Just keep swimming….

Tonight I find myself longing for a time when I could come home from work and lounge on the couch, I could go to the gym, I could make dinner from scratch, I could pour a glass of wine, I could eat at the coffee table with Mark, while we watched the NBC lineup of Mad About You, Friends, Seinfeld and then ER. Yes I am aware that I just wrote a run on sentence but it has just been one of those days.

It all started at 4:45 this morning when Leah came into our room, crawled into our bed,  took over my side, forcing me to move into her bed where I lay wide awake until the alarm sounded at 6:00 am.

After a busy day at work, I just wanted to come home and relax a bit before dinner.

Thomas walked in from school about the time I arrived home, had a snack, and started his homework.  I headed to the kitchen to unload the clean dishes from the dishwasher and load the dirty dishes from last night’s dinner and this morning’s breakfast because, I swear, the dishes seem to multiply overnight.

“Mooooom!” Thomas yells from the other room.

Rolling my eyes and taking a deep breath I walk into the living room to find my boy curled up on the couch with a pair of tweezers, picking at a bump on his foot.

“What are you doing?” I ask.

He proceeds to tell me about a bump that has been on his foot for days. It looks like an old bug bite that is scabbed over and I tell him so. He begins to panic that it might be infected. My sensitive little boy tends to overreact to these types of things which can quickly lead to a full-blown anxiety attack.

“Buddy, it doesn’t look infected to me. I think you need to stop picking at it, use an antibiotic cream and keep a band-aid on it for a couple of days.”

He looked up at me with tears in his eyes and declared that he was absolutely and unabashedly certain the sore would lead to an infection that would make him lose his foot and if he lost his foot what would he do with his other shoe?

So of course, I call the pediatrician and made an appointment for thirty minutes later. As I hung up the phone, Mark came home and stated that he had to help out with an event at his school this evening. We made the decision that he would pick up Leah from day care, get a kid’s meal and take her with him to the event while Thomas and I rushed to the pediatrician.

We end up seeing one of our favorite nurses who takes out her special nurse flashlight, puts on her reading glasses and takes a close look at the sore on Thomas’s foot. After a few seconds she turns off the light, removes her eyeglasses and looks Thomas in the eye.

“Buddy, it doesn’t look infected to me. I think you need to stop picking at it, use an antibiotic cream and keep a band-aid on it for a couple of days.”

I’m having major Deja vu. Didn’t I just say that an hour ago? I swallow the urge to say I told you so and instead fork over the $25 co-payment and $10 for a prescription of antibiotic cream.

We get back in the car, pick up a pizza, and head out to meet Leah and Mark at his work event. Mark decides that he is not feeling well and needs to go to Patient First. I load Leah into my car and head home where I promptly plop the kids in front of the TV, make them each a bowl of ice cream with a cupcake on the side because I JUST want 10 minutes to myself.

Eventually I muster the energy to get them both in the tub so that I can fold some laundry. I find myself repeating the same thing over and over.

“Stop splashing WATER on the floor. STOP splashing water on the floor, stop splashing water on the FLOOOOOOR!” No matter which word I emphasized they still splashed water on the floor.

Suddenly Leah jumped up, and shouted, “I have to peeeee!’

“Oh my god, do not pee in this tub.” Thomas said.

“Leah, get out of the tub and use the toilet please,” I said through gritted teeth. “Be careful with the wet flo………”

As she made her way out of the tub, her feet were swept out from underneath her and she slammed into the ceramic toilet, nose first.

“Oh Shit!” I yelled as blood splattered across the bathroom floor and up the side of the tub.

“Mom, language!” Thomas scolded.

I was in crisis mode, calculating, sorting through the facts and processing my options. The tub was still running so I yelled at Thomas to turn off the water so it did not overflow onto the floor that was already soaked. I yanked the towel off the of rack, scooped Leah’s wet body into my arms and then slipped on the stupid wet floor. I struggled to catch myself on the vanity while holding a screaming four-year old who was one giant wet noodle of soap bubbles, tub water and blood.

“SHIT, SHIT.” I repeated, as I eyed Thomas with a mom glare and dared him to say anything.

She was bleeding from her nose so I grabbed a hand towel, shoved it against her face and dashed downstairs to the kitchen so I could get a better look.

Thomas rushed downstairs on my heels, naked, soaking wet, questions spilling out of him.

“Is her nose broken, Mom? Is it bad? Do we need to go to the hospital? Should I call daddy?”

“No Buddy.” I wasn’t sure what question I was answering.

I managed to get an ice pack on her face, leaned her forward and applied gentle pressure to the bridge of her nose. This seemed to be working and her sobs began to slow. I ran into the bathroom, grabbed a tampon, cut it in half and proceeded to shove it up Leah’s nostril, much to Thomas’s dismay,

“Um mom, that is really weird. Why did you stick that up her nose?”

“I know what I’m doing, Thomas,” I told him.

“That is not where it goes. I took family life and I know where that thing goes.”

I was sweating like a horse and that stupid natural, organic, aluminum-free deodorant, that I bought at Walgreens with a coupon, was NOT working.

I heard the water still running upstairs so I yelled to Thomas, “Buddy, PLEEEASE go turn off the water before the tub overflows.”

“But…”

“Do it!” I tell him, “And put on some PJs for god’s sake.”

He grabbed my cell phone, ran naked upstairs to turn off the water and returned with a pair of pajamas bottoms halfway up his leg and Mark on speaker phone.

As the bleeding in Leah’s nose slowed, Mark and I decided that he would stay at Patient First because it is obvious that her nose is not broken. My heartbeat began to slow and I removed the tampon from her nose which dislodged a long, slimy, blood clot.

“That is so gross!” says Thomas.” “It looks like a giant slug.”

“Let me see, let me see.” Leah is no longer crying and is completely intrigued. “But where is the shell?” she asks wrinkling up her nose, assuring me that her nose was definitely not broken.

“Honey it’s not really a slug, it just looks like one. That happens when your body is trying to stop bleeding.” I explained.

I wiped the blood from her face, put on her PJs and plopped her into my bed for a video and a Popsicle. Just in case you are keeping track, that was dessert number three. Parent of the year, right here!

As the three of us began to settle down for the night, Mark called to check on Leah and told me he was leaving Patient First.

“Apparently I have Shingles all over my face and it’s spreading.” He said.

What the………REALLY!!!???

He proceeded to tell me that the doctor suggested he see a ophthalmologist right away as the virus can do some nasty things to your eyes. As we talk through his course of action, I sort through the mail and see a jury duty letter for Mark. For God’s sake, could one more person demand something from us please? That was sarcasm folks. I toss the letter aside and begin to prepare the medication that Thomas takes every night, only to realize that we are completely out and the pharmacy is closed. And just when I am ready to blow my top, throw my arms up in the air and say to hell with this… I realize that I have a choice to make.

Recently, I heard a co-worker present on how parenting is sometimes like being in a race. Sometimes you run at your top speed and sometimes you choose to jog slowly. Sometimes you run a 50 meter dash and sometimes you run a freaking marathon. It doesn’t matter which race you run, you just have to finish the race. On days like today, I have two choices. I can choose to quit the race or I can choose to just finish. For some reason I have visions of Dori, from Finding Nemo, as she sings, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”

Today was a marathon kind of day but I finished the race, definitely not in first place but I finished none the less. Tomorrow, I will have to just keep swimming.

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