He puked directly on the dog’s back.
I had fed the baby, but was unsuccessful in burping him. He’s been a gassy baby from day one, but now he’s got a cold too. An overactive gag reflex means that if he coughs/burps and dislodges a piece of flem, he throws up. He’d been sitting for a few minutes so I thought I was out of the danger zone when he started grunting uncomfortably. I picked him up to try again. He didn’t even make it to my shoulder before the cold-burp-gag reflex phenomenon took effect bringing us back to my first statement. Now, I have a puked on baby, a puked on dog and a one year old who didn’t want to stay out of the mess.
It was straight comedy.
I shut the dog in the basement, stalled the toddler in the high chair with an oreo and set about preparing a bath in the kitchen sink (like my mom always did). My exceptional love for nostalgia means I don’t own a baby bathtub. Not usually a big deal, but the day before we had torn apart the kitchen sink to fix the water pressure. There’s a reason my dad hates plumbing and par for the course there was now a small leak which required me to turn the water on and off from the main pipe under the cabinets. Thus, I had to remove my normal under the sink items which were now taking up all available counter space.
It gets better.
I cleared a spot for a towel, crawled under the sink, stripped down the baby and started in. I was even insightful enough to put the high chair in the center of the kitchen. This way my able bodied one year old, could not get restless, stand up in his chair and start grabbing stuff off the counter. Go me! Not bad on-my-feet thinking for being in the middle of some seriously unsanitary chaos and my normal sleep deprived state.
Funny thing about the center of the kitchen…
The toddler can’t reach the counter, but I can’t reach the toddler. I had just finished washing the baby’s thick head of hair when number one sneezed; two large lines of mucus streaming to his chin. Umm… apparently the baby isn’t the only one fighting a cold. Now the baby is already submerged in the nice warm water and it is hard to keep his chunky, wobbly three month old tushy upright with two hands. I can’t let him go. If I take the time to get him out I know the toddler will have consumed a years recommended allotment of snot in one sitting. Oh, did I mention there was no tissue to be seen?
If there is one thing I’ve learned about mothers it is this: we find a way.
The baby’s pants were less puked on than everything else and within reach. So balancing his head in my left hand I reached out with my right and achieved a stretch most Yoga professors could not duplicate. With furious laughter my toddler swung his head back and forth in an attempt to elude me. But adrenaline was on my side, honing my aim to sniper status and with one violent swipe I restored his face to a mucus-free state.
My days are full of dilemmas, messes and impossibilities. And sometimes it is hard to laugh at it all in the moment. It’s easy to be worn down by the length of the season and the repetition. And sometimes I’m just over it. I mean poop, puke, snot… this isn’t exactly glamorous. It’s hidden, hard, work. But the truth is I am growing. These “impossible” situations aren’t impossible. I can make that stretch. I can solve that problem. I can do so much more than I ever thought possible.
And I am never alone.
God is here with me. He’s laughing too if I can slow down and hear Him. If I can stop myself from just surviving these days and recognize that He’s working something in me that is bigger than what I can see with my two eyes. It’s bigger than the counter, and the leaky pipes and the stinky dog (well, not stinky now because he got a bath too). I am not diminished in this role. Rather, each challenge is a promotion from Him. And I’m not just going to be able to do more. I’m going to actually become more…
like a crazy One-Handed-Yoga-Stretching-Snot-Swiping-Ninja Mom!