Father’s day has come and gone like Haley’s comet; wonderful to behold, definitely worthy of having a beer in the wee hours and not due to return again for what seems like forever. It was wonderful, to put it mildly. A birthday is okay, Christmas is equal parts suck and blow but fathers day, sheeeeeit, man. It’s literally a holiday that’s specifically devoted to beer and televised sports, at least for now.
Some father’s day soon, I’m sure I’ll be greeted at five thirty in the morning by two little well meaning gremlins carrying a tray of what can only be barely described as ‘breakfast’ and I’ll be expected to eat the burnt toast smeared with mayonnaise and jam, the underscrambled eggs and the snickers bar mini that they’ve slaved over as thanks for all the butt wiping I’ve provided during the last calendar year. And it will be (again) five thirty in the morning. Then they’ll give me a tie or a golf club coozie. That’s the father’s day of the future, but my father’s day yesterday was a stone groove, bros. A little world cup, a little beer, a steak for dinner. Some pancakes for breakfast after sleeping in to the ungodly late hour of TEN AM!!! Not bad, folks. Not bad at all.
It’s funny, being a parent; just today I found myself thinking a thought that I never ever thought would warrant my cognition. That thought was “man, it’s really hard to clean this feces out of these wrinkly balls”. That’s being a dad. One second your life is all wide open and in front of you and you’re banging this hot chick unabashedly after a night of being out late before a day of sleeping and brain dead lounging, the next moment you’re scrubbing the poo out of a two year old boy’s ballsack in a bathroom stall at the local YMCA with a wet nap. What’s next? Sticking my head in an elephant’s ass? Damn straight I should be allowed to sleep in and eat pancakes and steaks one day a year! Fuck. The funny thing is, this year, right-RIGHT before father’s day (Friday, to be exact) I really had my first day of hardcore parenting, and it was brutal.
would you like to hear about it?
Okay, well, I don’t care. I’m gonna tell you anyway. Here’s the scene: It’s six PM. I’m about to leave for work. My kid, the old one, the boy, is on his little ottoman at my bathroom sink brushing his teeth (which is code for eating toothpaste, splashing water everywhere, and hiding anything unlucky enough to be left on the counter [nail clippers and wallets are good examples of these things] someplace where it will never, ever be found). I go to get some socks. When I return after about a minute, he’s got his hand in this jar of iron supplements. He’s soaking wet from the tooth brushing and the green coating on these pills bleeds like crazy, so his hands are green and his mouth is green. I ask him “hey, did you eat any of these?” and he says “yup.”
So, I look at the jar. It’s just a vitamin, right? No big deal. Well, here’s what it says on the jar: ‘iron poisoning is the leading cause of death among children under the age of six’.
That’s the kind of thing that wakes you up. So we call poison control and they tell us to go to the closest emergency room. When we ask if we should just go to the children’s hospital, they say no, they’re already on the phone with our local ER and they’ve told ‘em we’re coming. So we freak out, dive in the car and drive down to the ER where they take his blood and Xray his stomach. We sit there for three hours before an ambulance comes and drives my kid and I to the Children’s hospital for an overnight stay. My wife and the baby take off to get us food and vow to meet us at the next hospital. Everyone is losing their mind. Well, my kid was stoked on the ambulance and all the attention, but the rest of us were fucking basket cases.
The dude that drove the ambulance was a magician. He also answered his cel at one point and said “yeah. Yeah, I can do that, but it’s gonna cost you fifty bucks. If you don’t have it, I’m gonna take it home with me. Okay, bye”. I don’t know what that was about, but it struck me as a pretty awesome exchange under the circumstances.
Anyway, we get to the children’s hospital and we’re sharing a room with a mom and a kid who looks like he’s been knocked around pretty good, possible broken arm at least, and sounds like he’s got respatory problems. The cops are in there interviewing the mom, who’s beside herself. She’s also, for some reason that’s blowing my mind even now, watching “worlds wildest police videos” that’s featuring all sorts of people bleeding from the head and getting their teeth knocked out and shit. Anyway, my kid’s losing his mind, crying, kicking, screaming, and at this point it’s about ten at night. He’s usually asleep at 8 and he’s usually not got a needle and IV attachment in his arm and he’s usually been fed and he’s usually not in a cagelike contraption at the children’s hospital surrounded by cops and cute little mangled babies and he’s wondering where his mom is and why all these diodes and stickers and wires are being attached to him. I’m very little comfort during all this. The nurse got me a chair to sleep in next to his cage/crib, which was nice in the same way that when the amazon tribe gives you the eyeballs of the monkey to eat it’s ‘nice’ because it’s obviously the best they can do, but it’s not exactly what you were hoping for.
Well, his mom showed up with the baby and some mcnuggets and pretty much saved the day. We were told that things were looking good but we’d need to wait a few hours for more tests.
My wife and baby eventually left and my boy fell asleep and I walked around the unit up there on the ninth floor and came to a shocking conclusion: A children’s hospital may sound like a fun time, but it’s easily the most depressing place on earth. I’ve had more fun at church, honestly. I’ve had more fun on road trips with just my mom. I’ve had more fun being punished by those guys who say “wow. I really thought there would be more people here. Guess you guys aren’t that popular, huh (said usually in german accent)?”
In short, it really sucked. BUT, at 2 AM they did the second round of tests, determined that he’d probably not eaten more than one pill at most (a suspicion/hope that I had from the beginning due to the roughly one minute period of time he had been left unsupervised), and we were allowed to go home.
This was Friday. My wife had friends in town for one night only. We had a sitter. All that fell by the wayside. I just didn’t show up to work. I may be fired. All so we could do what? Pay something like forty five thousand dollars for an ER visit, an ambulance ride and a semi overnight stay in a second hospital. Cooooooool.
Now, of course all that is fine since he turned out to be okay. It’s just probably the biggest emotional rollercoaster I’ve ever been on. Thank god father’s day was right around the corner to soften the landing, right?
That’s being a parent folks. Don’t even think about getting your fucking socks. It’ll cost you.