My Saturday morning goals were simple enough: one, get the kids clean, as I was a little fuzzy on the exact day when they last had baths, and two, get the house clean. Nothing too challenging. After breakfast my husband headed to the grocery store and I corralled the kids upstairs.
I have a tendency to launch multiple projects at once. This morning was no different. I started the bathwater, set Kerrington on the floor in her nursery, led the older girls into their bedroom to play, tossed a load of laundry into the washer, and returned to the nursery to undress Kerrington.
She just had let out a cry, and I saw streaks of red marker on the wall and her blanket. "How in the world?" I thought before I noticed that the red marker was also on her clothes, and covering her hand.
That's when I realized that it wasn't marker. She had been batting her hand against the air return vent as she often likes to do, and cut her finger.
I scooped her into my arms and assessed the wound. While not particularly deep, the cut kept bleeding. I held Kerrington while Reese ran to the bathroom and rummaged in the medicine cabinet for a band-aid. Brooke, oblivious to the situation in a manner in which two-year-olds excel, entered the room and asked me to dress her Polly Pocket.
"Later," I said as I held Kerrington's arm and pulled open the band-aid wrapper with my teeth.
Brooke wasn't deterred. "She needs her dress! Her dress!"
Reese yelled, "But Kerrington is bleeding, Brooke!"
"She needs her dress!"
I wrapped the band-aid around Kerrington's finger. Brooke trudged off, crying. Instinctively, Kerrington drew her hand to her mouth and started sucking on the band-aid, a gesture which makes a mom take a quick inventory of which problem would be worse: a baby who's bleeding, or a baby who's choking on a Cars band-aid.
Blood is better.
But, being that I'm not a fan of blood, I still wanted that band-aid adhered. Quickly, I tugged a sock over her hand as a make-shift barrier between her mouth and her finger. She cried harder and flailed her little arm like a boxer uppercutting the air.
That's when Brooke reappeared and upped the ante.
"I need help. I pooped."
Of course. And being the helpful child that she is, she had stripped off her clothes, removed her pull-up, and attempted to toss the soiled pull-up into trash can in the bathroom.
She had missed.
Kerrington kept crying. I hoisted her on my hip and started grabbing baby wipes. "Brooke, don't move," I warned. She froze momentarily like a deer in headlights, locked eyes with me, and took off.
Reese, seemingly dizzy with the unfolding drama, announced each nuance in play-by-play fashion: "I can't believe that Kerrington cut her finger. She's bleeding! Our poor baby is bleeding! And Brooke is poopy, and her pull-up is on the floor! There's poop on the floor! Mom, she's so poopy. Mom! Look! She sat down on the floor. Brooke sat down on the floor and she's still poopy!"
And I looked.
And the events had transpired just like Reese had proclaimed. And Kerrington, master of escape, had discovered how to remove the sock from her hand and was gnawing on the Cars band aid. And Brooke began to cry.
It's all a bit blurry now, but I'm pretty sure that this was the moment when Reese climbed to standing on top of the bathroom sink. "WHAT are you doing?" I shouted.
"I don't want to get poop on me!" she yelled, and proceeded to run in place is if she was a stereotypical housewife afraid of a mouse on the floor, or someone attempting to scurry to higher ground to avoid rising floodwater.
And that is when I remembered why I had come upstairs in the first place. With all the crying, the undressed Polly Pocket, the bodily fluids, the choking hazard, and the open door to the laundry room providing the audible background of the filling washing machine, I had forgotten about the running bathwater entirely.
I lunged toward the bath tub, now sloshing full of water, and turned off the faucet. In what seemed like slow motion, I surveyed the scene.
You know those moments in movies when the camera slowly pans across the protagonist's face when she's at wits end? I caught one glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror: my sweatshirt splattered with bathwater and blood, a manic look in my eyes, a strained eruption of desperate laughter, and three children in the foreground -- one crying, one naked, and one yelling from her perch on top of the vanity.
Those two simple goals for the morning? Clean kids, clean house? They were a tad more challenging than I had anticipated.
Just a tad.