At the end of every episode on the classic game show The Price Is Right, two contestants have to duke it out to win one of two Showcases. One will have a washer/dryer set and a one-night-stay at a Motel 6 in Utah or something, where the other will have a new Ford Mustang, a sailboat and an all-expenses-paid trip to the Bahamas. One always seemed to be crap compared to the other.
As a parent of two kids you play the Showcase on a daily basis, usually minus the awesome prizes. Sometimes it's choosing between a dirty diaper and a Nerf bullet to the left testicle. Most of the time it's more mundane, like would you rather sit at home and watch two hours of some twenty-something kid play video games on YouTube with your son, or take your daughter to her doctor's appointment?
Oh, and you can't say "neither." That gets you into the secret, third Showcase which includes one of the previous two showcases plus a healthy dose of dread as you await the argument that will come later because you decided to be a smartass. (To give myself a little credit here, I would never say I didn't want to take my child to the doctor, or spend time with my kid by watching YouTube videos, but sometimes neither is really appealing).
On Christmas Eve we went to my grandmother's house. My family on my dad's side is enormous. My grandparents had eight children, and those children produced sixteen grandchildren. Now there are almost a dozen great-grandchildren. You throw in a few family friends and some in-law relatives and that's about fifty people crammed into one house. I have spent every Christmas Eve of my entire life surrounded by these people, and I have a great time doing it.
With two kids in tow, though, a few challenges arise. I wish I was one of those lizards with the roving, cone shaped eyes that move independently. That way I could see both kids at once. Instead, it usually devolves into my wife watching one kid while I watch the other. It usually works well.
This Christmas Eve, though, I got a little confident. Surely with so many people around I wouldn't have to keep eyes on them the whole night, right? After all, the house is full of adults, and the kids are occupied with other kids. At least Logan is fine by himself for a little while, surely.
With this illusion in mind I saunter into the kitchen where my brother, two cousins, and an uncle stand and talk. I nudge my way into the conversation. We all share a few laughs and carry on the way we always do, and at one point my eyes lock onto my wife's. She's apparently been trying to wave me down for ten minutes.
I do the whole raise-my-eyebrows-and tilt-my-head-back routine. What's up?
"I need you over here." She calls through the noise.
I saunter back.
"You can either change Abby's diaper or help Logan in the bathroom. He's calling me from the door and she needs a diaper change."
The Showcase presents itself.
I can see clearly what's behind door number one: a diaper change (though I don't know the severity of the soilage of said diaper). What I don't know is what's behind door number two, although there is a twinge of understanding that door number two most likely has to do with "number two." Still, I can only speculate. I'm closer to door number two so that 's what I chose.
Door#2: The son in the bathroom.
It turns out Logan was having some digestive difficulties and needed some encouragement, but by the time I tapped on the door and let myself in he'd completed his duties (hehehe). I told him to go ahead and flush and we'd be on our merry way.
He'd been coughing for the past two days, though, and after he'd flushed the toilet a fit of hacking sputtered in his chest. Eventually the coughs became too much. Logan leaned over.
Oh Jeez, he's gonna...
And it came up.
And it was red.
I tried to stay calm. All kinds of ailments, diseases, and physical problems ran through my mind for the next few seconds. Why is it red? Please God don't let it be blood.
"Um, Logan?" I frowned as I studied the pinkish brown blob in the toilet. "Why is it-"
"I ate a cookie earlier."
Oh thank God! Right after he said it I remembered he'd asked for the cookie just a half an hour earlier. It had red icing.
My son was not puking blood.
I told Nikki about the vomit and the alarming color, being quick to remind her he'd had a cookie with red icing not long ago. We asked Logan not to run around as much. We figured he'd gotten hot and that made him momentarily sick to his stomach, and I think we were right. He hasn't gotten sick since.
So that was my Showcase: Pee diaper or poop with a dollop of red puke. I didn't come away with a new car or a trip to a tropical paradise, but on the bright side my son was not coughing up blood. There's always a silver lining.
Moral of the Story: There's not one. Whenever a Showcase presents itself, just choose one quickly and move on. You may think you're choosing the path of least resistance, but then someone vomits and all bets are off.
Monday, December 30, 2019
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