I just have to document this day, so that when future bad days arrive, I can read this and know that I have the strength to survive.
First, a couple of quick details to help explain some stuff.
We had been planning for months to attend the midnight showing of the new Harry Potter when it premiered on Tuesday night. Morgan and I were going to take the two oldest kids and have one of my nieces stay at our house with the babies. Since we knew about it months in advance, Morgan decided to take a vacation day on Wednesday so that he didn't have to go to work at 7:00 am after being out to a movie until 3:00 am. Then he decided to take Thursday and Friday off as well so that we could have some family time and maybe get a few projects done around the house.
My niece ended up being scheduled to work that evening, so Morgan said that he would stay with the babies while I took the older kids. He's nice like that. Then Morgan, Noel, Adam and Jack were all hit with a nasty virus so it ended up being just Michael and I that got to go to the movie.
Another important fact to note: we are having a hard time dealing with Noel right now and her "wig fests." She is struggling with keeping things in perspective; for example if she asks for a cookie and I say no, she has a complete meltdown, like I have told her that not only can she not have a cookie but that I am going to gouge out her eyes and cut off both arms and one leg just because she asked. Yeah. She's more than a little into over-reacting.
In addition, I have been suffering from insomnia pretty bad lately. The sun is usually starting to rise by the time I get to bed most nights - I mean mornings. It's a good thing that my two little ones are good at sleeping in.
Our good friends who rent us the house that we live in have suddenly found themselves employee-less, so Morgan offered to work for them for his three days off. When Noel found out that he was going to be driving a big truck around all day, she asked if she could go with him. He told her that he had to be to work by 6:00 this morning but she didn't care. She wanted to go to work with her dad.
Now the stage is set. I was in bed asleep after having finally succumbed to sleep at about 4:00 am. At around 7:00, Michael came in and woke me up to tell me that he had thrown up.
"Did you make it to the toilet?"
"Where did you puke?"
"On the bathroom floor. Twice."
I sighed. Deeply. I may have groaned. I was exhausted.
"Do you think you can clean it up?"
"No, Mom. I'm really sick."
I was unprepared for the carnage that awaited me in the bathroom. We have ceramic tile flooring, and all I can say is that there must have been some serious force behind the vomit for it to get the distance and spatter effect that I found.
Forty-five minutes later, I washed my hands, put away the cleaning supplies and decided to peek in on all of the kids. All four were sound asleep in their beds.
Wait - four? I thought Noel was going to work with Morgan.
I called Morgan. "Why didn't you take Noel with you?"
"I tried. She wouldn't wake up. I had to go so I wouldn't be late."
Sigh. "You know that she is going to flip out when she wakes up and realizes that you left without her, right?"
"I know, but she wouldn't wake up. Call me when she gets up. I'll tell you where I am and you can bring her to me."
I headed back to bed. About forty-five minutes later, I awoke to Noel wailing, "Where is Daaaaaddd? I wanted to go to work with hiiiiiiiiiiimmmmmmm!"
I placated her by telling her that she could go with him when he came home for lunch. There was no way that I was hauling myself and three sleeping boys out to the middle of some field just because she had slept in.
She still wasn't comforted, so I suggested that she take a long bubble bath, a treat that she had been requesting for several days.
She headed off to the bathroom and I drifted back to sleep.
The next time I awoke, it was to the blood-curdling shrieks coming from the baby-monitor of Jack, my ten-month-old. I got out of bed, and as I walked through the living room, I found Mike and Noel lounging on the couch watching television. Mike appeared to be feeling much better.
"Why haven't you gotten Jack?"
"We're watching TV."
Sigh. My blood began to boil, just a low simmer. Whatever. Right then the most important thing was finding out why Jack was making such an awful noise.
The smell that hit me when I opened up the bedroom door made me gag. It was a sour smell and I thought that one of the boys must have thrown up. Adam popped up from the floor where he was playing with a bright "Hi!" so I knew that it wasn't him. I picked Jack up from his crib and found that he was soaked from the waist down in foul-smelling, very liquid poo.
I enlisted Mike's help in getting the dirty diaper and clothes off of Jack by having him get me a clean towel to lay Jack on. Mike grumbled about helping. After all, couldn't I see that he was watching television?
