The Joys of Parenting
Anyone know of any? With the day I’m having (and it’s only 9:30 in the morning) I’ve forgotten what they were. To start, my five-month-old, Joshua, is a mess. He has some mystery belly issue we can’t solve. Specialists, medications, formula changes. He’s in pain, he can’t digest, and he doesn’t sleep. He has been up hourly for the past two days, much more than his usual every three hours.
We put him in the Pack n’ Play next to our bed, since having to walk to his room every hour takes away precious minutes of sleep. I’m up with him all night. He’s arching and crying and I can feel his stomach churning. I rock, I burp, I cry.
Bless my husband, he gets up at 5 a.m. to take him out of the room. He leaves for work at 8 a.m. so the idea is that I can catch a straight three before he has to go. He offers nightly to take Josh in the guest room so I can have a full night, but I always decline. He wakes with them each weekend and I sleep until noon, so I do my best to hold out until then.
For all of his good intentions, sleep is fleeting. Maybe an hour passes and our first born, Jacob, rises. I swear, it’s the weather. Thank goodness I’m in the sunny south. Every cloudy rainy day we have turns Jake into Frankenstein’s Monster.
He emerges from his room already screaming. Daddy. He wants daddy. Daddy isn’t upstairs? Unacceptable. He screams for daddy to come upstairs. SCREAMS. Poor Ryan, all he wants is for me to sleep. He has the baby in one arm, and is desperately trying to quiet Jake and urge him downstairs. Of course, this happens outside my room so I’m both feeling angry and guilty.
Some time passes and I must have slept, because the next thing I know, I hear Jake screaming and my door opening. Ryan apologizes and puts Josh in the crib next to me, saying he can’t wait any longer; he has to get to work. I have him give me Jake and I then have to hold him next to me so Ryan can leave. Jake breaks free and runs after him.
I get up, check the baby, and head downstairs. Beautiful. At just three years old, Jake has mastered both the child safety door lock AND our garage door opener. Both doors are open and he is screaming. I can’t even fathom how he did that. The garage opener is about five feet up and my own sister couldn’t figure the child lock out.
So I get the doors closed and him upstairs. I get him calm and ready for school. I LOVE SCHOOL. I’ve heard every argument for home schooling, but for my own sanity I need my children out of my home. He needs school. I may need it more. It’s only three days a week for three hours, but they are three glorious, peaceful hours.
I explain to Jacob his behavior is absolutely unacceptable. I revoke juice, dessert, and his evening play date. He doesn’t respond to time outs; he responds to having his favorite activities taken away. He apologizes and says he will never cry again. Oh, if only.
So his behavior improves and we head to school. All is well. It’s still a nasty day, but no one is complaining. I am free for three hours. The baby and I head home. Suddenly, I smell something. Something foul. Josh pooped. I rush to get him home before the stink permeates my car. I run him in the house and strip him down.
Oh, yay! A blow out. An ass-plosion. His diaper and jammies are filled with poo. Up his back, his stomach, his legs. I turn to get the wipes to find there’s just one left. Exasperated, I beg him to stay and I run to the kitchen for napkins. I return to see he has rolled over, happy as can be, smearing poo EVERYWHERE.
I grab his chubby baby legs and lift them in the air, removing all the clothes. I take the napkins and try to wipe his butt. Now he has poop and napkins everywhere. They stick like glue. There’s poop on my hands, my arm. I don’t even want to check a mirror to see what else could have happened. I turn around to weigh my options when suddenly it happens.
Words do not exist that could possibly describe the sound my sons rear emitted. I must say, it’s my fault for following his doc’s advice and giving him prune juice yesterday, but the results are not pretty. He shoots a stream of poo a solid two feet. He’d win the baby Olympics with that aim.
At this point, there is nothing left to do but laugh. I’d die without laughter. I carefully strip myself down and pick him up, bringing him to the kitchen sink. I turn on the water and hold him to me, waiting for it to warm. He’s not screaming—thank god for small favors—but I now have the task of wiping poop and napkin from his body with my bare hands. My bare hands. I’m taking hand soap and wiping the caked on mess from his body as he squeals with delight.
Once finished, I wrap him in paper towels put him on the living room floor. I pick up the napkins and diaper off the floor and run, it to the trash outside. I run up the stairs, do a rapid wash of myself and throw the solid clothes in the wash for a soak. I return with new clothes and get him dressed. Exhausted, I remember my Diet Coke in the car. I’m not remotely surprised when I smash my skull as I reach in to get it.
I return to a hungry boy. Can’t blame him; he just pooped out about five pounds all over me. I feed him his bottle and settle him in his chair. He lets out a much needed burp, Barney style (Simpsons fans can appreciate that), shoves his foot in his mouth, and smiles.
I sit. I’m pretty sure it’s going to take a few showers to get the smell off of me. I look around my house as I drink my well-earned soda. Josh yawns and settles in for a nap. Jake is at school. I see my sweet baby boy sleeping peacefully and think of Jake playing at school. As badly as I wanted him gone this morning, I miss him now.
I guess that’s it. I answered my own question. The joys of parenting. It’s not the laughter and fun. It’s the tears and tribulations. It’s knowing these children love me unconditionally. I am trusted, adored, wanted and depended on. I’m a doctor, a teacher and a short order cook. I am a mother.