Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Misadventures of a Well Taught Child

Sometimes, folly is unavoidable. Anyone with children knows that any activity can be turned to folly if children are added to the equation; the more children you add, the bigger the folly. Since the children were inescapable, I'm going to say that my folly lay in my drinking problem (no, not that drinking problem. My dishwasher is running fine). I am, of course, referring to my very strong addiction to drinking water. Normally, I'm able to keep this addiction in check, but when it gets out of hand it can lead to dangerously low blood pressure and an extremely overactive bladder.

I recently found myself out running errands with all four of my children. This unfortunate occurrence was brought about by Rick being out of town and my tendency to procrastinate. I was on my third store and just finishing my second liter of water since leaving home when I needed to use the bathroom. I put Alex and Erika in the Costco shopping cart, told Austin and Nicole to hang on, and raced to the bathroom. By the time I got to the bathroom, I really felt ready to burst. I asked Austin to come stand next to the cart and keep Alex from plunging to his doom on the concrete floor. "But I have to go potty, Mom," was his response as he closed the stall door. "I have to go potty, too!" chorused Nicole and Erika as they, too, disappeared into stalls. By now, I was doing a potty dance that would impress the most artistic of potty trainees. It was with extreme difficulty that I was able to keep my cool when Erika emerged a moment later to tell me that she was unable to go potty without my help. I couldn't go help Erika until I had someone to watch Alex and keep him from falling (I'm afraid that the seat belts in most shopping carts are a bit of a joke). When Austin finally came out, I asked him again to come stand guard over Alex, my situation becoming more desperate with each passing second. "Mom, I have to wash my hands!" (I interrupt my regularly scheduled rant to confess that despite my constant reminders to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds, the children usually don't spend 20 seconds on the entire bathroom routine.) Austin began to wash his hands while Erika chanted, "Mommy, I need help going potty." and I was dancing on tip toe with my knees tight together to keep from having an accident myself right there in the Costco bathroom. Austin washed, and washed, and washed, and washed. Then Austin, still rubbing soap on his hands, looked up at me with a big smile and said, "I'm washing my hands for more than 20 seconds just for you, Mom!" My return smile was, I confess, more of a grimace than a smile, but I tried.

Eventually, Austin finished washing his hands. I helped Erika go potty, and was finally able to go myself. We all made it home with clean, dry pants and all's well that ends well. The moral of the story is to not drink and drive, especially if you're driving with children.

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