I was taught an important lesson at exactly 1:12am Sunday morning.
When your seven year old child tells you her tummy hurts and insists over and over that’s it’s not because she has to ‘poo’. A smart parent listens.
Yesterday was a very long day trying to make sure each of my three girls had their allotted ‘mommy-attention-time’. The fact that my oldest daughter is so much older than the other two, makes this task a little more difficult than one would think, because her needs are so incredibly different from the others.
My oldest, Jenna, has her driver’s test next month, so it was rather imperative that she practice before then. Now I’m not going to get into the whole ‘leaving things until the last minute’ argument that has been ongoing here for the past…forever…but let’s just say my sweet darling girl is a typical teenager in that respect.
We borrowed my mom’s car to do this ‘practicing’ because just the thought of parallel parking in the family minivan was enough to send her into spasms of terror.
So that was why, bright and early (after lunch) on Saturday, we were all crowded into my mom’s small car.
One does not truly appreciate the luxury and comfort afforded by a minivan until they are forced to wrestle two carseats into what feels like a matchbox…in -40 degree weather.
Have you ever had to touch metal for any length of time in that kind of coldness…say…to attach an obstinate carseat to a vehicle by means of those stupid little metal hookie-things hidden deeply in the crease where the seat back attaches to the seat of the vehicle?
Let’s just say, if my mother’s car could talk…it would have an entirely new vocabulary now.
Once I was finished teaching my mom’s car a few choice words, I went back in for the children who were at this point, melting in their snowsuits inside the house and lying on the floor for dramatic effect.
Dragging them by the feet, I managed to wrangle them into their carseats amid complaints of hunger, thirst, being too hot, too cold, and too bored.
Closing the car door, I walked around to the passenger side while my teenager looked at me with a raised eyebrow and an amused grin. I think she was waiting for me to ‘whip out my accent’.
Those of you who’ve read my earlier blog posts know precisely how dangerous this ‘whipping out of the accent’ is.
Keeping my accent safely at bay, I stood outside the passenger door and took a huge, deep, calming breath. I ended that breath with a painful hacking cough as the ridiculously cold air froze my lungs instantaneously.
Calmness NOT achieved!!!
I could hear muffled giggling from my teenager as I got in, and gave her a glare that only succeeded in making her laugh even more.
The entire four
year hour driving excursion was filled to the brim with non-stop complaints and questions from the munchkins, and instructions for Jenna. The only saving grace was that it was topped off nicely with two trips to Tim’s for some much needed coffee and the peace and quiet only a mouthful of donuts could achieve.
Oh how I love Timmie’s!
Our stop at the YMCA at the end of ‘driving lessons’, was meant to give the little ones some time to burn off some energy, but did nothing of the sort.
They both sat on me, refusing to play. One complained of a stomach ache…but refused to try to ‘poo’, and the other was too shy to play without her sister.
I hung my head in defeat, packed them back into their snowsuits, and walked out of the YMCA no more than ten minutes after we had arrived there.
The rest of the evening did not go any better as my seven year old kept complaining of a stomach ache…yet refused to entertain the idea that it might possibly have anything to do with having to ‘poo’, and the four year old whined and cried every few minutes or so, saying her head hurt.
I sighed, gave them both Advil, and read them an early bedtime story.
The one happy moment finally came when they both went to bed without any complaints a full 45 minutes before their actual bedtime because they were so tired. 45 MINUTES!!!
As a parent, if I could give you just one piece of advice, it would be…celebrate the little things, no matter how small.
Thinking the ‘fun’ of the day was finally at an end, I happily spent a blissfully quiet six hours alone in bed working on my manuscript…until I heard retching from the upstairs bathroom.
I ran upstairs to find my seven year old bent over the toilet, puke everywhere.
I’m not quite sure how she completely missed the toilet…but it was a sight to behold.
I absolutely love my darling girls, but I have to admit that my very first thought upon seeing her leaning over the toilet in a bedraggled, teary eyed state was, ‘God I hope she didn’t get any on the carpet.’
You’ll be happy to know though, that the thought only lasted a split second. The appropriate ‘Oh my poor baby is sick’ thought came milliseconds after it. I swear!
Apparently the top bunk is not a good place to be when you need to get to the bathroom in a hurry.
My poor, sweet baby girl looked up at me with tears in her eyes and uttered nine simple words that made me feel like complete shit.
“I told you I didn’t need to poo mommy.”