There are few days in mothering that surprise me anymore. I expect the unexpected, brace for the surprises and tell myself day after day that I will not go into a conniption when something odd happens. It gets me through and that is my goal each and every day.
Yesterday, however, was one of those days where I thought I was prepared but fell ever so short in my ability to not be shocked and amazed at the actions of my children. One of those days that makes me wonder who raised my children. And if it was me, as I have said before, I should have my license revoked.
It started out like any other. Sarah peed out of her Pull Up in the bed. Megan woke with a 6 tooth grin and Katie woke with her diva hat on. Some days its a good diva, some days a bad one. Yesterday started out good, shifted throughout to bad and turned into heathen diva by bedtime.
After I made them french toast fries with strawberries and whipped cream, which they happily declared icky and threw on the floor, I put a straw in my coffee cup and prayed it would jump start my brain cells for the day. Megan fell off the stool, Sarah peed in her panties and Katie raided the pantry demanding popcorn, marshmallows, cream and chicken nuggets. I told her, while holding a screaming Megan, wiping pee off the floor, and feeling the first dots of sweat form on my forehead, that those were not breakfast foods. She grabbed a bag of pretzels, opened them and threw them across the room.
Really? This is the joy of parenting? Because I am looking around thinking this is the thing that drives people to run screaming, fully clothed into deep bodies of water with no life vest in sight!
I take a deep breath and tell myself that this is nothing unusual and if I stay calm, stern and insane, I can handle this morning with ease.
The baby has stopped crying, I think a little stunned that her sister was still standing after the stunt she just pulled. Sarah is telling me over and over and over and over again that Katie threw the pretzels on the floor. “Spank her butt, Mama, and put her in her room. Then you have to wash her mouth out with soap ’cause she was mean.”
Uh – huh – I’ll get right on it queen pees a lot.
I put Megan down, who instinctively dare not make a peep of pick her up again, and walk over to Katie who is standing – I think in a sort of shock – daring me to punish her. I get down on Katie’s level, Dr. Spock, and, in an even toned, controlled voice say “You need to pick up this mess immediately.”
Wahoo – that seems to work. She bends down and starts to – or so I think – pick up the pretzels. I watch, almost as if removed from myself as she picks 2 of them up, puts them near her foot, raises said foot and stomps as hard as she can sending pretzels remnants flying in all 4 directions.
Steam. I see steam. Where is that coming from? Oh yes… MY HEAD!!!!
I yank the child off the floor, forgetting she weighs 30 lbs and – though light by comparison standards – heavy for an old decrepit lady like me, throw her over my shoulders and head to her room. She is kicking and screaming and says, “You do not realize what you are doing!” I’ll be honest, that one gets me every time. I do not know where she got that saying but I almost always burst into laughter when I hear it.
Holding back the giggles, I lose the fierceness I was aiming for in tossing her ever so gently – uh huh – into her room. I tell her she can come out when she can be a big girl and clean her mess. I shut her door and turn around to Sarah, still in wet panties, tell me “Mama, I have diarrhea in my Tinkerbell panties.”
Oh Heaven above… please send Supernanny!
The morning calms down a little after that. Katie eventually comes out, cleans most of her mess and leaves her horns in her room. Sarah gets cleaned and dressed and promises, for the 857th time not to mess in her underwear and Megan finds a toy to chew on and toss at me whenever she gets a chance.
Later in the day, we head out to ride bikes. Katie loves to ride her bike that she got for her birthday and Sarah can trike like a tyke on a mission and Megan loves to be pushed in her green car. So heading out in the hot Texas sun in August is actually kind of nice. Plus it gets me out of the house and I am always up for that!
Now, Katie is really good at riding and can go pretty fast. But every once in a while, she gets “stuck” and can’t figure out how to get going again. Like if she turns and forgets to pedal then she needs a little push. She seems to be especially unable to get started again this trip out. So little Megan gets pushed from the neighbor’s driveway to our driveway, back and forth, tagging along to the let’s go push Katie exercise. And Mommy is getting quite the workout – complete with the sweaty shirt and desire for a large mocha frappe from McDonald’s.
The person who came up with those got a raise. I can tell you that! Huge raise!
Anyway, Megan bores of this back and forth, stop to push, back again so she bails on the car – while I am pushing and not paying attention because I am yelling at Sarah not to ride into the grass. Because I don’t want her to get stuck. So that I have to push her. And sweat more.
Despite the fact that Megan basically falls out of the car onto the street, she hops right up and toddles off. Happy to appreciate that she is my favorite daughter at the moment, I go back to pushing Katie – also now known as “this is how I get all of Mommy’s attention” game. As I tell her for the 17th time that she needs to keep pedaling, I catch a glimpse of Sarah out of the corner of my eye.
I can admit, in my mothering, that I often see things and choose to ignore them. It is just easier. And there are some things I catch in my peripheral vision that begs I not turn my head lest what I think I am seeing actually becomes true! This is one of those moments.
I turn my head, desperate for the strength to stop myself and see Sarah’s white naked butt, tan lines defined on her cheeks, stripping in the neighbor’s drive way. With the other neighbor’s landscapers mowing their lawn. And the teenage boy across the street walking out to check the mail.
“SARAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What are you DOING???!!!????”
Faintly, I hear, “I peepee’d in my Dora panties.”
Mortified and running as fast as I can, again wondering why I wear flip flops, yelling instructions to put her shorts back on, drawing even more attention to my naked 2 year old standing in the driveway for everyone and Jesus to see, I wonder again who raised this exhibitionist.
I get there, saying a bunch of words that are supposed to make sense but probably are just a jumbled mess and get her back into her wet pants. I grab her, feel her wetness soak into my shirt, snatch up her tricycle, and walk as quickly back to my house as I possibly can.
Before I get half way, Megan comes running out in the middle of the street. I put Sarah down, instruct her to head to the house and try to get to Megan before the one car a day that comes down our street decided to show at that exact moment carrying more witnesses to my humiliation.
I see Sarah climb into Megan’s car and hear Megan screeching to get on Sarah’s tricycle. Katie is sitting at the edge of our driveway screaming, “Mom, Mom, Mom. Push me. Mom. Push me!”
I help Megan onto the trike, thinking that this will be easier than carrying her and the trike, pushing Sarah and attempting to give Katie a push. Megan is thrilled! Laughing like the happiest baby in the world. I am reminded, in this insanity, that they are all just little kids.
Feeling that calmness that an innocent child’s laughter brings, I push Megan and Sarah towards our driveway. Sweating profusely, I get there, let go of Megan, push Katie, push Sarah and, in a moment of pure Mommy forgetfulness, push my poor one year old on a tricycle which she has never ridden, can’t reach the pedals of, and can not steer.
Before I can catch her, she goes head first over the handle bars into the concrete.
Fab…. u…. lous!
I get to her almost immediately, begging her to breath while trying to assess how badly she is really hurt, praying to God that I did not just seriously injure my baby. Sarah and Katie, having abandoned their rides, are trying to get to Megan to see is she “bleed” and needs a band aid.
With Megan now in full screams, I look at her face. She has a definite scraped forehead, a skinned nose and a swollen lip. Much worse looking than the actual damage. Not that that made me feel any better! I am holding back tears, trying to figure out how I could have done this and head toward the house.
Despite my general goals of the day, I am surprised, I did not expect this and I have had several conniption fits.
Oh well. That was yesterday.
I love laughing out loud to your blog! You've inspired me to start my own blog to chronicle the crazy days we have as well!! Thank you for sharing!!!