This is a long post. Hang in there.
BEFORE I became a parent, I absolutely knew what being a Mom would look like. I dreamed of the days where I would cook a nutritious dinner while watching over my children sweetly playing together. The house would be clean, and we all dressed casually for a day of fun.Oh and I was thin, for some reason I imagined pregnancy making you lose weight from the joy of motherhood.
Speaking of joy. I always had the idea of what it looked liked, but I never could have imagined what it would feel like. The way I feel about our family is all consuming. It is the reason for everything. Everyone should get a shot at loving a little person. They make life amazing.
Lets go back to the way it looks though. I thought my joy would come from a job well done as a parent. From accomplishing the raising of fine children, who grow up to be upstanding men and women. By presenting ourselves to the world as followers of Christ and living out a high moral standard. But before I lose the parents in the audience to hysterical laughter, I will cut to the chase. I forget one tiny detail in all my pre-children thoughts on the glory of parenthood. We are human. And as humans, our lives are messy and unscripted. And by unscripted I mean, hold onto your hat – turbulence ahead – no seatbelts allowed.
If someone had told me 10 years ago I would have had a day like today, I would have laughed and found someway to educate myself in order to circumvent calamity. Now I just blog about it for therapy. If you don’t have kids yet, or are a new parent, just enjoy this story. For those of you who have filled the shoes of this play about family tragedies, feel free to laugh.
Here is a bit of the back-story. Monday, the preschool told me there is a respiratory virus going around. This was a worry for me since I had become an Aunt 6 days earlier to a little fella who lives 10 miles from me. My thought process was halted however when we arrived home and it appeared we had been robbed. On further inspection, my daughters dog had just opened his crate and proceeded to do all the things he was not allowed to do when we were there. Of which included wearing a 13-gallon trash can as a hat. The added bonus was the two quarts of chicken broth swimming around the floors of EVERY room in the house. I had poured it in the trash immediately before leaving home that morning. The smell was overwhelming. I spent the rest of the afternoon mopping and cleaning. Almost every room was apocalyptic. Thank goodness the dog is potty trained or I would have lost my mind. After the cleanup, I hustled across town to see my first nephew before we had the opportunity to become a contagious mess per the preschool’s warning. Lovely visit. He doesn’t know it yet, but he has an awesome Aunt.
Sorry that was off subject. Where was I? Oh yea the contagious mess.
Tuesday was my day to clean up the rest of the house since it had somewhat become a disaster between the dog apocalypse and me spending time being an Aunt. More mopping of what I had missed the day before. Rearranged a few pieces of furniture the dog had rearranged. But the biggest chore was a pile of dishes consisting of almost everything that belonged in my kitchen and some from Sweet One’s play kitchen. Once the dishwasher was loaded, I would hand wash a couple though the day as we went about all our other duties. Duties that included things like potty training, dog walking, picking up the clothes laying outside from Swag’s nudist lifestyle, and toy sorting.
Around 11am it was noticeable Swag wasn’t himself. Sure enough, his forehead was on fire. The thermometers said it was anywhere between 101 and 102.5. So we settled into my bed for a rest. I was tired anyway. The rest of the day was uneventful. Dinner – bath – books – bed.
When one of the kids are sick however, I sleep with them. Just in case they have some crazy spike in temperature during the night. It is my belief I can magically bring it down with mommy voodoo and Tylenol. So I settled in to sleep with Swag. Reaching over to touch him periodically to be certain he was not a charcoal briquette. All was well till around 2:30 when he woke up and wanted water. I am convinced my snoring woke him up, but he spent the next 3 hours eating and drinking whatever he could find. In his defense, he didn’t eat much dinner. Finally, at 5:30 am I was played out and he was exhausted but refused to go back to bed. I made/tricked Swag into my bed where I promptly woke up hubby. Whom, by the way, was holding Sweet One in her sleep. I asked him to make his son go to sleep. He said ok but needed a quick trip to the bathroom first. By the time he made it back Swag was fast asleep. We both just laughed.
