For reasons I’ll never fully understand, but most likely related to a habit of sleep-snacking on crack and tequila, I woke up Tuesday morning and had the brilliant idea to take my kids to visit their grandpa in the hospital.
It’s possible Virginia Slims Man suggested it subliminally by whispering it to me when I was sleeping. He sometimes forgets how horrible The Beast can be in new situations and it causes him to suggest really stupid things.
Anyway, I woke up Tuesday morning and said delusionally (is that a word?), “Why don’t I bring the boys up to the hospital this afternoon to see your dad?”
And because VSM isn’t with The Beast all day every day and is not reminded hourly that there’s a very good reason that The Beast is called The Beast, he said, “Yeah. That would be great. I’m sure Dad would love to see the boys.”
In retrospect, maybe VSM and I both sleep-snack on crack because how could we think that a man who just had a heart attack would find joy in hysteria and mayhem and choas? It’s not like The Beast is actually a calm, relaxed, obedient child with a really ironic nickname.
Regardless, at breakfast I said to the boys, “We’re going to the hospital to visit Grandpa this afternoon after school!” The Good One responded happily but calmly as he tends to be very laid back.
The Beast responded by using his cars to replay the entire episode of Bubble Guppies where the Guppies go to the hospital to visit their friend who has a boo-boo. I like to think this is a sign of genius, but most likely it’s just a sign that he can’t tell the difference between fish and cars.
The Good One headed off to school with VSM. On the way to dropping The Beast off at preschool, I figured I’d prepare him for the hospital visit and I told him that he’d have to be quiet and he wouldn’t be able to jump on Grandpa and that he’d have to hold our hands and he couldn’t run and he couldn’t touch things and he couldn’t go exploring.
So basically I was telling him he had to suspend every genetic aspect of his personality, and for a brief period of time he had to become a completely different child.
It’s possible I was expecting too much.
At the end of the day, I picked The Beast up from school and the first thing he said was, “We go visit Grandpa at the hospital?” I said, “Yes, after we pick up The Good One.” The Beast then said, “I give Grandpa a hug and make his boo-boo go away.”
I admit it. That was incredibly sweet. It was adorable. It was beautiful. It was not at all beast-like.
It does not change the fact that an hour later he was traumatizing an entire ICU full of patients. And their visitors. And the nurses. And the birds in the trees outside the hospital window.
I feel certain the blood pressures of all the people went up during our brief visit.
So we picked The Good One up from school and headed to the hospital. Fortunately VSM was able to meet me there so I didn’t have to attempt to control The Beast alone. We made our way through the maze that is the hospital and found my father-in-law’s room. (Honestly, if there were a fire in that hospital absolutely no one would make it out alive. There appeared to be 6,000 wings and only one exit.)
Anyway, we made it back to the ICU with a death grip on The Beast’s hands. He’d periodically scream, “No, I walk myself!” and then we’d remind him that he had to use a quiet voice. And really, that just made him want to scream more.
He’s cute like that.
Once we got into my father-in-law’s room, we let go of The Beast’s hands and the child instantly started crawling on the floor. I have no idea what could have possessed him to do this. The child hasn’t crawled in ages, yet somehow he instinctively knew the absolute worst thing he could possibly do and he did it.
At that moment I could actually see the MRSA and Ebola entering into The Beast’s body and I reacted with the expected level of horror and fear. I’m sure my scream made my father-in-law feel very relaxed and happy to see us.
I then screamed at VSM to grab The Beast and disinfect him immediately. It’s possible that I’m a bit of a demanding bitch. You’ll have to ask VSM.
After The Beast was properly sanitized and I calmed down and stopped acting like a psych ward patient, we all said our hellos to Grandpa and attempted to visit with him.
The Beast does not visit.
I tried to make him sit on my lap and Grandpa’s lap and VSM’s lap, but he considers that to be a form of restraint and reacts with the appropriate level of anger. So he’d scream and squirm off of whichever lap he happened to be on and he’d immediately get back on his hands and knees on the hospital floor.
Then I’d demand again that he be dipped in some sort of germ-destroying disinfectant. Had there been bleach in the room, I would have bathed him in it. I wanted to pick up the phone and call a 2319 to have the haz-mat team come in and obliterate every germ on The Beast’s body, but I’m not sure that’s actually a thing outside of Monsters, Inc.
This cycle went on for the next 10 minutes. I asked Grandpa if he had any drugs he’d like to share with me, but the man refused. He also had no liquor.
Who goes to the hospital without liquor?
There was a couch with a large window sill behind it and The Beast thought it would be fun to stand on the window sill and yell at the birds that were in the courtyard and bang on the window. We again told him that there were sick people there who needed to rest, but he really doesn’t care if you just had a heart attack and need sleep. He is going to make the noise he wants to make and if it bothers you, you’re welcome to up your morphine drip and put yourself out of your misery.
I think my father-in-law could see my exhaustion, so he wasn’t that sad when we had to leave after only a 20-minute visit. It’s also possible he wanted his eye to stop twitching and wanted the throbbing pain in his temples to go away.
I know the feeling.
So we disinfected The Beast one last time and left. We made our way to the front of the hospital and VSM took The Beast into the bathroom to wash his hands and disinfect him again. (Have I mentioned I have a thing about germs?)
And from the women’s restroom I could hear VSM yell at The Beast, “Do not touch anything!”
The Beast obviously saw that as a dare and chose to touch something else and VSM lost it. “WHEN I SAY NOT TO TOUCH SOMETHING, YOU DON’T TOUCH IT!!”
This made me smile. For once I wasn’t the one flipping out.
The Beast never does well in new situations. He wants to explore and touch things and figure things out, and when he can’t do that, he explodes. I don’t know why I thought a little lecture about being quiet was going to change that.
I do know that that I need to stop sleep-snacking on crack.