This morning Paul left for the grocery store before I took a shower, to beat the crowds (at the grocery store, I mean, not in our shower). As he pulled out of the driveway, I headed downstairs with a load of laundry--and found the basement covered with huge puddles. I was contemplating the puddles with the detached inability to problem-solve that hits me whenever I'm surprised, when I heard Edward suddenly start crying, and Rob and William yelled, "Edward threw up!!"
So of course I went running upstairs, and I found what looked like a gallon of curdled milk soaking into the recliner and carpet, and Edward was screaming in dismay. And I may be a compassionate mother in many ways, but there is NO CHANCE of me scooping a barfy child into my arms and holding him tight until AFTER he's cleaned up, so I soothed him with WORDS while I wondered if I should try to clean up the recliner or just pitch it into the front yard and hope for it to be swallowed by the earth. And in any case, Edward had to be cleaned up first.
And that's when Henry started crying, and I discovered he had a stinkers diaper.
I realized that although I theoretically could handle this alone, I didn't want to--and since Paul wouldn't even be at the store yet, I could call him on his cell phone and tell him to come back home. I called---and heard his phone ringing from the top of our bureau.
I mobilized the troops, sending Rob and William for a bunch of towels, and Rob to fill the tub with warm water, and William to get baking soda to put into the tub. I stripped Edward down and had him stand on a hard floor as opposed to the carpet, since carpets are Barf Dowsers.
Then William came up and said he couldn't find the baking soda. And I went to check on Rob's progress and found that he'd filled the tub with cold water even though I'd told him it should be warm and had confirmed with him that he'd checked it and it was in fact warm. Also, the shower curtain was in the water instead of outside the tub. And because dismayed frustration is the emotion that leaves me least able to control my temper, of course I yelled at both of them, and I marched William down and showed him the baking soda EXACTLY where I'd said it would be and where it always is, and I invited Rob to feel the water and tell me if that was called WARM or not, and I chewed them both out for not listening to instructions.
Then I apologized, and put Edward in the tub, and had Rob and William supervise him while I changed Henry's diaper and tackled the recliner/carpet mess. I don't want to talk about tackling the mess.
Then I took the laundry basket of revolting towels and clothing down to the washing machine and added half a box of baking soda, and put my barf-speckled pajamas in there too, and went upstairs and got dressed even though I hadn't showered yet, because I find I can't really tackle tough situations in my pjs and socks. And I went back downstairs to examine the basement.
Luckily there was no water in the carpeted areas, only on the cement. And it looked like it was coming from a leak in the bulkhead, not from the ground below. And it looked like it was not getting worse. And nothing was sitting in it except plastic containers and the boards we put under boxes to keep the damp from seeping in. So I rescued a few unprotected things that were on dry cement but might not be soon, and went back upstairs.
I bathed Edward. May I take a moment to recommend baking soda? Before I discovered it, I used to give a barfy child MULTIPLE baths in strongly-scented soaps and STILL not remove the barf smell. I used to put barfy clothes through the washer MULTIPLE times, spraying them with Febreze between each load, and STILL not remove the barf smell. Now I put half a box of baking soda in the washing machine and the barf smell vanishes. I put the other half of the box into the tub, leaving out enough to make a paste to work through the child's hair, and the barf smell vanishes.
As I was drying Edward, Paul came home. I told him the news: basement, barf, CELL PHONE VIOLATION. He said it made sense that Edward was getting sick, because SO WAS HE. He said he nearly threw up in the grocery store parking lot.
And so all day, Paul has been lying in bed, gasping and groaning and asking me to make a batch of Gatorade to replenish his electrolytes. I haven't taken a shower yet, so I'm not quite as fresh as a daisy. I suppose I could take one now, while the three littles are napping, but I would rather talk to you. Venting to friends is what keeps me from having something more significant to complain about, such as jail time.
Gift ideas for an 8-year-old, part 2 of 2 - Last week I talked about the gifts we were getting/considering for Edward, who is turning 8 next month. This week it’s Elizabeth’s turn: not “girl gifts,” ...