October 8, 2011
Last night I had a dream. In my dream, my family and I are vacationing at my grandmother's house. My grandmother isn't there, but her presence is felt. Everything is neat and clean as always. There is no dust. The curtains have been newly washed. In the middle of the kitchen table, there is a little container with pink sugar substitute packets and napkins for meals. Something though seems a bit out of place. There is something eerily wrong with the details of the kitchen. The table seems a little bit too cartoonish, almost like in a video game. My guard is up. Who will I encounter in the kitchen? A Packman? An ALIEN??? Wait...am I a Black-Op? I am ready for anything...
Then I hear it. One of my older sons calls from another room, in a much younger voice, and says, “Mom, I think the baby had one of those bad diarrhea things again!” He says this is in a tone that I know well—it is the tone that really says, “Something bad has happened that I know will be upsetting, and I don't want to tell you about it, but I know I have to-o-o-o... (the tone drags out just like that).” I spin around, ready for the challenge, as the baby teeters across grandmother's linoleum floor in his bare feet, diarrhea leaking out in a trail from his diaper. This is not an uncommon experience. In fact, it would happen every time my kids had apple juice, but it would always produce the same shocked reaction. I suppose it's one of those things a person just never gets used to.
“Ack!!” I say very loudly. This is the “Ack” that mothers know all too well. It is the “Surprise Attack Ack”. It is distinguishable from the “regular Ack” as in “Ack, what is this big sticky mess in the pocket of these jeans that I just washed (that now got all through the laundry)!” or “Ack, someone just ran through the house with muddy shoes!”. The “Suprise Attack Ack” is more of a “stop you dead in your tracks” yelp. It is a clear-toned call to action. Unfortunately, with four very active children, it is an “Ack” that I encounter often. In my dream, the baby looks up at me, stops and sits down, brown liquid oozing from his diaper into a pool around his chubby legs. In reality, when the “Surprise Attack Ack” occurs, family members do come running, but quickly get overwhelmed (at least that's what I tell myself) and they tend to stand and stare in their disbelief, hoping that a superhero will fly in and take care of the situation. The same happens here. My husband opens up a door and stares at the baby in his diarrhea pool. Two of my older sons run in and look. “Oh, yuck!” they yell, standing there, surveying the mess for a second and then they run, holding their noses and making gagging sounds. It is up to me—the video-game dream player—to solve the messy diaper dilemma....and SAVE THE WORLD (if you are reading this out loud, “WORLD” should echo and fade out...).
I bolt to the drawers by the stove to grab some type of rag or old towel to wipe up the spill, or wrap the baby in and carry him off to the tub. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do because as I turn to the stove drawers, I see there is a pot overflowing with boiling pasta foam on the stove. Oh NOOOO! Someone, most likely my second oldest son who desires to be a chef—but of course, this can't be proven, has put on this boiling pot without even asking. I don't even have a chance to yell the familiar, “Who...?!” as in “Who put boiling pasta on the stove--without even asking!??” because I notice a whole pile of clothes sitting on top of the stove. The burner under the kettle is red hot and it is touching a shirt sleeve.
“Ack!” I yell again staring at the clothes on the stove. My husband answers. “It was the only uncluttered place I could find!” he says in his defense. “Honey, look--they're clean!” Well, no one could deny that they are folded neatly, anyhow.
I CAN handle this challenge! Lightning-fast, I move the clothes from off of the stove and put them on the kitchen counter. Then, I simultaneously turn off the burner and reach for the dishtowel drawer as my daughter screams, stopping me. Spinning around, I see that she has run into the kitchen and has stepped right into the diarrhea river on the kitchen, splashing it onto herself.
“OMG!” she yells. “This is so gross!” (I'm not sure why she's using the 80's slang, but hey...)
The boys erupt in laughter from their hiding places. The baby starts crying.
“NOOOO!” I call out, waking myself up from the video game dream/nightmare.
With the relief of realizing that I do NOT have a poopy diaper mess to change and clean up, I smile. But something still nags at me. Something pulls at me. Stronger and stronger, a phrase builds in my consciousness: THAT IS IT! Today is the day! (No, I'm not planning on creating the “Supermom” video game—although I admit, knowing many moms, it could prove profitable...) It is time to do something, really something, about the chaos that threatens our family. It's time for a change (no pun intended). It's time for a family makeover: a new, more meaningful life-approach for our family!
With this newfound energy, I get up from my bed, grab my robe, and start bounding into our kitchen with purpose, ready to give my family a pep talk. We can do this! My entrance, however, was met with a flying soccer cleat, my daughter's high-pitched yells and my third grader pouring his own milk into a cereal bowl, then onto the table, the chair, and right onto the floor. I sigh. Okay, well we may need a little help...
(Fine print: Reader does not condemn or condone use of video games, does not create video games, does not have time to play video games, does not profit from video games, and does not have any legislation for or against video games, real or imaginary, pending.)