here comes that crystal clear moment in every Momma’s life when reality wallops her.
No matter how much she cherishes the fruit of her womb, no matter how much she nurtures and cozens them, no matter how many thousands of lullabies she chirps off-key or allergen-free cupcakes she bakes, no matter how much she schleps, chauffeurs, buys, sews, glues, reheats or secretly tosses, there will still come that fraught moment when her suckiness is inescapable.
Last night was that moment for me. Correction: last night was the latest such moment.
My first mistake was letting Minitaur head toward the downstairs bathroom while I went upstairs with his fussy sister. This was after dinner, and he was obviously going to perform his evening potty, even if he insisted he only had to pee.
I’m nursing, and listening. He calls out that he needs his shirt changed, meaning he got a few drops of pee on it. I call out that I’ll put him in his jammies whenever he’s finished. He has to poop, he yells. No shit, I think to myself.
A minute later, I hear a lot of yelling and jumping and thumping. He’s obviously climbed on the counter in his stockinged feet and is in some imaginary land or distant planet and having a grand ol’ time. I can picture him holding his pipi, staring at himself in the mirror, jumping and leaping and wiggling and shouting.
Um, earth to Momma: this was your cue to go downstairs, hoist him off the counter with a stern lecture about his safety, wipe his bottom, pull up his pants, wash his widdle fingees and drag him, no doubt mid-tantrum, off to bed.
Instead, I just listened, while the baby sucked away.
The timbre of his shouting changed. It was no longer fun.
I yanked my nipple out of Milkula’s mouth (ouch) and raced downstairs, left boob flopping out of my bra, in time for Minitaur to stagger into my arms, screaming. He had his hands over his mouth, and blood was streaming through his fingers.
I somehow managed to peer inside, fearful he’d lost some teeth. Nope, but there was one nasty gash on his lower lip, and blood pooling inside his mouth, dribbling down his chin, streaking arms and legs and dotting the floor.
I propped his nekkid bottom on the kitchen counter and fetched paper towel, ice and a plastic baggie. I somehow assembled an ice pack from all that while issuing soothing words and hugs. He was inconsolable.
Upstairs, the baby noticed my prolonged absence and started howling.
I called Plosh, who was stuck in traffic somewhere around Pasadena, a half hour’s drive on a good day. Last night obviously wasn’t a good day. I told him Minitaur might need stitches and he told me to go to Urgent Care on my own.
Yeah, right. I can manage two screaming kids, one of them half-naked, in a waiting room on my own.
And I can fly too.
I decided to wait and see if the wound coagulated on its own, which it did, about the same time Minitaur fell asleep atop my bed, his little body shuddering with sobs even as he fought to keep his eyes open. By then, he had pajama bottoms on, at least, and he still clutched the ice pack (now wrapped in a burpy cloth) to his swollen lip.
The baby decided that once a boob was in her mouth again, Paradise had been regained and she could playfully whack her unconscious brother in the head a few times and pull his hair.
Plosh finally made it home, exhausted, in time for our son to wake up whimpering. The two watched some TV and then Plosh, dear, competent soul that he is, spent the night curled up in Minitaur’s bed with him. They’re still there, all snuggly and sweet, as I write this.
I was left alone to ponder my glaring unreadiness for parenting. And that is where I’m stuck now, trying to decide whether I should just hide for a few years or turn myself in.
You know all those people who sneer that you ought to have a license to parent? I hate those people. I always think they’re talking about me.
They are, aren’t they?