Motherhood. Can anything truly prepare you for it?
Today I participated in a track meet. However, I did not enter the race of my own free will. It was the children….isn’t it always the children?
I was standing at the stove finishing our very healthy dinner of pancakes, sausage, and hash browns when I heard the high-pitched screeching that I knew was coming from my 3-year-old. That child is chubby, adorable, and so very loud.
She came tearing down the stairs to find me which inevitably started the stampede. All the other kids came trailing behind her, stomping down the stairs, all the while screaming that they were not to blame.
I finally grabbed the little munchkin who had tears streaming down her face and was shrieking words I could not even understand. I held up my hands and screamed a quick, “Wait!” above all the other noises. Everyone stopped and looked at me. I just stood there searching each face, waiting for someone to interpret the shrieking sounds of their younger sister.
Eventually Curly and Bee spoke up at the same time. “She kept saying something about her finger.”
So, I picked up little Ladybug and started checking each finger. Initially I was worried that one might be missing. But no, there were still ten. Then I noticed the bleeding from a deep slice on her thumb.
I sent the other kids back upstairs to finish picking up and I took Ladybug into my room to clean her thumb and find a band aid. I started walking down the hall and Ladybug followed for two steps before she darted away screaming, “No! No! No! I don’t want a band aid! No medicine! No water on it!” By the time I turned around she had rounded a corner and was gone.
I started to run down the hall to find her, following the sound of the screaming. I hurdled over the Lego house, the block tower, and the Duplo train. I stubbed my toe on the edge of the couch. I swerved around the temporary castle constructed of the leftover boxes from Christmas. I slipped on a box lid that slid sideways on the tile. I jumped over the each of the six extra boxes that had not yet been taped to the castle structure as I hurried through the entry way. Ladybug was just ahead of me, leaving little tiny smears of blood on everything she touched. She ran into the office to try to hide from me. I was too fast for her. I jumped on the ottoman and reached behind the chair to grab her before she could squeeze past me.
Then I carried her kicking and screaming back through the maze of empty boxes, Legos, blocks, and trains to my bathroom. I held her between my knees, grabbed some cotton balls, and put pressure on her thumb. Through the screaming I put some medicine on her cut and slapped a band aid over it.
I let her go and Ladybug sat on the floor and caught her breath. Then she calmly exited the room and went back upstairs to play in the dollhouse. Apparently she was fine now.
I was not fine. I looked down at my throbbing toe to see the polish that I proudly applied a few days earlier was badly chipped. My chevron pj pants were covered in snot and tears. My over-sized sweatshirt was partially unzipped and had smears of pancake batter. My hair was clipped on top of my head in 3 different clippies (because one is never enough to tame these curls) and I had a few stray curls sticking straight up. I had spent the past several minutes hurdling over boxes and jumping over Legos to chase down a bleeding toddler who was screaming with terror at the thought of medicine. And yes, I totally burned the dinner.
I have been reduced to this.
Motherhood is a marathon.