A Sprint to the Bus Stop
I am upstairs grabbing Malcolm's clothes for the day when Scarlett calls out to me, "Mom! Come down quick!" Of course someone is freaking out. I left three kids and a dog on the same floor for a minute and a half. I'm almost surprized it took this long.
"Hurry, Mom! He's going to touch me!" She's freaking out because the baby is going to touch her? Really? Being a mother is exhausting. In her defence, she spent four hours in the ER last night because she had welts on her legs and her feet were too swollen to walk on, and she is currently eating her breakfast with her legs up on ice, but a baby touching her does not seem to warrant the level of fear with which she is screaming. I sigh. No doubt, Malcolm crawled under the table and is trying to reach up for her feet.
I start down the stairs. And then I smell it.
I was right about Malcolm crawling under the table and trying to get at her feet, but along the way he got distracted by his diaper. So, just for fun, he pulled it off. Then he pooped. Then he played in it.
So when I round the corner, this is what I see. The baby is covered in poop, reaching up, smearing poop on the chair, smiling, trying to show his sister. The sister is shrieking.
And the dog is eating it.
Nevin is over on the couch flipping through a Lego book humming the chorus to Jingle Bells on repeat.
And its approximately 21 minutes until the bus arrives.
A bath. The baby needs a bath. I whisk him up and jog up to the bath tub, holding him straight out in front. Him, furious that I won't cuddle. Me, to focussed on the bus stop to gag. I plop him in and start the water. He calms right down, until I forget to turn the cold water on and scald him. Its just not our morning.
I bring the clean, clothed baby downstairs. 13 minutes until bus stop time. I tell Nevin to get moving. After my second bark, he stops humming Jingle Bells, slowly gets up from the couch and starts walking towards the mudroom. He asks me, "Why's it smell so bad in here?" You're kidding, right?
I carry Malcolm to the mudroom and suit him up. I carry Scarlett down and help her until we get to the boots part and she balks. I sprint back upstairs to find the softest, warmest pair of socks I have in my sock drawer. We make it work. I am sweating. 8 minutes until bus stop.
I look up at Nevin, my analytical boy, who is normally so focussed and ready to follow orders, and he is playing with a belt on the counter. He is not ready - he doesn't even have shoes on yet. I muster all the intensity I can manage (which was quite a lot in that moment), and give him the same kind of speech that is recited on every Hollywood battlefield and spaceship and ghetto, just after the secondary character has been shot: "Buddy, I need to stay focussed. Just look at me and stay with me. You can do this. Get. Your. Shoes. On." And that boy, you know what he says to me? He says: "Mommy, why does 'phone' start with the letter 'p'?"
Shawn referred to one of them as crack monkeys last night. I don't know what that means, but I think he is right.
5 minutes. Two blocks. One able-bodied child. No back-up plan. We make it with just enough time for Nevin to brag to his disgusted buddies about the baby pooping and the dog eating it. And then he is on the bus.
The rest of us don't go home. Our house is crappy and I need some fresh air.