It’s 7:48 am. I was awoken to my 1 year old, Bobby, wanting to nurse, yet again, at about 5:00. He is getting two molars and has had allergy symptoms for the last week due to smokey air (many forest fires in the area). I’m trying to be understanding of his discomfort and need for extra snuggling.
Usually, Bobby sleeps until at least 6:00. This morning, however, he just couldn’t seem to fall back to sleep. Perhaps it was because my husband was taking longer than usual to get his clothes ready for work. Perhaps it was merely the pain of his teeth or his inability to breathe well. At any rate, he tossed and turned for awhile, and then decided to just get up. He was extra fussy, due to lack of sleep, I’m sure. His wailing woke his 2 year old sister, Natalie, rather early and we processed into the kitchen for breakfast.
They requested an orange, which I readily cut up, and then I began spraying down the stove top for a good scrubbing. (How long has it been since that happened last? Your guess is as good as mine…)
Our kitchen is an eat-in type, where the table is placed in the big open space. We have two high chairs at the table; one is full-size and we just push it up to the table without the tray, the other is a seat that fastens to a regular chair, which can either be pushed to the table or pulled out a little to be used with the tray. Bobby usually sits in the latter, with the tray on, because he makes a big mess when he eats and it’s much easier to simply wash the tray rather than the table. But alas, the tray never got cleaned after dinner last night. So instead of strapping him into the smaller chair, I chose to place him in the big chair, since Natalie prefers standing in a regular seat anyway. (Side note…Natalie previously ripped off the straps to the big high chair.) By the way, this was mistake #1.
Soon enough, Bobby had climbed out of the chair, onto the table, and very proudly sat next to the plate of orange sections. I explained to him that it was dangerous to sit on the table and placed him back in the chair. This happened a few more times, until I gave up and just pretended it wasn’t happening. Mistake #2.
Pretty soon, I realized that Natalie had snuck over the baby gate that leads down a few steps and into the extra room that’s attached to the laundry room. There’s not much over there, with the exception of our cat, who happens to have given birth to four kittens about a month ago. Natalie adores the kittens, and takes any opportunity to go hold them that she is afforded. (Another side note… Natalie’s ability to scale the aforementioned baby gate in approximately half a second is the reason we purchased a second, very tall baby gate which we installed between the living room and kitchen.) I, feeling very tired and lazy, decided to allow her to have her moment with the kittens. Mistake #3.
A few short minutes later, Bobby was done eating and wanted to get off the table. Needless to say, he was covered in juice from the oranges, so I began taking off his sticky clothes and washing him up in the sink. I set him down and went to retrieve Natalie. Mistake #4. You see, Bobby has recently discovered that he can easily remove his diaper. I have to make sure he is wearing clothing that adequately limits his access to the velcro or snaps (we use cloth diapers). I thought that I would be gone a matter of a minute or less, so it didn’t occur to me, in my sleep-deprived state, that it was a terrible idea to leave him there with only a diaper on…
I hobbled across the baby gate (it’s far easier to step over than to fiddle with the baby-proof latch), gingerly walked down the few steps, and began calling for Natalie, since I didn’t see her right away. (Yet another side note…I broke my little toe a few days back and it’s very difficult to walk without severe pain, especially down stairs.) I didn’t see or hear Natalie, so I checked the laundry room…not there. I checked the bathroom…not there. It was then that I realized she must have gone downstairs into the basement, where the older two girls have their bedrooms. I got down there as quickly as possible, hearing right away that my 11 year old, Lizzy, was talking. I found Natalie on Lizzy’s bed, holding her phone, while Lizzy cradled one of the kittens that Natalie had carried down the stairs. Sigh. I gathered up Natalie and the kitten, gave the phone back to Lizzy (which prompted a meltdown), and proceeded toward the stairs. It was then that I saw a very large spider on the wall. I called to Lizzy to bring me a shoe to smash it with, set Natalie and the kitten on the stairs, and successfully killed the spider. At this point, I had completely forgotten that Bobby was wearing naught but a diaper…
We got upstairs, placed the kitten back with it’s mama, and got back over the baby gate to see…Bobby handing me his diaper. No biggie, there was possibly a puddle to wipe up, but he was on the linoleum, right? Then I saw it…poop on his hand. Nooooo!! To say that this is my worst favorite part of motherhood is a vast understatement. I hurriedly assessed the situation…poop on the floor, in front of the baby gate…poop on the diaper, now on the floor…poop on one or both hands, I couldn’t tell right away…poop on his naked butt, also on the floor…poop on his leg and foot…
I grabbed both arms and stood him up, tried to figure out how to get Natalie through the gate into the safety and cleanliness of the living room so that I could shut the gate and deal with that mess later, yelled at the dog for coming over and attempting to eat the poop off the floor, then I did the only thing I could do in my current predicament. “Heeeelllllp!” My darling 9 year old, Meghan, came to my rescue! She took Natalie out of the kitchen, closed the baby gate behind me, opened the bathroom door, and turned on the light. She entertained Natalie while I put Bobby in the tub to clean him up. I washed him up, got him dried off, then was about to put a clean diaper on him when Lizzy showed up in the kitchen, her large blanket wrapped around her…being dragged through the poop on the floor. “Stop!” I instruct her to drop her blanket to the floor, explaining that it now needs to be washed as I point out the dirty diaper and poop on the floor. I might have hurt her feelings when I reminded her that I’ve told her countless times not to drag her blanket around the house; but seriously, countless times.
I finished diapering and clothing Bobby, then toted the hamper to the kitchen to clean up the rest of the mess. Everything got thrown in the wash, then I snapped the picture of the table that is at the beginning of this post. I’ll deal with that later. And the stove top, which has yet to be wiped off. Right now, I’m going to finish drinking my coffee while Bobby peacefully naps on my chest. If I didn’t enjoy these moments of peace, I think I would have a nervous breakdown! Having four kids is lovely, but mornings like this make me feel like I live in an asylum!