I’ve known about it for a while, but couldn’t make it public just then. But now I can!
A month or so ago, my eldest daughter (yes, that one) gave me this:
A wedding story… In pictures, mostly.
My eldest child, my older daughter, was married last month. Isn’t she lovely? This is at the house, getting ready. A good 90% of everything was hand-made, hand-crafted, DIY. Her dress and headpiece were purchased. (Dress from Mod Cloth; fascinator, I don’t know.) But guess who did her own flowers??
Groom-to-be sneaks a kiss. Aaawww…
Maid of honour, best man and groom arrive with more wedding stuff. It was cloudy and threatening rain in the morning, but by the time the wedding happened (mid-afternoon), the sun had come out. Also, whereas it had been a sticky 38C earlier in the week, it was a lovely 24 on the day. Perfect!
The processional. The maid of honour, ring bearer and flower girl have all arrived. Now it’s just my baby, all grown up and on her way to her new life. I love this picture. A short walk, but possibly the most important one of her life!
The signing of the register. There were some legal loops here, because of course Dad isn’t really licensed to perform wedding in Missouri. So they were married at the court house the day before; the ceremony was for family, friends and celebration! To make it more official-like, Dad brought his Marriage Registry from Ontario.
Guess what? The Signing of the Register is not part of weddings in Missouri. Certainly nobody here but the Canadians knew what the heck was going on. Here, the bride is saying to the bemused among the guests, “It’s a Canadian thing!”
It’s also a darned good photo op, which even the bemused quickly realized. (The bride, groom, maid of honour and best man all sign.)
The whole fan-dambly. That’s me on the left, in the flowered dress, the brother, groom and bride, sister, and my wonderful husband.
Happy Wedding, Happy Marriage!
It was a great day.
Worse even than this. Really.
It was the end of my work day. Three of the four children had left, the last one just stepping off my porch. I walk into the kitchen, where the last child, Poppy, is looking at a book. I say something to her, then turn to walk out to the living room …
and something’s spilled on the floor by the dining table. Huh. Odd that I didn’t notice it when I walked through from the front door. Is it tea? It looks sort of like tea, but I haven’t had any tea for a few hours, and my mug is in the sink, empty. I take another step to have a look, and then I see there are more spots a foot or so away, and more, and more … all over the dining room, all over the living room all in the front hall…
And as I step carefully between the spots and puddles, I note the stink, and comprehension dawns.
Worse. Diarrhea. Liquid diarrhea.
And it is ALL.OVER.MY.HOUSE.
It wasn’t there when I walked through the living room and dining room a mere two minutes ago. Two minutes ago I had a normal home. A reasonably tidy one, in fact, the tots and I having done the end-of-day pick-up only a few minutes prior.
Aren’t I HAPPY I’m so methodical about this? Making them tidy with me, instead of waiting till they’re gone? Otherwise the puzzle and trucks and cloth dolls that were strewn all over the floor only minutes ago would now be speckled with poo. Oh, no. “Poo” is much too ladylike and delicate a word.
This is shit, folks. Cups of it. Tossed with reckless abandon all over my home.
It’s got to be a dog. Indie walks up, looking very worried. Emma told me later that it was my horrified, “Was that YOU?!?!?” that brought her up from her bedroom in the basement. Indie looks worried, but that’s kind of a default look for Indie. Indie also looks guilty, but Indie is one of those guilt-ridden dogs. We scold Daisy for something, Daisy says “But I’m so CUTE, mom!!!” (or, in a surly mood, it’s more “What’s YOUR fking problem??”). Indie hears us scold Daisy, and says, “I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! Please don’t hate me!”
A quick glace at her butt end confirms it. It wasn’t Indie.
Of course it wasn’t Indie. If Indie had diarrhea, she would try frantically to get out and then, if no one heard her pitiful cries, she’d let fly in the front hall on the tiles, as close to the outside as she could get, desperate with the aforementioned guilt. That is what Indie would do.
What Indie would NOT do is run through the house in a blind panic, trying to escape her asshole. Because that, I gradually realize, is what has happened. Daisy has had explosive diarrhea, and frightened by the violence, has raced around my home, propelled by her butt end like a deflating balloon, spewing not air, but shit.
Poor scared puppy.
Stupid rotten dog.
