Here’s the scene: Saturday night and I’m climbing into the back of my SUV as my son has taken a fruit squeeze and shaken it all over the car — all over the damned car!
It started when my husband was hit with a drop of applesauce and turned to see the child shaking the tube. I looked back in the rearview and saw applesauce on the mirror, the door and the kid.
After I got in the backseat, I noticed the mess was worse than I imagined. There is applesauce in my car that will never come out and that I will never find, although I did find some on the back of my head.
My reaction, and I’m calling on my fellow moms to lift me up in this moment, was to scream, “What did you DO?” I grabbed a blanket from the seat and began cleaning the kid and trying to salvage the upholstery of my car.
I berated the child about the behavior and in one of my worst mother moments to date, I told him I was throwing away his stuffed dog because it had applesauce on it. Feeling terrible for yelling and making a general public ass of myself on a Saturday night in the middle of Bardstown Road, I climbed out of the seat, shook my head in defeat and paused for a moment in the cold night air.
When I sat back in the driver’s seat, I took a deep breath and turned the radio up as loud as it would go so I didn’t have to hear his screaming after Mommy’s tirade. Then I broke down in tears — is this what my life is now? The headline: “Assault by applesauce: Maniacal mom throws bigger fit than baby.”
To fully integrate you with my collapse, I need to bring this all back to Saturday morning when I woke up, excited about my appointment for a manicure and brow waxing. Since all moms are short on time for themselves, this Saturday was going to be my first beauty indulgence in nearly two years. Yay, Mom.
I dressed, handed over the child to a half-asleep husband and left. I drove to the St. Matthews salon. I got manicured. The brows were “on fleek” (as the young folks say), and I took lunch to my own mother’s house to relax. This was the start to an amazing day.
When I made it home in the early afternoon, I opened the front door to a child screaming from his crib. My shoulders dropped. First, I contemplated turning and leaving, but instead walked up the stairs to the bedroom to find the child hopping up and down, snotty and wailing. I also saw my exasperated husband staring at me hollow-eyed from the office.
I asked if the child had his milk … his snack … his lunch. He had only milk. Given the unabashed rage moms feel when dads fail to understand the needs of a child, I suggested, not politely, that my husband feed the kid his full lunch or give him a snack before tossing him in the bed.
Here comes the gross generalization: Men are not always as equipped to deal with the nuances and changes of a toddler as a mom is, but this seemed like a moment for logic. Noon plus three hours means hunger. I am with the kid most, and for me it feels like second nature.
Instead of scooping up the crazy child, my husband’s solution was to give the kid a snack in his crib — an oatmeal cereal bar with no water. I let my husband deal with the issue because the responsibility should be his sometimes to figure out and resolve these parenting dilemmas. I feel awful that the kid was upset but mom can’t always save the day. Daddy needs to be the hero sometimes.
A few minutes went by and I heard nothing from my husband or the crib. Maybe the bar was all my son needed to relax. Then I heard choking. I waited because my husband was in the room with him and would surely take care of it. More choking. I walked into the room, saw my son covered in vomit and my husband walking around in his robe — confused and panicked, with a handful of baby spew.
So my breakdown after the applesauce caper was the result of a long day, the busted relaxation of my momma’s day out and a ruined manicure. Can I get a do-over, please?