple issues where Tyler didn’t want to be held or comforted by me. He wanted his mommy, and that was it. Although I know this isn’t the case, I felt overcome with a sense of rejection. It had a profound affect on me. The sum of those instances along with Friday’s drama left me very discouraged. It saddened me to the point that I had to give Tyler to Sarah and head upstairs to be alone for a few minutes. I fully understand that he’s with Sarah everyday, and I shouldn’t take it personally… but it’s hard.

Tyler also decided that he had no desire to be in his bed that night. We didn’t want to lie him flat anyway. We wanted to prop him up somehow so that he could breathe a little easier. I didn’t see an easy way to do that at the time, so Sarah decided to just let him sleep in our bed. I wasn’t planning on going to bed for another hour or so, so I opted to just sleep on the couch, because I didn’t want to possibly wake Tyler when I came up.

I spent the next half an hour searching around on Google for sick babies. At 11:40p, I made a run up to Walmart to pick up some Vicks BabyRub. As I’m trying to navigate the many shelves and racks of medication, an announcement comes over the speaker system.

“The registers will shut down in 5 minutes. Please complete your purchases by then. The store will re-open at 12:05 am.”

Excuse me? The sign on the front of the building CLEARLY states that they are open 24 hours a day. I’ve worked in retail before. It was a horrible experience, but it has afforded me the knowledge of how retail operations work. I assume that Walmart needs to poll their registers every night, and need to balance their tills. Luckily for me, an employee – that looked like she had absolutely no desire to be there – happened by. I asked for help, and she took me to the baby medicine section. I grabbed the Vicks BabyRub, and hightailed it to the registers.

I’m sure that our particular Walmart is just like most of the others out there, but let me set this up anyway. There are around 35 registers. Eight of them are the cursed “self checkout” registers that rarely work. My two major gripes with the self checkout registers at Walmart are as follows:

1) There is no limit on how many items you can bring through. On more than one occasion, I’ve seen people with carts that are absolutely overflowing with food and clothes trying to check themselves out.
2) It’s always the people that DON’T know how to use the self checkout that end up using the self checkout. The one employee overlooking all of the self checkout registers seems to loathe their job more than the zombie-lady that helped me find the Vicks BabyRub, and has no intention of helping the person until they’ve been standing there, swiping the wrong barcode for at least 5 minutes.
3) I know I said I’ve got 2 gripes, but I’ve got to get this one in there too… I HATE the software that runs those systems. If you so much as breathe on the bagging area it starts barking commands at you to remove the last bagged item. You do so, and it just freezes and the stupid red light starts flashing – notifying the sole employee to actually take 3 or 4 steps over to you to help you. You know, effectively ruining their entire day.

But guess what??? Out of the 35 registers at Walmart, only 1 is open at 11:45pm. I am THE LAST PERSON in line, and I’ve only got one freaking item. When it’s my turn to check out, the guy at the register tells me that he needs to shut down and that I’ll need to wait 15 minutes before I can ring out.

I gave him the I-know-you’re-joking-but-am-really-not-in-the-mood-for-it look, and quickly realized that he wasn’t joking. I was in no mood whatsoever to get into a discussion with him about it so – as politely as I could – I said, “I’ve got a sick baby at home. Either you’re going to sell this to me right now, or I’m walking out with it.”

He looks over his shoulder to a lady that I never even saw. I assume she must have been his manager. She had a tone that made me think that she believed this cashier to be the dumbest man on the planet. She said, “Yes, ring him out.” I can’t do it justice in type, but she was less than pleased that he said I’d have to wait. Either that, or she played it off really well.

The Vicks BabyRub seemed to have made a world of difference. Unfortunately, I seem to have caught whatever it is that Tyler caught. My throat is all scratchy and sore right now. Chloraseptic spray isn’t doing much good, but it never really does anyway. That crap only works for about 5 seconds, yet it’s one of the first things I reach for when I get a sore throat.

And I feel so bad for Sarah, because I’m the biggest baby in the WORLD when I’m sick.

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