"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Friday, March 2, 2012

the point at which it fell apart

I had this Mother of Three thing down.

Aside from the more-than-occasionally sad, pouty Maxwell (sniff), things were smooth and easy.

I even Facebook-bragged about it yesterday afternoon: "All three kids napping. At the same time." I boasted. But prematurely....Evan woke up after forty minutes with a raging fever. It's his default symptom when he's coming down with any kind of virus. So my quiet afternoon turned into cooling down a hot and cranky sick 4-year old, keeping happy my on-the-verge-of-a-meltdown pouty-faced 2-year old, and cluster-nursing my eat-all-afternoon-so-I-can-sleep-all-night newborn (which I'm NOT complaining about).

BUT...I had it all together. I can totally handle this.

This morning, after I nursed Molly and brought her downstairs to her adoring public, I showered and, feeling extra Super-Mom, even PUT ON JEANS. "Big Jeans," but jeans nonetheless. With a BUTTON.

And then I went downstairs and took another look at my baby girl. The newborn eye gunk that I had first noticed last night was full-on drainage and her eye was severely swollen, nearly shut.

So, into the pediatrician we would go.

I was a little nervous...I had two big boys teetering on the edge, and it was our first real outing as a quartet, but....I was wearing JEANS! I could do this!

The visit with the doctor went beautifully: the boys were great, and charming, and adorable. They sat together, smooshed into one chair, reading Dr. Seuss books and telling the doctor how much they love their "boo boo baby Molly." Molly was a champ (back up to birth weight!) and was diagnosed with nothing more than a blocked tear duct. The doctor called in a prescription to the local drive-thru pharmacy for an antibiotic ointment and we would be on our way....

Until, we weren't.

We pulled into the drive-thru behind two other customers. The first car pulled away after only two or three minutes. The car in front of us pulled up to the window and Molly started to fuss. Because she's such a happy, contented baby, even fussing started to agitate the boys. Evan was worried about her, telling me that I should just tell her that I'd pick her up when we got home. Max was getting antsy, saying, "I wanna get down out my seat Right Now, Mommy, with no more of Molly crying." The minutes started to tick by, the car in front of us stayed right where it was, and Molly's fussiness was escalating to full-blown crying.

I surveyed my scene to figure out a potential exit strategy and noticed that I was completely boxed in. The car in front of me clearly wasn't going anywhere fast, I had pulled in too far forward into the drive-thru lane to swerve out to the side, and there was a growing line of cars behind me preventing a back-up. I was trapped. Literally.

And the crying escalated again to hysterical, newborn shrieking. The kind of hysterical crying that makes you start to sweat and panic (and your milk to come in).

And Max was yelling over the shrieking, "Stop crying, Molly! I get down from my seat RIGHT NOW, MOMMY!"

And Evan had his hands over his ears and was yelling, "It's too loud in this van, Mom!"

And I put the van in park and climbed back to try to soothe my poor screaming baby girl, while keeping an eye on the car in front of me, SURE that the driver would have her prescription in hand any second now.

And then, the driver in front of me pulls out her cell phone. And makes a call. AND HANDS THE PHONE TO THE PHARMACIST. The pharmacist has the phone for a minute or two, hands the phone back to the driver and leaves the window.

And the newborn screaming continues.

And the toddler yelling continues.

And Evan says, loudly, "I just wish that car in front of us would hurry up already because IT'S SO LOUD IN HERE."

And I'm sweating and on the verge of tears and I can not stop the crying or the yelling or the loudness.

This went on for, I'm not exaggerating: More than TEN MINUTES. We had been in the drive-thru line for fifteen minutes before we were finally able to pull forward. And when we did, I came face-to-face with the pharmacist: a 20-year old kid with a punky haircut named Colby who has never spent 10 minutes in the hell that I had just experienced. And I looked at him with crazy harried-mom eyes and, as he tried to apologize for the, like, really long wait, I shoved my insurance card and credit card at him and shouted, "Molly Harris! Eye drops!"

And he said, "Oooohhhh. Yeah, she's a new patient? It'll be, like, ten or fifteen minutes, 'kay?"

And I burst into tears.

And Colby looks at me like I'm crazy or hormonal or someone who doesn't have it all together and says, so condescendingly I could have shown him what Real Crazy looks like, "Ma'am, why don't you just leave your insurance card here so I can process it, 'kay?" And I spit, through tears, "Give me the cards back. Of COURSE I can't wait 10 to 15 minutes!" And I drive away. With tears streaming down my face.

And call Sam. Bawling. Seriously, ugly crying. And tell him that he needs to stop by the pharmacy because there's NO WAY I could possibly leave the house again after this experience.

And Molly is still crying.

And Max, who has stopped yelling, is now saying in the most pitiful, sulky voice, "It's all my fault."

Which, I don't even know WHERE he heard or if he even knows what it means, but it's worse than the yelling and hearing him say it makes me cry even harder.

And Evan is sitting perfectly still and quiet, looking at me suspiciously from the way back of the van, trying to figure out why and how, exactly, his Mom lost all control.

And, through my tears, I'm shouting back to all three of them, "I love you! I'm sorry! Let's go home and watch Octonauts, 'kay?! I LOVE YOU!"

Lesson Learned:
So we got home and, after I had fully convinced Max that none of that was his fault, had some nice snuggly time in front of Disney Junior. A lot of time in front of Disney Junior.

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