The Presumptuous Ladybug

A blog about Faith, Family, Life....and Anything else

Category: Life Adventures

Parenting is Expecting the Unexpected

Author: Jacqi Kambish

Being a parent is the greatest and most adventurous life mission.  You say things you never dreamed you would say.  You do things you never dreamed you would do.  The unimaginable and unexpected happens every single day.

Recently, my 5 year old son woke me up at 3:30 a.m. to tell me his bottom was itchy.

3:30 in the morning!

I laid there for a moment in groggy silence trying to process an appropriate response to that.

I’m positive he thought a century had gone by so he repeated his dilemma as loudly as humanly possible.

“Mom…My butt…”

”Shhhhhh.  I heard you.”  I cut him off.  I didn’t want him to wake the entire house.

There were a lot of things going through my mind.  None of which were right and good.  I wanted to go back to sleep.  I wanted to stay in my warm bed.  I wanted to tell him to go back to bed and we would deal with it in the morning.  But, apparently it was so emergent that the discomfort had woken him up.  Here he was, standing over me, with insistence.  No… going back to sleep, any time soon, was definitely out of the question.  As parents, sleep is a privilege we frequently miss out on.

I imagined for a moment what could possibly make him itch enough to have woken him up from a dead sleep.

Maybe he wasn’t really sleeping that well….

Maybe it was poop.  Had he pooped that day?  I don’t know…That must be it.  Unless….

My mind pulled up every horror story I ever heard or read.

Was it some, absolutely, gut turning nasty parasite?

I read once about a type of worm that lives in your intestines and at night when you’re all toasty and sleeping, it crawls out of your bottom to lay eggs and is itchy when it does.

See? 

Horror stories!

I swear, google it.  Wait…maybe … don’t google it.

I gaged a little and terror welled up with in me as I started to crawl out of my warm bed.  If he has a parasite, I am going to lose my mind…

It’s not a parasite.  It CAN’T be a parasite.

My skin started to crawl as I followed him to the bathroom.

“Did you poop today?”  I asked hopefully.

“No…maybe…”

That wasn’t the positive reinforcement I needed right then.

I helped him in the bathroom.  Sure enough, he hadn’t properly wiped.

I explained proper hygiene…again.  I’m sure it went over his head…again.  I shortened it to, “Let me know next time so I can help you get clean.  That’s why you’re itchy, you couldn’t reach.”  He looked at me with doubt in his eyes.  “Every 5 year old needs help with some things.  This is one of them.”

I think that was still too many words.

He nodded absently.

As I helped him back into bed he gave me a hug and a kiss.   He fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.

I wasn’t so lucky.

I was still shaking off the parasite theory.

If parenting has taught me anything, it is to expect the unexpected.  Life doesn’t fit into a beautifully wrapped package.  Things don’t go as planned, dreams don’t always come true, and sticky fingers sometimes smudge up your best ideas.  Sometimes, crap hits the fan and everything seems to fall apart.  Sometimes…you get an itchy butt…

That sleep I so desperately need, that deadline, that perfect meal that just flopped onto the floor…

That flat tire, broken washing machine, and exploding soda…

The sick baby, unemployment, loneliness, anxiety, sorrow…

In life there often are unexpected turns and difficulties threatening to overtake us.

Life can be a pile of itchy poo that is relentless and persistent.  That’s just a fact.  It can be so uncomfortable and painful to deal with.  I’m convinced, though, that the sun always comes out to dry up the rain.  Eventually, things get better.  We can get to the source of our discomfort and, eventually, the fog that has poured in, will lift.  Life gets messy and overwhelming and sad, but there is good too.

I’m trying to remember to focus my attention on the unexpected joys and pleasures rather than the difficulties, no matter how big.  The good is there, even in the middle of gray skies and life’s storms and… an itchy bottom, and no sleep…I promise, it is.

Sweet baby kisses, kindness from a stranger, a loving spouse…

Kids that learn to share, a surprisingly thoughtful gift, an encouraging word from a friend…

Hugs, impromptu dance parties, laughter…

Unexpected moments of joy that remind me to hold tight to hope when things are tough or I’m just having a bad day.

Can I remember to cling to the happy moments, and let go of the irritations and inconveniences?  Can I trust God with the big stuff, enough to keep it from becoming overwhelming?

I can.  I just have to remember in the moment to fix my heart on the good.

Even when it’s 3:30 a.m. and I’m sleepily helping a little boy who still needs me.  One day, this boy may not need me anymore, but in this moment, he is sweetly and wholeheartedly, mine.

Unexpectedly sweet moments are a thing to cherish.  If I remember to check my heart…I won’t miss them.

Public Bathrooms and Small Children-Life Adventures

Author: Jacqi Kambish

bathroom

Bathrooms are a necessary and useful thing.  They serve their purpose and I am thankful that I have plumbing, especially on cold mornings in the winter when temperatures are sub-zero.  I get that they are a modern convenience.  I mean, thank the LORD we don’t have to use outhouses at the mall or grocery store.  Could you imagine that scene?  My nose wrinkles involuntarily just thinking about it.