As I was tending to a very angry, very diaper-rashed little Jack, Adam decided that he wanted oatmeal. I asked Mike to make the oatmeal. Adam, however, did not want Mike to make his oatmeal; he wanted his mommy to make it. Before I made the oatmeal, I went into the bathroom to get the water started so that I could bathe Jack and left grumpy Mike holding angry Jack.
In the bathtub, partially covered by the mound of bubbles that hadn't gone down the drain, were several little raisin-sized brown nuggets, the composition of which I could only guess.
"Noel? Please come into the bathroom."
"But I'm watching teeveeEEee!"
"NOEL!" I yelled as politely as I could.
When she moped her way into the room, I asked her "did you poop in the tub?"
Her eyes darted to the bathtub as she hesitated and then asked "why?"
"What do you mean, 'why'? Just tell me: did you poop in the tub?"
"I don't know."
"How can you not know if you pooped in the tub?"
"I don't know."
Deep breaths. Iiinnn .... and ... ooouuuuut. She is your only daughter. Surely people would notice if she came up missing.
"Please clean the tub out. I need to bathe Jack."
"I don't know haaaaoooowwww!" she whined.
Really, I must pat myself on the back for the calm manner in which I explained the task to her.
I went out into the kitchen and made oatmeal for the toddler who was now past irritated and quickly headed for angry. A hastily placed bowl of oatmeal quieted his cries. Aahhh. At least there was one meltdown averted.
I made a bottle and relieved Mike from screaming-like-someone-is-shoving-bamboo-shoots-under-his-nails baby duty. I took Jack and placed him in the now-clean bathtub and filled it with a couple of inches of water. He eagerly took the bottle from me. Apparently he was starving in addition to having a burned bum. Noel was still in the bathroom and I asked her to please watch Jack while I stripped his bed of the yucky linens and tried to get rid of the smell that was making all of us gag.
She pouted and asked "why do I have to do everything?" I didn't even answer her. I think that my look said enough.
I stripped the bed, put the dirty linens in the washer and was headed back into the bathroom. On my way through the kitchen, I noticed that Adam had finished his oatmeal. He has a peculiar way of eating. Most of the food actually makes it into his mouth, but the rest of it he tries to consume by osmosis. That or he thinks that oatmeal is a great hair-styling product and skin moisturizer. I figured that since there was already water in the tub, I might as well utilize it and bathe Adam as well.
I was in the living undressing Adam when Noel walked out of the hallway with an unidentified substance smeared on her face.
"Did you throw up, too?" I gasped incredulously.
She responded by holding up her toothbrush. Oh, it's just toothpaste. Whew. Wait -
"Who is watching Jack?"
"No, you're not."
"Yes, I am."
"No, you're standing in the living room talking to me."
She opened her mouth to argue with me some more and I cut her off by telling her that if she didn't get back into the bathroom that very instant, she was putting her baby brother's life in jeopardy.
She turned on her heel and stomped back into the bathroom.
I'll admit, there were evil thoughts and plans in my head, all of them concerning the disappearance of one or more of my children or how far I could get before Morgan realized that I was gone. I muttered a quick prayer for patience and self control before I took Adam into the bathroom and told Noel that she was free to continue watching television.
By this time, Jack had finished the bottle that I had made for him and was working his way up to the ear-piercing howl by which he asks for more. Adam was mad because I wouldn't let him take his Cozy Cows in the tub with him, so I proceeded to attempt to bathe two very unhappy and uncooperative boys.
It's important to note that sometime between taking off Jack's dirty diaper and putting Adam in the tub that I took off my pajamas because I got poop all over them when I was cleaning Jack. I figured that there was no sense in getting more clothes dirty and that I would just dress myself as soon as the babies were bathed and dressed.
Mike sauntered into the bathroom and observantly noted "So Jack's sick again, huh?"
I paid no attention to what Mike was doing behind me because I was trying to keep my two small sons from drowning themselves or each other. I was rubbing shampoo into Adam's hair when I felt warm liquid running down the back of my leg. After a quick glance at where the babies were in the tub, I knew that neither of them had splashed me.
