As I carried my almost two-year old out of the school, I desperately hoped and prayed his cries for his older brother would not attract attention. Today was not the day I wanted to run into anyone I knew. My appearance would have to be explained and I did not feel like explaining. I was actually quite surprised by the boys difficult goodby, especially after the events of the morning. I thought they would welcome the break from each other. But instead, they cried to stay together as I frantically walked to my car, desperate to get home and wash the shampoo out of my hair.
The morning did not start out as I had planned. In the middle of the night my four-year old woke crying and I crawled into bed with him. This was fine and all, until I woke up to the horrible smell of urine. His diaper had leaked all over me and the smell had permeated my skin and clothes. I felt an immediate wave of nausea. This only worsened when I realized that the sheets and my clothes were dry, which meant I had been marinating in pee for hours. While I am not afraid to drive my son to school without a shower, even I have standards. I was going to shower. This was non-negotiable even if that meant that my son would be late to school.
I stripped the bed, hosed down my four-year-old and put on the TV for the boys in my bedroom. I figured, if they were close to me I could monitor them while I showered. Before I put shampoo in my hair, I stepped out of the shower and peeked out the door into the bedroom . They were both totally engrossed in Mickey. I got back in the shower and paused, listening one last time for conflict.
You see, I call the shampoo phase of any shower, “The point of no return.” The soap has to come out. I can leave with my legs half shaven or hop in the car with no conditioner. To rinse soap off my body takes two seconds. But washing my long thick head of hair can’t be aborted without looking ridiculous. I needed five minutes to scrub and rinse the odour of dried urine out of my hair. As any parent knows, a lot can go wrong in five minutes, especially with a two-and four-year old. So, I held my breath and hoped for the best as I put the soap in my hair.
The second the soap was in I could hear the yelling. I still have no idea who started it. But all I saw was the baby running past the bathroom door screaming with his big brother closing in on him. In a tackle that would make Bill Belichick proud the baby went to the ground and the wrestling match over the car he was holding commenced. I was yelling at them to stop while madly trying to rinse my hair. But, I underestimated how quick things would escalate. Realizing the toy car was harder to pry away from his brother than he expected, my oldest decided to use his size advantage. So with a mischievous smile on his face he sat on his little brother’s head. Once his brother was properly pined, he demanded, “Give it to me.” But my baby is no pushover and his big brother underestimated him. The baby screamed, “No,” and bit his brother in the ass.
Now out of the sower, dripping wet and with soap in my hair, I pulled my four-year old off his brother with one hand and grabbed the prized car with the other. My oldest protested, “Hey! We were playing with that!” Both of them were now sitting, staring at me with huge smiles on their faces and my oldest still rubbing his butt. “This is NOT funny!”, I yelled. But it was too late. They were both laughing.
“Hey mom, your hair looks funny! Why do you have soap in your hair!?” my oldest said giggling. “Because you peed on me!” I said exacerbated. But it was the wrong thing to say. He heard me in the only a way a four-year old could. “Hey brother,” he said, “mommy has soapy pee in her hair!” This was just the sort of statement that simultaneously heightened my agitation and the baby’s amusement. Both of them were now laughing hysterically. “Ok. Both of you out!” I commanded, “This car is gone for the rest of the day! I need you to get along long enough for me to rinse off. Ok?” Both of them nodded yes and headed off to the bedroom. But the second I was back in the shower I could hear the screaming and crying again. “Oh to hell with it,” I said turning off the shower. My hair still full of shampoo, I towel tried my hair, threw it in a foamy pony tail, put on the clothes that were lying on the floor and I took my son to school.
Looking back now I laugh at the absurdity of that day and I know it will be one of those parenting days that I will always remember. What gets to me most though is that my boys will likely never remember it. To them it was probably just another day that they got themselves into trouble. But, I pray that a small part of them understands that the events of that day mean so much more. I hope I will be there to remind them of this day when they are older and really mad at each other. I hope I will be able tell them this story on a day when they are having a bigger fight over bigger issues. I will ask them, out of everyone in your life, who can take your prized possession and bite you in the ass and you will laugh about it afterwards? Who in your life can tackle you, sit on your head and take the only thing you want and you won’t stay mad at them? Who can you be in a fight with and still love them so much you cry when you have to leave them? Who sits with you side-by-side, thick as thieves, when you get into trouble? I love that I won’t have to wait for the answer, because I already know, there can only be one person.