Elbow Grease

My mom-van finally glistened in the growing darkness. I dropped the dirty blue cloth into my washing supplies and put one hand on my hip with pride. Evening is the only time I am free long enough to clean my vehicle. 

My brother pulled up in the driveway at that exact moment. He gave me the usual cursory glance and informed me that I should be doing waterless car washes.  

This was my moment to shine. “I just did!” I called out to make sure he heard my accomplishment. 

His only reaction was a side glance as he walked into the house. 

I huffed to myself. “Pfffft. Whatever.” 

He came back out a few minutes later and mumbled, “What are you using, anyway?”   

Pushing the bottle into his hand, I took a step back and watched him read it carefully. 

“This isn’t a waterless car wash,” he stated grimly. “It’s a detail spray.  What you use after your car is clean.”  

A look of horror froze onto my face. No way. No no no.  I snatched the bottle from him and stared at the words written plainly across the top: “Spray Detail.”

Oh. My. Goodness.  Can I please just crawl into the heap of unfolded laundry on my bed and go to sleep? You know what? I still don’t even understand Spray Detail.  What I DO know is that I let my kids starve so I could detail my dirty mom-van. All for nothing. Pffffft.


Are you gonna eat this?

I gathered dishes and food from the table and walked toward the kitchen.  As I passed my mom, a thought occured to me. “Mom, are gonna eat this?”

She took a few steps forward to inspect what I offered.  The baby bowl tipped forward and we watched the lone plump strawberry fall to the ground. 

My mom spoke slowly, her eyes glued to the strawberry’s new location. I guess because she is a mom, she had to state the obvious.  “No, I am not gonna eat that.”

“Yeah. Okay.” It is just that kind of day. 

When Was the Last Time…

I simply cannot remember.  Did I poop yesterday? Or am I constipated? Umm. I was really busy. Every time I had to go, I remember getting interrupted. I think. Or not. Wouldn’t I be extra gassy?

The short path from the kitchen to the bathroom was an endless loop of obstacles.  “MOM! She was looking at me!” Or “My neck is dry. I need water. I need water. Mommy. I need water, Mommy!”   What was that blob on the wall? A booger?  No one confesses.

Midnight arrived. Kids were in bed. Home lunches prepared, kitchen and living room cleaned, paperwork completed and I took advantage of showering with hot water. (Who likes to shower after water hogs?) Brushed my teeth, quickly decided against worrying about tomorrow’s outfit, and sank into bed. 

Shit. I forgot to poop. 

Just a Curious Kid

“Mom.” Her voice brushed softly against my ear. I turned my head to look at my 5 year old.  She continued. “Who is gonna be our mom when you die?”

I blinked. “What?” 

“I don’t want you to die. But who is gonna be our mom?” Tears rimmed her big eyes. 

“Oh, honey, I am not dying. But I will always be in your heart, no matter what happens. I can be an angel and watch out for you forever.”

“But how do angels die?”

Even though I am an avid Supernatural fan, I tried to reassure her. “Angels don’t die. So I will watch you all the time.”

“But who will take care of us if you are an angel?” 

Oh, come ON! Do all five year olds question death and caretakers every few days? I hugged her tight. “Your aunty will take care of you.”

She paused to think, staring at the wall behind me.  “Okay. Can I watch movies now?” 

I sighed and stroked her hair. “No. Please go to sleep. Shhhhh.” 

The Terror

“Shhhh.” I gently removed my fingertips from his back and retreated. My gaze did not leave him.

One more step. Almost in the clear.

Done.  With an inaudible sigh of relief,  I turned around and reached onto a shelf to check pending mail. My leg grazed a VHS tape from the donation pile and it clattered to the floor.


My head whipped around to look at the sleeping toddler. Don’t wake up!

His body inhaled deeply and slightly shuddered. I continued to stand frozen in place. My arms were still in midair, my knees bent as I crouched like a gorilla.

I slowly returned to human form and wiped a bead of sweat from my forehead.  That was close.

Mom’s Don’t Poop

I am pretty sure I haven’t had a real poop in ages.  I mean, how many parents can really find time to poop in peace?

At bedtime, it can take a gazillion years for them to fall asleep. When they finally shut their darling little eyeballs, I barely function well enough to brush my teeth. So, how could I possibly make it to the bathroom and coax my body to perform on demand? Not me!

You really have to go when your body is ready. Miss that urge and POOF! It will return again the absolute worst time.  Standing in the grocery store, having checked off item number three out of twenty. Or driving your kids to practice, without hope of a decent private bathroom for HOURS. Worse, getting caught by another parent when a super strong wave hits:  “***poop now-poop NOW – POOP NOWWWWW***.”

I don’t know what happens to anyone else, but I feel my face flush.  Not a toilet flush – my face flushes.

My bodily functions are a private matter.  But sometimes, I share it with my kids. And they just happen to be young and unaware of the word ‘discretion.’   “Oh, well my mom said she has to poop so we can’t stay.”

Yeah.  That happens. 

Turkey Tale

So… my mom pulls out two turkey breasts from the oven. Someone asks where she got that from, since my brother just finished carving (or hacking) the turkey. She said she cut off the breasts from the turkey before cooking it. She joked that she performed a mastectomy on the turkey.

I didn’t laugh. Rather, I was perplexed. It seemed like an odd thing to do. No wonder my brother appeared to struggle with the turkey. Poor thing. My mom sabotaged him.

