Matt and I work very hard to make sure that Noah is growing up in a body-positive environment. We don’t talk negatively about our bodies, his body, or any other people’s bodies in hopes that he won’t develop any body image issues as he begins to develop. Or at least give him a strong foundation to build strong self-esteem.
Along with positive self-talk, we also have a “no shame” rule about nudity in our house. We don’t wander around naked but, we also don’t go out of our way to hide ourselves or cover up when getting out of the shower. We’ve had all of the talks about privacy, private parts, and about how rules are different in our home than they are in public. You know, all the standard stuff.
However, as body positive as we are, I was not quite prepared for the conversation Noah and I had this morning.
He woke up extra early so we stuck him in our bed so he could watch cartoons while Matt and I got ready for work. I had just gotten out of the shower and was walking around our bedroom getting dressed. [Reminder- I am 7 months pregnant and my body has changed quite a bit over the past few months.]
It went a little something like this-
Noah: “Mommy!! Look at your boobs!!!”
I give him a rather dumb-struck look and I say: “Yes. What about my boobs?”
Noah: “They are just RIDICULOUS!!”
I am now staring at Noah with a little bit of disbelief and a little bit of confusion trying to figure out exactly where this is coming from when, Matt, from the bathroom yells: “Yeah buddy! They are ridiculous!” in a rather macho tone.
At this point, Noah gives me a sheepish grin so I know he knows what he said was inappropriate yet incredibly funny. I have to now deal with my incredibly immature husband and try not to laugh so as to not encourage such behavior.
And, if I do say so myself, my boobs are rather fabulous. Thank you.
As you know, Mother’s Day was this past weekend. Noah’s school had a special Muffins with Mom event and all of the moms were invited. Well, his teacher had mentioned it to me a week before but, because we have about 90 things going on at once, I forgot. Thankfully, I noticed a sign-up sheet on the door on my way out which prompted me to ask what time I needed to be there. 3pm. Got it.
Well, 2:45pm rolled around, I had already arranged with my boss that I needed to leave early to go to Noah’s school for Muffins with Mom. It takes 15 minutes to get there, I’ve been really busy at work lately so every minute counts.
Well, as luck would have it, I hit every single red light on the way and got behind some very slow and pokey individuals. I get to the school and had to park a very long way away down a hill on the side of the road because there were so many other mothers who were there on time. It was 3:05pm.
As I walk in the door, the director of the preschool was, at that very moment, walking out of Noah’s classroom. She had Noah in her arms, his face was beet red, and he was fighting back tears with every bit of energy that he had. When she saw me, she said, “See Noah. I told you your mommy was coming.” (Dagger to the heart.) He runs as fast as he can and gives me the biggest hug.
I squeezed him and said, “I told you I was coming today.” Just those words were apparently the release he needed to let all of those tears he had been holding in go pouring out of his face. In the saddest, most tearful voice ever, he says, “I-I-I didn’t think you were coming.” (Another Dagger to the heart.)
Well, now I feel like the biggest asshole mom on the planet.
I finally get him all calmed down, face wiped, all smiles. We walk in the room and at least 5 different moms proceeded to tell me how sad and pitiful he was the entire time that he waited for me to get there. “His face was so red.” “He was so strong fighting back all those tears.” “You wouldn’t believe how upset he was.” (Dagger, dagger, dagger.)
Damn. I was only 5 minutes late. I’m here now people.
Then, another little boy in the class who had built some kind of solidarity with Noah because they both had deadbeat moms who were late, totally lost it when he saw me enter the room. He was okay when he and Noah were both mom-less. But now that I was there, the tears came on like waterworks. Well, seconds after this, his mom came in and all the other moms started the same comments. “He was so sad.” “He has been crying like crazy.” Seriously people. Leave her alone!
Well, all the mommy guilt aside, Muffins with Mom was really sweet. Noah got to introduce me and was so proud of his Mother’s Day card that he made me. We ate muffins, drank pink lemonade, and had a nice time. I even took him to the park afterwards so that I could make up for being 5 minutes late.
