What happens when you pray for boring

I used to pray for patience, you know, because I figured that was what I needed. But it turns out that if you pray for patience you get a whole lot of “character building” experiences wherein your patience is “tested” and you want to say “lots of blasphemous and profane things” to whoever’s in charge. Go figure. (I swear to you I just typed “Fo gigure,” and almost left it like that, but after admitting to such poor behavior, I reasoned it was best not to further tempt fate just now.)

But hey, sometimes I learn things! Slowly, sure—always pretty slowly—but I am capable of learning and changing. So now I pray for boring. Boring is good. Boring is AWESOME. At least, I think it probably is. I don’t really remember. The first time Chickie was in the hospital, I prayed for her to come home. And then she came home and things were still scary and drama-filled and she ended up BACK in the hospital, so I started praying for boring. Now that she’s home again, any moment in which I am not actively caring for her or being screamed at by her (these two events coincide more often than you might imagine, incidentally) is one which is boring and therefore GOOD.

We’re still a long way from boring, but getting closer.

[Sidebar: Allow me to do a shout-out to our local middle school for what turned out to be the most productive and pleasant school meeting I’ve ever had. Chickadee now has a 504 Plan, but more importantly, she has a few creative solutions to how we’re going to get her through to the end of the year, assuming she can stop screaming about what a mean and horrible person I am for long enough to actually go to school occasionally. In a particular stroke of genius, she was allowed to drop her Spanish class, which was fantastic—fantastico?—because even long before she was sick that class was unanimously viewed among the parents as The Class Most Likely To Send Either A Student Who Has Learned Nothing Or A Parent With Very Little Patience For An Inept First Year Teacher Into A Murderous Rage. Would you like to know what the kids have learned in there so far? Here you go:

You are welcome!]

So. As I’ve been praying for boring, Chickadee came home, and now I spend a large chunk of time every day either taking her to doctors’ appointments or taking her to or from school, with a lot of “I hate school, please don’t make me go” or “I’m tired of doctors” thrown in just for good measure.

Some of you may remember that the deal I have with my children is ONE CRISIS AT A TIME, so true to form, Monkey has been a complete doll baby over the last few weeks. I’m making all sorts of fabulous discoveries, in fact, like that he thinks it is SUPER! FUN! to pack his own lunch. He’s been trying so hard to make things easier for everyone around here, and that’s just part of what makes him such a great kid.

But it was clear that trouble was brewing when I came upon Monkey a few days ago, sitting on the couch, reading a book, and—it looked like—trying to scratch one of his legs off. Specifically, he was scratching away at the underside of one knee. The kneepit, if you will.

“Hey Monkey,” I said, all casual-like, “what’s up with your leg?”

“I don’t KNOW!” he bellowed in response, surprising me. “It’s just so ITCHY!”

I took a look, and he did indeed have a large, round, red mark under there. Hrm. I gave him an antihistamine and put some cream on it, and then he went to bed.

The next morning I forgot about it, because I’m a jerk.

That evening, though, Monkey came into my office and commenced rolling around on my floor in agony. “IT HURTS SO MUUUUUCH,” he said, so I looked, and the large, round, red mark had grown to twice its former size, as well as spawning two smaller, equally-angry looking welts on either side of it. The child’s entire kneepit looked like it was on fire.

Naturally, I took a picture and posted it to Twitter, because Googling only left me trying to decide between a poisonous spider bite or leprosy. Also, given our recent sojourn in the woods, I was a wee bit concerned I’d somehow missed a tick on him last week, and now he was dying of Lyme or some other tick-related nastiness. My pals inside the shiny box nearly reached consensus on “something allergic,” although a few people did try to kill me by suggesting it was ringworm. (I can’t even SAY ringworm without dry-heaving a little.)

I put some cortisone cream on the kid and sent him to bed, vowing to make him a doctor’s appointment for the following morning.

Well, I would’ve, but Chickadee already had a day of appointments and Otto was somehow magically busy when I started ranting about leprosy and ringworm and parasitic creatures that eat kneepits.

Anyway, the point is that I finally took him to the doctor THIS MORNING, when of course the whole mess was looking MUCH better and not nearly so threatening or parasitic, and I apologized to our pediatrician for even bringing him in, but pointed out that had I not made an appointment, surely it would’ve spread across his entire body by now. She nodded in game agreement and told me that really, it was probably only making the appointment that had saved him from certain death.

She looked and probed and finally announced that his kneepit had… eczema. Eczema! Just one kneepit-full! That’s a little weird, no? But mostly it’s… boring.