So it’s Daisy. But where is she? Oh, lord. There are footprints going upstairs. Wet ones. Wet-with-shit footprints. Upstairs where [cue foreboding music] the bedrooms are.
She didn’t go into my dressing room — THANK GOD!!! (My recently renovated, I’m-so-proud-of-it dressing room.) The door of my son’s room is shut, has been all day. No mess in the bathroom. Of course. Even a panicked dog wouldn’t go into the “Room Where Baths Happen” voluntarily.
I follow the footprints. Daisy comes dancing toward me, feathery tail wagging, so happy to see me!!! Well, feathery except for the bit closest to her butt, which is hanging in wet, poop-bedraggled strands from her tail. Gah! Don’t wag that thing! She comes toward me from my bedroom. Where she had been on the bed. Dispensing largesse. Liberally.
Oh, my duvet cover! You poor thing!
(Also? Thank GOD we hadn’t yet put the down-filled duvet into it. Really. I’ll take what small mercies I can find at this point.)
I’m not grossed out, exactly. I think ‘shocked wonderment’ describes it best. Two floors, three rooms, two hallways, a set of stairs, all of them speckled with shit. In less than two minutes. I mean that literally. In less than 120 seconds, this idiot dog has anointed my entire home with dots, dollops, speckles and puddles of watery pale brown excrement.
IN LESS THAN TWO MINUTES!!! Far less. Probably more like 25 or 30 seconds. I am not kidding. It’s … astounding.
Daisy bounds toward me. Now that her explosive diarrhea is over, now that her bum has stopped exploding, she feels SO! MUCH! BETTER!
“Phew! Thank goodness that’s over, huh, mummy??” is clearly her thought. “I feel so much better now!!” And I scratch her fuzzy head. Because, you know, she’s cute. And she was scared. And I love her.
But OH MY GOD!!!!
The PooP BomB was tied up out front, her sodden hind end on display for the neighbours to see. I didn’t care. I had more urgent concerns than my neighbour’s squeamishness.
First thing I did was cancel my 6:30 interview. Yes. To make things absolutely perfect, I had an interview scheduled for an hour hence. We’d get it clean by then — maybe? — but would we clear out the stench? HA! And when would I make dinner?
Besides, after facing down this horror, I was pretty sure I’d just want to recline delicately on my chaise lounge with a chilled glass of white wine. Or, better? My fainting couch. First time in my life I’ve ever considered owning a fainting couch, but if there was a time for one, this would be it, no?
And then I get to work. Emma pitches right in. I don’t even have to ask. (Remember Emma? My youngest, now 20? She hasn’t shown up so much lately because she’s in university now, 3rd year nursing. A busy girl!)
“Thank you for helping out!” I say to her, as we each don surgical gloves and grab a roll of paper towels. (Yes, I have a large box of surgical gloves in my home. A necessary piece of equipment when one has longish fingernails and changes poopy diapers for a living.)
“No problem. I’ve seen much worse than this!!” she says. “From humans. Patients with C-diff? Their stuff is just this consistency, and stinks 10 times worse.”
Wow. My kid pitches in — voluntarily!! — to clean up an entire shit-spattered house. Voluntarily, and cheerfully!! Seriously. We didn’t quite manage to whistle while we worked, but we did laugh. Quite a lot. Horrified laughter, dark laughter, but laughter. I tell you: Nursing school is really paying off!
It took us half an hour. Way better than I’d feared.
I started the washing machine and threw in the first load of my bedding. If it can’t handle hot water, bleach, and the heavy-duty cycle, TOO BAD!
We wiped up all the shit with paper towels — some had spattered onto the baseboards, people, the baseboards! We swept the entire house. And then, while I bathed the rotten shitty so-happy-to-see-me dog — OUTSIDE, thankssomuch, that animal is not coming anywhere near my bathroom! — Emma mopped every single floor with a bleach solution.
On the bright side? My floors are probably cleaner, and certainly less germy, than they’ve been in a long time. Possibly ever. Though all the windows have been thrown open, the house still smells of bleach. Which is far, far better than what it smelled of an hour ago!
My interview will be tomorrow at 6:15. Daisy, clean and dry, is in her crate, where she will stay, apart from walks, until she produces a normal poo. She had water for dinner. Tomorrow she will eat white rice. She will not like it. Not the crate, not the rice. TOO BAD.