The other day, as a treat, I took Noah to Dairy Queen for some ice cream. He always chooses vanilla ice cream in a cone. I always get a hot fudge sundae. We are predictable like that.
The Dairy Queen is within walking distance so, to get out of the house and get a little exercise, we walked to get our frozen treats. Getting a 4 year old to walk any further than 12 steps when it isn’t his idea is quite a chore but, I persevered. And, even though he complained the entire time we walked there, he was happy licking his ice cream cone the entire walk back.
When we walked into the house, my sundae was already almost gone but his ice cream cone was still just barely licked and was dripping down his chubby little hands and wrists.
Naturally, all of this dripping ice cream was rather interesting to our dog, Poplar, who immediately began following Noah around waiting to clean up any drips (she’s a great cleaner that way).
Well, all of the following and licking made Noah a little flustered and, before I knew it, he was screaming to me from the living room that Poplar was eating his ice cream.
I walk out to find Noah standing with an empty cone, pile of vanilla ice cream splattered on the floor, and our black lab, Poplar, helping herself to the splatter. So, I do what any good mother would do.
I got a bowl and a spoon, scooped up the remaining ice cream, checked for any random hairs or dirt, and handed it right back to Noah. He immediately stopped crying and all was right with the world.
I’ve written several posts over the past few weeks that I haven’t published because I have been trying to make an announcement. Most of them were too corny, too negative, or too blah to be worthy of my news. So, in my brutally honest fashion…
We are over-the-moon excited about our new family and can’t wait to meet Noah’s new little brother or sister. However, this news has thrown some curve balls my way.
For starters, right at the 6 week mark, the nausea and vomiting started. Everyone said that it would pass. Everyone said that it’s just part of the first trimester. Well, everyone was wrong and I hate them.
I have thrown up every day, multiple times a day, for the past 11 weeks. And just when I thought I had it all figured out (which is code for “I was living on saltine crackers, rice, and Gatorade”), my body would decide that saltine crackers and rice made me vomit.
Let’s just say that I have been really fun to live with and work with.
Now, after rearranging my diet and eating schedule about 6 different times, I am finally on a 3 day streak with no vomiting. I’m gonna count this as a win.
Then, as if the universe was not satisfied with my attempts to thwart its plan to make me miserable, last week, I came down with the noro virus. I’m not sure if you’ve ever had the noro virus but, please take my advice, avoid it at all costs! Screw you, universe!
However, I managed to beat the noro virus without having to go to the hospital, without getting too dehydrated, and without sending myself into premature labor. I’m gonna count this as a win also.
So now, at 17 weeks pregnant, I’ve got a decent-sized belly, I am absolutely in love with maternity pants, Matt and I are selling our house because we need more room, and Noah is beyond excited to be a big brother.
New baby due late this summer… Success!
A few short months ago, if you had the opportunity to rummage through my purse, you would have always been able to find at least 4 packs of fruit snacks at any given time. Why? Because my kid was obsessed with them. He insisted on having at least 2 when you picked him up from school every day; they kept him occupied while I got my grocery shopping done; and they held him over if dinner was running behind. We eventually had to set a limit of no more than 2 packs per day.
Then, after a routine cleaning at the dentist, we got a referral to a pediatric specialist for a few too many cavities showing up on his dental x-ray.
My first reaction, I’m not gonna lie, was to ask if we could just pull all of those teeth. They’re going to fall out anyway, why not take care of that now and get a big cash-in from the Tooth Fairy early? After a very judgmental look from the pediatric dentist, I was told that the cavities would have to be filled and that one of the cavities was so bad that Noah would need a crown.
A CROWN!!!! ON A 4 YEAR OLD!! Seriously.
