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Parenting Fail - Karen's Musings
Random Rambling
Parenting Fail
Why is it that we don't get "do overs" on at least one or two days in our lives? Monday was a do-over day, for sure. It's not just that none of the plans I had came to fruition. It was the complete and utter lack of control that I had over Monday's happenings.

My darling husband had to work Monday, but my nanny was off work for MLK Jr. Day, as was I, so it was single-parenting day. Normally, this isn't such a big deal - but when you spend half your day throwing up, as I do, well, it becomes a more complex matter to handle.

We had originally had plans to visit another triplet mom out in VA, but those plans were canceled. Instead, I made plans to visit a friend up near Baltimore in the afternoon. Best laid plans, and all, I will give you the spoiler: we did not make it to Baltimore.

J wouldn't take his medicine that morning, but he went out for a bit from 10-11.  He came back in the house mopey, weepy, and exhausted. I tried to get J to take his medicine after giving him something to eat - no dice. Fine, I said, then please play in your room until you're ready to take it. He went to his room, but didn't play - he slept for the next five or six hours.

That, alone, would have been reason to cancel the trek to Baltimore, but (alas) that was *not* the full extent of it.

While I was making lunch for the triplets, I heard them playing in the sunroom, and could hear that they were probably into something they shouldn't be, but I put their lunch on the table, called them to come eat, and promptly forgot about checking out the sun room. I called my friend to let her know it wasn't likely that we'd be making it to see her. A mother of four herself, she completely understood, and we had a nice chat instead. Unfortunately, I had to cut the call short - sigh.

I looked over and saw that one of them had pulled some things off the mantle - how they did so is beyond me, but that's another story. I went to go clean up the mess, and noticed that my hand-painted, irreplaceable nesting dolls that were brought to me from Moscow were on the floor. And at least one of them was broken. The smallest one, which is about a quarter of the size of my pinky nail (no joke!) is missing. I know it's just stuff, but... gosh. It had to be that stuff? I cleaned up the mess and realized that Ellie needed a new diaper, so off we went to change her in the nursery (where the changing table is).

While changing a rather disgusting diaper, I heard a *CRASH*. I dashed out to the living room and saw that Sam had pulled my Lenox Vase off the mantle and dropped it (I'm sure it was unintentional, but...). I know it's just stuff... but did it have to be that vase? I love that vase. I picked him and Abby up (did I mention I'm not supposed to be lifting more than 10 pounds at a time and each of my kids is 28-30 pounds?) and put them in their room. They were both barefoot and I didn't want them stepping in shards of anything. When I brought them to their room, I realized Ellie was still patiently waiting on the changing table with her legs in the air and her pants half on/half off (I was putting her pants back ON when the crash happened - so at least she wasn't still sitting in a poopy diaper). I finished getting her dressed, and put them all in their beds (it was naptime anyway) and I went to go clean up the shards of vase on the living room floor.

When I was about halfway through cleaning the vase up, the giggles in the nursery had turned to cries, so I went in there to check on the trio of terror. Much to my dismay, I saw immediately that the mistake had been mine - normally we take the changing table/diaper pail/laundry basket OUT of the room for naptime and bedtime. I had forgotten to do so, so they'd opened the drawer and pulled out the Balmex. Abby was covered, head-to-toe, in Balmex. Sam's hair was caked in it. Abby's pillowcase was totally white, and Piglet (her lovey) was another casualty. I sent out an SOS message to a local group of triplet moms, because I had remembered that another mom in our group had a similar problem a few months ago. Balmex isn't the easiest thing to get out of hair. Or clothes. Nor, as it turns out, is it easy to get off of a hardwood floor, oddly enough.

Well, I got them cleaned up, pulled the changing table, diaper pail, and laundry basket out of the room and reminded them that it was nap time. I resumed the great vase cleanup. I got up as much as I could, but realized I was never going to get all those shards out of the carpet (it's one of the LL Bean braided rugs). The rug was on its last legs anyway - a bunch of stitching had come undone, and it was in terrible condition. Had it been brand new, I would have tried harder to deal with it, but I'm petrified of my barefoot little children getting shards of a stupid shattered vase in their tiny little feet. So I rolled up the carpet, planning to just get rid of it, but as I was doing so, I realized that there was far too much giggling going on in the triplets' room. I went in and found...

Three naked toddlers.

Awesome. I was... not as amused as you might think I was. I got everyone dressed, admonished them and reminded them that it was naptime, and left the room. And I went to move the rolled up carpet to the sun room (too heavy for me to get any further than that), and discovered the disaster that the triplets had created while I was making their lunch. The piano bench was overturned, toys were strewn everywhere. And worse - I have a bookshelf by the front door where I tend to put incoming mail. They had gotten the whole pile down and had shredded it and spread it all over the floor.

So I cleaned that up, called Seth and said, "WHEN ARE YOU COMING HOME?" and then went to check on the triplets. Ellie was trying to sleep, but Sam and Abby? Not so much. And guess who was naked? Abby (and Sam was missing pants, but still had a diaper). Abby got backwards footie pjs and they both got put into bed. Another phone call to Seth, "NO REALLY! WHEN IS YOUR SHIFT OVER AND CAN I EXPECT YOU HOME WITHIN 30 SECONDS OF THAT TIME?"

If I weren't pregnant, this would have been a good time for me to take up recreational drinking. But aside from being pregnant, I'm still hyperemetic, so it wouldn't have been any fun anyway. It's no fun to throw up BEFORE you've gotten plastered.

Finally, Seth came home and I handed the reigns over. And then I went and got some Phenergan (which I'd needed for hours, but couldn't get downstairs to draw it up because of the turmoil of the day). J woke up eventually and demanded dinner - and I left that to Seth as well. I was done.

