Three years ago, Kveller writer Carla Naumburg declared in a post entitled “Let’s Get Real, Mayim” that she wanted to know more about the “real” Mayim Bialik, that my posts always painted a sort of shiny portrait of my kids and my life in attachment parenting bliss. Carla and I exchanged a few posts where I demonstrated that indeed, I am a “real” mom with crappy days, whiny kids (sometimes), and real and difficult feelings. This interaction is one of the things that really drove me and continues to motivate me to be as honest as I am on Kveller and I thank Carla for her challenge and, because of that exchange, her friendship.
In that vein, here is what my day was like on Tuesday. This should illustrate quite well that I am a real mom. I mean it.
My ex had the boys while I was away at a wedding in Missouri last weekend, and I got my boys back with the little man fighting a mild cold. Both of my boys tend to handle sickness very well, so I had that going for me, but he was for sure kind of whiny, hypersensitive, and very runny. “I need to blow my hanky,” is how he says he needs to blow his nose and I must have heard that dozens of times within the hour he was back in my house.
As I managed his nose-blowing needs, he had a few meltdowns–some reasonable, some not (in my opinion). Case in point: the child has not breastfed or had a bakbuk (bottle) of water in almost a year but he decided that on this Tuesday that it was unbearable that those two things were no longer a possibility in his life. Sad baby. Sad mama.
My older son complained that the cat litter stunk and needed to be changed. He was right. But he hates the smell so he secluded himself a room away while I changed the litter after making little man feel better that he no longer nurses or drinks a bakbuk. However, there was another smell permeating the room…
I discovered that one of my beloved cats had urinated into a brand new large storage canvas bag (with an adorable monkey appliqué on it by the way) which was holding all of the boys’ wooden train tracks and train cars. Sure, it had been a vague possibility that we would be donating those rarely-used tracks and trains within the year, but I think the time is now to throw them out rather than donate them because the stench of cat urine is so incredibly strong and it likely will never come out and we are “all done trains” I think. The three canvas small bags inside the larger nice canvas bag were also urinated on beyond recognition, including one with my little guy’s favorite character “Babar” on it. I snuck it of the house and straight into the trash to avoid a Babar bag meltdown which I am certain would have been imminent had he seen–and smelled it–covered with urine.
As I was moving urine-soaked trains and tracks all over the house and out the door while trying not to drip urine all over the floors, cat #1 (my first-born beloved hairless Esau) started gagging and heaving and making weird cat sounds that cats make when they have to throw up. My older son reminded me that the cat gagging makes him gag, and he dramatically demonstrated how he was starting to gag. I used my loud mama voice: “Go into the other room if it’s making you gag!” and I watched the cat climb onto my 120-year-old piano and proceed to vigorously vomit onto the piano, with some of his vomit trickling–yes, you guessed it–behind the piano and onto the wall, where it is virtually impossible to clean since the piano is incredibly heavy and impossible to move to scrape cat vomit behind. Fortunately, upon inspection, the vomit only trickled down the wall a bit and I cleaned it up and went back to dealing with the urine-soaked trains, the gagging older son, and the runny hypersensitive younger one. I also was sweating like a pig by this point from all of my hustling about to handle all of the above.
I put the trains and tracks literally on the driveway, feeling incredibly helpless and hopeless about them, trying not to calculate how much money I have spent over the past eight years on trains and all of their accoutrements. The day was not looking good.
Older son then appeared from the bedroom dragging his (formerly clean) comforter into the living room with the fantastic idea of making a fort. In the middle of all of this, he wants to make a fort. I love a good fort, but this did not AT ALL seem the right time to make one with all of the stuff going on.. .I was about to say so with incredulity and angry mama-ness, but then I stopped and I looked at his sweet devilish grin.
And I dropped what I was doing and I built that fort like my life depended on it. He wanted to use all of the chairs in the house so we now have nothing to sit on except the piano bench (since the two couches are also part of the fort), but both boys played in that fort on and off all day so sweetly. They pretended to be pirates and they played accordion in the fort and invited me in for cuddling and singing “Yo Ho Yo Ho, A Pirate’s Life For Me.” It was awesome.
We had a great time building it and securing it with clips and weights and old bathrobe belts anchoring the fort to all of the tables. Older son declared at bath time that he thinks he wants to be an architect since he likes to imagine building things and thinks he has a great imagination. Big sigh.
Indeed. I’m glad we built that fort.
The house looks like a train rolled through it. It vaguely smells like cat urine. Little man is still runny and has a rash under his nose from wiping it and blowing it so much. But I set aside my need for order (and somewhere to sit) and realized that sometimes real moms let things be messy. Sometimes we even add to the mess in the name of fun and maybe some peace of the joyous-screaming-raucous-pirate-boy variety.
I wish the cat hadn’t peed everywhere and I wish the house wasn’t such a mess. But I also know it won’t be like this forever. And I love that cat. And I love the fun my boys have imagining and making messes and cleaning them up, too. With me as their mom, God only knows they’ve seen that enough times. It’s what real moms do, right?