I’m Terrified of Gremlins

Although it's not really a secret, I don't think it's necessarily "out there" that my husband and I have been debating homeschooling our kids. We go back and forth on the issue and still haven't really decided. There are a lot of factors to consider and honestly, it's a big decision.

Of all the issues that I've considered, not once have I ever thought that having my kids home with me all day would be a challenge. I mean, sure, they can be a challenge, but it's nothing I haven't dealt with before and nothing that really drives me to madness or anything.

Well, I've changed my mind. After this week, that is suddenly an issue. And before you label me as the type of mother who would knowingly dump her children and their "issues" off on innocent teachers in the public school system, let me assure you that my children only act like this at home. "Angelic" and "ideal" and "wonderful" are the typical words used to describe their presence in a classroom setting. I'm not sure whether to be happy that they show their best selves in public places or mad that they don't extend me the same courtesy.

So, while the jury deliberates my mental health, I'm just going to tell you about my week. Writing clears my mind, confession is therapeutic, and truthfully, I'm hoping someone will tell me they had it much worse because I'm totally the type of person who would feel better about that sort of thing (Don't be shy. Helping my sanity is practically as important as promoting world peace.).

It's been a crazy week . . . well, month . . . but I like to narrow my focus. Things started out fine. I mean, we had enough sickness in this house to fill an entire wing in a major hospital, but it seemed in control at least. My last kid was starting to recover from the virus that plagued each of us for an average of 10 days. Yeah, I said ten. It was horrible. Tanner was put on an antibiotic for what the doctor was sure was a staph infection (in the form of a rash looking very much like the last stage of chicken pox). He was sent back to school and blah, blah, blah.

Well, imagine my surprise when Tanner came home from school on Tuesday with twice the amount of spots. What the heck!? And I'll be honest, these spots in their beginning stage looked exactly like scabies. It was my first thought. And no, I'm not a doctor, but I had those dang bugs burrowing under my skin in the fourth grade and I know what they look like.

Panic set in. But my panic made no logical sense. His spots didn't even itch. And if my six year old had had scabies for the past TWO WEEKS then surely, the rest of us would have it. Those things breed like rabbits. Or head lice, but no need to be particular in a moment like this.

I called the doctor immediately. The results of his swab were back. He was negative for staph or any other bacteria. Oh crap. "Well, the antibiotic he's been on for a week isn't working and his spots have doubled, so that makes sense," I lamented to the nurse. She said they'd see him first thing in the morning.

I arranged a babysitter for my two dramatic monsters princesses and we were set. Everyone is showered, dressed, presentable, bundled up (it was 15 degrees out) and out the door we go . . . only to see antifreeze pouring out of the bottom of my Durango. I just stared at it, only semi-aware that if I didn't blink it was likely my eyeballs would freeze. I herded the mob back into the house and turned off my car. Then I called the babysitter and the doctor.

Oh, sure! We can totally switch your appointment to tomorrow morning! I wouldn't send him to school though. Well, no kidding. Not like I could if I wanted to. The bus has long since come to pick up Hunter and my car is nonoperational until Kyle can fix it tonight.

Something about staying home from school when he felt perfectly fine morphed Tanner into a raging beast. Seriously. If I told him 'no' about anything, he went from my totally sweet boy to a Gremlin (not the fuzzy cute kind, but the ones that came in contact with water) in two seconds flat. Screaming, kicking, pounding his head, slamming things, hysterical crying . . . you name it, he did it.

In between one of these episodes, he decided to use all of my stamps as name tags for him and his sisters. He wrote their names across the front with a Sharpie (which he obtained by scaling the refrigerator . . . I know this because I asked. He scales walls too if you were wondering) and then stuck them to their shirts . . . and their walls . . . and their doors. I'll tell you what, there wasn't one stamp left on that sheet. My son is thorough if nothing else. Of course, my explanation that stamps are not stickers for playing with, but actually representations of money and are used for mailing things was the equivalent of splashing water on my furry friend. Oh. My. Gosh. I suddenly had an image in my mind of me trying to help him with his reading and my Gremlin-fearing knees got weak.

He went to bed at 6:45. Not that it helped.

Oh, yay! It's Thursday! I mixed up my weeks and thought that my husband was off, so I told my friend that I didn't need her to watch the girls. I almost cried when I realized my error, but oh well, too late. I'm sure I can threaten good behavior. Or bribe it. The bribe is what ultimately worked if you were wondering.