We left with a prescription for a slightly stronger cortisone cream, and I made sure to thank Monkey, in the car, for being so boring. “I am not boring!” he said, indignant. “This is George,” he continued, miming cradling something in his arms. “I will love him and hug him and squeeze him and… you know. Call him George.”

I chuckled. “Aren’t you a little old for an imaginary friend?” I asked.

He rolled his eyes. “Silly Mom,” he said. “George is not an imaginary friend. He’s an imaginary PET. Totally different.”


Well, at least his kneepit is boring.


  1. Kelly

    Where do I sign up for a boring week? Glad Monkey was boring. [how did he get eczema only there??]

  2. liz

    So weird about the kneepit eczema because I have developed the exact same thing! Kneepit eczema! Despite the fact that I’ve never had eczema in my life. Actually, I did a fancy self-diagnosis, and I’m just putting hydrocortisone on my leg and hoping for the best.
    Here’s to boring!

  3. lisa

    Tragically I could understand everything in the song from my one semester of Spanish in high school! Ha at I don’t remember how to say 11!!!

  4. kylad859

    Strive for normal. That’s what I’m doing. Also I repeatedly ask my kids’ doctor if there is bloodwork they can do that tests for normal? No one (but me) thinks I’m funny.

  5. Leandra

    I’m sorry but “Fantastico” made me snort-laugh.

    You know, last year Punkin had a place on her face that Google had me convinced was ringworm. BUT, the ped also said, nope! Eczema! In just one tiny, round-ish spot on her face. I’ll be honest, I didn’t quite believe her so I hedged my bets and applied both an anti-fungal AND hydrocortisone. Hey, I figured it couldn’t hurt.

    Crossing my fingers for more boring. And less yelling. :)

  6. Lisa

    YAY FOR THE BORING!!!!!! Long may it reign!

  7. Jen

    I’d love to buy boring a drink or ten. Boring is where it’s AT! I want to adopt boring and introduce him to easy-peasy and encourage them to have babies.

  8. Tara

    Hoping that boring sticks around!

  9. Valerie Hartman

    I think a blood test for normal is very funny and totally necessary! Of course, I don’t need a blood test. I can spot abnormal just walking through the mall. Or Wal-Mart.

    Also, I can’t help but be impressed with this totally coherent post. You are an inspiration. If you run out of things to freak out about, I have one for you. I had to remove ALL dairy from the house for over two years to clear up eczema in one kid. Think of me next time you order a pizza!

  10. Beth R

    Boo for eczema-y knee pits, but yay for boring, easy to cope with things!

    Hang in there, Mir. We’re all rooting for you and the whole family.

  11. Crista

    That song is hilarious! So glad you got some boring :)

  12. Ani

    Lord, I might laugh harder at that video except…I just signed up my son for Spanish at the Middle School next year.

    Hooray for boring.

  13. Jeanmarie

    Mir, didn’t they say Chickie’s rash was eczema at the beginning too? I think “they”
    use that as a catch all for any kind of skin condition that they can’t label :-(

  14. Carolie

    Yay for boring! (And you do know that ringworm is a fungus and not really worms, right? I mean, I’m not pointing fingers if you did think that, because I thought that for years and years, and was SO relieved to find out it isn’t little maggots!)

  15. Barbara

    Parasitic creatures that eat kneepits = the epitome of boring.
    Yeah, it’s all relative.

  16. Angela

    Poor kneepit! That’s got to be one of the worst places to itch, since you can’t not bend your knee or keep it dry and non-sweaty. I developed eczema on my ankles when I was working in a warehouse one time, and the doc said it was a reaction to the industrial dust that was collecting around my socks area and irritating the skin (I wore ankle-high steel-toed boots) and also it was summer, so the hot and sweaty skin reacted worse since the pores are more open. Dictionary.com defines eczema as an inflammatory condition of the skin attended with itching and the exudation of serous matter, so it makes sense that it could be an allergic reaction to something. So basically, poison ivy is one cause of eczema, in other words an allergic reaction, although we don’t usually think of it that way. I am TERRIBLY allergic to poison ivy!

  17. Charlene

    Sounds like Chickie has a Spanish teacher similar to mine. We had to watch episodes of a horrible eighties sitcom called “a.k.a. Pablo”. I remember a few words and phrases, but the most impressive thing I learned in that class was how to sing “Bingo” in Spanish, which I can do to this day.

  18. Rachel

    If Monkey wants a partner in weird eczema, I have one spot of it in my “elbow-pit.”. Hugs to every one, and I hope the fact that Chickadee has the energy to scream means she is on the road of recovery!