It was, unfortunately, one of the more memorable days of parenting. I really can't wait until I've forgotten all about it.


21 comments or Leave a comment
marag From: marag Date: January 24th, 2010 03:52 am (UTC) (Link)
::wince:: Oh dear. Um...it'll be a hilarious story in about 20 years?

But as you know, it's not parenting fail, it's just, well, parenting. :(
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: January 24th, 2010 04:03 am (UTC) (Link)
It sure felt like a parenting-fail at the time. Had I been able to just be right on top of them, much of it wouldn't have happened, but the parts I left out involved much puking on my part while they were up to their mischief. So it was, in part, failure on my part to be policing appropriately.

Every now and then I have one of these days where nothing works out right and the kids are holy terrors. They are nearly always the result of my failure to be on top of them. Still, at least these days are in the minority!
hannahsarah From: hannahsarah Date: January 24th, 2010 05:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Oy vey.

*passes you a virtual Xanax*

estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: January 24th, 2010 12:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Unfortunately, much like the drinking, Xanax is out until this little monster is delivered.
sethcohen From: sethcohen Date: January 24th, 2010 05:28 am (UTC) (Link)
It was, unfortunately, one of the more memorable days of parenting. I really can't wait until I've forgotten all about it.

You won't forget it now. If it's on the internet, it's forever.

And, no, I can't sleep. Why do you ask?
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: January 24th, 2010 12:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
right, because I'm going to go back and read every bit of my archives in 20 years?
pocketnaomi From: pocketnaomi Date: January 24th, 2010 06:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, poor sweetie. This is worse than I've ever had to deal with. Then again, I've only had one toddler at a time.

About the only remotely comforting things I can say about this is that it WAS NOT YOUR FAULT, everyone loses track like that, and you just got more fallout from it than most... and that it's blessedly over.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: January 24th, 2010 02:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know it wasn't my "fault" per se - but much of it could have been avoided had I been healthy enough to always be in the room with them - or at least more than I was.

Still, it was one heck of a day!
mindycl From: mindycl Date: January 24th, 2010 02:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
WOW - this should be submitted to a sitcom. it's insanely crazy and funny at the same time. I'mso sorry about the broken items. My Mendy broke my gorgeous cobalt serving piece that I wont afford to replace myself. :( and wow, you managed amazingly - without help - wow.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: January 24th, 2010 02:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I mean, it *is* just "stuff" and I know that all that matters is that no one got hurt. But gosh. Of all the "stuff" in this house - those two were some of the few that I actually really care about. Sigh.

It *is* funny in a way - though it certainly wasn't at the time. It's hard to chase three toddlers with an IV pole as my constant companion. Hopefully today will go better (Seth's working today, but not until 3pm, so hopefully some of their mischief will be out of their systems...).
mindycl From: mindycl Date: January 24th, 2010 03:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
WOW. When I had my drain in for 5 weeks I had help all the time, i was NEVER alone with the 2 kids. I panicked if my chesed help left 10 minutes before my husband came home. (I could handle being home along with mendy but not with Mendy and SM). and that was five weeks and just a drain! how do you handle an IV and four kids on your own? and whyu the heck was your nanny off for mLK day???
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: January 24th, 2010 03:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Truthfully, some of the time that I'm alone with them, I just don't use the IV fluids until after they're in bed - that day I hadn't been able to avoid it, b/c I was pretty dehydrated from throwing up so much. Even without the IV pole, however, I've always got my Zofran Pump and PICC line.

In the DC metropolitan area, the standard is to give MLK day off for nannies - we're a very government-centric society in greater Washington area - so most people have MLK day off, and that makes it a logical day to give nannies off. Seth works in a hospital, so of course he doesn't get MLK day off - but he's the exception around here.

Fortunately, for the most part, my kids are very well behaved and pretty responsive - this post documents the exception, not the norm. It's just that it's less fun to deal with without a spouse. :)

I also know that it *will* get easier with time - so that helps me keep it in perspective. Mostly.
mindycl From: mindycl Date: January 24th, 2010 02:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
oh and next time youre home alone with no help, park them in frontn of the tv.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: January 24th, 2010 02:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
My triplets have never seen TV - there isn't one in any of the parts of the house that they're allowed in.
mrn613 From: mrn613 Date: January 24th, 2010 03:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
So, nu, how do you get balmex out of hair, clothes, etc?
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: January 24th, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hair: baby oil to dissolve it, then dish soap to wash it out. Most sites say one or the other - but either one by themselves doesn't seem to do the trick.

Stuffed animals/linens - cover it with baking soda to absorb the balmex, then wash as you normally would. This, I admit, wasn't perfect - Abby's lovey still has some slightly whiteish spots on it, but it helped a lot.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: January 24th, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Re: hardwood, however, there's no good solution that I can find. It got squished into the grains of wood - so I think time will have to heal THAT wound (e.g. dirt covering it up!)
cellio From: cellio Date: January 24th, 2010 06:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ouch. That sounds horrendously frustrating. :-(
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: January 24th, 2010 11:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
It was not my finest parenting moment, let's put it that way.
real_bethy From: real_bethy Date: January 27th, 2010 06:04 pm (UTC) (Link)


This is why I believe that good mothers like you will go straight to Heaven and spend eternity tucked into a recliner, surrounded by massage therapist angels and sipping bottomless pina coladas.
glenbarnett From: glenbarnett Date: January 28th, 2010 02:53 am (UTC) (Link)
I think we all have parenting fails. I have ... far more than I'd care to admit, under less trying circumstances than you.
21 comments or Leave a comment