We humans will have pizza for dinner. I’m not up to food prep right now.
Phew. We did it!
Hand me that wine, will you?
Happy Friday to you all, and particularly to me, because this evening I start my holiday, my two weeks off, and I’ll be celebrating by hopping a plane or two to visit my eldest daughter! Whee.
She has a week of fun planned for us — dinners out, meeting her friends, a craft class. She’s an excellent hostess, my daughter… far better, I’m beginning to realize, than her mother. When she visited us last, I did little more than feed and house her. What? The pleasure of our company isn’t sufficient? What more could a person want???
Hm. I feel the bar being raised…
She’s also really good at gift-giving. (Not that I expect gifts while I’m visiting! But it’s sort of related, if you see what I mean.) Her gifts are charming, thoughtful, almost always just that little bit more special than the norm. She’s that kind of woman.
I haven’t yet decided, but it’s possible I won’t be taking my computer, which means that this could be the last post from me for a week. (Mary hits a new blogging peak: She remembers to forewarn readers of her approaching vanishment! Assuming, that is, that after my previous two-month hiatus, there are any readers left…)
Grace springs through the front door.
“I have Princess Shoes!!!”
We look down. Bright silver, covered with sequins. Those are some fancy shoes, all right. Wooo-eee. The other children make all appropriate noises of wonderment. Grace prances about, delighted.
Emma and I are less so. We had a long-ish walk planned for the tots. Emma checked Grace’s bag for the sports sandals that her sensible parents usually send along on the days Grace demands frivolous footwear. None. Not a sensible shoe in sight. Hm.
“They are my Princess Shoes!” Grace declares again, so very proud. We agree that yes, those sure do look like princess shoes! And wow, are they pretty! And sparkly!!
“The problem is,” I say, easing her off her peak as gently as possible, “that princess shoes are not always very comfortable to walk in, not for a long walk.”
We consider her feet.
“I can walk!!!” Grace, supremely confident. Grace, of course, has no idea. In her four-year-old mind, her Princess Shoes make her happy, so her shoes will be fine, just FINE! Mind over matter!
The question is, will those shoes still be making her happy after 3 km? Pfft. Showing appalling lack of faith, I, unlike Grace, am quite confident those shoes will be contributing to acute misery within a kilometre and a half. I note to Emma that we can always take them off and let her go barefoot if they start creating problems. Grace resists this notion.
“No, I can wear these! They are my Princess Shoes!!” Her lip starts to quiver.
Emma kneels down in front of Grace. “They sure are. That’s sort of the problem. Princess Shoes don’t act like real shoes, you know. Remember Cinderella? As soon as she started running away from the ball, what happened?”
Grace pauses, then her eyes widen.
“One falled off!”
“Exactly! Princess Shoes are like that. They’re very good at looking pretty, but not so good at acting like real shoes. So. As long as your Princess Shoes act like real shoes, you can wear them. But if they start acting like Princess Shoes, we’ll just put them in your bag and you can go barefoot.”
Emma? Is a genius.
And Grace? Walked home barefoot.
I am not a sentimental person. I don’t save many mementos and souvenirs. I don’t have overflowing folders of my children’s art work cluttering up my home. (And that’s a telling word, isn’t it? “Cluttering”, rather than, oh, “enriching”, or “filling me with happy memories of wonderful ages and stages”.) I rarely get weepy when a daycare child moves on.
But once in a while, I understand the urge. I get what drives it. Or perhaps this is only my version of the sentimental drive, I couldn’t say.
AKA “Fatfish”, the name carefully inscribed on the bottom of this little gem. What is it? Well, it’s a fat fish. A fat ceramic fish, made at a lovely local DIY ceramic place. What does it do? Collects dust, mostly. It’s hollow, and so too light to be a paperweight. What is it for?
GOD ONLY KNOWS. It’s a fat fish, people. Just a fat fish.
And it sits in a place of honour in my kitchen, because … because it was made for me, by one of my children. And I keep it because …
Not because it reminds me of her when she was a sweet and lovable 7-year-old. (Much like the charming and affectionate 19-y-o she now is.)
