I know I am not the only one who has days (almost all of them?) where I feel like all I am doing is damage control. I pull one child away from one mess-making scene and fetch something for the other child’s needs, only to run back to Child #1 and pull them away from another hazard.
I got home from the mall this afternoon, where I spent a leisurely 45 minutes by myself, returning two items. My hair was styled, my make-up on, and I was wearing my favorite jeans, incidentally. I say that random sentence because it’s a victory in motherhood.
Hubbie needed a shower, so I took the 2-year-old, who’s been fussy all day due to a cold, upstairs to change a suspect diaper. She was complaining of poop but I smelled nothing; I figured I’d give her a dry one to make her happy. And quiet.
So as she’s laying there on the changing table, it becomes apparent that her diaper is causing her a great deal of pain. It was a stealth poop. Very unsmelly, and very painful because it had gone unnoticed for an undetermined period of time. It next becomes apparent that a quick rinse-off is needed to get rid of all the poo pieces I can’t remove without her ripping my sweater to shreds in pain.
Incidentally, I am also wearing one of my favorite sweaters.
As the poor child is shrieking at the top of her lungs, I hear my 4-year-old in the bathroom, trying to communicate something to me. I still can’t understand why he hasn’t learned to come into the room to talk to me, nor why he still doesn’t know I can’t hear him over a 700-decibal, 22-pound toddler who is 30 feet closer to me than he is.
Next I get my daughter into the bathroom, start the warm water, snap her onesie up over one shoulder to keep it dry, and am not surprised to see my son, partially undressed, just standing on the bath stool, totally distracted from his pottying by the scene before him. I rinse off Child A in the tub. Child B tells me I need to please hurry because his “pee is getting red.” Huh?
“What do you mean your pee is getting red?” My styled hair is really getting in my face at this point. “You mean it hurts?”
“No, I mean…” (phrase not understood due to rush of bathwater in my ears.)
As Child A turns back to being happy, I turn off the water and pull her out of the tub. Child B says that his pee is getting everywhere. Oh. Now I get it. He waited too long to use the pot again. Pee is puddled under his feet on the bath stool and dripping on the floor.
I tell Child B that I can only clean one bum at a time and that he needs to just stand there and wait for me.
I carry the diaper-less daughter into her room and get her dressed, then return to the bathroom to come to the aid of Pee-Pee Peepersteen. I am in full flight-or-fight mode, and am beginning to get that feeling like I’m only ever cleaning up messes. Which, now that I write that, is a totally accurate description of that moment, and many moments like it during my days as a stay-at-home mama. I’m beginning to feel like I’m carrying too much weight. I just can’t adequately meet all the needs of the whole family.
As I return to the scene of the accident, I have my son step one foot out of his saturated footie-jammies, then command him to step down on to the dry bathmat next to the stool. “Sit down, so you can get your other foot out.” He sits, bonking his forehead on the bathtub. He cries. He tells me he can’t take his own foot out because he hit his head. (I am not making this up.) I stand there wondering if it’s really worth my frustration to make him remove his yucky wet clothes himself, then decide no. So I take his other foot out of the other pee-pee saturated footie for him. The crying ends as abruptly as it began.
Another rinse-off in the tub is needed; I make my son climb in and I pour warm water over his lower half. Then I give him his towel, and send him on his merry way with the order, “Get your undies on, and find yourself some clothes.”
No sooner do I begin sending pee-pee clothes and the bathmat down the laundry chute, than I hear strange antics coming from inside my son’s room. He has shut the door, and I hear him and his baby sister saying, “Ewwwww, groooossssss!!! Hahahahaha!” What in the world. I holler through the door, my hands still all germy with pee, “What are you doing in there?!!” He informs me that he’s checking out his here-to-be-unnamed parts of his body in the mirror and laughing at them. Obviously the undies haven’t made it to their destination yet. I holler at him again to get his undies on and get dressed “NOW!”
You’d think it’d be simple to wash my hands and just get in there already without some other chaos ensuing, but no, I am outnumbered and my husband is in the shower, and this is just the way it is with tiny humans in the house. I wash my hands then hear my daughter wailing. My son says something to the effect of, “Oh, I guess I am not that good at being a pony…” I ask what happened and he tells me that his sister fell off his back while he was giving her a pony ride. I am just having trouble believing this is my reality now. Yep, there she is, laying on her back crying in his room. She’s OK, I can tell, and her crying ends quickly, too. And surprise, surprise, the boy is still wearing only his undies and hasn’t picked out his clothes yet.
As I head downstairs, carrying the small one, he calls out from his room, “Wait! I wanna be the leader!” Sorry, leaders don’t take this long to get dressed. They probably don’t pee their pants either, but what do I know?
If I had to title this story, it would probably be, “Why We Had Leftover Pizza Instead of Real Dinner for Dinner.”
I had to just ask God to settle my heart after all that. I was resentful and sort of angry, and really wanted to chug a beer. And as I thought to myself, “I can’t believe this is my life,” God changed my thoughts to, “Yea, I can’t believe this is my life. I have it pretty awesome, and I am the richest person I know. Forgive me, Lord; it is a privilege to serve my family. In it, I am serving You.” Or something along those lines.
Happy drowning in chaos to you!