MORNING. It’s almost 9:30AM and my house is quiet. I have the unusual luxury of sipping my coffee and getting to write in peace. Finley is already back down for her morning nap, Brady is playing in the family room and making airplane *whooshing* noises, and Avery is still asleep. STILL. ASLEEP.
CONTRAST. Compared to yesterday, today should feel like the easiest day of my whole life. Yesterday was filled with children who couldn’t share or keep their hands to themselves. I spent the better part of 13 hours breaking up fights, resolving conflicts and trying to get kids to nap. PLEASE. JUST. NAP. Finley, who never stays up more than 3 hours at a stretch, decided she didn’t want to nap. I rocked, nursed, burped, diapered, and bathed her for almost 7 hours straight. In between tending to Fin and attempting to get her to sleep, I would run downstairs to try and convince Avery to nap as well. Ugh. It was like an episode of the Three Stooges. Every time I turned around, I was getting hit in the head by another board.
RUSH. By the time dinner finally arrived, I was frazzled. I was exhausted. I popped another mug of coffee in the microwave, because I didn’t know if I was going to be able to keep going until bed time. As the roast finished in the oven, Bill was mashing the potatoes, children were leaping from the coffee table to the couch, Finley was crying (again), the corn was boiling, and the microwave was beeping. It seemed like everything in the entire universe needed my attention all at once.
FAIL. I quickly poured the corn into a bowl and set it on the table, called the kids to dinner, tossed a little more salt in the mashed potatoes, and finished carving the roast. I brought the platter of meat over to the table, divided out a few pieces onto Brady and Avery’s plates, and began cutting it into bites intended for tiny human mouths. While I was cutting her meat, Big Girl climbed up into her chair. And in one split second, she reached her hand into the bowl of corn. The boiling corn.
PAIN. She pulled her hand back, but that resulted in the whole bowl of corn spilling out onto the table and her legs. Bill had seen the whole thing happen, and he immediately started shouting “Get her hand in water! Get her hand in water!” I scooped up Avery, set the bowl of corn back upright, and rushed her over to the sink. I have never heard such screaming in all my life. I can still hear it.
BURN. Bill took Avery from my arms and held her hand under the water. I ran back to the dinner table to make sure the corn wasn’t within reach of any other tiny humans, and that’s when I saw it. The spot on the table where the hot corn had spilled. The corn was so hot, that it had stripped the finish off my wooden table. I stared at the bare wood, and that’s when I came unglued.
SPLASH. I had to go back upstairs and attempt, once again, to get Finley to sleep. While I rocked Finley, the sobbing started. I kept thinking back to Avery’s hand….the flesh all red and blistered….the bare wood of my table. This was my fault. It was not intentional, but it was my fault. I put that damn corn right in front of her. DAMMIT ALL. I strapped Finley into her front carrier, and headed back downstairs. Bill had filled the bathroom sink with freezing cold water and he was letting Brady and Avery splash to their heart’s content. Avery was having so much fun that she didn’t even seem to remember the burn.
MITTEN. But once the water game was over and it was time to get ready for bed, that’s when the pain set in. She kept wiping at her fingers in an effort to wipe away the hurt. Oh, sweet girl….I wish I could wipe away the hurt. As she wiped, she kept wiping away the skin and breaking the blisters, so we knew it was time to bandage her hand. We got out the burn cream, some gauze, and we taped her winter mitten to her hand. She was NOT happy about it, but after a few minutes she seemed to accept it.
SLEEP. After lots of Daddy snuggles and singing, mercifully, Avery fell asleep. We could hear her down there from time to time, but I think the ibuprofen helped her sleep. Now it’s almost 10AM, and she’s STILL asleep. I’m torn between wanting her to wake up so I can put new gauze on her fingers, and praying she sleeps about 9 days until her burns heal.
COFFEE. And after all of that, I found my mug of coffee in the microwave this morning. Sitting in there like a steadfast soldier, waiting to be called for duty. Waiting in there like an old friend. I’m sipping yesterday’s coffee and reflecting on the day I had. It’s the universe’s way of reminding me to PAY ATTENTION. SLOW DOWN. Life is not a race, and I won’t take 5th place by getting dinner to the table at 5:45 instead of 5:30.