She then told me to cut back on the juice and soda. I informed her (trying to recover some sense of dignity) that the child doesn’t drink juice and he has never even had a soda. I then mumbled under my breath while simultaneously coughing, “But he does eat a lot of fruit snacks.”
She exclaimed, “Oh no! That’s one of the worst things you can give a child!”
Cue the mommy-guilt. You might as well call child protective services now. I’m an unfit mother.
This onslaught of mommy-shaming turned me into a drill sergeant about dental hygiene and sugar. Needless to say, he is no longer allowed to have fruit snacks. And he is no longer allowed to brush his own teeth. In fact, his tooth brushing regimen might include me putting him in a headlock. Whatever, it works.
Well, yesterday was the day for him to get his cavities filled and get the crown. He was pumped about going because it meant he got to miss a full day of school and the pediatric dentist has awesome toys and prizes.
I, however, having read the numerous pages of paperwork and anesthesia warnings, was a nervous wreck. I’m not going to confirm this but I may have done a good bit of vomiting the night before.
Once we get there, bright and early, Noah plays with the toys and I get to, once again, go over all of the warnings and health history questions (not to mention handing over a small fortune). I’m doing pretty a pretty good job at concealing the anxiety. My husband calls it “Get shit done” mode.
They give him a very small cup of Versed (medication used in children before a procedure or anesthesia to cause drowsiness, decrease anxiety, and cause forgetfulness of the procedure) and we go to a small room to read a book and wait for the medicine to kick in. In less than 10 minutes, Noah gets this sheepish grin on his face, leans forward, and topples, head-first out of the recliner. I manage to catch him before he hits the ground, thank goodness.
He proceeds to yell at me like a drunk person about a My Little Pony sticker. He says over and over again (and imagine this in a drunk college-kid slur), “Where’s my Pinkie Pie sticker? Mommy, mommy, mommy, where did you put my Pinkie Pie sticker?” He then sat there, all smiley, just saying “mommy” and giggling.
I began to wonder if they gave him medication or straight whiskey.
Well, I was sent back to the waiting room where I could just stew in my own anxiety. Turns out, I was nervous for nothing because he was an excellent patient. Everything went great and now he has a shiny, silver tooth to show off to all of his friends.
I also got an early glimpse of what he will look like as a drunk college student. Overall, I’ll consider it a win.
I have a thing with milestones. I allow myself to get all jacked up around Noah’s “firsts.” Like every other parent, I celebrated and documented the first steps, the first words, and the first tooth. But, because (as I mentioned before) I have a thing with milestones and to be honest, because I am probably a little bit crazy, I tend to take it to the next level.
This being said, last week, Noah’s preschool class went on a field trip to a local pumpkin patch. I paid the $9 admission. And we signed the permission slip. It was then that I noticed a weird feeling in my throat and a tiny hint of a lip quiver like I was about to cry.
As a counselor, I constantly remind my clients to listen to their bodies and take note when something triggers a somatic response. I do my best to practice what I preach and I could tell this might be one of those moments that I would need to do some serious self-assessment.
The field trip was on a Tuesday. The Thursday before, I started asking about logisitics (trying to appear calm and inquisitive and not crazy and stalker-like). I fixated on the fact that Noah didn’t have a class t-shirt.
For the summer field trips that they went on (this was before Noah moved up to the preschool class), all of the kids wore matching neon green t-shirts. This made sense to me, seemed safe, great policy. Well, Noah didn’t have a shirt. Obviously this means that the field trip shouldn’t happen, no one is prepared for my kid, the world is over (cue the dramatic music).
After asking several times (again, trying not to seem crazy), everyone determined that the matching t-shirts would not be worn because the kids would have their jackets on the whole time. Fine.
The night before the field trip, I took a minute to reassess how I was feeling about tomorrow’s adventure. My determination: I was not okay. That night, I think I did about 4 loads of laundry, cleaned every surface of the house, and organized 3 or 4 different rooms.
