eve reiland Left Brain Right Brain

Nothing says vacation like puke and laundry | Message From The Archives 2008

Mon, Apr 28, 2008, 12:43 PM | From My Journal

My snuffle-snore-filled dreams were invaded. Did someone just call my name?

Smack, squinch, swipe: I rubbed the crust off my eyes and looked at the light-up baby monitor. 

Hmm, the red bars weren’t flashing. If there was any noise, it’d show it. Silly brain, it was tricking me again. I rolled over, snuggled into the covers and spooned up to my husband. 


Uh oh, there it was again. I propped up on an elbow and looked at monitor. 

This time there was no confusion. The baby monitor bars flashed five levels high. 

Ugh, I didn’t want to get up. I plopped back down on the pillow. If I closed my eyes and kept quiet Craig would find his sippy cup of water and go back to sleep. He’d settle himself back into the blissful embrace of Slumberland. 

Oh, a girl could only hope. 

“Mommy.” And again three seconds later. “Mommmy.” 

I groaned. Craig’s volume increased with each bleat. 

Reality check, I had to get up. I sat up, swung my legs over the bed, and mentally prepared for lift off. 

Of course this activated Licky and Scratchy, my two dogs, into swarm mode. If mama was moving, it must be playtime. I pushed the dogs away and looked at the alarm clock. What, that can’t be right? Squinch, rub, swipe. The numbers remained the same. It was two forty-five in the morning. 

” Mommmmmmmmmmmy.”

This time Craig’s voice boomed out so loud and long my husband let out a small, startled snore. It didn’t wake him up mind you, just rippled his nighttime sleep stream. 

I shoved myself up and off the bed, and then grabbed my glasses from the nightstand. With clear vision and dogs underfoot, making a beeline to their doggy door, I navigated my way through the dark room. 

However, before I could reach the bedroom door, Craig cried out again. This time he blasted out the most powerful words in his arsenal. 

“Mommmmmmy. I pooped.” 

I yanked the bedroom door open and ran. 

Middle-of-the-night visitors 

I reached Craig’s door in less than six seconds, fumbled with the doorknob and then let myself in. 

“Mommy.” Craig sounded upset but relieved. “Help me.” 

Whoa, my olfactory senses tingled. “Hang on baby.” I held my breath and searched for the dangling light cord. Found it and pulled. What I couldn’t see by the feeble shine of the nightlight became overwhelmingly apparent with the full glow of the overhead light. 

What I saw stunned me. The scent and sight were like a one-two punch. The shock of it must have showed on my face. 

Craig said, with some panic, “Help, mommy. Help me.” 

This wasn’t a simple I-had-a-middle-of-the night-number-two incident — which, frankly, it wouldn’t have been so bad. Craig slept in overnight pull-ups. (Okay, so he wore daytime pull-ups too but that’s another story.) 

My rush, stumble and jog through the hallway that night was because he tended to take off his loaded pants and kick-fling them across the room. 

This situation was different and I almost squished my foot into it. 


“Craig, uh … hold on. Mommy’s going to help.” 

Yeah, I was going to help but how? Craig had staged himself in the center of his bed. He rested his weight on his feet and balanced the rest of his body with his fingers in a crouched position. He couldn’t move left, right or up or down. He was trapped by his own body expulsions. 

Earlier, while I was hoping he’d roll over and go back to sleep, between his pleas for me, he was dialing Ralph on the big white phone. 

Only, there wasn’t a phone. Just Ralph – all over. 

And here’s the thing, Ralph wasn’t the only night guest. He came with a friend.

If this had been a drinking party, Ralph’s buddy would have been the guy who got really mean after a few beers, picked fights with everyone and punch-dance-exploded his way out the back door in a rage before someone called the cops. 

Only there were no cops tonight, it was just me. 

And it wasn’t broken furniture and bottles I had to tend with either. The damage here was on the sheets, the bed, and streaked up the back of my son’s shirt. There was also a two-foot radius of multi-colored yuck and muck surrounding his bed. 

“Hang on Craig, I’m coming.” I gingerly stepped my way through the damp mess, grabbed my baby boy under his arms, shook off the clinging blankets, and held him up high and away, and then walked him to the bathroom. Tears bumped down his flushed cheeks.

Vacation, it’s going to get you 

Warm water filled the tub and made the blueberry-scented shampoo I squeezed in turn into bubbles. I peeled Craig’s clothes off, wiped up the chunky bits and plopped him in. Poor guy, he sat listless in the suds with droopy eyes and looked exhausted. 

I turned off the water. “Hey, I’ll be right back. I’ve got to put all this stuff in the laundry and make your bed.” 

He nodded. I gathered up the offending items and hauled them to the laundry room. As I listened to the rush of the water fill the machine, I remembered the last conversation I had with a co-worker the Friday before. It mocked me. 

“So off next week for vacation, have any big plans?” 

“Nope. Going to hang out around the house and get some major downtime in.” 

“Oh cool, just you and the family hanging out then?” 

“Heck no.” I blurted the words in a boastful manner. “I worked it out perfect. The kids will be at school and hubby will be at work. This week is all for me.” 

All for me? With that provocation I invoked Murphy’s Law, tempted fate and challenged my karma. I didn’t even buffer it with a pinch of salt over my shoulder or a knock on wood. 

Nope, I should have but didn’t. So there I stood, dope-slapping my forehead in the washroom at three-thirty in the morning. 

Oh well, there wasn’t much time to dwell on it. Craig let out a cry and hollered for me, sounded like Ralph and his buddy were back. 

The rest of the vacation went like the directions on the back of the tear-free shampoo bottle: Wash, rinse, and repeat.


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