Not because I remember how she gave it to me, her blue eyes wide with love and excitement. Because I don’t remember, not at all. When did she give this to me? Was there an occasion? Was this a birthday gift? A Mother’s Day offering? Christmas? I have no idea.
No, I keep it because when I consider throwing it out … It’s as if that 7-year-old is standing right in front of me. I could no more toss this odd, sorta ugly, utterly useless fat fish than I could tear up a crayon scribble in front of the toddler who lovingly gave it to me. (Would I sneak their artwork into the recycling bin when they’re not looking? Absolutely. I do it every day, pretty near. Without a second’s hesitation, without a particle of remorse. Because I’m not sentimental.)
Throw out fatfish? It would hurt her feelings!
It wouldn’t, you know. My kids are about as sentimental as I am. “That weird old thing? You don’t need to keep it for my sake!” Because, see, she isn’t that 7-year-old any more. She doesn’t remember that seven-year-old, at least, not nearly as well as I do. She doesn’t feel the need to protect that little girl, because, for her, that little girl is ancient history. No longer exists, really.
Factually, that’s true, of course. But in my heart, that seven-year-old is alive and well … and gave me this beautifully hand-crafted piece of, er, art with all the love in her little-girl heart.
Looks like I’m stuck with the damned thing.
I couldn’t be happier.
How about you? Are you sentimental? Even if you’re not, is there a particular thing or two you couldn’t part with?
Happy Birthday, Emma! My baby turns 19 today, and in Ontario, that makes her legal on every front: she’s been legally able to vote, go to war, get married, drive a car for varying amounts of time. Now she’s nineteen, she can drink, too. (Mind you, we live less than 5 km from Quebec, where the drinking age is 18, so it’s not like she hasn’t gone across the river now and then.) Still! Legal everywhere! She’s happy about that!
Another milestone has also been reached. After many much-appreciated years of helping out in the daycare, Emma has given her notice. I booked her months ago to take over, pretty much completely, for the last two weeks of August (thus extending my holiday for a further two weeks!) but after that, she’s done. No more Emma as my regular backup.
I sort of panicked when she told me. I like my outings! I need my time out!
I can hardly blame her. She’s grown up in a daycare. When I started, she was a toddler herself. She’s had toddlers in her life, at her table, sleeping in her room, her entire life. The toddlers who allowed mum to stay home and homeschool her were also the toddlers who prevented mum from attending any school functions when she did finally arrive there. I don’t have an office job I can slip away from for a few hours.
She’s always been great about them. She’s done crafts, accompanied us on outings, read stories, given hugs, dished out discipline, mentored manners… all voluntarily, just because she likes them and is in the same space with them. She has done the occasional babysitting evening for many of them in their homes.
But now? After a lifetime of toddler-wrangling? She’s done. You can understand that. You can also understand my tiny sigh (did trees bend down your way just now?) at the thought of losing the very best, long-term, perfectly-trained, absolutely reliable assistant I have ever had.
So I panicked at first. And then I started networking. She’s not the only sensible, reliable, cheerful, flexible, experienced, warm, personable, loving, quick-thinking nineteen-year-old out there … well. Okay. They’re probably thin on the ground. But she can’t be the only one!!
My brainwave? We have a college in town. A college with an ECE program. A little exploration, and I discover that the college has a blackboard for posting job opportunities for college students. HA!
Three weeks, several applicants, a couple of interviews later, I have a wonderful young woman lined up. She’s worked a bit before starting college, so she’s in her early 20s. She’s starting the ECE program in the fall. Whee!
I am so relieved.
I’m also excited. An ECE student will be brimming with enthusiasm for the job, and will also be getting fed a steady diet of ideas, approaches, games, activities. I’m really looking forward to that influx of new ideas. It will be an invigorating breath of fresh, new air. And for her part? She’s going to get exposed to someone with years of experience, and a lot of accumulated wisdom on the principles of childcare, the long-term goals, and the minute-by-minute challenges. Discipline, management, emotional development, crowd control. I have Civilization 101 pretty much nailed. (Before you roll your eyes at the hubris, remember I’ve been doing this for 16 years. If I didn’t have those skills by now, I’m in the wrong profession.) Yup, I see this as a clear win-win.
