StrepMom Thought Bubbles

William and I had strep this week. FYI, that shit HURTS. I haven't had it in eons, and let me tell you, strep in a grown up is not for the weak. I had lumps the size of golf balls on my neck, and it felt like my throat was lined with a million shards of glass. The headache was awesome, too.

Of course I had it the whole time William and I were up north for a hockey tournament. So, to his entire hockey team and also the very good looking Canadian hockey parents we all partied with at the hotel, YOU'RE WELCOME for the disgusting strep germs that William and I breathed all over the lot of ya. (I feel immense guilt for that, for reals.)

I'm now halfway through my Z-pack (which is what they give you when you have a deadly penicillin allergy) and can finally swallow again (insert lame blowjob joke right here). I tested my new pain-free throat with a martini last night and IT'S ALL GOOD.

We are home from work and school today thanks to the Polar Vortex which has blessed us with below zero temps. Again. My kids have not had a full week of school since before Christmas. And William had already missed two days this week courtesy of the strep. His school has a weird absence policy, if they have 7 absences (excused, even) they send home a vaguely threatening letter which states that if your kid is absent again, you have to have a doctor's note. I'm not one of "those" moms, who bitches and moans about everything that makes life a little more difficult, but this letter, and the follow-up phone call, felt a lot like my parenting was being called into question.

Now, you can accuse me of many things: stress eating, poor vacuuming skills, an addiction to Downy Unstoppables...but leave my parenting out of it.

I'm a good mom. And I know when a kid shouldn't go to school. William is my fever baby. He gets fevers. My other kids, not so much, but William gets them. He had a febrile seizure when he was a few weeks old, one of the scariest moments of my life. I've asked his pediatrician about it, and the swarthy, somewhat sexy Dr. K shrugged and said, "Some kids just get more fevers than other kids."

I work in a school so I'm well versed in the 24 hour rule about fevers. DON'T SEND YOUR SICK KID TO SCHOOL. I've followed that rule religiously because I don't want to be That Parent who sends her sick kid to school. And now I'm being held under some sort of parental microscope because of it. So that's my first thought bubble: Don't punish the good parents, schools. I'm sure there are some parents who let their kids stay home if they have gas pains or if they don't like the lunch that day. And that's none of my business. But I'm not one of those parents and I really dislike being treated like a quasi-criminal. So you can bet your butt I'm going to march into school with William on Monday and be brandishing that Doctor's Note like a 4 carat engagement ring. SUCK IT, PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE JUNIOR HIGH ATTENDANCE POLICY!

My next thought bubble involves the high road I've been traveling in regards to my ex-husband.

I've been really, really good. And I mean capital G good, when it comes to speaking positively and kindly about Big Daddy. Really! I had one slip up recently during a conversation with one of my kids and it went a little something like this:

KID: "Hey, Mom...Dad said he'd help me pay for some of my textbooks this quarter!"
ME: "Really? That's great!"
KID: "Yeah, the only thing is, Secretary is demanding to see receipts for all of them before they'll give me any money."
ME: "I wonder if your dad misses his balls."
ME: "OMG. I'm sorry I said that. Pretend you didn't hear it."
KID: "Okay. But it was pretty funny, Mom."
ME: "I know. But still...pretend it didn't come out of my mouth."

P.S. The kid did get the money for books. And I hope the balls are being kept in a BPA-free container.

Third thought bubble also involves the ex:

He comes to a lot of William's hockey games, which is great. However, he always, and I mean ALWAYS brings Little Spawn with him. I'll admit right here that I'm kind of jealous, on behalf of my kids, when I see Big Daddy and that little effer together. Because my kids didn't get that kind of time with their dad. But whatever.

When I see him walking around with Spawn, all I can think of is Michael Jackson carrying around that monkey. Bubbles. So heretofore and henceforth, Spawn shall be known as Bubbles.


Jonah Hill makes my skin crawl. The fact that he's up for an Oscar (again) makes me question everything in this world. Everything.

Thought Bubble number Five:

My job is still disappearing in August, as far as I know. And I'm vacillating between full-blown panic and a very Bobby McFerrin-sort-of "Don't Worry Be Happy" feeling. Things always seem to work out for me, somehow, but this is a terrifying sort of limbo to be in.

I dropped William off at a friend's apartment a while back. For a sleepover. Henry was with me and as he watched William go into the lobby to be buzzed up, he said, "I could never live in an apartment, Mom." I decided that this would be a good time to be that Honest Parent I'm always claiming to be, so I replied, "Henry, you never know what's going to happen. We might have to live in an apartment someday. Would that be so horrible?" Because that's the truth. I have no idea what's going to happen between now and September. Henry's chin quivered, just the slightest bit. And he said, "I can't imagine it. I'd have to go live with Dad." He looked out the window again, and added, "I don't know what I'd do. I'm sorry Mom. I don't ever want to move again."

And that right there helped me decide that no matter what, I'm going to do whatever it takes to keep my kids here. Safe and sound. I don't care if I have to work 5 jobs, if I have to scrub toilets or shovel dirt or wear a freaking hat and name tag. My kids are worth it.

No more thought bubbles for now...time to go be outrageously unproductive and enjoy the Vortex!


  1. I was so glad to see your Jonah Hill comment. I totally agree.

    1. THANK YOU. He may be a total sweetheart in "real life", but there is something so icky there. And enough with the smoothed out, side-part hair, Mr. Hill.

