Parenthood is a Platitude

While I was in the shower this morning (a necessity since I skipped yesterday’s), I heard my oldest say something to the effect of: ‘Henners has the laundry stuff,’ in a tattletale singsongy kind of voice.

By ‘laundry stuff’, I assumed he meant…..the bottle of Tide liquid detergent. Which I store in the laundry basket. Because there’s really not another easily accessed place to store it.

I’d scarcely processed the remark; had just begun to utter the commands of the momentarily immobile parent: ‘take it away from him’ or ‘tell him not to touch it’ when the next news bulletin was delivered.

‘Henners has dumped the laundry stuff on the floor.’

And with that bulletin my three minute shower was over.

I stepped into the hallway just in time to see the Tide bottle lying on its side. With the lid off. Clear liquid (I use Tide ‘free’) crawling all over the wood floor. My only recourse: to use my towel in an effort to stop the liquid from traveling to another city.

When your morning starts off like that, it’s hard to regroup; to retain any sense of optimism about how the day is going to go.

I’d managed to get the big boys to the front door on time for our 9.30 departure, both wearing socks and shoes and coats. When we discovered the Hen had lost his ‘da’. His pacifier. The only pacifier he will put in his mouth. The pacifier he insists on taking with him everywhere he goes.

Upstairs, downstairs, bedrooms and bathrooms were searched in an effort to find the pacifier. With no luck.Ten minutes of searching yielded nothing, and at that point I was considerably late. So we had to depart with his ‘ba’ (the infamous ubiquitous white pillowcase) but not his ‘da’. I braced myself for the inevitable tantrum in the car when he realized one of his ‘comforts’ was gone.

We arrived at our destination and I got everyone settled. The tension in my body started to fade as I held the baby on my lap. The only person who had not caused me any trouble. Yet.

His eyes closed, and his face turned a dull red from the strain. Sure enough, the exertion paid off with several loud noises two and three minutes apart. After five or so squirts I decided it was time to investigate.

I was prepared for his soiled clothing. I wasn’t prepared for mine. The kid had literally pooped on me. Through his clothes. It’s the quirky thing about parenthood, I suppose, that someone can defecate upon you and you’ll still talk to them.

Especially if they’re cute and smiley. With a half dimple hidden in their left cheek.

Being a savvy, third-time mom, I had an extra outfit for him. I did not have any extra pants for myself. Charmed, I’m sure.

Fast forward another twenty minutes or so to where my boys were running around in circles with some friends. I’d turned my back to gather my belongings in preparation for exit when I heard giggles and the word ‘banana’.

Sure enough. Someone had found two bananas and had thrown them on the floor and stomped on them. Mushed banana on carpet? Fan-freaking-tastic. ‘Who did this?’ I asked the group of five boys. Fingers pointed in five different directions. I had to assume, since two-fifths of the group belonged to me, at least one Johnson boychild was involved in the banana massacre.

Many pieces of paper towel later I’d removed the biggest chunks of banana from the carpet and the boys’ shoes. And, for the second time, tried to gather my belongings and children for exit. A process that took thirty minutes….from start to finish.

Naturally we got in the car and the Hen, upon realizing he had no ‘da’, started wailing. Right as the baby, who hadn’t been able to take an uninterrupted nap, started wailing from hunger and fatigue. Right as the Gort said: ‘when are we going to have lunch? Are we going to have lunch now?’ Over and over.

It’s days like these that I wonder about people who spout airy platitudes (about children and parenthood) like: ‘don’t blink…it goes so fast’, ‘soak it all in’, ‘it’s the greatest thing ever.’ Etcetera.

Did they somehow end up with the world’s only perfect children?

Have they just forgotten the days when they wanted to send their children to boarding schools…in other countries? The days when it seemed like the only words they uttered were: ‘no’, ‘timeout’, ‘go to your room ‘and ‘no candy, presents, toys or television for you until you turn eighteen.’ The days when their kids took hot pink tissue paper, shredded it into nano-particles and dumped it all over the house. All while laughing hysterically. Right before guests were due to arrive

I read a snippet of an interview with a celebrity-who-shall-not-be-named who said , about motherhood, ‘there’s nothing I don’t love, even the sleepless nights believe it or not!’

I’ll file that one in my ‘gems’ folder.

4 thoughts on “Parenthood is a Platitude

  1. Hey! Off-topic, but hope Piers is feeling better. We missed having you with us this weekend. But we’re already thinking about the next one! 🙂


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