Everyone has bad moments, bad moods, and even bad days. I often tell my littles to “be your best self no matter how you feel”. This morning was a Morning of “Woah”. Woah as in an attempt to stop one ton animal before we are all overtaken by woe.
The morning began at 4:03 am. We are on day 7 of 4am wake-up calls, no naps, teething and exploding diapers. For the next two hours Firsborn mixed me up a crankiness cocktail in a high-pitched nasally tone of whining. Not long after he bust into The Running Man and moves straight into the running maniac move from Flashdance with super-human fury.
While I insisted, “This IS juice. This is the juice you asked for and handed me. The very same juice. WOAH!” he started jumping around like Tom Cruise on Oprah. I had to lock myself in the bathroom to get a grip. It was 4:34 and my patience was GONE. I looked in the mirror at the Crypt Keeper.
Woah now. I heard hands banging on the door and desperate cries of “MOM! (Choke. Sob.) Moooooom!”
Sanity has basically packed its bags, cashed out and sent no forwarding address. Come back, Sanity. I love you. I need you. I didn’t mean to let raising a 2 and 1 year old boy get between us.
At 6:45 when I glanced out of the windows by the front door and discovered daylight had finally broken, I also noticed the neighbor’s trash at the curb. Drat. Double drat. When I stood on the chilly front porch yesterday and slightly cocked my head to the left as if I was pondering the greater mysteries of the universe and trying to remember what I came outside for, it wasn’t just to plug in the Christmas lights.
The trash truck usually pulls up at 7:15 here. I looked down to survey the wreckage. Baggy plaid Aggie pajama pants. An old black sweatshirt borrowed from my husband’s college days. Bare feet. No visible smears of human liquids or returned food. Unfortunately, all of my semi-presentable yoga and track pants where in the laundry cycle and would require extra time and effort to retrieve. I was wearing my glasses, so my vision provided me with the 10% blind spots I needed to decide it was acceptable to break my ‘never wear pajamas outdoors under any circumstances other than labor, home invasion or a pajama-themed party’ and to make a run for it.
As I hustled to pull the large green monster of a trash can and the petite blue recycling cans to the curb, I realized I wasn’t alone. A very good-looking couple in their mid-80s stood on the sidewalk mere feet from my driveway with a tiny dog on a black retractable leash. They stopped and gazed at me as if trying to discern a woman in the shapes of a Picasso painting.I smiled weakly. “Well, you always hope no one will see you as you pull trash to the curb in your pajamas but here you are.” The handsome gentleman looked a bit puzzled and replied very logically, “Everyone’s got to do it.” God bless him. “True, but not everyone does it looking frightful after being up with a 2 year old since 4 am,” I replied, desperately trying to excuse my appearance. The woman smiled back from under her pink ear muff headband, “I was up at 4 am too!”
Was this the motherhood type of bonding? Was her dog up at 4? Did she, like my Firstborn, enjoy having a two hour lead-time to sunrise? The man once again shrugged and pragmatically answered, “I didn’t know there was a required dress codefor taking out the trash.”
Men. I love them. He might as well have said, “Who CARES? My dog is about to lay down some brown in broad daylight at which point I will pick it up with a newspaper wrapper in all my glory and dignity. We are humans and this is what we do.”
With that done I re-entered the house, changed a diaper and then felt a sudden draft from the back of the house. I dashed to the back room and saw an unlatched screen door. I had forgotten to double lock in my trash-dash.
My child was missing.
I ran throughout the house screaming his name and then ran barefoot and in my awful pajama ensemble outside to the backyard. Forget not being seen- I was out to find my kid. The first three of his favorite spots in the backyard were vacant. He almost never wanders out of our yard, which guaranteed that today he must have. Our fenced yard has an opening that he can get through, and clearly he had. I cried out again and saw something move. Across the open fence of the neighbor’s yard I saw two bare feet from under the shrubbery. Despite constant warnings not to go around the far side of our neighbor’s house, he had made a break for it and was inspecting her lawn ornaments. He froze, pretending to be a new yard gnome.
I flew to retrieve him and carried him back to the house while scanning the ground for discarded socks, thankful that he had not gone into the street or been found by the police or much worse. Our street is usually very quiet in the mornings, which is why being seen taking out the trash was so crushing. I know this is a regular part of raising children, so please don’t mentally start listing the things I did wrong in this situation. Again, I claim days with 4 hours of sleep with two little people who are 65-100% dependent upon me for EVERY need they have. The milk is in the fridge and not the pantry, the stove isn’t on, all basic chores are done and everyone is fed and bathed.
By 9:00 we had been up for 5 hours, heard crying for nearly all of it, risked kidnapping or worse and managed to avoid the police. Woah. Now after physical therapy, snacks and digging things out of the garage, both boys are miraculously sleeping. I felt a bit discouraged not only for what wasn’t accomplished today, but because physical therapy once more demonstrated a plateau in Secondborn’s progress. He had a few bursts of promising momentum and then totally stalled out when the teeth popped in. It is understandable, but when others ask if he is sitting or crawling when he had just been on the cusp and now he won’t—well, apparently he needed to focus on one thing at a time. Secondborn said, “Woah”. Maybe that is best today.
Rather than run around trying to accomplish all that was hijacked this morning, I decided to take a minute to see how far we’ve come. Last Christmas he was struggling to eat, gain weight, and have appropriate amounts of blood drawn almost daily for a slew of tests. Firstborn’s progress stalled out. Our lives were turned upside down.
I also saw old records of encouragement from dozens of friends and family members. The countless “I’m here”, “You can do this” and “You are inspiring me” messages that are still electronically stored remind me that not all the “woah”s are bad. That encouragement has turned woe into a really great woah.
Thanks, Y’all. When I look back on my kids and my support system, I have to smile and declare you to be woah-worthy.