I posted on Facebook that I was having a “helicopter mom moment” about all of my anxiety about Noah’s first field trip (I also may have included the hashtags #iwillnotgetonthebuswithhim and #iwillnotcallhisteacher). The comments poured in and included the following encouraging and supportive thoughts:
- “He will be fine. And cared for.”
- “He’ll be great! Our son has gone on several field trips with their class and the kids always have a good time. It’ll be OK!”
- “He will be safe.”
- “I promise you, he will be fine! Trust me! I’ve done a few of these field trips. He is going to show mama that he’s a big boy.”
While all of the support and encouragement is so appreciated and I am blessed to know that so many people care about me and my kid, none of this helped. Sorry.
The reason none of this helped was because I knew all of these things. My anxiety had absolutely nothing to do with worries about his safety or whether or not he would have fun. My kid will have fun no matter what. He gets excited about everything and soaks up life like a sponge. Plus, I love Noah’s preschool and his teacher. I have no concerns about his safety or his care.
The problem is me.
It is no secret that I am a control freak. I have rules for days. I make lists, I color code, and I know that if I need something done correctly, I do it myself.
The problem is me.
Noah’s first field trip was a formal notice that I am not in control. I had to recognize and accept that someone other than me is going to put him on a bus and take him to have an experience that I have absolutely nothing to do with. I will not be there to take pictures. I will not be there to tell him to be careful. And I will not be a part of this memory for him.
The only thing I can control is me.
So, I controlled the things that I could control.
I talked to him about listening to his teachers and following directions. I dressed him in a brightly colored shirt and made sure he had his jacket and hat. And I took a picture of him to document the morning of his first field trip. (I also may have checked Facebook close to 37 times that day to see when his school posted pictures from the trip, but that doesn’t count as crazy.)
He had a blast. He came home that day exploding with excitement and he was beyond eager to tell me all about the pumpkin patch. I took a minute to reassess my emotions.
I was not sad that I was not there. I was not anxious that I was not in control. I was happy.
I have a confession to make. I am obsessed (and possibly slightly addicted) to Legos. I know. I’m a grown woman, responsible for the care of another human being. And the other night, I spent more than an hour searching Amazon for that perfect set of Legos to satisfy the addiction. I ended up buying the “Lego Elves Nadia’s Epic Adventure Ship.” Why is this perfect? It is a nice balance between a complicated adventure building activity, feminist liberation, and an awesome ship that Noah loves to play with so I can pass it off as a toy for him. Parenting Win!
I am blaming this entire thing on my mother (Yeah, mom. You heard me.) As a kid, I was not allowed to have Legos. I think her reasoning (or so she claims) is that she didn’t trust me not to leave them on the floor and she didn’t want to step on them. While yes, I probably would have left them all over the floor. That is no excuse.
So, fast forward almost 30 years. Noah recently turned 4 and our friends gave him a set of Legos for his birthday. He and I sat down together and built the little construction rig and car. It even had a working wrecking ball!
Something lit up inside me. And, I guess it was cool that Noah enjoyed playing with them too. I was actually excited to take him to Target to pick out more. I was a little bummed to discover that, even when you just buy the box of “plain” Legos, they give you instructions on what you can make.
But, obviously, I went ahead and made the prescribed plane or lighthouse, handed it over to Noah so he could play with it, wait for him to eventually break it, and then make something new. Legos are like a puzzle that you can do over and over but never the same way. I’m getting excited just thinking about it!
I do have to deal with Noah wanting to use the exact piece that I need to finish my tower. Last night, I actually said, “Sorry buddy, but you’re going to have to stop playing with that piece because I need it for the tower I’m building.” Not my proudest moment.
I did discover that Lego people are not exactly what I expected them to be. For all of the sets that I had and the ones that I purchased (and it was quite a few), there were only 3 Lego construction people. As I began building castles, Noah quickly claimed them as the King (the one with the beard), the Guard (the other one with the beard), and the Queen (the one without the beard).
