We're all sick, to varying degrees. Louise is also teething which means we haven't been sleeping at night, and that she won't go down for a nap easily. Between her stuffy nose and painful gums, she's got plenty to wake up over and she's not a very fun baby to be around, right now.
Our morning was getting out from under me before I had even gotten a chance to shower or pick out clothing, so I decided that Scout, Louise and I would take a quick bath together, killing three birds and everything. We climbed, sniffling and coughing and whining, into the warm tub water and everybody's mood was improved. Louisey was downright agreeable, even. She was splashing and laughing we were all having a nice time, getting clean.
Until a familiar red faced expression crossed her face, and before we knew it, there was a terrible baby poop in the water and I was crawling backward up the wall, trying to escape and holding 20 pounds of slippery baby fat in my extended arms. I panicked and yelled, "Everybody out! Everybody out!" and Scouty screamed like she was being attacked, and we all ended up taking our own showers, anyway.
We're sick and so we're sensitive, and I told Scouty, "No! Don't peel that curling edge of wallpaper!" She collapsed instantly, and started to sob like she'd lost her only friend and I held her and rocked her, both of us wrapped in our damp towels. After she was finished, she sat up and looked at me and said, "Oops, I'm sorry. I got boogers in your hair."
"It's okay," I told her, and it really was.
Louisey, who had basically clawed out my eyes when I suggested a nap earlier, fell asleep in the car just as we were pulling into the parking lot of school, while I was fielding a call from Kurt. He told me that, despite the fact that we paid 700$ to replace the radiator in my car this week, he was making an appointment for his car to be looked at because the check engine light came on this morning on his way to work.
I pulled in to the parking lot and had to wake Louise, and she totally lost it, bawling and squiggling around in my arms, both of her socks flying in opposite directions where I resolved to leave them as casualties. I was also holding the hand of my 3 year old, her lunch box and her coat, which she wouldn't wear because it was touching her neck too much. Louise shimmied herself into a position where I was basically hefting her like a football, clinging to her like a mama orangutan, her chubby body turned sideways over my hip, where she was kicking and bawling out like a little demon.
Did I mention that I'm sick and my head was pounding, and this morning I accidentally took three stool softeners when I thought I was taking ibuprofen and those hadn't kicked in yet, but at least I had something to look forward to, later?
Just then, something hit me. A divine and all consuming No. This is actually impossible, what I'm doing. There is no way one human woman could be expected to put up with this cold rainy weather, and this teething child, a stuffy head and sore throat and this much weight on my back. I am operating right now only under a flimsy theory of borrowed energy. There is no way I am actually capable of carrying out this day. As a matter of fact, I simply cannot go on for another second of my life, period.
My only option was to place my children gently into the mud outside of the school building, kiss them sweetly on their perfect cheeks and then drive like hell towards Mexico.
...But I didn't do that.
It's easy to love my kids when they're perfect.
Weirdly, it's also easy to love them when I'm coming apart.
I struggled open the school door and Scouty's teacher was standing in the foyer, talking to another woman. She spotted us, rattling and tumbling and falling apart at the seams. She said, "Come here, Scouty. I'll take you down to the classroom," which saved me from having to navigate the stairs in the state we were in. She removed the coat and lunch box from my hands and I thanked her a little too profusely.
I watched my girl walking away from me, holding somebody else's hand. I called out, "I love you, pumpkin!" and she ignored me, which she always does when I'm embarrassing her by calling her pumpkin or little bug or peach pie at school... and I remembered suddenly and so clearly what it felt like when it was just the two of us. Just my red headed baby and me, passing the afternoons together. I remember how that felt hard, sometimes, too... and now I see that it wasn't. It was just something that happened for a little while, and I missed her so intensely that I almost chased her down to tackle her and kiss her and hug her in the hallway and wouldn't that be embarrassing, so I didn't do that.
It occurred to me that, for the next three and a half hours, it would be just me and Louise, a mommy and a baby in love, just like Scouty and I used to be. And miraculously, the .4 seconds of sleep that Louisey got in the car seemed to have done her some good because she settled onto my hip and twirled my hair around her fingers and tongue, saying, Mumumumumum in her cute, tiny baby voice.
We got a coffee together and went home and had lunch. I even made banana ice cream in the blender and every time she took a bite, she shivered exaggeratedly and her eyes got so big that she looked like a little fat ladybug staring at me. It was so cozy and sweet that I even forgot about all the awful things that happened this morning.
Except for the accidental stool softeners. Those, I'm sure I'll be remembering all day, at least.
Louisey is currently napping on the chair next to me, so this seemed like a perfect time to come up with my list of Thursday's Little Things for this week.
Thursday's Little Things
Go to A Serenade for Solitude for inspiration and to link your own list of little things.
My list for this week of little things that touched me:
-Spending the night alone in a hotel, which as we've already discussed, was the best thing that's ever happened to anybody.
-The baby was crying and Scouty was saying, "Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom!" at the dinner table, so I told Kurt to just look right at me and pretend that the rest of the world didn't exist, for a moment. I looked at him and pretended that we were having a leisurely bite at an outdoor cafe or something, and he was so handsome and stylish and weirdly alluring, for a moment. It was like a 3 second date that we got to take in our minds, and it gave me hope about the return of my libido, someday, when there's nobody crying and throwing strained peas, and there's nobody saying, "Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom!" at the top of their lungs.
-We went to our parent-teacher conference, and Scouty's teachers said such wonderful things about her, like that she was kind and inclusive, she always fought for everybody's right to a turn and that she was a thoughtful friend to everybody. I walked out of there feeling like all of the mistakes I had ever made, ever, in my whole life were canceled out by how wonderful and amazing my girl is.
-I bought a hilariously horrible "Chicken Soup for the Soul" board game at the thrift store and made Kurt play it with me instead of watching TV, one night. (Who are these people who buy into things like Chicken Soup for the Soul? It's so indicative of everything that's wrong with the world.) I learned that he would never wear white pants and that, as a kid, he wasn't good at baseball in front of people, but that he was a genius at baseball in his backyard alone.
-I bought a cookbook with 750 muffin recipes.
-Scout, Louise and I went to The Strip District in the morning before school and had soda sweetened with stevia and yellow plums.
-My kale seedlings are growing a new set of leaves.
What are YOUR little things, this week?