Needless to say the day started early. None of us were well rested but no more fevers. It wouldn’t be the first day I started before 3 am. No biggee. I grabbed a few minutes to take a shower, brush my hair and teeth, and get dressed down to the shoes. Even if I wasn’t well rested yet in this week, I still didn’t want to look like a wreck in public. Little did I know how long the day was going to last.
We hustled through a cereal and milk breakfast. I knew we needed to get to the store early to buy a few sickness and cleaning supplies and I needed to go while the kids felt well enough to do it. While making my grocery list and calling my grandmother to see if she needed me to pick up anything, I noticed the fish tank aerator and light unplugged. It was running last night so it had to be my husband’s doing. Mental note – ask him later what the deal was. The grocery list was finished but I was still on the phone when Sweet One walks into the room. She seems pleased with herself. Fast-forward 60 seconds and it sounds like the fish tank’s water has exploded onto the floor. I run across the room to our little golden fish friend and see him at peace. I have a sinking feeling as I then run to the kids’ bathroom, and to my dismay/horror they could have filmed Jaws in the floor of that room, there was so much water (and other stuff that need not be named).
More back story – remember the potty training I mentioned earlier. Well Swag is really getting the hang of doin’ his business in a big boy kinda way. Every success leads to a celebration. We rap sing, dance, and march around. He was very proud of himself because he went a whole day without accidents and took himself to the potty without prompting. Isn’t he smart?
I guess Sweet One was pressured to up her game. So she decided it was time to fly her deuce solo that morning. I cannot remember how I ended that phone call with my grandmother as I yanked the lid of the toilet off but I am sure she was confused. I turned off the water and was grateful I had my shoes on. I began screaming in sheer panic for the kids to bring me every towel in the kingdom while also instructing them to not step in the “water”.
It – no joke – took every washcloth, hand towel, beach towel and bath towel we own to soak up this water. I dug towels out of our hampers when the linen closet was empty. Two loads of towels in a super capacity washing machine just to give you an idea. After getting, most of the water soaked and the toilet surrounded with a towel dam it was time unplug the toilet. I had to pull my pants up and take off the shoes to go get the super duty plunger back without distributing the mess further. I am sure my blood pressure was through the roof.
Why is my husband rarely home when these things go down?
I steeled myself above the filled to the rim toilet bowl and prepared myself mentally for the task at hand. My dad taught me how to do this, right? I have all the skills necessary to make this work, right?
Wrong. I plunged my little heart out. Splashing and sloshing till I thought I would hurl from the disgustingness. (If disgustingness is not a word, I henceforth claim it as a state of utter wretchedness and humilitation mixed with feces) It wasn’t budging. Images of commercials past where kids clogged toilets with total nonsense and curiosity. My darling children thought the whole fiasco was funny. They just casually stood watching me, giggling and laughing as I got closer and closer to losing my sanity. Our dialog went along like this:
WHAT DID YOU PUT IN THIS TOILET?
Her nonchalant answer – “I had a big poopoo, so it took a lot of paper. I used the whole thing”
“THE WHOLE ROLL OF PAPER?!?”
“Yeah. Silly Toilet. It wouldn’t go away even though I tried to make it”
Somehow she was totally cool with the desperate screams I was sending her way. The words “Silly toilet” made me realize I probably never mentioned NOT to use the whole roll of paper and NOT to flush a gazillion times. Lesson learned and please learn from my experience not your own. No need for all mankind to suffer as I have.
It wasn’t long before I was completely over cleaning this mess up and considering just selling the house, or burning it down so I wouldn’t have to clean it to sell it. I decided it best to just console myself. It was not a lodged Ninja Turtle and I did not need to go shoulder deep in regret to dig it out of the bowels of our home.
