Parenting is rife with opportunities for failure. I often experience these moments of messiness with a "I can do better next time!" type of attitude. No, no that is not how I respond. Not really. In real life, I often respond by cussing like a sailor, stomping around and waving my arms like a pissy pants and topping off my melt down by drinking. Like, an entire bottle of wine (PRE-pregnancy folks, simmer down now). Oh, and sometimes I laugh after I'm done yelling, crying and drinking. Laugh at the absurdity of it all, because frankly if you can't wear a mixture of baby poop and vomit on your brand new white pants without chuckling a little, you probably never should have become a parent in the first place.
However, sometimes you have those little "oopsies" that you can't quite find a chuckle out of. You know, the mess-ups that make your heart tighten up for a moment because even though it turned out okay, it truly could have turned out really NOT OKAY. That happened to me this morning.
To start the story, I have to back up a month ago or so to the Great Edelbrock Sick-Pocalypse of 2011. This featured the three of us passing around every cold and sinus infection known to man so that at least one of us were ill for a consecutive six weeks. It was pretty miserable. So drugs (over-the-counter, totally legal mind you) drugs were flying around like candy. At the same time, I realized that Kate DID think pills looked a lot like candy, which isn't surprising considering their size and shape. So I became vigilante about getting all our medicine in one container, far away from a certain child's sticky fingers.
At the same time, my husband was just trying to stay awake/alert enough to bring home the bacon. So he stuck pills in his pants pockets, his coat pockets, up his nose (kidding, sort of) or any place he might get a quick fix when needed. I "reminded" (ie nagged) him to keep medicine out of the reach of Kate on a fairly regular basis. Still, one day Kate was pretending to "drive" his car, and I looked down and saw a small pharmacy in the cup holder. In frustration, I picked up all the pills and shoved them in the change pocket of my wallet before Kate could notice the "candy" in daddy's car.
Fast forward to this morning. I have not opened the change purse in my wallet since that day (not joking, I never use real cash anymore so I never have change to put in it). So imagine my SHOCK and FREAKING SURPRISE when I came back from putting laundry in the drier to see Kate sitting on the sofa, playing with my wallet and surrounded by pills. HOLYSONOFABSUCKHELLDAMN!!!!!!
In my sheer panic, I simply yelled at my daughter. Soooooo, mom of the year there. She dropped my wallet (in what I can only assume was a "what IS your problem lady??" reaction) and I swooped down on the pills and demanded she tell me if she ate any of them. She told me, in a small voice and with VERY wide eyes, "No mommy..." Yeah, I would say "No" too if I had a crazy lady virtually attacking me. "Tell me the truth!" I said. "YOU CAN"T HANDLE THE TRUTH!" she yelled back.
Haha, no she didn't. Sorry, basically she kept telling me she didn't eat any of the pills, medicine, candy, whatever I called it, she assured me none of them had not passed her lips.
Not to call my daughter a liar or anything, but I chose to go ahead and pretend she HAD eaten at least one and called poison control. The lady on the other end quizzed me about the number of pills originally in my wallet (if I knew that, I would likely know if she had EATEN ANY, right??) what kind they were, etc. I ended up repeating "I don't know" a bunch of times and telling her repeatedly about the pills in the cup holder so she would know I don't just leave drugs LAYING AROUND FOR MY DAUGHTER TO NOSH ON. That I was PROTECTING HER when I put those in my wallet. Damn it.
We finally got to a point where she told me that unless Kate hoovered 10 pills in the literally two minutes I was gone, she was going to be fine. To watch her for drowsiness or upset tummy. Since I knew there weren't THAT many pills in my wallet, I felt much better. And after a morning at the park, I pretty much figured she hadn't eaten a single pill. But seriously, for a good 15 minutes there, it was really touch and go.
Boring story? Kind of. It didn't end with an ambulance ride, a huge medical bill or anything else that would create a truly good episode of Grey's Anatomy. But it really terrified me. Because often I forget how fragile it all is, how lucky we are to be entrusted with these little disasters. How we sometimes act as the only barrier between our loved ones and certain disaster (injury or death) on a regular basis. So this time, instead of my normal cursing and stomping, I really did think, "Next time I'll do better" and MAN. I can't stress how much I mean it.