  19. Arnebya

    Kids should come with neon notification screens — ON THEIR FOREHEADS. The monitor should clearly display “I’m not feeling well”, “don’t forget about my project that’s due tomorrow that you’ve been saying you’d help me with for the past month”, “there is something itchy…on my butt (or kneepit)”, “I’m the one who ate the ice cream”, “I just farted but I’m going to pretend it was the dog”, and “you think I’m not listening to you because I’ve perfected the I’m Not Listening To You face, but I’m listening to you.” You know, random, ordinary, BORING things that would just make things…easier.

    I’m glad it’s “only” excema and sorry that you’re being yelled at but believe me, she’ll thank you later. OK, maybe much later, but, hey, you smell nice.

  20. Katherine

    Hey, Rachel, I have inside elbow eczema also. Just one little spot, about the size of a nickel. Luckily mine doesn’t itch too much. Hope Monkey’s knee clears up quickly!

  21. Tenessa

    First semester of Spanish! YES! You learn absolutely nothing of use, it’s true! I took Spanish from a woman (this was in high school) who had been speaking Spanish for four years. (That’s right! I said four (4) years). I suspect she took Spanish for all four years of her college education, at the end of which, she got her teaching certificate, and not for teaching Spanish. And then came to our little po-dunk school to teach us. The biggest problem with this teacher was that she obviously needed to take extra English classes right along with Spanish. We were constantly correcting her about what a particular word was, actually: verb, adverb, adjective, noun, preposition. Yeah, really.

  22. Monique

    As a Spanish speaker (as in an actual Mexican-American) that was the most hilarious thing evah!!! Too funny. But spanish is actually pretty hard with the yo hablo, tu hablas, different tenses and feminine and masculine and all that nonsense. I’m hoping she didn’t give up on the language all together, though. It’ll serve her well one day.

    I’m glad Chickie is home and feeling better enough to yell at you, lol. And that monkey was boring. if you don’t already use it try Eucerin and Aquaphor. BEST lotion for eczema suffers.

  23. Caroline

    In solidarity I’d like to announce: my 7yo son has elbow pit and back of neck spots of eczema…..

  24. Mel

    When I taught high school, we were short a Spanish teacher for one class period. The poor first year Lit teacher next door to me was conscripted (couldn’t say no AND keep his job) into teaching it on the basis that he had lived in Italy for a couple of years. I’m sure there were a few murderous parents in that bunch.

    Since having my own teenage children, I have learned that excellent Spanish teachers are surprisingly difficult to find.

  25. Jeanie

    I, too, have eczema. Be forewarned that it can come back, but in a different location. The prescription cortisone works wonders, though. Sometimes literally overnight. But, all in all, it is boring.

  26. Jessica

    I had a terrible Spanish teacher in HS, but I finally begged the school (teacher, principal, then school board) to allow me to make up my own Spanish class my senior year. It was great. If I hadn’t been able to do that, I’m sure I wouldn’t have ended up minoring in Spanish in college, because I would have hated it with one more terrible year of it.

    That said, boring is good. Boring is great, actually. I am getting to the point where I prefer boring, too, especially over “exciting in a bad way,” because after this last Christmas and hereafter? I’ve had enough “excitement” to last me a lifetime…so, yeah, I hear ya.

  27. Heather

    There really does need to be a specific (better!) word for knee pit – or leg pit, I guess, since it’s not shoulder pit :P Glad it’s nothing terrifying or horrifying like ringworm. My horse used to get ringworm and that skeeved me out pretty badly!

  28. KarenP

    Sounds like if she is back to yelling at you it must mean she is on the road to recovery!
    Hope the itching stops soon for Monkey.

  29. Tara

    Haha I used to pray for boring too a couple years back when we hit a severe rough spot for about a year where were just trying to get through each day. It will come and then you won’t know what to do with yourself. Enjoy that. And ringworm is not a worm. It’s a fungus. Just saying.

  30. Daisy

    My coworker and I (in special ed) used to always say “Here’s to a dull Monday!” We never had one. A dull Monday, that is.

  31. Veronica Roth

    So, as a Canadian, I made my children go thru French emersion! But I’m proud to say they speak Spanish just as well as guy on vid! Thanks for the chuckle, very funny post.

  32. margaret

    Here’s to boring, boring, and more boring. I have a knee pit itchy spot (but even more boring than Monkey’s)…just had to share because we seem to be a posse of various “pit” itchies.

  33. Joanne

    A fried of minue wished for Excitement!!! and the next week, woke at 3AM to the mysterious sound of running water…. She had a broken pipe in her 2nd floor bathroom, water running down the stairs, and downstairs, the ceilings had collapsed.

    Boring is SOOOO much better!!!

