It all started Monday morning. Monday was a holiday so we slept in. When Joseph was released from his room, he ran to me looking very worried. "Mom, Eleanor pooped on the floor! Come see!" Joseph, being three, is very prone to flights of imagination. I wasn't quite sure how Eleanor got out of her crib and crawled over to the boys' room just to do something that was just as easily done sitting in her crib.
When I walked in the room, I knew he wasn't making things up. He excitedly pointed to the floor and sure enough, hidden in a forest green patch of the oriental rug at the base of the bunk bed ladder, was exactly what Joseph had claimed was there. Puzzled, I looked up. Where had this mysterious pile come from? Both boys are completely trustworthy in that department, and Eleanor's door was still closed.
But as I looked, I saw the trail. It dripped down each rung of the ladder, leaving a brown smear like some putrescent slug had decided it was the upper bunk for him and climbed up to join Edwin. I looked further into the bed, where Edwin was passed out, oblivious to the unfolding mystery. Inside the bed rails and on the sheets was further foul evidence that Eleanor had definitely not been the culprit.
One of the girls came running out of the bathroom. Why are children drawn to disgusting things with such excitement, almost cheerful glee with how completely revolting something is? They first thing they always want to see is the blood running down the leg or vomit spattering the wall or urine soaking the carpet. Anyone with sense would run away from the filth, not towards it. But I suppose everyone slows to see how bad that car was smashed up. Were those bodies being taken to the ambulance??
"Mom, Mom! There's a pile of poopy clothes on the floor!! Come see!!!" I sighed, called Brandon, and got to work stripping both beds. There's something seriously wrong about things that should be solid dripping onto bed covers and spattering on walls.
Edwin eventually roused and after much prodding, we got a tale out that involved the middle of the night, new clothes, and a shower before going back to bed. One can only hope he climbed very carefully up that ladder.
One part of me, the good maternal part that picks up the child that has just comically hurt themselves instead of laughing, felt that I had failed as a mother, again. The children have been trained to stay in their rooms at night until we come and get them in the morning. Brandon issued stern warnings about children in our bed when Kathleen was born, and so everyone knows their place. But we've also told them that emergencies don't count. If there's blood, come get us! Same for all other bodily fluids. We're parents, we're here to help with those sorts of things! But a cup of water, that does not count as an emergency so you'd better leave us the heck alone. Obviously Edwin was more afraid of the wrath than cleaning himself up after a very unfortunately incident. And I want my children to know that they can come to me when they have a problem, no matter the time of night. I'm here to help. That's what I do.
But the other part of me, the part that sends children on errands when I'm too lazy to get up from my book, was relieved. Better to clean up in the morning than at two a.m.
Wednesday was my turn. I gained new empathy for Edwin. My mother-in-law said once that mothers should always get sick before children. We have much more empathy for their suffering when we've already gone through it ourselves.
Brandon got hit Friday morning. To add a twist, we were miles from indoor plumbing. I think maybe getting in touch with your paleo roots should only be done in certain areas of your life.
When I checked Eleanor Saturday morning, she was dead asleep despite her four older siblings' best efforts to wake everyone on the street. So I took a shower and dressed before heading downstairs to cook breakfast. When I peeked in on the baby again, she had destroyed her clothes, her blankets, and the sheets. We finally got breakfast on the table around 10:30, after stripping everything, cleaning off the crib, bathing Eleanor, letting her free, and then cleaning up the vomit (bonus! two bodily fluids!), changing her her again, and cleaning our upstairs carpet for good measure. I don't think there are any diapers in the entire world that can contain a determined baby's loose stools.
Thankfully Eleanor has two blankets she sleeps with, so we could wash one set of blanket and sheet before the next set was destroyed and ready for its turn in the washing machine. I've lost count of how many baths Eleanor has had, how many times the sheets have been changed. Eleanor hasn't worn clothes for the last two day, just diapers. There's no point in putting something on that will just be fouled in an hour anyway.
Until the last few months, our family has had better than average health. We've never had strep throat, ear infections, pneumonia, asthma, allergies, broken bones, or even any cavities. As I've read about others' health woes I've been rather too smug. Obviously we must be doing something right to have such healthy children. Maybe it's just moral superiority. Or the homeschooling lifestyle. It's definitely because I let them drink bath water when they were children. Perhaps God just loves us more. Oh how pride goes before the fall.
Now I'm just like the rest of humanity, with my tales of woe and vomit. Now everyone can wonder how incompetent I must be to have everyone getting sick so often - it must be that I don't wash my vegetables enough or I'm letting the children drink their bath water or maybe I'm just plain incompetent. It's probably all of those things. Perhaps God doesn't love me as specially as He once did, too. And most likely I'm wrong in the other parts of my life, too. It turns out that I wasn't superior, I was just saving up the odds so that I could experience them all in one great long string of unmentionable goriness.
I'm looking forward to at least ten cavities when we visit the dentist this summer. Who wants to start a pool?