So, being the addict that I am, I got on Amazon and ordered directly from China, a whole bag of 20 Lego people. It took forever for them to come and, when they finally arrived, I opened all 20 of these tiny little bags only to find 20 male Lego people. All kinds of male Lego people, but all men. We have pirates and soldiers, musketeers and chefs, artists and Robin Hood. But no females.
Obviously, my next goal was to find female Lego people. But I was disappointed to discover that female Lego people are now part of this new “Lego Friends” world where that have giant heads and don’t look at all like the Lego men. And the Lego Friends sets are hair salons and pool parties. Seriously??
That’s when I went back to Amazon (thank goodness for Prime) and I found these Elves. They are a little androgynous and go on awesome adventures. They still don’t look like Lego men but, to be honest, Lego men are a little creepy anyways. And, I already ordered Lego superheroes from China. I can’t wait for them to arrive! I’ll be Wonder Woman!
Yesterday was the 4 week mark since my mom’s brain surgery and I have been eager to share an update on how she is doing. Over the last month, we have taken small steps, celebrated milestones, and now I feel like mom is finally at a place where she can put this behind her and move forward as a stronger person. This experience has been able to give her perspective on how fragile life is and how important it is to have a loving family and good friends to support you.
The day of her surgery felt like the longest day of my entire life. We needed to be at the hospital at 5am. Her surgery was scheduled for 7:30am. Obviously, because I’m scared and nervous and because I don’t sleep (ever), I stayed up late talking to mom about life, friends, God, family, the future, and everything else that runs through your head the night before your mom is having brain surgery. I tossed and turned for a while, finally just got up at 3am, and watched TV.
The next morning, we arrived at the hospital, got checked in, and surprisingly, mom was in a really great mood. She seemed to have finally accepted that it was either brain surgery or death. Her good spirit made it a lot easier for my sister and me to stay strong. My sister, always the parent, made sure we had all of the paperwork, asked all the right questions, and reminded mom that the nurses had a job to do when mom started telling a few too many personal stories to the random people that come in to check blood pressure or adjust the bed. [For those of you that know my mom, she has never been short on a story to tell.]
I, however, made inappropriate jokes, asked the nurses to break the rules a few times because, clearly, we were the exception, and cried big fat sloppy tears more than a few times. [Although my sister, as tough as she is, cried a little too as we watched mom roll away to the operating room. I’m not sure she would admit it, but she totally did.]
Once we got to the waiting room, we commandeered the kids table that was in a room off by itself and, because we love puzzles, dumped a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle out on the kids table and got to work. The surgery was supposed to take 4 hours so we challenged ourselves to see if we could get it done in time. [We got it done in 3.]
The nurse was really good about calling us every hour to let us know how she was doing and then, during her 3rd check-in, the nurse let us know that the aneurysm was much harder to get to than expected and that she would let us know more when she could. Well, we didn’t hear from her anymore. After 6 hours, the big fat sloppy tears started again. My sister, again, always the parent, took charge, found someone to call the operating room and they quickly called us back with an update.
Turns out, the base of the aneurysm was much larger and harder to get to than the scans showed and it took 2 clips to take care of it (they had only planned for 1). They also had to cut into her jaw muscle and saw away a bit of sinus bone in order to access it.
As though this experience wasn’t stressful enough for everyone involved, the hospital let us know (after a lot of questioning and bugging the crap out of anyone who would listen) that they were not going to have any beds available in ICU and that she would remain in the recovery room for the next 24 hours. Once we finally got in to see her in recovery (at about 5pm), she was not happy to see us. Her exact words were, “Ugh. I don’t want to talk.” And then she turned away from us.
One of the most confusing things that I remember about that day was the overwhelming combination of emotions that I experienced. I have a really good friend who kept asking me what I needed and what she could do to help me. While everyone else was asking about mom, she thought of me. But, even though I am usually always very aware of what I need in a situation, her question left me dumbfounded. My brain didn’t know what to do with all of the fear, anxiety, lack of control, sadness, relief, and appreciation. Add total exhaustion to it and I am surprised I was able to form sentences.