  34. Holly from 300 Pounds Down

    Reading what you’v been dealing with I have no doubt you need some boring!! I’ll be praying you get a lot of it!! Bored to tears. I totally get it. I feel like certain weeks/months and occasionally years seem to be nothing more than a big giant bucket dumping nonstop junk on you. I occasionally have to take a mental health day where I veg out in front of the tv and watch endless episodes of any show I like on netflix. Something that will suck me completely into the vortex where I forget my life exists lol. Like Merlin. Don’t ask me why but Merlin works perfectly for this . Castles, knights, and fancy costumes. Takes me right out of this world. But now I’m thinking I need an imaginary PET instead!!! I would prefer one actually since my real ones keep tracking mud in the house!

  35. Aimee

    LOL — that song is awesome! I’m going to play it for my Spanish group this weekend.

    For no reason other than that you made me think of it, here’s my favorite short from last year’s San Diego Latino Film Festival (it’s super-short, less than 2 minutes):


  36. Lori N

    Emphasizing what earlier commenters have said — ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin & has nothing to do with wriggly things. (Thank God!) It can be a pain to treat just because fungal infections take a long time to kill, but other than looking like a circular rash with a clear spot in the middle (hence, the ring) & inching like crazy (or not!) it’s no big deal.

    Eczema in the knee pit is a very common thing & my own monkey boy will have a patch on 1 of his knees even when the rest of his skin is smooth & clear. (He’s a long time eczema suffer, poor kid!)

    I could share a story of forgetting to check a spot on my kid’s leg, but it still makes me queasy to think about it.

    And now I will crawl off my acquired medical knowledge (no degree necessary!) soapbox and add my prayers for you to have boring.

  37. The Mommy Therapy

    I think you just diagnosed a problem I have on my leg! This blog post is a huge success, not boring at all. I’ll pray for continued boring in your life though. I too think that the normal, the routine, the boring are by far the best of days.

    I hope Chickadee is boring you soon too!

  38. Katie

    My son gets elbow-pit exzema. Just his left elbow. Kids are weird.

  39. Me

    My 3 year old had Eczema on her butt cheeks…no kidding!! We had to use steroid cream and it looked much better after 1 application!

  40. Jen B

    I read this yesterday and started praying for boring for you … but then today I saw something in a book I’m reading that made me think of you and want this for you instead: stability….

    “constancy, reliability, a firm foundation that can not be shaken…a modest, ordinary, day-to-day existence with problems of no greater significance than what to make for supper…grant me stability in my life. Change is overrated.” (Nicole Baart in Summer Snow)

    in a way, i guess it’s “boring” – but it’s better than that.


  41. brigitte

    Boring is seriously under-rated!

    And another person chiming in that ringworm has nothing to do with any kind of worm!
    I personally think the rash is from licking slugs . .

  42. Mss.Sassypants

    If it’s exzema, make sure you check any creases, especially in joints (and side note? the word “creases”? Freaks me out), and behind his ears. My son has had exzema since he was born, and it always seems worse around ankles, behind knees, elbows, etc. Handmade soap will help also, doesn’t dry out the skin, which is nice, since trying to get a boy to remember to put on lotion after a bath or shower, is like, well, trying to get them to remember to change their socks.

  43. Carrie

    Hey, are you aware that when your site comes up on Google reader there is a pro-life ad for signing a petition to overturn Roe v. Wade. You don’t seem like the type to support that and I thought you’d want to know it’s on there.

  44. Lady M

    I’m glad that Chickadee and Monkey and you are all hanging in there. We just had a round of strep, amoxicillin to handle the strep, and then reaction to the amox . . . . sigh. Boring is good.

  45. nicole

    my husband has bad eczema, plagued him all his life. He also passed that little trait on to my son, yay! Eucerin Intensive Repair Very Dry Skin lotion works well. Super hydrating but not greasy and absorbs well.

  46. Grace Pamer

    A post so good it made my daily mom blog roundup! I hope the search for boring yields results soon. I am sorry to hear about Monkey. I hope the Docs can find something to help if it is eczema.

    Best wishes

  47. Lisa

    Two things – and I didn’t read all the posts above so this may be up there – just saw yoga pants at Abercrombie & Fitch marked down to $12.90 and then 40% off of that so if you have one close by you may want to look there. If you are lucky, they may even have them on the web! They had a fair amount of XS which is what my twiggy 13 year old wears. Also, http://www.swimoutlet.com has some really cute suits, both athletic and not and usually have pretty good prices. Good luck!!

  48. AG

    Spanish love song video hillarious. Hope Monkey is feeling better.

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