There’s nothing like having kids to destroy any illusion of privacy in your own home.
Looking for five minutes to slap on some makeup so you can leave on time? Suddenly World War III breaks out in the next room.
Having a hormonal mini-breakdown in the bathroom? Someone’s bound to come knocking on the door, asking for a snack.
Looking for two minutes – two minutes, for the love of Pete – to put on pajamas? These will be the exact same two minutes when your attention is urgently needed for some random matter, usually when clothes are puddled around your feet.
Over the years I’ve adapted to what seems like the constant presence of small people who need something, or at least I’ve done my best to get used to it. Some days I handle the intrusions better than others, but the times I find most challenging are when I’m trying to deal with some sort of crisis under my children’s scrutiny.
Take last week, for example…I’d been making treats for a church event, ones that needed to be refrigerated before I could cut them. Bear was helping me put the cookie sheets in the garage refrigerator when I managed to step on a sliver of glass.
In her defense, when we were heading into the garage Bear did comment that I shouldn’t be in my bare feet since we’d broken a bottle out there the day before. (And by “we” I mean her.) I reassured Bear that it was fine, we’d spent 30 minutes cleaning up the mess, and I’d been out there without shoes earlier in the day. I then promptly stepped on a piece of glass.
Well, crap, that hurt. Except Bear was standing at my elbow so all she heard out of me was “Ow! Well, honey, I think you might have been right about the shoes.”
After hobbling back into the kitchen (where T-man was perched at the counter doing homework), I plopped myself down on the floor to check the situation out. I turned my foot over to find a decent amount of blood on the bottom, and nothing gets my kids’ attention faster than blood. Suddenly I had their spotlight focused squarely on me.
After calmly asking for a paper towel to dab the blood away (OW! OW! SONOFABITCH!!), I accepted that I’d have to get the glass out with my underage audience looking on. Normally this wouldn’t be a huge problem – most incidents like this have required the flick of a fingernail to remove a simple speck – but I’d managed to firmly lodge a shard of glass in my foot.
Okay, that makes it sound like I had a huge chunk of glass stuck in there…I just mean to say that it wasn’t a speck, it was a long sliver shoved, rather rudely, through the sole of my foot.
So Bear was watching from the counter while T-man hovered by my shoulder as I firmly grasped the visible tip and started pulling.
That was the moment when I realized my attempt at G-rated first aid was going to be a serious challenge because a) it hurt like hell and b) it didn’t come all the way out right away. I pulled a little, then a little more, and then a little more, all the while screaming profanities in my head. But here’s what the kids heard:
“Ow….ow….ow. Okay, OW!”
“Are you okay, mom? Are you gonna need stitches?”
“No, it’s not bad enough to need stitches. The glass is just in there really far. OW.”
“Are you sure? That looks bad…”
“I told you to wear shoes. I told her to wear shoes, T-man.”
I have to say I was proud of myself – I eventually managed to get the glass out without uttering a single profanity that was raging through my head. Of course, I’m pretty sure the kids had a hint of that internal dialogue based on the tone and intensity of each ow, but they didn’t actually hear me cuss a blue streak. So we’re gonna put this one in the win column.
And I’ll be wearing shoes in the garage from now on.