Later, I overheard my other brother asking my mom where she got all that extra turkey. He was probably confused, too. I tried to help him out and piped up. “Mom cut it off the turkey before she baked it!”

My mom clutched at her belly, doubled over. I watched her in utter confusion. Finally, she gasped out, “I was joking! I bought extra turkey breasts.”

Omg. Of course you don’t cut off the breasts before cooking a turkey. I felt as stupid as the girl who thought they cooked a pregnant turkey.

Building Babies

My eyebrows furrowed slightly.  “Who built you?”

“No! Who builded me?!” She gestured to her arms.

I stopped trying to correct her and answered, “Mommy and Daddy made you. We built you.”

“How did you build me?” She looked up at me and waited.

“Well, Daddy planted a seed in Mommy. Mommy had an egg in my tummy and the seed mixed together and you grew in my belly! When you grew big enough, you came out of my belly and now you are growing even bigger!”

She covered her eyes. “I don’t want a seed in my tummy!”

“Oh, no honey.   You have to be a big girl like mommy to get a seed.”

“Did it hurt?”

I was slightly astounded at the speed and number of questions she fired at me. “Yes. It does hurt to grow and have a baby. That’s why you need to wait until you are big like Mommy.”

“I don’t want to hurt.”

“Oh, honey.” I pulled her into a hug. “You don’t have to have a baby!”

“Okay. Sing me a song.”

And just like that, my three year old was done hearing about where babies come from.

Unexpected Waterfalls

There comes a time in every mother’s life, when she asks herself, “Why me?” Although I seem to have one of those moments at least once a day, I don’t think I am weak or lazy. Perhaps I am just in the middle of a VERY long streak of challenges.

She grasped me tightly and sobbed into my shoulder. “No, Mom!” Her three year old voice was in obvious pain.

“Please, honey. Just let your pee pee go. Stop holding it in.” I closed my eyes as she wailed louder, hopping frantically in my arms.

I had applied the urine bag around her private parts as the nurse instructed me. We needed a sample or she would need a catheter. Right now, I couldn’t figure out which was worse.

As my twelve year old daughter and I sat in the middle of the bathroom floor, I held my baby closer to me and murmured gently in her ear. “Everything’s going to be okay. All you have to do is let your pee out in the bag and Mommy will take it to the doctor. You don’t have to go. Mommy will drop it off! We are going to make sure you are all better now!”

She screamed furiously as the pressure in her bladder became overwhelming. My older daughter gasped out. I jerked as pee began spraying on my leg.

No, I obviously did not place it in the exact correct spot, or perhaps it moved with all her jumping. Who was that screaming? All of us, I think.

I grabbed at the bag and tried to hold it in place as her warm urine gushed over my hand. No time for caring. There was NO way I was going to put either of us through this ordeal again. I was going to catch her pee, dammit.

Her eyes widened, mouth reflected shock. We had a major waterfall, and it was splashing everywhere.

The torrent finally stopped. Silence ensued while I gently peeled the bag from her private area. My baby cried out again as she resumed peeing. Standing up peeing straight on a floor would bother anyone who was nearly potty trained.

My older daughter found a washcloth and held it uncertainly. I latched onto it and pressed it against my baby like a diaper, the bag of pee held precariously in my other hand.

We shrieked to each other in our confusion. “Mom, she wants to make the rest on the potty!”

I glanced at the precious pee bag and pee washcloth in my hands. “Put her on! I can’t move!”

I watched, pee dripping down my leg, as my oldest daughter placed my youngest on the toilet. I heard immediate tinkling.

My older daughter looked at me. I stared back. It was rather awkward until she broke the silence. “Mom. I have pee on my leg.”

I kept staring at the pee bag.

“Yeah. Me too. Uh, do you wanna hold this pee bag, or clean this pee up.. Or …” I was pretty uncertain, although I knew I had to act fast.

“Ummm, no. Uhhh, okay.” She took the pee bag from me and stood still. One glance at the baby assured me she was going to just stay on the potty.

I found the pee cup and took the pee bag. Pulling the tab at the bottom, I frowned as I lost some, dribbling through my fingers. “No!” I exclaimed, carefully aiming the bag to the cup. I capped it and placed it in the biohazard zip lock bag. I washed my hands and ran to put it on ice. They told me that was important.

I came back with baby wipes for the eldest and found them in the exact same positions. I evaluated the situation and let them stand/sit there until I cleaned up the pee from the floor with Clorox.

We cleaned ourselves as best we could and I left in a hurry to submit this precious sample.

Pulling into the parking lot, apprehension settled on me as I envisioned carrying an ice bag of pee into the clinic. There was no way to feel regular about that.

I turned off the car and walked quickly to the laboratory, on the heels of a young couple. They sat down to wait as I stood awkwardly shifting with my pee bag.

The lady at the desk asked me if I was dropping off. I gave a short laugh. “Yes, but this is the kind of thing you need your gloves for, and I need to go home and shower after.”

She nodded and had me wait as she typed for minutes. A line began forming behind me, as I continued to hold my pee pee bag.

She finished her typing and turned to me. “Is it shi shi or doo doo?”

I felt the eyes widen and ears grow, from the line behind me as I guffawed, “Oh no, that would be terrible. It’s pee.” I added hurriedly, for everyone’s benefit, “It’s my three year old daughters. It was difficult to get.”

That was certainly an understatement. Did they all hear me? Did they understand I didn’t carry my own pee around?

I pretended to be invisible as I left the office. My eyes kept straight ahead, I sighed internally.

I have pee on me. Again. I do what I have to do. This is my life.