For the past month, nothing has gone how I’d expected. Other than things being hard. I expected that. I just thought things would be hard differently from how they are actually hard.
The first unexpected thing: my feature about pelvic floor physical therapy went live on Dame magazine. Wasn’t expecting that to publish so soon (or wind up with that specific headline, but what can you do?).
But everything else has been shockingly surreal. Just now, I took my happy, naked baby down to the basement to, theoretically, start the washing machine. I expected he might pee on me, but I was *not* expecting him to dramatically projectile poop throughout the entire unfinished half of our basement. He was like a machine gun. With yellow shit particles for ammunition. It just kept coming.
At one point, I tried to nestle him in Miles’ padded ducky potty seat atop the Pittsburgh potty, hoping some of the remaining shit would go into the toilet, but it wasn’t a stable enough arrangement to allow me to grab cleaning supplies. I stood frozen with indecision for a long time, not knowing if it was smart to walk my shit-covered bare feet through the house to find someplace to put down the baby so I could clean the shit from him and the rest of the basement.
I eventually put him in a dirty laundry basket atop Corey’s chamois stash (sorry about the shit stains on your chamois, Corey!) so I could scrub my feet, his skin, and the floor/walls/dryer. By this point, I was also naked, since all my clothes got sprayed. So they got to go in the washer right away with the fated load I’d gone down to start.
My days are filled with such unexpected turns toward desperation. The older children seem to sense when I’ve run out of diapers for Oren on outings and tactfully choose those moments to begin epic meltdowns. Or else dig their feet into the sand and refuse to leave the playground (or museum or whatever the hell), knowing I can’t leave them unattended to take the baby to the car and free up some arms for hauling their stubborn butts to the minivan.
I wasn’t expecting to call their bluff and ask total strangers for help! Anyone who chortles, “Got your arms full, don’t ya?” is now treated to the best Team Lev has to offer, because it’s like as soon as I stopped being pregnant and emotional, I decided to use those asshole remarks to my advantage and put these strangers to work.
“My hands are totally full,” I say, draping a snack tote over one of their arms. “I can’t get them to the car by myself and I need you to carry this one,” as I hand them whichever child is kicking the hardest.
Actually this has only happened one time, but it felt good enough that I plan to repeat this tactic. Wasn’t expecting that!
And some days, when unexpected antics pile upon each other until I feel the earth might open and swallow me into a burning pit of magma, I’m met with acts of grace I never imagined.
Earlier today, just as both my young kids began to sob and I saw their naps disintegrating, envisioned the domino effect this would have on my afternoon–just as all this came to a head, a friend showed up with supper and cookies and chocolate and salad and, best of all, two free hands to bounce Oren while her son and Felix watched the street sweeper spray past. I ate a bowl of lunch. I stopped caring that I had lost my last shirt to spit-up and was sitting before my friend in just a nursing tank. The energy had shifted, and it was all ok.
Many times, the unexpected things overwhelm me right now. But there are these bright moments of amazing humanity that fill me up so much I can just hang on to the back of this wild ride and enjoy the wind in my face.