…unless you have “Pulitzer prize winner” on your resume.
Prologue (you need one of those for a Pulitzer, right?):
This was the kind of morning that I look back on and laugh—even better, in the midst of the ess aitch eye tee (and I use that phonetically provided word figuratively AND literally), I found myself laughing as I knew I was living out a mediocre pilot for a soon to be canceled CBS “dramady.”
And I’ve convinced myself I’ve gone through this so that all you other mothers out there can feel better about yourselves.
But do know that even though I play on JV for team Protestant (can I get an shout out for the book of common prayer, Episcopalians?), mornings like these I do have moments where I want a good cleansing confession—it’s tough not always being the mom you intend to be.
Even at 6:15am.
Eric had to leave the house by 6:15am, so I knew it was “single parent morning.” Mind you, on the heels of my “single parent night.” In the AM, I’ve got some strict deadlines I cannot mess with as easily as the nighttime—childcare drop off, that elusive job I hold in the office from 8am-4pm each day, and this particular morning I had some blood work I needed to get done before going into work.
Of all mornings.
Of course, I knew the chances of my children sleeping past the time Eric left was about 70/30. I have resigned myself to the fact that no matter what, my children will get up before 7am. Forever. It’s just who they are…and the good thing is that I can expect it every day, and we make it work to our advantage. But sometimes, wake-ups are dreamingly closer to 7am, and I was just praying with all my soul it would be one of those days…
Come 6:07am, Miles was asking for a blanket to be put back on him—which really means he is up for the day and 5 minutes after you re-cover him and his Tot clock turns green, he is screaming to get up.
And then Felix started crying.
I’m going to be frank with you. In addition to the (anticipated) early risings, I readily admit that the upon waking, my boys act like teenage girls during their periods—super crabby and emotional for no reason. And I can throw that jab around--I was one. We had some spells (read: maybe 10 mornings cumulatively) of the boys getting up and “playing” in their beds/cribs, but for the most part, it is like full on drama. Felix now demands his entire menagerie of stuffed animals be carried along with you to the kitchen, or he throws his weight around in your arms and you get a paddle foot in the gut. Grease that kid up, and I’ve got a state fair game! I *have* to get a picture because it is hilarious—and an utterly impossible feat.
Luckily, I had their breakfasts all set the night before so it was really just a matter of calming the emotional storms enough to shove that first spoonful of oatmeal into their mouths. They respond well to food. See? Totally teenage girls.
So far—this was a predictable trajectory. And in all my multitasking wisdom, I decided to host a breakfast picnic party in my bedroom. Floor oatmeal. Felix already eats scraps off the floor, why not make it official? And without Eric, this might give me a fighting chance of applying symmetrical make up and blow drying my hair.
I set up some beach towels, undressed them (who wants to bother with bibs?), set out their breakfasts, plopped 'em down, and let the grain inhalation commence. The towels, covered in missed oatmeal bites, were easy to clean up, and I gave both boys wash cloth wipe downs.
Captain cocky over here thought it a good idea to throw another party after the successful picnic—a potty party—in our bedroom. (Insert my husband, if he ever reads my blog, cringing.)
People, this is what we call “tactical toddler containment”.
Felix pooped, which Miles announced with a “it SMELLS in here! Felix pooped. He’s teaching me how to poop.” Miles peed, and I thought we were good to go.
Potties were disinfected and returned to the kids’ bathroom, Miles donned underwear, Felix was wrangled into a diaper, it was 6:45, and we were on schedule for a 7:30 departure.
Morning tragedy: 0
Miles headed out to the family room to play with his trains while I continued drying my hair. Felix was shuttling all of our house’s stuffed animals into piles and body slamming them.
From my upside down hair blowing I saw the 2nd half of a naked boy who screamed into my hair:
Shoot. It’s off.
I flipped my head over and I had a stare down with my 1 1/2 year old--it was like that moment you are in shock, fear, confusion, and just freeze. If only I could have videotaped it: it was like a Western gun draw—him with his penis, me with the hair dryer.
He looked down at his weaponry, and I knew I was gonna be in the loser's circle. I’ve caught his pee before thrusting an easily available portable potty under his cresting stream, but both potties were in the other bathroom drying from my earlier cleaning. I had nothing to catch the pee but my hand. I quickly acted as a human jock strap, but let’s be honest—skin isn’t really absorptive, and my palm holds about 3 drops of liquid.
It was just an instinct. You know, like when a hero throws herself in front of someone else to take a bullet, or leap onto tracks to save a child from an oncoming train.
Yeah, I’m calling myself a hero.
So now what? I had a saturated hand, a non-commissioned urine Jackson Pollack on my rug, and a naked toddler running around the house. As I was washing my hands and about to spray our rug with Bac-Out, I heard Miles SCREAMING for me:
“Mom! I need help! I pooped in my underwear!”
I quickly sprayed the rug, slapped another diaper on Felix, and headed over to Miles who was planted in his room, assuming the downward dog position.
Problem here—we taught him downward dog for AFTER we remove any poopy underwear or pull-up so we can wipe him, but he was already in position and NOT moving. I told him to stand up, but he refused. He kept freaking out that the poop was getting on his leg. No matter how much I told him that it would get on his leg more if he didn’t stand up, the farther apart he spread his legs—stretching the undies so the leg holes were tighter and tighter and almost impossible to pull down. I had to pry one leg up at a time, distributing the contents all over. I shoved wipes on the sides to avoid the dreaded plop on the rug. Even worse than getting poop on his leg, poop was shoved into my nails and covered an area where I think I have an infected hang nail. Just this past month I was paying homage to my “X” chromosome and grew out my nails. So this was a full on manure-acure on my right 3 fingers. And don’t let me fail to mention that we also had a cheerleader to my left pointing out and screaming “pee nee, pee nee!” throughout the ordeal. After I managed to get the undies off, I rushed to the toilet, dropped them into the toilet bowl, and ran back to wipe down Miles.
