Yesterday my 3 yo woke up wet. He is potty-training, and he did not get the full hang of it yet. So I washed him, stripped his bed, washed his sheets, and sent him off to school. In the afternoon, when I picked him up, he had a bag of laundry: he had a major accident, his teacher ended up throwing away his underwear, and I had another load of laundry to do. I did it.
Yesterday was a bath night, so I washed the baby while my helpful 6 yo washed her brother.
This morning, he woke up wet again, only today it was when the baby was strapped in her high chair for breakfast. I had to decide: wash him and let her scream? Or get him dressed as he is, and feed the baby? I chose to get him dressed: that would be his third bath in 24 hours. But then the baby refused to eat. And then she had diarrhea. And another bout. And she threw up after her nap, all over her crib, all over her hair. So I had to wash her caked-in hair, and run another load of laundry. And then I had to decide: take 10 yo to his violin lesson? For various reasons the lesson did not happen in the last two weeks, and I did not want him to miss yet another make-up session. And do I go to park day afterward, so boys get to see their friends? Or do I declare baby to be sick, and not take them? But then I still have to pick up 3 yo and 6 yo from school in the afternoon, so I will have to take thebaby out again. And they are having a bake sale at school, so there is no carpool, and the kids will not be taken out to the cars.
So I watch the baby, and she seems fine. I quickly throw some lunch together for the boys, tell them that if their sister appears to be sick, we are leaving early, and go.
She is fine during the lesson, she is slightly cranky during park day. I buy her juice boxes while 10 yo is at his lesson, hoping to get fluids into her. She drinks the juice box, but spends more time chewing the box and the straw.
We drive to pick up the younger ones. She falls asleep. We are listening to this course on the History of the Bible, and it is talking about Babylonian and Roman captivity. Historically, it is corroborated that Jews fought bravely and held out till the point of starvation. And today is Yom Hazikaron.
10 yo sweetly offers to stay in the car with his asleep sister as long as I get him a treat from the bake sale, but the baby wakes up as soon as we park. I bring everyone inside and get them all treats. 3 yo is sporting a different pair of shorts than the ones I put on him in the morning. "An accident?" I ask his teacher. "A small one," she replies. The baby throws the piece of cookie that I offer her on the ground. I get comments from teachers that they did not know that I had older kids. Nod and smile, finish up the cookies, throw the plates in the garbage, buckle up and drive home.
As we are driving, 10 yo announces that he is sure that his sister's diaper needs to be changed. I wonder whether 3 yo's laundry smells, or whether it is the baby again. But I am falling asleep, so I need a drive-through coffee. The kids grumble how I am not rushing home to change the baby's diaper. I am feeling guilty as is. Where did she get this stomach upset? Is it the bathwater that she started drinking? Or the floor that she is licking? Or my slippers that she keeps on chewing? Or something else?
I get home and tell the kids to unload as many things from the car as they can. The baby's diaper has leaked, so I rush with her to the bathroom, trying to contain the mess. I change her, wash her, scream for someone to bring me a tub to put in her soiled clothes. I nurse her and feel guilty for taking her out today.
Later, I have to return to the car to get all the water bottles that were left behind. The unmistakable stench warmed up by the sun hits me: she must have leaked all over her car seat. I have to uninstall it to remove the cover. And there are the inaccessible cheerios that i did not vacuum up before Pesach because i could not get to them. Or are these post-Pesach Cheerios? She has been eating for the past week.
Yes, it could be worse. Somebody could be in a hospital. Somebody could be much sicker. But here is the deal: when it gets much worse, people get mobilized. People make meal trains. People offer to watch kids. Family steps up. Who will step up so I can strip the car seat? Take a child to a violin lesson? Watch the baby so I can take 3 yo to the bathroom yet another time? My boys have been great, but they are kids.
So do not say "it could always be worse". It does not help.