“Give up and let hubby do it” became my poster child and I focused on clearing the floor and my now defiled clothes and body. Second shower time.
10 am. I had spent one hour in the belly of the beast that is their bathroom.
After a quick lunch for the kids (I had no appetite, go figure) we make our way to the store for the now necessary Clorox products and Pedialite. It takes forever since the kids have used all their energy laughing at me fighting the toilet. And I really was not in a hurry to return to the scene of the crime myself.
Arrive back home, and THE DOG HAS LOST HIS MIND AGAIN! How could I not remember he can get out of the pen? The whole house disaster is in instant replay sans the chicken broth. The house smells like a diaper pail. And I had to carry the kids – no joke – to my bedroom, which was spared the mayhem, as to not force them to walk through the grime. I shove both of the now foul smelling dogs outside and spend the next 3 hours cleaning. At least I had what I needed. Time to center myself and check out mentally while my body does the work. You know it is a rough cleaning day when you have to wash your broom, dustpan, mop, trash cans, and laundry baskets.
By this time Hubby is home (early I might add, Hallelujah). It is raining, the second kid is sick with a low fever, and the dogs are still outside. He unclogs the toilet and I fix dinner. After feeding the brood, I truck it outside to bathe the two garbage pail dogs on the porch and send them promptly to their crates. Time to now scrub and disinfect the bathroom.
30 minutes later I emerge victorious and the children’s throne room is once more usable space. No for sale sign or matches needed. The house is finally back to its non-chaotic state.
Books – Bed with the kids and then I settle in to watch a redbox movie with hubby. The movie was ridiculously bad or maybe I had enough “silly” already, so I start working on a crochet scarf for Sweet One. Half way to conquering a new foundation chain the dog is whining.
In my mind he is certainly in need of emptying his bowels of something wretched he must have eaten earlier. So I take him outside, only he doesn’t want to be outside. I force him to go on a walk in the yard in the rain. But he continue the whimpers and no poops. At this point I have had all I can take, mostly because I have an inkling of a suspicion of what is wrong with him. Sure enough, in the light of the hallway his tail is swollen. Have you ever heard of Limber Tail. Well my dog has it. If he plays to hard in the rain, or cold, he injures his tail. It is quite painful. I am sure the bath on the porch did not help.
I sit on the floor in his pen and massage his butt and rub his belly. Why? Because I like him. Even though he destroyed my house. Twice. He is a great dog and I don’t want him in pain. But the biggest reason I sat up and rubbed his butt till 1 am is Sweet One loves him. And he loves her. I make a mental note to buy him a dog jacket or a horse blanket for the winter. I am asleep by 1:30
This is obviously not a typical day in a typical week. But it does go to show life is not for the faint of heart. You must be ready to draw your sword (or plunger) whenever it is called upon.
This is sort of a deep thought to follow a terribly long story about a toilet and trash can.
A lot is said about women being a SuperMom and whether or not they exist, and to what capacity. But I would like to offer a different perspective. What if being a Super Mom was just having the courage to step up in life? To lose our insecurities and fight our battles on stage for our children so they can learn from our wins and losses. Not trying to get them to places on time, but instead show them how to get to places on time. Not just teaching them manners but to show them how to speak their mind with kindness. To value themselves without valuing themselves above or below others. To see the positive in all situations and be grateful for the good and the difficult. To identify with their victories and not their hurdles. But most of all, just have the courage to face the days put before them. And have the courage to laugh at life when it plays a practical joke. Eventually they will figure it out if we keep showing them the path by example. I think being a Supermom is about fearlessly living out an example toward good for our kids. Not the vain concept of the absence of battles.
Parenting, to me now, has very little to do with how we look on the outside to others, but instead how we are on the inside with each other. The rest will work itself out.
So what would I say to the me from 10 years ago if I had the chance to go back –
Keep your mouth closed when plunging a toilet, buy cheep toilet paper, and more towels. The rest you will get figured out.