I heard a quote once that went something like this: "Sometimes life is like walking through a field of roses...During the journey you only notice the thorns, but looking back you only see the blossoms." Since most of the entries on my blog are retrospective blossom posts (which are more fun to share!) - I thought that I would include a post from today (well...yesterday technically, but let's not be too picky) where I experienced "only noticing the thorns". I don't do so to complain. I'm close to many people who are dealing with much more serious challenges, but since this is my journal I feel a need to include a more diverse representation of what my life consists of...and it just isn't always roses!
Things started out this morning with the normal battles that result from getting two little boys (and myself) up, fed, dressed/ready, diaper bag packed, and everyone out the door. By the time we all got into the car I was already ready for a nap and our day had just barely begun *sigh* We showed up 20 minutes late for playgroup (sorry, Leah) at the Jewish Community Center. I found out upon arriving that the JCC requires children to wear their type of swim diaper covers, so Leah loaned me one (thanks a million!) and we had to stand in line to buy another one. The boys were excited to get to the pool and were loud & rambunctious, and I had to keep chasing Lincoln down and dragging him back to the line...until I began just holding his wrist so he couldn't get away. That led Lincoln into protesting by means of spaghetti legs (I assume that any parent knows what I'm talking about) and screaming, and then progressed into running circles around me and yelling (while I turned in circles to keep a hold of his wrist).
Finally we got through the line and headed to the locker room. Commence next juggling act - changing my two boys into their swim diapers/suits without letting either of them run away or fall off of wet benches onto the tile floor. Lincoln's knee got stuck between a bench and the lockers and we got it unwedged after a few minutes of struggling.
We get out to the pool, set up our towels, get Lincoln situated in his tube that I blew up (similar to the one in this picture), and finally make our way out into the water (against Noah's protests of the cold water - which wasn't really cold). "Tada!" I thought. Nope. The lifeguard blows her whistle and says I can't have my kid in a flotation device (which the pool rules I read stated that they were allowed if the pool wasn't crowded - which is wasn't, but I wasn't in the mood to argue).
So! Tube out. Me & boys back in. Swimming goes pretty smoothly (for watching a 3 and 1 year old). Then it's a mandatory 10 minute pool break, which the boys are definitely not ok with. Fruit snacks distract them briefly, but then they run out. Finally back into the pool. More swimming. Then Noah needed to go in for a potty break. This is all pretty routine summertime stuff that moms deal with so far, but I haven't written any of it down myself before now.
Anyway! I slowly began to let Lincoln play a little further away from me (I'm talking a few feet) while I watch him from inside the pool. At one point he fell at the edge of the zero entry, but I didn't hear him cry and he didn't turn around for me (and even though his back was to me, I could see that his face wasn't in the water) - so I didn't go over to him...until another mom did. She asked him if he was ok, so I rushed over. Once I got closer to him I could hear that he was crying, and we thought that he was just upset about the girl near him not wanting to share her ball (since Lincoln doesn't usually cry about falling down much). So, I picked him up to talk to him and just then blood starts gushing out of his mouth. It shocked me, but I wasn't too worried since I know how mouths bleed...I was more just surprised (and felt guilty) that I hadn't even known that he'd hurt himself. Poor kid.
So - I wrapped him up in a towel and cleaned up the blood with a shirt (thanks, Jess - I'll get that washed & back to you!) and Lincoln cried and whimpered while cuddling into me. I almost hate to admit it, but I really enjoyed the cuddling part - just not the circumstance that it was contingent upon. Then! After he started to calm down more and I finished cleaning him up I saw that he had chipped his tooth when he fell! Aaargh!
I know it's nothing life altering or anything, but it's the first semi-permanent injury (surprisingly, with how much he falls) that Lincoln has had - and I was already feeling guilty that he'd gotten hurt in the first place (without me knowing while I was watching him). It was a decent sized chip, but I did originally think that it was even larger since I wasn't able to get a very good look at it until I took this picture at the dentist's office later today.
His dentist said that there were no exposed nerves and that the damage was just cosmetic, but I did have them go ahead and fix it anyway since it was right on his top, front tooth. They did a quick, painless procedure where they just augmented his tooth to fill out the chipped area. It's more of a translucent color, not exactly the same as his tooth but it makes things pretty unnoticeable - plus it covers the exposed dentin of his tooth, so that's good.
