Sometimes when the day is getting away from you, you just have to play.
This particular day started out with me waking up extremely sleep-deprived from extended nursing sessions the night before, and rushing out of the house to drop my husband at work (we have one car so coordinating schedules is tricky), only to arrive at his work, pausing in his office to feed our daughter her breakfast, and realizing, we forgot the diaper bag. Anticipating her morning BM, we grabbed the spare diaper changing pack from the car, along with her swim diaper, which I thought she might prefer as we have graduated from diapers to PullUps, and waited for some action. And it came, in the form of a, to use my husband’s words, Vesuvius-like volcanic eruption. As parents of a potty-training toddler, we have gone months without a poop up the back explosion. I guess we have gotten a little too cocky and the universe thought we deserved a quite literal come-uppance. So now, minus the diaper bag, minus her change of clothes, our kid was wearing an extra pair of bottoms and a swim diaper.
Clearly, I wasn’t going anywhere today except home to get the diaper bag. In the meantime, what would we do for a shirt? I had the brilliant idea that we could cross the street to the university bookstore on the campus where my husband, M, works, and purchase a child’s t-shirt for her to wear home. My husband dashed out the door, while our daughter paraded around his office lobby half clothed, only to return a few minutes later; “You’re not going to believe this: they are closed for inventory, today!” So, now, our kid is going home topless. M loaded us back in the car, placing a bib in between the car seat straps and her bare chest and we headed on home. V was yawning so much, I was convinced she’d fall asleep on the way home. But, no. Two hours later, now fully clothed, after a 45 minute nursing session, V was bright-eyed and spastic. I was so tired I had even attempted to lie down with her for a shared siesta. It was a no-go. Instead, V had an eruption of a different kind, a massive tantrum over a dreaded PullUp change. She cried and writhed and pierced the sound barrier. I dug deep into the mommy reserves for some patience and actually was able to achieve some strange Zen-like calm during this massive meltdown. Maybe it was just pure exhaustion. After what was at least 5 minutes but seemed more like 20, I settled her crying, shaking, nearly retching form onto her bed, rubbed her back, and finally figured out that she was hysterical and overtired because she was teething. A dose of ibuprofen later, it was now lunchtime. We made it through lunch without issue, although we had a double cup throwing episode prior to vacating the highchair.
So now for nap attempt number 3. I asked V whether she would prefer a stroller walk or a drive and she piped up with a sweet smile, “Drive.” So drive we did. I drove her through four towns for nearly two hours while she slept for about an hour and 20 minutes (normal nap is around 3 hours). Arriving home, her head lolled in the car seat as we parked, and I thought, well, maybe, I can get her in the house. Then the key ignition stuck and started beeping loudly; V jolted up, eyes open. I picked her up and brought her in the house. By the time we were settled, it was clear she was not going back to sleep. It was just going to be one of those days.
Hoping to turn the day around from its stunted start, I looked to one of my kids’ activity books for a fun project to do with V. I decided we would make playdough and gathered the ingredients. V, in between cooling her aching gums on a homemade popsicle, poured the ingredients into the pot and finished her sticky treat while I stirred and kneaded the big glob into a warm ball. The scent reminded me of the homemade playdough my mom used to make for my sisters and I when we were little. The warm, elastic dough felt soothing on my hands and wrists; (I recommend this as a great therapy for anyone who has tendonitis or arthritis)! I dug through her cooking toys and my cookie cutters for some playdough tools and settled her into her highchair for some play. I could feel the tension start to work its way out of my body as I watched my little gal experiment with rolling, cutting, and making shapes in the dough.
My husband, knowing from frenzied phone messages that the day had run away from me, called up to see if I wanted to go out for dinner. We loaded ourselves into the car, diaper bag tucked into the back this time, and stopped at the park for a bit after picking him up from work. V made her first attempt at a basketball shot! We grabbed a bite to eat at a local burger joint and came home, feeling like the day had not been a total loss. I had not accomplished one household task, V had an incomplete nap, we had a small load of poopy laundry waiting for us, but in the end, the poopy parts of the day were put back into perspective. I have a wonderful family to share and play with and that makes my life, in all its daily disarray, just about perfect!