Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mother of the Year

Today started out great. I took Devin and Brooke hiking, we played in the basement, they ate a good lunch, they both napped...simultaneously. Life was good in our house today, but then a slow train wreck began to take over.

Later in the afternoon, I was trying to make a lasagna for dinner: chopping, cooking, grating, layering--a fairly time consuming process. I was particularly engrossed in this dinner because it represented the fruits of my "go green, save green" philosophy. The noodles I'd bought on sale, the goat and mozzarella cheeses were both free with coupons / sales, the fresh parmesan cheese was bought in bulk at Sam's Club, the zucchini was $1 a pound, the Chinese eggplant was from the farmers' market, fresh tomatoes and basil were from our garden (had to throw those in), and the tomato sauce was almost free with coupons. It was even our occasional vegetarian meal because going meatless is better for our health and the environment. Click here for the recipe (which incidentally turned out great.) But I digress.

I was so engrossed in my activities that I missed completely the cues from my 18-month-old that she was not feeling well. She wanted to be held more. She wasn't hungry. She couldn't be entertained with any of the usual tricks. I let her watch me prepare dinner from the step stool, but when she grabbed a handful of my parmesan cheese and threw it on the floor, I'd had it! I locked her in her highchair with some cheese and pasta and let her cry...and cry...and cry. I was trying to tune her out and finish my lasagna. Probably 20 minutes into inconsolable behavior, I pulled her from the highchair and yelled at her, "What do you want from me?!?!?!" She cried even harder and then proceeded to throw up on me...not one, not two, not three, but four times in a row. I was so disgusted, humbled, and saddened by her state, that I didn't know where to begin.

The boys did help by fetching towels and bowls. I cleaned her up as best I could while holding her, waiting for the next wave. It was then I felt her forehead. My "mommy thermometer" estimated just over 100, but I wanted confirmation. I hunted in all the usual places a thermometer should be and came up empty. "Is it too much to ask to have a thermometer handy when I need it?!" I screamed. As I was carrying her all over the house during this hunt, she just stared at my rhetorical question.

Giving up on the thermometer and the hope that I'd get the smell of puke off me any time before my husband returned home, I settled in with my daughter and just snuggled. I learned early on that one of the best gifts I can give my children is to hold them when they need it, and this was one of those times.

She responded well to Tylenol and was seemingly back to normal within half an hour of the incident. Seeing as her fever returned by 10pm, we're not out of the woods yet. I share all this not because I think you want to hear about the disgusting parts of my day but because of what my husband said when I told him this story. His only response was: "Mother of the Year." That's our catch phrase for comforting the other when we feel at our lowest. No matter how bad I think my behavior was today, surely there were worst offenders out there. It's also a reminder that though I may feel like the worst mother on the planet right now, our kids will hopefully always revere me as "Mother of the Year" in a good way. At least I survived and will start again tomorrow with optimism.

How do you handle when you feel like "Mother of the Year?"

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