(And you ask—you really did cloth diapers at one point? You sound like you’ve never dealt with poop! I dunno—there is something about older toddler poop that makes it harder to manage. I think it has more parts per million of E.coli or something. And after 2, I think it just smells worse.)
As I was wiping Miles down, I realized my cheerleader had disappeared. And it was quiet. That is never a good sign.
I ran back into the bathroom, and Felix was stirring the poopy undie filled toilet water with Eric’s toothbrush. (Insert my husband, if he ever reads this blog, throwing up in his mouth a little.)
And his diaper was back off.
PLEASE tell me you are laughing right now. Because this is the point I actually started laughing out loud. And so did Felix. Kid’s got a sense of humor at 1 ½.
(Not sure why, but upon seeing Felix, I had the vision of Charlie Bucket from Willy Wonka stirring that pot of hot laundry. Anyone??)
I washed my hands and nails, put the toothbrush in the dishwasher, and got out some new dish washing gloves. I converted them into industrial hazmat equipment by writing “POOP” on each arm. I rinsed out the soiled underwear, doused it in Bac-Out, and ran it to the laundry. I dug around to see if we actually still had bleach in our house, knowing that this time, I really wanted a more caustic solution than baking soda and vinegar. I used a diluted bleach bath to dunk the gloves in. They are now holding residence above my toilet in the bathroom for future poop/underwear incidents.
I somehow got the boys dressed and was putting their lunches into their backpacks when I called for them to go find their shoes. Miles was ignoring me while playing with his trains, and Felix was, again, nowhere to be found. When I did find him, he had gotten into my stash of feminine “sticks” as he called them, and had strewn them all around the floor—except for the ones he was testing as chew toys.
NOW are you laughing? (At least not calling DCFS…)
Even better, among the strewn “sticks” was massive amounts of hair on the floor. (Insert my husband, if he ever reads this blog, flushing with embarrassment.) Two days before Eric had shaved his beard--see, he captures his facial hair in a towel that gets dumped into our compost pile. But sometimes (read: all the time), he leaves a waded up towel by our laundry or the back door until he gets time to put it outside. I.do.not.touch.it. It’s like the you break it, you buy it rule. You shave it, you compost it. Beard hair on the face isn’t my favorite, but once it leaves the body, it grosses me out even more. Somehow, the towel had been moved (I dare say that I think before my mom left, she moved it into the laundry bin when she kindly did a last load before she left, and the hair fell out on the ground.) Well, the little unnoticed pile was now very noticeable and EVERYWHERE. I had just enough time to put the 8,000 tampons back in their bag, and for now, I have a hair floor in the bathroom. First poop soup in the toilet, and now a hair floor.
I told you—you can’t make this stuff up.
Miles was still playing in the room with the trains ignoring the oven timer beeping indicating train time was over. I was just about at the end of my patience. I dug through my old, dusty, library of mental clippings from the 8,011 parenting books I read over the past 3 years, and selectively tried to implement some “love and logic”. Unfortunately, I think it was flawed. I had just dealt with a human jock strap, poop soup, and a tampon adorned hair floor—you can’t expect much from me. I said,
“Miles, if you don’t respect your mother and your toys and go get your shoes on, I am giving your trains away to a boy who listens to his mom.”
(Feeling better about yourselves, moms? Yup. I said that.)
Instead of freaking out, Miles asks:
“Who is he? What is his name?”
Really? That’s not the response I wanted—you need to fuss and moan and then reluctantly go put your shoes on for fear of losing your toys. I mean, you pooped in your underwear and gave me probable MRSA in my hand, and that’s your response?
So I lie:
“His name is Zack.”
“Mommy, where does he live?”
Again, not the response I was hoping for.
“He lives down the street.”
We go on with this line of questioning about the fictional boy who is the recipient of his toys for a few minutes before I just pick the kid up, and bring him to the front door—kicking and screaming.
Somehow, both boys got shoes on, got to school, and I barely made my 8:45am doctor’s appointment.
Ah, parenthood…and I still grapple with the idea of having another.
Whenever I have one of those mornings and am away from the situation for no more than an hour or so, I always feel like telling anyone who will listen—you have NO idea what I just went through. I walked into the OB office and one nurse was commenting to the receptionist that her son was complaining already about getting up to go to school. I wanted to say—I have a story for you—oh, and can I take an extra cleansing pack from the restroom? I think I have MRSA on my hand.
As I sat in the lab area waiting to get blood drawn, I noted I had oatmeal caked on my leggings in between my thighs—and I had 1 earring in. I guess my parties weren’t as successful as I had hoped. And then the person taking my blood, who must have been a new student or something, kept missing what I think to be pretty awesome veins. After she jabbed me on both arms multiple times, she had to call in reinforcements. While waiting, she asked me how far along I thought I might be. I said negative 8 weeks. Ouch. We just sat there in awkward silence-me wondering why she was wearing Tinkerbell scrubs in an OB office. Pediatrics, I understand, but infantile attire wasn’t working for me—maybe for happily pregnant women it makes sense, but for those of us currently unhappily becoming “un” pregnant, it wasn’t helping. (Don’t they have scrubs with cartoon ovaries or images of speculums or something?) After finally getting a successful draw, I got up to leave, and Tinkerbell said, “I think you have something on your tights.”
Lady, you have no idea.