But, as time passed, mom got stronger. At first, my sister and I got really nervous that the recovery was going to be the bigger challenge. Because the surgery was more involved than mom had expected, her pain level was higher than she had anticipated. And, while I love my mother and I think she is incredibly strong and brave, she is not the greatest at being uncomfortable. She is also not a big fan of pain medication. You can see how these 2 things don’t pair very well.
However, mom surprised us again and, after she came back from her angiogram (which was 100% clear with no signs of aneurysm), she was back to her old self again. She was smiling, telling too many personal stories to all the nurses, and even talked a little smack about some of the hospital staff. It was refreshing.
Once we got her home, I took over nursing duties for a few days. My mom amazed me from the beginning. She had typical struggles and ups and downs but, overall, she has been a champ. In fact, the biggest problem I had to deal with was crowd control. She had so many friends and neighbors dropping by to check on her, bringing tons of food and flowers, and mostly just wanting to let her know they were thinking about her. Most of them didn’t even want to come in the house. They would just stand at the front door and refuse to come in. The sincerity and generosity of people is amazing to me. And it makes me feel great to know that my mom is so loved by so many.
It took me a while to convince my mother to let me share pictures of her during her recovery. I finally talked her in to letting me share 2 pictures. Here, exactly 1 week after surgery, I had to force her to let me take this picture. I don’t think she realizes how incredibly badass this picture is. I also don’t think she realizes how cool her grandsons are going to think she is when they get older.
This next picture is almost 3 weeks after surgery. I am still amazed at how insane it is that, after major brain surgery, in just 3 weeks, her incision can go from where it was to this! She looks incredible.
She doesn’t know how brave she is. I’m okay with that. I do hope, however, that this has made her realize how loved she is.
My mother isn’t perfect. I don’t think she ever tried to be. And, now that I am an adult, I really enjoy giving her a hard time about how she is obviously responsible for everything that is wrong with me today. I mean, who do you think taught me how to shop my feelings away?? But, for all that it is worth, she is also responsible for a good chunk of the things that, I think, are pretty amazing about me too.
Back in the 80’s, long before there was real data about children’s mental health or how kids cope through divorce (I was the only kid in my class for nearly 4 years who had divorced parents), my mom knew how important it was to help my sister and me cope. Even with all of the stigma, the lack of resources, and the naysayers, my mom took me to a counselor. He wasn’t a great counselor and I can’t even say that I remember all that much about him. However, the actual process of knowing that there was a safe space where it was okay to be emotional and it was okay to get angry set me on a path for learning how to properly cope with various situations. My mom knew I needed that.
She also had enough insight into who I was as a person to know that I probably also needed some “out-of-the-box” strategies as well. She talked to teachers and school counselors and, together, they helped me discover a love for creative writing. It started with poems and short stories as a child and turned into journaling and blogging as an adult. Writing has been there for me through every struggle in my life all because my mom cared enough to put her struggles aside and pay attention to the needs of her children. For that, I am forever grateful.
And now, because I learned early that counseling helps, I strive every day to be the counselor who puts their client first, who helps families who are struggling, and who empowers kids to think “outside-the-box” and figure out what works for them. I love knowing that I am helping others find their safe space to be who they are.
Throughout my life, my mother has been able to transform into the role that I needed her to play. As I grew up and went through the typical (and sometimes terrible) developmental stages that all girls go through, my mom managed to be a caregiver, a regulator, a complete embarrassment, a soft shoulder to cry on, a warm body to snuggle up to, an enemy to battle, a distant observer, a confidant and secret-keeper, a friend, and now, a fellow mother who can offer support and guidance.
Tomorrow, however, both of our roles will shift. Tomorrow, my mother, the forever-teacher who makes me giggle because she still tries to turn vacations into learning experiences, is having brain surgery.
