So there are eight people in my one-bathroom house this week. Awesome, I’m loving the company. But it’s a little hectic because half of those people are children and half of those children are toddlers.
We’ve cooked and played and laughed ‘til our bellies hurt, slept a few hours then got up to do it all over again. My mom commented how effortless I made everything look – the cooking, the housekeeping, the care of children.
I was feeling pretty fancy and it’s been just perfect. Until today.
Today I felt like I was running two hours behind all day. It left me a little frazzled toward evening time and dreaming of an early turn in, but when my husband came home with the news that he’d received a bonus at work, I loaded up my mom, sister and the little kids and we headed out to do some last minute Christmas shopping.
In hindsight, this could have waited until tomorrow.
We had the brilliant idea to take the toddlers in for haircuts first. The place was deserted, so we congratulated ourselves on our brilliant timing and stepped into the salon area for a quick shear.
My son immediately revolted against the booster seat.
Fine, I’ll just hold him.
Then he thrashed about when the stylist draped the cape around his shoulders.
Cool, we don’t need a cape. He can sit on my lap and we’ll just shower off the hair when we get home.
Suddenly, somebody switched my sweet dimpled boy for that obnoxious kid we all see while out in public – the one who screams and carries on, caterwauling so loudly that it sets off the car alarms in the parking lot.
Mortified, I just held on to him as best I could while the stylist darted in and out with her scissors, attempting to tame the giant hairy mushroom on his head.
He threw himself forward, she slid to the side effortlessly. Snip.
He faked left, she was waiting for him at the right. Snip.
His head all but spun around and she danced quickly to keep up. Snip.
When she had finished, I apologized profusely, tipped generously and slunk out, vowing to never return. I wondered, on our way to finish our shopping, how many hair salons and how many haircuts we had before we would be blacklisted in the cosmetology world.
We were twenty minutes into our shopping before I noticed that I was covered head to toe in hair clippings and that there was sticky sucker-drool in my own hair. I was that mom now.
We finished up what we set out to do, headed home, and decided to hell with cooking dinner, we’d just order some pizza.
Hubs and I headed out to pick it up, but first we had to stop for gas. As my husband climbed out of the truck to take care of this, a strange look crossed his face.
He had forgotten his debit card in his car, and of course I’d left my purse behind.
Back home. Get the card. Back to the gas station. Fight holiday traffic to get to the pizza place (which doesn’t deliver but damn their pizza is good) then head back home to triumphantly feed our brood.
I put my newly, albeit crookedly shorn kid in his high chair and handed him a piece of pizza before chowing down on some cheesy goodness myself.
“We made it,” I celebrated in my head.
Prematurely, as it turned out, because right then my sister shouts “He’s choking,” and I turn to see a river of garlic-scented vomit pour from my son’s mouth.
He stops. He breathes in sharply, screams, and then lets loose another helping of hork.
We ferry the Baron of Barf to the bathroom where I bathe him, dress him and head back downstairs.
He’s happy as a clam at this point, and hungry, so we give him a few crackers. Later, he drinks a small cup of milk. We all decide that the puke was a fluke and get everyone settled for bed.
As my husband is rocking him, there’s a gag, a split second, a caught breath – and another presentation of putrescence. Only this time it’s…chunky.
It took my husband about three heartbeats to realize he was covered in homemade cottage cheese before he himself began to gag and sputter. I grabbed a towel, wrapped the kid in it to prevent the mess from getting all over the carpet and followed my husband to the bathroom where he finished retching right along with the kid.
The toddler got his second shower of the day. Fresh pajamas. Another bedtime song.
So now he’s in bed, but we’re keeping a close eye in case he gets sick again. We’re all sprawled out in the living room – my mom, my sister and I – while my husband and the big boys hang out upstairs.
We’re tired, kind of smelly and a little wary of the pizza in the kitchen that’s yet to be eaten. I am no longer feeling fancy.
But it’s peaceful, and we’re so thankful to have done this day together. So maybe what makes this holiday merry isn’t picture perfect days a-caroling and a-wassailing, but just being able to be together after spending so much of the year miles apart.