While I am thankful for the modern convenience of plumbing, public bathrooms still incite a certain level of anxiety for me.  Oh, I wasn’t always this way.  Once upon a time I could use a public bathroom with little difficulty.  I had a routine of use.  It worked well.  I checked for the cleanest looking stall.  I check the toilet seat carefully for remnants of the last user and wiped them away when needed. (Side note:  Seriously people!  If you can’t get it IN the toilet at least do the next person a favor and wipe it away.)   I always carefully placed the toilet seat covers perfectly upon the porcelain throne. I checked for toilet paper on the role before sitting.  I was careful to touch as few surfaces as possible.   I diligently washed my hands and used a paper towel to open the door before leaving the facilities.  I had a perfect, streamlined routine with few upsets.  Maybe it took me a bit longer than my friends to get through my routine but,generally speaking,  going through the routine helped keep me sane in an environment I see as innately contaminated.

I guess I don’t need to mention that I am a bit of a germ-a-phobe.  I try not to be over board about it.  I bite my tongue and suppress my inward cringe when a friend laughingly explains that her child, who is now sharing the same bowl of pretzels with my child, is finally recovering from a nasty stomach bug.  My inward panic button starts screaming’ “What the heck?” while the more subdued reasonable side of me realizes that it probably ran its course already and then mentions to her that maybe the kids should have their own bowl of snacks just in case and… a warning next time would be appreciated.  When I get home, I scrub the children’s hand vigorously and then douse them with a heavy bath of essential oils…just to make me feel better.

But, back to bathrooms….

Oh the days…..The glorious days of using a public bathroom all by myself.

Fast forward 8 years:

I now have an 8 year old, a 5 year old and a 3 year old in tow and my safe routine is constantly being stomped on and thrown to the wind by small people who have no concept of germs and cleanliness.  Take for example a recent and very real bathroom experience I recently had:

 

We are in a small dirty gas station bathroom with one stall.  My oldest takes her turn first.  “Make sure the seat is clean,” I state automatically.  “It is,” comes her reply, much too quickly.  I have my doubts but I am trying REALLY hard not to let my fear of public restrooms surface and take over.

My five year old is next.  He bounces into the stall and slams the door shut before I can intervene.  “I can do it!” he chirps a bit too positively.

Oh my stars!!

I can hear the toilet seat clank as he lifts it.  Curses!  I just KNOW that the rim is a festering bacterial feeding ground.  Little micro somethings are eagerly waiting for an opportunity to attach themselves, like ticks, to my son.

It is my turn.  I look all three of my kids in the eyes with piercing seriousness, “Do NOT touch ANYTHING.”  I’m a bit stern.  They smile and nod.  I’ve had this conversation before…many times.  They don’t care.  They don’t care AT ALL!  They are perfectly happy to lick the walls, hug the toilet seat, and play with the tampon box.  My sanity is hanging by a thread now.  My anxiety is creeping up as I click the stall door shut.  I’m acutely listening to their every move and every word. “Just pee and get out.”  I tell myself.

 

I can hear laughter and the hair rises on the back of my neck, “What are you doing?”  I yell out.  “I said don’t touch anything.  Just stand there.”  I can’t really see them.  I don’t know what they are actually doing.  I just yell it out because…somewhere in recesses of my heart…I know.  I. Just. Know.

I walk out of the stall and take it all in.  They aren’t looking at me.  They are giggling and pointing at each other.  My son is rolling across the putrid floor, my 3 year old daughter is kissing the floor length mirror with a look of delight.  “Look Mommy, I’m giving me kisses.”

My oldest is doing God knows what, but her mouth is open and against the filthy wall.  I can hear her laughing.  My anxiety soars to Code Red.  She looks at me and smiles. “I’m a Sucker Fish!”

She is laughing.  I am not.

I am not sure who to address first.  My mind is reeling.  Dirty floor! Dirty mirror! Dirty wall!

“For land’s sakes!!  What is WRONG with all of you?!”

I can’t stop myself, the words are flying out.  I’m turning in circles and looking at each of them, unable to focus on just one child.  Their giggles stop.  They looked surprised.

Why do they look surprised?  We had this conversation last week!  Why on EARTH do they look surprised?

“What’s wrong Momma?”  Bubba looks bewildered.

“The bathroom is dirty, everything is dirty!  People POOP in here!” I say with exasperation.

They are just looking at me.  I know they know I’m losing it.  They are waiting for the insanity to run itself out. “Don’t touch anything and especially DO NOT put your MOUTH on anything in the bathroom.  Do I really have to say, ‘Don’t lick anything?’  Do NOT Lick ANYTHING!  And do NOT put your mouth on anything.  Not the wall or the mirror or anything!?”  In my hysterical state I am suddenly overcome with the humor of it all.  I get an image in my head of them with their tongues frozen to the faucets like the kid, Flick, in The Christmas Story who got his tongue frozen to the pole.  In that moment a woman walks into the bathroom.  I know she heard my rant because she gives me a knowing look of sympathy.  When our eyes meet a laugh begins to bubble up into our faces.  I realize it is comical, at the same time I am horrified.  I’m not sure which feeling is strongest but somehow the laugh finds its way to my lips.  The Lady starts to laugh as well.  I’m ushering the kids out as the laughter takes over.  My son is looks at me and asks, “What’s so funny?  What’s funny Momma?”

“Life.”  I respond, “Life is funny.”