Recently, doctors discovered that she has an aneurysm that is sitting on her optic nerve. It has caused some pretty drastic vision impairment (which is, fortunately, how they discovered it).
A few days from now, my sister and I become the caregivers. We will now be the worriers, the hand-holders, and the supporters- like she has been for us for our entire lives. I am doing my best to maintain my composure. I have researched the surgery and the surgeon more times than I care to admit. I have tried to help my mother stay positive, encouraged her to talk about fears, and I try to keep reminding her (and myself) to take one step at a time.
As a counselor, this should be easy for me. But as a mother and a daughter, I am freaking out inside. So, I would like to make a request for anyone who reads this… please pray for her. Please think about her. Please send positive vibes and good thoughts to Asheville, NC. Please post comments and send well wishes because my mother, forever the extrovert, would love it. And she needs all the encouragement and strength that she can get right now. And I might just need a little bit of it too.
The dazed look of a new mother is expected by, pretty much, all of society. Because you have a newborn, no one cares if you send unintelligible emails, flip out for no reason, or fall asleep during conversations. But, as your child gets older, people just assume that your kid sleeps more like a normal human being and you gradually get your life back together.
These people have apparently never interacted with a 3 year old boy. Or maybe, I am the crazy one that has a child that just never needs any sleep. Maybe, my kid is the anomaly that has somehow evolved to a level where unlimited energy actually gets stronger and more potent the less sleep he gets. It certainly feels possible.
I just don’t understand how a 40 pound child can run (and, when I say run, I mean “Watch how fast I can run!” and “Look mom! I’m the Flash!” and “Hey! Let’s race all of the time but you better let me win or I’ll throw a tantrum” kind of running) all the time. Always. And yet, he rarely sleeps. Matt and I have to bribe and beg to get him into the bed by 9pm. We have set up schedules, routines, story time, relaxing bath soaps, night-lights, and more “incentives” than I care to admit. (I bought a Glow Worm the other day, in the infant section, seriously.) And he still won’t fall asleep until 10pm, wakes up 2 to 3 times throughout the night, and still refuses to nap during the day.
So, I challenge the notion that parents of newborns are more tired than parents of toddlers. And I would argue that I now have the bodily evidence to support this assertion.
About a month ago, after multiple nights in a row of getting up 4 or more times for bad dreams, to be covered up, to take him to the potty, or because “Mommy, I just want you,” it was Sunday night. I had read (what felt like) 16 books and I sang “You Are My Sunshine” so many times the tune kind of sounded like “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and “Farmer in the Dell” mixed together. My eyes were so puffy and strained that the glow of the night light gave me an instant headache.
I finally decided he was completely asleep so I stood up to tiptoe out of his bedroom. On my way out, I noticed a bunch of extra cups and snack bowls laying on the floor so I picked those up too. I crept as quietly as possible out of the room, eased the door shut as gently and slowly as possible, winced every time the floor creaked ever so slightly under my feet, and turned around to go downstairs and drink a much needed glass of wine.
Apparently, however, I didn’t realize how close to the top of the stairs I was (how could I realize anything since I hadn’t slept in 6 months!?). I felt my right foot desperately grasp for the top stair only to find empty air beneath it. My left foot followed suit and went flying as well. My entire body is falling fast and yet it totally felt like everything was moving in slow motion. Next, my ass made a giant thud on the edge of the middle stair and sent throbbing pains up my back. Then, the back of my head cracked against the top stair, my glasses shot off of my face and ended up on the landing 7 steps down. When my head hit, I saw a flash of light that hurt way worse than the glow of the nightlight.
When I finished falling, I laid in a crumpled ball on the landing. Matt came rushing to me with a look of straight fear in his eyes. I laid there in silence for a good minute or two. And my first words to Matt were not about my throbbing ass, my fear that I had a concussion, or the state of my glasses. All I could think was whether or not I woke up the baby.