Today has been one of those great days of abundant lessons in humility and ick.
When my daughter was not yet one, we took a trip to Australia for my brother-in-law’s wedding. It was a wonderful experience during which daughter learned to crawl. This made the trip home a little more exciting than the one over when she was content to lay in the travel bassinet at our feet. This time, however, she was eager to use her newfound skills and would pop out continually from beneath the covers we using, with no great luck, to simulate nighttime.
After a stop over in Hawaii, we had a very long trip to Boston during which an overnight flight was patrolled by an overzealous attendant and a hypersensitive pilot. He would flip on the seatbelt signs at the slightest turbulence, and she would come and scold us for not having our baby immediately secured in our laps. We would wake our sleeping baby, never a good idea, and treat the cabin to her howls until a few minutes later the seatbelt sign would be terminated and we would coax her back to sleep. This turned into a waking nightmare that left us thoroughly depleted by the time we touched down in Boston.
As we wrangled our kids onto the Red Line subway car during morning rush hour, I managed to whack my daughter’s head into one of those vertical metal poles near the doorway. The loud thunk (a reverberating gong in my enhanced memory of the event) turned everyone’s head in that packed subway car toward me, and I started sewing my “Worst Parent in the World” badge on my sash. Yep, I earned that one!
Since that time, I refresh my qualifications, and today was a minor example. My son has been ill, as have we all, for a few days. No longer feverish, it seems that the worst is behind us, but he is still has a fairly runny nose and croupy cough. I put him down for his morning nap and let him cry it out. He would get quieter, cough, cry, and repeat the cycle. He never fully fell asleep, but that is ok in terms of having down time. When I went to get him, I found the reason he had not fallen asleep; he had thrown up. Yep, I just refreshed my credentials for bad dad.
I cleaned that mess up and added the sheets to the mounds of laundry that have emerged as one of today’s tasks. After picking up my daughter from her preschool, I managed lunch for both and more laundry. Finally putting my feet up, I was interrupted by my daughter telling me, “Poop is coming.” She has mostly mastered daytime potty training. This was one of those not totally finished with the process moments as she pealed off her soiled underwear.
As I cleaned up this mess, I thought, “At least there has been no blood so far…” and then horrified at the major jinx I was throwing to the wind I hastily knocked on wood.