So there we are, sitting in the doctor's office again, explaining to the doctor the weirdness of Tanner's situation. He was baffled. So was I. In the end he decided we were going to treat him for scabies. The fact that he didn't itch and that none of us had gotten it, made him think that we might be in the clear, but better safe than sorry he said. I started to itch instantly, of course. Hearing that your child might have scabies is no different than seeing a photo of 800 baby spiders on the internet. Trust me.

Then the doctor dropped the bomb. Well, we won't know if it's actually scabies for 3 or 4 days until we see if the treatment worked, so call me Monday and we'll go from there. Wait, best case scenario is that Tanner can't go to school until Tuesday? I remained passive.

We got in the car where Tanner proceeded to whip Haylee with her scarf until she was screaming bloody murder. When I made him stop he took Avery's book and threw it into the back so he could listen to her scream too. When I said that his behavior just lost him his chance to play his race car game on my phone, the beast came out. And I was still in the parking lot.

The words repeated in my mind, Tanner can't go to school until Tuesday at least. Should I feel this panicked!?

I got home to start the mound of laundry and sheets that would have to be washed AGAIN in hot water. I told Tanner and Haylee to take the load out of the dryer that I'd put there last night. It was one of those important loads. You know, it had things like Haylee's Christmas dress, my boys' white shirts, every white t-shirt the kids own, mounds of kiddie socks. I started laundry and came out to the couch to fold that white load.

Maybe my current mental instability was making me see spots. I blinked. Nope. Mental clarity is stellar. Those are orange spots all over every single item of clothing in that load. Orange what!? It looked like marker. I went to the laundry room to search and there it was. An orange crayon wrapper, perfectly in tact, yet completely empty of any residue of crayon that should have been there. Oh dear wrapper, if only that wax possessed your fortitude.

Exhibit A: Pretty Christmas Dress
Exhibit A: Pretty Christmas Dress

So I start scouring the internet and find what I'm hoping will be my miracle cure. Well, I'm on round two of that miracle cure and so far it's not working. There's still orange. Everywhere. I guess it's a good thing that we are confined to this house Sunday because that way I won't have to buy new white shirts for my boys' suits until next week. What a thrill.

And hey, her dress might be horrifically ruined, but Haylee loves polka dot socks. I might be able to squeeze mom of the year out of this week after all. I also think I'm going to start watching horror movies until I find something to replace my fear of Gremlins. That way if we decide not to homeschool it won't be because I'm terrified of my own children.

4 thoughts on “I’m Terrified of Gremlins

  1. Dianr

    I guess I'm not alone. I too toy with the idea of homeschooling until my angelic Carter turns into a gremlin at the very suggestion of doing his homework, practicing the piano, etc. Yesterday I got a call from the school that Carter was sick to his stomach and needed to be picked up. Not a problem. He comes home, makes his bed on the couch, and happily lays there until Miles wakes up from his nap. After that he was bouncing off the wall and pestering his brother like usual. Obviously not the stomach flu. I call his eye doctor to see if it could be a result of last week's surgery and pressure being too high. We go to Spokane for a checkup (he was rotten the whole trip). Eye was fine (despite the fact that he'd been rubbing it - number one restriction). I send him to school today (after many failed excuses as to why he can't go). When I pick him up I'm told he complained of being sick off and on throughout the day, refused to eat his lunch (wouldn't even open it and sat in the office so he wouldn't be alone in the classroom) yet he is perfectly fine and starving at home. "I'm just school sick" he tells me. "It's just crazy that I only get sick at school!" I've already been warned that he might not feel good tomorrow. Of course. I guess he enjoyed his time off last week and isn't ready to get back to work - there is no other explanation his teacher or I can come up with. I hope he is over this "crazy school sickness" soon!

  2. Post author

    Bwahaha! I love Carter with my whole heart. Hunter cried all morning up until he got on the bus because none of his excuses worked either. My theory: boredom. They can't stand it.

  3. Scared of home schooling (??) - your mother survived it, and she lived with....well, since I know your family...and she was sane the last time I talked to her. I may be a public school teacher, but don't kid yourself. We don't have all the solutions, contrary to the opinions of some I know. Thanks for making what will be a very long day start on a laughing note. I can see kids doing it. Fortunately, our crayon only managed to attack a few non-essential (towels, etc.) items. Good luck with the solutions - you'll need it!

  4. I seriously LOVE you Brianne! Thank you for once again making every day life entertaining. Not that my opinion really matters but you would ROCK as a homeschool mom (yes, I did just say rock, no I'm not watching anything with Chris Farley). Have you checked him for allergies? Have you changed detergents/soaps/shampoos/etc? Is he the one that just took the antibiotics? Speaking from personal experience, any of those things can cause a rash with no other noticeable symptoms....?


Seriously, tell me what you think.