  2. Wow that's a lot of thought bubbles! As for the angry note from the school, I think I would prefer a parent who keeps their frequently-ill child home when he's ill (keeping him from getting sicker, keeping him from spreading his germs around to others, AND keeping him from having to spend a miserable day in school when he doesn't feel well) to the many parents I've known who send their kids to school come hell or high water! I think schools get aggressive about it because the state gives them money for every child who is in school per day, so if a kid is absent a lot the kid is actually costing them money. :P

    1. Angel, I agree completely. Unfortunately for most public schools now, it's all about the $$$. They've become businesses.

  3. Thank you for this. Just thank you.

  4. Part of my job in Minneapolis as the Health Asst. has always been attendance clerk. The letters and phone calls are due to $$$. If they don't have their attendance numbers up/in place they get dinged. Attendance is a federally funded thing that affect's the school's budget. I believe one of the governors created this law, it could have been Pawlenty. Anyhow, it's too bad the public schools internal server is able to keep track of minute details like this but not real issues like if your child is having mental health problems or being bullied. I used to run reports that would show students who missed 3 days, 7 days, 15, 24, you get the picture. Each family would get their own special 'letter'. And don't get me started on tardy issues. I would run reports on students who were 10 minutes late, 79 minutes late, you name it. They all had their own special letters too. Schools really are a business. That's why they have ID numbers, to track all that shit. The letters eventually get generated by the state attorney's office if the attendance gets out of control. So in my opinion-don't take it personal. Once you bring in William's doctor notes the attendance clerk will fix his record. It's all so fucked up, and another reason why people leave public schools.

    1. Everything always boils down to the money, doesn't it? Good God.

      Yeah, I absolutely love how they are on you like white on rice if your kid is absent X number of days, but a child can slip through the cracks and be advanced to the next grade year after year and not be learning a damn thing.

      If I had the money, I'd move my kids to private school. That's a fact.

  5. Sorry you and your boy were sick! Strep is awful!

    I can relate to the receipts (and keeping the balls in a BPA-free container). My ex was willing to pay me back for agreed expenses without receipts for about a year -- now I have to send receipts for every living thing he shares costs with -- even recurrent expenses like gym fees that are the same EVERY SINGLE MONTH! I think I have the stepmistress to blame for that. Takes me hours some months to find all the receipts, cancelled checks, etc. and send them to him! Sigh!

    1. Thank you :)

      Love how the stepmistresses keep everything in line! They are so kind to look after the finances for everyone. Good lord. Because landing the dream husbands aren't enough...they need to keep their skanky fingers in all the pots too. Gah.

  6. Glad to hear you and your boy are finally getting well! And, not sure if you (and Gail) remember, but our very own middle school had its own stupid-ass attendance policies back in the day. I missed a lot of school in 8th grade, almost 5 weeks altogether. Not all at once, but over the course of the year it added up to that much time. I was sick a lot, but even when I just had to see my ortho to get my braces tightened, my parents would let me skip the whole day and just do my work at home, because they were VERY not impressed with the quality (or lack thereof) of education I was getting, and figured I was missing nothing by not going back to school. On the other hand, I actually did go in with a raging cold at least once that same year, and a whole handful of other times with severe anxiety and/or depression attacks, so I wasn't one of those people who used any excuse to not go to school, either.
    But anyway, near the end of that year my parents got the letter from my counselor at school, expressing how "concerned" she was because of my missing so many school days, and warning of the dire consequences this kind of attendance problem could have if it continued into my further education and work...etc. The thing was, it was one of those awful form notes, with spaces for the counselor to fill in my name and how much school I'd missed, etc. It could not have been more impersonal and uncaring if she tried...she didn't even add a personal note at the end saying something like, "If there's additional information you think I should have about this, please call or write me back, or I would be glad to meet with you and Jenzi about it anytime too. I'm genuinely concerned that everything is OK with her." So of course, my parents just scoffed at this "letter of concern," tore it up, and told me to just ignore it. I think they also said something like "one more reason to be singularly unimpressed with your junior high experience!" I'm sorry to hear the schools are just as bad over 30 years later, and that it's all about the money now. Ugh.
    As for your ex's balls...seems to me Secretary's had 'em since the two of them got together, so after this many years he probably doesn't even remember what it's like to have a pair.

  7. Bubbles. Little effer. Lololol. Snort laughed through this post until the end. If you have to move, your kids will be fine. They will. It sucks to have to think that way but you are home to them, not a few walls and a roof. I tell myself that I can make a cardboard box a home for my kids as long as we're together. Of course I'd like that cardboard box to be decorated with Pottery Barn furnishings, you can only push the Pollyanna thing so far.

  8. You made my day! Love u as always. Miss C . Frankfurt

  9. I love your thought bubbles and would like to be together next Vortex. Deal? xo

  10. Kay H., thanks for your post! My sister right now is beginning an awful seperation. It is a mutual decision... they can't live together. However it means that they will need to sell the house and move into much cheaper rental accommodations with her two girls.

    I have been so upset about the thought of them losing their Dad and their house at the same time. I am hoping though that you are right. Being together is "home". Not the walls. This will be a hard couple of months for them, but I hope it is all for the best.

  11. This was great! You know what? I just moved to a 600 sq ft condo with my two children, and it's all that bad. It's not like they ever gave me personal space anyway. Your son will learn to deal, but I will keep my fingers crossed that he doesn't have to.

  12. Bubbles nee Spawn. Laughing outloud here at Yum in SLP and people are looking at me.

    Also, Jonah Hill. Word.

  13. Everyone DOES get sick differently. My baby sister gets fevers, my younger sister gets stomachaches, I get asthma, my mom gets laryngitis, and my dad throws up. Of course they all have to be different. No panacea pill for us.


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