Just six hours earlier I had gone into Hannah's room to put a light blanket on her because it had gotten cold upstairs. The damn floor boards beneath the carpet creaked. Note: the only floorboards in our entire house that creak are right at the base of her crib. We didn't know this until after the bead board was up, the walls were painted, the furniture was in place, and we went to set her in bed for the first time.
The floor creaked and Hannah woke up. She didn't courtesy cry this time either. She yelled. We're almost certain she has another molar coming in, so I'm sure when the poor gal wakes up she feels like she's been chewing on Legos all night. I tried to calm her down and handed her the subby (aka pacifier...we call it "subby" long for "sub" which stands for "shut up button") that our pediatrician told us to stop giving her about four months ago. The yelling combined with the subby caused her to cough and choke. She vomited. Sour yogurt vomit all over her jammers and bed. This was not going well. Jason had the baby monitor and heard the commotion. He whipped up a quick bottle and came to the rescue. The bottle that our pediatrician told us to stop giving her about a month ago.
After the wake up yell this morning, I got her dressed at the same time that I tried to fold her basket of laundry that's been sitting on the floor for a good week now. I got halfway through when Jason notified me of the time ticking away and I noticed Hannah dumping milk on the clean laundry and our kind dog Benson chewing on a sock. Finished dressing her as she yelled and Jason got her off to school. My ears were ringing.
I was exhausted so I laid back down for a minute of morning news on TV. One minute turned into 72 and I woke up to the sound of news anchors preparing to switch shifts. This meant it was nearing the top of the hour. This meant I was going to be late to work.
Fortunately, I work two minutes away from my house, so if I'm running behind I can usually still get there on time.
Unfortunately, I work two minutes away from my house, so I am now acutely aware of my problem with procrastination.
Work was busy, but fine. I normally try to go to the Y after work and then pick up Hannah, but since I stayed a little later to get some emails out, I painted the following peaceful plan of the night's events in my mind:
I would jump in the car, stop by the house, pick up the diaper bag, stop by Walgreens, pick up Vaseline and baby Tylenol for the molar-yelling issue, pick up Hannah, grab a bite to eat with her at Qdoba, run into Lowe's with her and buy a new fridge (ours went out the other day after I had purchased a good amount of attempt-to-eat-cleanly food...awesome), and then Hannah and I would come home, feed Benson (who would not jump up and claw my legs as usual), let him out to use the grass, give Hannah a bath (she still kind of smelled vomity), offer up a gulp or so of warm milk, and she would retire without battle to bed so I could have a little treadmill time (because in this dream I like exercise) and then head off to bed.
Here's how reality came in and junk-punched my vision:
I jump in my car after work, which looks like a baby piñata exploded inside. I blanked and found myself on the outer road instead of the street that leads to my house, so the diaper bag was out of the picture because I don't turn around for things. I walk into daycare, which means I forgot to stop by Walgreens. I pick up Hannah - who is yelling in the backseat - and we head into Qdoba. An old friend from college is in line behind us with two of his daughters - one a week older than Hannah, sitting calmly in his arms. Hannah is back-arching in my arms as I'm paying the cashier. I am sweating and trying to figure out how I'm going to get us situated at a table with a highchair while holding a 22-pound gymnast baby, a tray of quesadillas, a purse, and a cup of water. Cashier sees this and delivers a quesadilla and highchair to a table in the back corner of the restaurant where yelling is allowed. We begin eating. Actually, one of us is eating and the other is yelling. I offer her water and she fills the top of my straw with backwash and quesadilla particles. She then begins chucking quesadilla pieces on the floor and snotting uncontrollably and attempting to backbend out of the highchair and yelling...lots of yelling. I sweat more and swallow my quesadilla in whole triangular pieces. College guy is sitting peacefully at his table with his peaceful wife and peaceful children, no yelling. Lowe's is out of the question but we head to Walgreens because, by God, I am getting Vaseline and baby Tylenol. Gas light goes on. We roll into Walgreens on gas breath and I get inside, take a sharp turn down the wine aisle, grab the Pinot Grigio that I added to the shopping list in between baby backflips, and make it to the medicine aisle. There are over 100 varieties of baby acetaminophen and none of them look like the kind she just polished off. Hannah wants down and at this point I'm speed-reading med boxes while she's shaking a bottle of Pepto pills like a rattle. And yelling. People are staring. I grab the meds and Vaseline and get to the checkout counter where a new register opens and a woman who clearly doesn't have yelling babies jumps in front. I could have screamed but Hannah was taking care of that for me. Get out, get gas, get home. Benson claws my legs as I'm holding wicked-tuna-out-of-water baby in one arm and Walgreens goods in the other. Clawing hurts. Goods get dropped. I feed Claws McGee as Hannah sings a song to me that is all in the key of yell. Benson gives me a look that says, Don't worry, no need to let me outside, I just used the carpet behind the couch again. No bath for the baby. I warm up a little milk in an off-limits bottle in the microwave as Hannah performs a dance I call Lay Yourself Out on the Kitchen Floor and Scream. I somehow managed to change a flailing octopus baby into pajamas and get her into bed, where she proceeded to yell at me for two minutes and then fell asleep.
I want to bypass the treadmill and head straight to the wine. But you know what? I won't, because I am fine. You know why? Because I'm not perfect, and my plans are never the same as reality anymore, but I'm doing my best.
Here's how I know. Earlier today I overheard two people having a conversation.
- Female person: "I remember when I got pregnant your wife told me, 'Hey, as long as you don't drop it and break it, you're doing it right!'"
- Male person: "Yeah, I only dropped two of my babies!"
You know why they did it right? Because they did it imperfectly but with the right heart. I don't know the details of their child rearing, but since we are all imperfect beings I can say with confidence that they probably weren't flawless in their parenting. But I know they love their children with everything they have, and they did the best they could, and that is what we are called to do, and that, therefore, is "right."
Right now, I am sitting at my desk, ready to run on a treadmill even though I hate exercise, but my baby deserves a healthy mom and my husband deserves a healthy wife. My ears are done ringing from Yellfest 2013 and I'm listening to my baby's ocean wave sound machine that is keeping her calmly asleep in her crib. Warm in her bed. Not hurting from a molar. Tummy filled with milk no matter how hard it was to get it in there. I love her so much that I know if I go upstairs and I think it's cold I'm going to put a blanket on her and risk doing today all over again tomorrow, because I care about her and want her to be happy. Parents can't be perfect, but love can. When I parent out of love, I'm doing it right.