Yesterday I was a walking advertisement for real motherhood. It was a day with the highest of highs (a loving conversation with Big Brother) and the lowest of lows (throwing the kids in the van to rush Little Brother to the ER for stitches).
We started the day with an impromptu trip to Sea World (points for me). And who needs a nap after a day at a theme park? Apparently, not my boys. After about 45 minutes of screaming and crying from their respective rooms when we got home, I relented and let the Cat in the Hat babysit my kids during what should have been their nap time.
I don’t know if you’ve spent much time with kids who don’t nap, but let’s just say they don’t walk very well and they cry harder than ever. They will be standing upright, perfectly fine and somehow tip right into the floor and the ensuing screaming is deafening. And with two kids, it happens one right after the other.
At one point, Big Brother (BB) fell on the floor screaming about his foot. I didn’t see it happen and I didn’t see anything near him he could have tripped over. But from what I could decipher through the wailing, his foot hurt. I gave him a hug and he calmed down.
Literally one minute later, LB started for the piano at the fastest speed his newly walking legs could muster. He stepped on the shield lying on the floor, flew through a few inches of air and hit the piano bench with his face. Then he toppled over and hit his head on the hard-wood floor.
I picked him up expecting to be comforting a bumped head when I saw blood spewing from his mouth and a gash the width of my pinky nail in the curve of his bottom lip. We were all in our home uniforms – me in somewhat dirty yoga pants and a tank top and the boys in a t-shirt and no pants.
I calmly told BB to go put on his shorts and that we had to leave. I frantically called the pediatrician to find out if I should take him to their office, urgent care or the ER.
This has been one of my looming fears. What do I do when the boys need stitches? Or break a bone? Or get knocked unconscious from some kind of gymnastics experiment involving an assortment of furniture? Do I rush to the pediatrician? Call an ambulance? Lock them in their car seats and hope everyone stays alive for the trip to the hospital?
Apparently, my pediatrician doesn’t do stitches on lips. The nurse suggested I drive downtown to Arnold Palmer Hospital. By the way, there is a new ER that has opened 8 minutes from my house. So, now I get to question why I can’t just go to the ER around the corner since driving downtown right at rush hour with a one and two-year-old screaming and spewing blood the whole way isn’t exactly ideal. Luckily, she suggested the after-hours pediatrician a few minutes away and off we went.
Well, except Big Brother still wasn’t wearing pants and was walking at the speed of molasses. Cue shameful yelling and my lowest of low moments. Initially I didn’t want to alarm him, but now I just needed him to move.
We are all finally in the van and now LB has stopped crying. I call Ty to tell him the situation and he forces me off my panicked ledge and convinces me the gash is really just a cut and since LB is totally calm at this point, I decide to take his advice and buy some New Skin. BB cheerfully informs me his foot is feeling better. I’m confused until he reminds me it was hurting and that’s why he was walking so slow at home. Well, now I feel like a jerk.
So with no makeup, a baby with no pants and my cheerful two-year-old, we head in to Target. Of course, I have to pee. Bad. There’s nothing quite like maneuvering that Cadillac of a cart into the handicapped bathroom when you have to pee.
Ok, now I am finally flying through my shiny place of things I can’t buy hoping no one notices my son’s bloody chin or the blood rag I’m clutching.
Did I not mention my blood rag? Yeah, I managed to grab a clean rag and wet it before leaving so I would have something a little softer than a paper towel to clean up the blood from my son’s face.
I’m praying to God I don’t meet anyone from high school. I grew up here, and I manage to see someone from high school every time I’m sick or haven’t done my hair, or am carting a bloody child through the store. Fortunately, God answered my prayer and this walk of shame will only be known here on the internet where we are among friends.
Now, I don’t know if you’ve been to Target recently, but they’ve redesigned the layout of my neighborhood store to properly display their sparkly Christmas items. Part of their display includes snow globes and now my boys request to see the snow globes every time we come and this trip was no exception.
But I don’t have time for snow globes. My son is bleeding, I look like a crazy person and I need to quickly get to my aisle and out of there before I see someone judge me.
I get to the first aid aisle and am trying to find the best deal on band-aids (naturally, we’re all out of those too) while BB is trying to convince me to buy some Captain America band-aids and LB is trying to stand up in the cart. This kid is a rascal. The buckles are a play toy that he can easily escape from.
Oh, and he doesn’t just want to stand up, he is now throwing his leg over the handle and lunging at me. Good, I didn’t have enough to do.
Yes, we can buy the Captain America band-aids (I’m a sucker for Marvel)…wait, no. They are twice as much for 10 less band-aids than the Target brand. No, I can’t justify this. I haven’t lost all of my senses yet.
Hmm, maybe I should buy some of those butterfly band-aids too. I don’t really know what we’ll need to set this wound. I know they’re expensive…but he’s bleeding!
Where’s my blood rag? I’m not holding it. Oh my goodness, I left it in the bathroom! Eeeewwww!!!
Oh, it’s there on the floor. Awesome. Gross. Moving on.
Ok, I have Target band-aids, butterfly band-aids and the New Skin.
So far, no-nap-Thursday is costing me a bundle.
And we are all out of shampoo. The boys make another plea for the snow globes and since no one has seemed to notice my pantless and bleeding one-year-old yet, I decided to make a stop.
I love this moment. My two boys can be loud, rowdy and are always curious. But I turn over the snow globe and they are transfixed. It’s my happy moment. This is a high.
You know, I really don’t need these butterfly band-aids, let me just stuff these here between the snow globes.
Ok, where is the Target shampoo? Oh, LB wants out of the cart again, cool, I didn’t carry him enough today at Sea World anyway (not).
Finally we are ready to check out. I start unloading when I realize one of my precious bundles of love has also decided we didn’t need the New Skin (you know, the one thing we came here for?) and has dropped it somewhere along the way.
Now, I’m that crazy mom who can’t get her stuff together to even leave the store. BB looks up at me grinning to confess he was the one to drop it. How can I be mad at that face? Life is a game to him.
You know those babies who are clean, and bright-eyed and giggle at the right moments and don’t cry? They exist, I’ve seen them. Those babies are the tipping point for couples deciding if they should have kids.
Yesterday, I was the antithesis of those babies. I was a wrinkled, wiry-haired, poorly dressed mom with a bleeding, pantless baby. When I watched BB crawl into his carseat, I also learned my two-year-old had his pants on backward.
But it wasn’t a bad day. It was an eventful day.
We had a nice day at Sea World, the kids saw fish and ocean life they’ve never seen before. It was one of the first times I think LB connected with what he was seeing. Beluga whales, penguins, baby dolphins, walruses, sea horses and other wildlife danced before them leaving them smiling. They also whined, LB pooped at an inconvenient moment, BB realized he needed to pee at another inconvenient moment and did I mention that neither of them napped?
But on the way home from our bloody Target adventure, BB had the nicest conversation with me.
BB: Mommy, you are pretty.
Me: (melting) Oh, thank you so much! I love you!
BB: I didn’t say I love you, I said you are pretty.
Me: (laughing) I know, thank you! You are very handsome.
BB: I will say ‘you are pretty’ and you will say ‘you are good’.
BB: You are pretty.
Me: You are very good.
BB: You are very good mommy! You are very pretty and very good and I love you!
In his own way, my son told me the words he needs to hear. “I’m proud of you”, “I love you” and “You’re awesome” are all very good things to say and I’m sure he needs to hear them. But I can understand why he needs to hear that I think he is good as well.
This was the highest of highs. All is redeemed and I made it through another day.