Anyway! Back to the pool (yes, there's more). After not much longer it was time for us to get going so we headed back to the locker room. More trying to wrangle two boys (now wet) and get them both changed without injury or one of them escaping. We did alright clear up until the end when Lincoln bolted between a group of people coming into our area of the locker room. So, I quickly gathered up the beach bag & Noah, and we went to catch up with Lincoln...only I couldn't find him. He's a quick little guy, as many of you know. So, I hurried through the whole locker room looking for him...eventually started calling out his name, looked in all the bathroom stalls, etc. After going through the locker room twice I started to get scared. I ran Noah & the beach bag back over to the area where Leah was and dumped them both with her (thanks again, Leah) even though she was juggling two kids of her own.
Then I really started running around. People probably thought I was nuts - I was calling out Lincoln's name and pushing aside shower curtains to look inside all of them (some were occupied). Once I was sure that he was nowhere in this big locker room I rushed out to the main area of the building. I looked in the workout room, exercise class room, and ran up to the front desk asking if they'd seen a toddler wandering around (they said no). I was getting really frantic by this point, and a million things were going through my mind. Lincoln is fast kid and a serious climber - it would take him no time at all to get himself hurt in a non kid-proof place like this. I ran over to the men's locker room and almost ran in, but restrained myself and just yelled in asking the men in there to look for a toddler (they called back that there wasn't one).
So, I went through the women's locker room one more time and then headed outside to check the pool area. I assumed he wouldn't be out there since the door to get out there from the locker room was a heavy metal door that kids couldn't open on their own (smart). I was somehow just sure that I was going to see his little body at the bottom of the pool somewhere. I ran out and while I was looking around in the pool a couple of the moms from playgroup called my name. They were motioning me to come over, but I thought they were pointing out to the pool so I got even more scared expecting to see Lincoln in the pool alone somewhere...finally it registered that they wanted me to look over at them. And there was a young guy (with them) holding Lincoln. Poor Lincoln was sobbing, and it took everything in me not to join in with him.
The guy said that he found Lincoln outside over by the exit to the men's locker room, and that Lincoln had fallen down and hurt himself so he picked him up to help him find his mom. So, Lincoln must have bolted out of the locker room back into the main building (there's no door there) and then made his way into the men's locker room (again, no door)...and then somebody must have let Lincoln out into the pool area (inadvertently or not). Maybe it's a good thing that Lincoln fell down and cut his little wrist, so he got this guys attention (who kept him safe until I found him)...but I felt horrible that he got hurt (AGAIN) and that I was nowhere to be found.
When I took Lincoln from this guy I thanked him and Lincoln just clung to me (he's not normally a clingy kid). I clung back to him to be honest. I was so glad that he was safe, and I just wanted to find a private place to bawl my eyes out. I think part of that urge was from the sense of relief, and another part was from the feeling that I deserved a worst-mom-of-the-day award.
So, I got Noah & my stuff back from Leah and rushed off to my car. Once I got the boys strapped in and I sat down in the car, I relented and indulged myself in a good 10 minute or so cry. Then I pulled myself together and called Lincoln's dentist for an appointment, and after that I called Mark for a little comfort and my phone died (of course). So, I went and spoiled the kids with happy meals from McDonalds.
That's almost the end of my griping about today. The boys were pretty good at the dentist, and the staff are always so good with the kids (and parents) there. The toy drawer patched up any anxious feelings that Lincoln had during his appointment. So we were done with that chapter of the day, and I was pretty ready to get home. Then as we left the dentist's office
Noah tripped and cracked his shin on the cement step. I just stared down in amazement. Seriously? He's ok, it's not too bad of a cut or anything...but now my other child was hurt & crying, and the sight of more blood was about all I wanted to deal with for the day.
Luckily when we got home the boys readily went down for naps, and I unwound by doing a bunch of type A stuff (re-writing lists, budgeting, making calendars) and that helped me feel in control of some aspect of my life.
So, although I am physically wiped out and emotionally drained from today - and I'm wondering why I'm staying up late writing this right now...life is good. I'm so grateful for our little family. And I'm so glad that I have all three of my boys under the same roof with me right now - sleeping away peacefully and safely. I think that I'll go do the same now...