She’s spent a couple of mornings with us so far. She has a lovely, warm, quiet way with the kids. They respond really well to her. Next week when she comes, I’m going to go off for an hour or two, and leave her with the children. By the fall, I’m hoping for a day a week.
She doesn’t have her schedule yet, but thinks that will be do-able. A day a week! Oh, I’m dizzy with the wonder of it. Keep your fingers crossed for us!!
I am not a car girl. I appreciate a comfortable car. I will notice a pretty one on the street. But makes, models and specs? No idea, and no inclination to become more informed. Cars just don’t feature much in my world. I don’t even own one.
Both my girls, though, have gone through a phase in which they were quite taken by Volkswagon Beetles. Don’t ask me why. When she was sixteen or seventeen, Haley was very determined to have a whole fleet of them one day, in a rainbow of colours. Me, the non-car girl, could not see the point of that. I don’t even do that with teeny accessories, never mind something that would require extra acreage around my home. But, mostly, I just laughed fondly. It was never going to happen, and it made her happy to imagine it. No harm there. (These days, she owns one car. Not new. Not a Beetle.)
And now Emma is interested in Beetles. She likes Fiats, too, but Beetles, she declared yesterday, look much nicer than they used to. Have I seen them?
“Um… aren’t they sort of flatter than they used to be? The roof isn’t as rounded? Or is that the Bug?” And even as I spoke, I wondered if the Bug is really the same thing as the Beetle, just a different name? (Because I am Informed and Aware about cars. I know this stuff.)
She taps away at her iPhone, then shows me a few pictures. Oh, yeah. Much sleeker than the bulbous little fellas I remember.
And a decent amount of storage space, too! Ah, that German design.
Suddenly, Emma snorts and taps her screen again. “Hey, look at THIS!”
My snort is probably louder than hers. “Holy Hannah!” With advertising like that, no wonder my girls are Beetle fans. Going after the women’s market, are we, Volkswagon?
I put on cheesy car-salesman voice. “Just slide yerself onto that, little lady.”
“And then,” Emma adds, a wicked glint in her eyes, “shift it into drive!” Our laughter is distinctly un-ladylike.
My attention moves past the phallic-ly obvious to the hand brake.
“Oh my! And look at that! Ha! It just gets better and better.”
Emma looks at me, blankly.
Well, now. Her loving mother has sussed out a gap in her knowledge of Important Girl Stuff. I think we need to make a trip to Venus Envy, or at least visit the website. She’ll be thrilled, I know. That Mother-Daughter bonding? It just never ends.
Exhibit A: Dog. Mellow dog with light.
The light is a flattened sphere of plastic, inside of which is an LED bulb that cycles through a few colours when it’s turned on. It is not habitually turned on while in the house. This is for evening and pre-dawn walks, when it’s useful to be able to find one’s dog in a good-sized off-leash dog park.
Question: Why is Indie’s light on? Clearly she can’t manage it. It’s so stiff I have to use both hands and press like crazy with two thumbs to turn it on. This is simply not happening by accident. An idle knock into a piece of furniture would not do it. Even if she rolled on it, or scratched it, that thing wouldn’t turn on.
Exhibit B: Two dogs. Mellow dogs, on bench. Mellow, un-lit dogs.
and a closer look…
Chomp. Click. We have RED.
And blue. Mystery solved.
Well, all except for the “why is my small dog so weird?“, which will likely remain unsolved.
Here we have a sturdy pair of hiking boots, belonging to my son. Size Ginormous.
Not pretty, but durable. The boy is hard on his footwear, and this pair is going on year five now. We are happy about this.
The daycare children like boots. The puppy likes boots. We have to monitor boots carefully in this house. Perhaps, however, we did not monitor this pair quite closely enough. Was that a flash of colour as I passed? Something shiny in my peripheral vision? What could it be?
Goodness. What all is in there, anyway? Let’s have a closer look. You know, I saw all those objects being transported into the living room, by a diligent trio of Rory-Grace-Jazz, but I thought they were part of the play-fort behind the couch. (The couch being less than a metre to the right of where the boots sit.) Huh.
Busy, busy, busy little people I have around here. And such cooperative play it was, too. Also quiet. Very quiet. That in itself should have made me suspicious…
I count 12 items, plus the little red dog that was sitting between, but not in, them.
Told you those boots were ginormous.