I’m always amazed how things in the our household can go from calm to chaos in under 60 seconds. Sometimes, it only takes a small thing to begin the domino-effect that knocks down one after another, after another...and eventually: I get knocked down too.
The calm began with a peaceful dinner (okay, as peaceful as a dinner where almost half the people eating it can’t feed themselves or eat solid foods yet can be!) that was interrupted by a little knock at the door. I welcomed in our sweet and slightly (well, that’s pretty euphemistic) hard-of-hearing neighbor, Mrs. Smith (but at 91, who can blame her!?). We chatted in the entryway for a bit as she couldn’t easily get up our stairs to come into the house.
“I would just love to see your baby!” She exclaimed so I brought over our new baby and smiled as I watched the special way that babies and the elderly interact. Daniel’s little coos were interrupted by a loud wailing from the kitchen: my four-year-old had performed “the chin bust” on the edge of the table (I’m sure it had NOTHING to do with him being silly!) and was writhing on the floor with enough drama for me to consider calling 9-1-1.
I excused myself from Miss Smith and hurried to his aid, setting down a baby that magically went from happy to MAD in under thirty seconds.
Somehow, when Jude had gone flying, his pudding went airborne as well so to reach my distraught boy, I had to navigate a minefield of pudding puddles. I squeezed all 30-plus pounds of my son into my chest when I suddenly felt something wet dripping down my arm. A quick glance revealed blood was streaming from Jude’s mouth and running down my arm. He must have managed to fling his pudding AND bite his tongue at the same time: that boy’s got talent. I never liked that shirt anyway.
To add to the whole “calm to chaos in 60 seconds” phenomenon, my one-year-old in the highchair decided pudding would make a better shampoo/weapon than dessert and was alternating between massaging it into her hair and flinging it onto the walls.
Meanwhile, my two-year-old, who had been awaiting “Nurse Mama” on the couch with a thermometer stuck under her armpit was now waving the wand by my face, saying, “Me sick, Mama??”. Of course, my oldest would not be a mere watcher in this exciting event called “Our Life” and was asking me, “What chores can I do to fill my chore chart so we can go buy that toy I’ve been wanting, Mom?” “Mom....are you even listening?”
So, that was how the blood, pudding and crying baby (babies, really...) were all related. Then, the best part: the shouting neighbor. Maybe it’s because her hearing ain't what it used to be, but Miss Smith picked that moment to continue our chat. Just to recap: blood dripping down my arm, Judah wailing, Daniel screaming, EvaLee worrying, Gideon shouting, Gabby shampooing/flinging pudding.
“So, anyway,” Mrs. Smith shouted from our entryway, “My niece, you know-the one that had a baby last year. Well, it was a baby boy and he is sure cute. So, she is having a garage sale, do you want to go to it?”
Sure. That was the only thing I was thinking of at that moment: I wonder if there are any garage sales coming up soon that I could mark onto my calendar RIGHT NOW!
“Do you want to know the day, Tara?? Are you listening? I can’t even hear you over there! I am telling you about a garage sale...”
I think it was that moment...or maybe it was a minute or two before that (it's all a chaotic blur in retrospect now!) when I thought: “I CAN’T do this.”
The domino-affect of craziness hadn’t just knocked my life out of whack, it had knocked me down too. The moment felt sureal and the noise faded away as I looked around my dining room at the mess and the kids and the neighbor.
How will I ever survive? Will my children always shampoo their hair with pudding? Will they always wipe out because they won’t sit on their butts at the dinner table? And is Miss Helen (bless her heart!!) still shouting?!
I got knocked down.
But, as I carried a very messy little girl for a bath in one arm and a (once again) happy baby in my other, I just somehow knew I would survive.
I’d survive pudding, messes, bloody falls, crying babies and even shouting neighbors. Thank God it doesn’t really matter that we get knocked down (it’s gonna happen, Lord knows!) but it’s that we get up again....
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, yes, I will be going to Mrs. Smith’s niece’s garage sale.