"Uh ... Mike? Why is my leg getting wet?" I feared I already knew the answer.
Very nonchalantly he responded "Oh. Sorry. Sometimes my aim isn't very good."
"Did you just pee on me?!"
"I'll clean up the floor."
"Who's going to clean me up?"
I was met with a stunned silence as my nine-year-old contemplated cleaning his own urine from the undressed leg of his mother.
"Never mind. You clean up the floor. I'll take care of me."
I finished the bath and went into my room with a screaming baby under each arm and diapers, diaper cream and fresh clothes for all of us tucked in somehow with the boys.
I asked Mike and Noel to help me with the babies by getting a sippy cup of milk for Adam and another bottle for Jack. I was met with more cries of "why do I have to do everything?" and "but I'm watching TV!" They ended up helping me, albeit very begrudgingly, right after I stalked into the living room and shut the TV off with the declaration that they had met their TV quota for the day.
After everyone was diapered and dressed, I found that all of the commotion had worn Jack out so I put him back in his freshly made bed for a nap. Mike headed to his room to either pout or play Legos, which option he chose I didn't really care to find out.
At this point Morgan walked in the door. I informed him that if he wished to find his family intact when he got off of work that evening he had better take at least one, if not all, of his children back to work with him. He took a very excited Noel and left me with a quiet house. He's a smart man.
Aahhh. Mike was pouting or whatever, but his door was shut and he was not giving me attitude, Jack was sleeping, and Adam was quietly playing with some toys in the hall outside of the bathroom. It was time for some Mommy time.
I sat down at the computer to check my email. I hadn't been online but a few minutes when Adam walked by me, smelling suspiciously perfumed and soapy.
Yup. He had climbed into the bath tub and rubbed conditioner all over his face, arms and hair. I wasn't about to undress him as he hadn't been dressed for long so I laid him on the counter and rinsed his hair in the kitchen sink, all the while he screamed as if he was been disemboweled.
I dried him off and we collected the Cozy Cows and a couple of books and settled down to read together on the couch. It was now mid afternoon and I was sleepy. I took Adam into my bedroom, turned on some SpongeBob and tried to get him to relax enough that he would fall asleep so that I could take a nap. We watched our square friend for a while and I had just dozed off when a pungent smell stung my nose. I sat up in bed, already knowing what the smell was but unwilling to believe that he had reached it.
He had climbed some Rubbermaid storage totes that were stacked three high, reached the top one which was shut, opened it up, chose a lovely shade of metallic purple nail polish and proceeded to paint his leg. He had completed his entire knee and was started down his shin when I caught him. I plucked him from his perch high atop the storage totes and took him into the bathroom, where I discovered his father in the shower.
"Take this. I no longer have the capacity to deal with it," I said as I placed my toddler on the floor. I shut the bathroom door and went back to my room, where I found that other than some drips on the totes, the purple polish was contained mostly to my son's kneecap.
Just as I finished cleaning up the nail polish and moving it to a different, safer location, Morgan came into the room with a freshly bathed (for the second-and-a-half time today) Adam. Morgan proceeded to get dressed for his date with Noel.
Oh yeah. I forgot. They were going to see Harry Potter since they missed it opening night.
"You're leaving me here? Alone? With them?"
Morgan and Noel left. The rest of the evening passed relatively uneventfully. I decided that I wouldn't sit in the house and wait for the next catastrophe, so we packed up and met a good friend and played at the park. I didn't come home until everyone was good and tired and I knew that I could send them straight to bed.
I survived. I didn't kill, maim or otherwise harm anyone. I only yelled once, and even then I yelled politely. I should have turned off the television a lot sooner than I did, and my older children should have been served with some form of reprimand or punishment, but we all survived the day none the worse for the wear.
This is all true. None of it is exaggerated. I don't remember which comedian said it, but it has been said that real life is so much funnier than anything you can make up. I believe it. The only thing that could have made the day any funnier was if it had involved a dancing bear in a tutu. Or maybe if it had happened to someone else.
Here is something else that I'm not making up: I have to end this post now because I can hear Adam screaming from his bedroom. I can't help but think....
Here we go again.