It all started out so innocently.
All I had to do was get the 2-year-old to his first day of preschool with a 2-week-old infant in tow. I’m a bachelor’s educated RN with many years of ICU experience. I’ve managed patient flow. I’ve run ICU codes. A 2-year-old and an infant? Pfft. Easy peasy.
What they don’t tell you in pre-mommy classes is that trying to get two small children out the door is like herding wet cats during a snowstorm. To get to preschool by 9:15 a.m., the process has to start at approximately 5:15 a.m. Don’t believe me? Turn to the mom sitting next to you and ask. She’ll tell you. Or better yet? Call you own mother. She’ll be glad to enlighten you. Anyhoo, I digress…
When my daughter arrived in 2005, I had been a stay-at-home mom for 2 1/2 years. I had gone through the adjustment of giving up my salary and coworkers for the joys of rice cereal and talking to a person under three feet tall ALL. DAY. LONG. My son and I had come to a nice routine and I mistakenly thought the addition of a second little bundle of joy would go smoothly… yes, I heard you snicker.
On the day in question, I dutifully started the “Exit Strategy Process” at 5:15. The fact that I managed a shower amidst the insanity of breast feeding, diaper changes, breakfast and Sesame Street was nothing short of amazing. By 8:40, everyone was fed, dressed in matching clothes and in reasonably good spirits.
And then I smelled it. You know. “The smell” that eminates from a toddler who isn’t potty trained yet.
“The smell” that usually happens exactly 30 seconds before you are leaving.
“The smell” that reminds you that your morning isn’t going to go as planned.
Cue the diaper change.
During said diaper change, I had to contend with a wicked case of diaper rash. Awesome. Diaper changes were usually quick and painless but, of course, not today. After much cajoling, begging, loud whisper talking through “asshole lips” and general demanding, it was Toddler 1, Mommy 0 with T-minus 15 minutes until the start of preschool.
And so, I did it.
I resorted to bribery.
While it is usually my general policy to not negotiate with toddlers or terrorists, I decided to do it just this once. In exchange for a scream free diaper change, he would get a lollipop on the way to preschool.
You scratch my back, I’ll change your diaper. You get the picture.
And so, off to preschool we went, freshly diapered and lollipop unwrapped in the 2-year-old’s hands. We arrive at preschool at precisely 9:15 and 30 seconds and in we go to meet the director. As we walk into the director’s office, Fruit Loop #1 promptly announces, “Hi Nice Lady! My mommy hurt my hiney and she say so sorry and she gave me a lollipop.”
Oh. No. He. Didn’t.
Sigh. He totally did.
Did I mention this was our very first day at the preschool? In the absence of a rock to climb under, I quickly spilled out an explanation. I’m pretty sure I looked deranged as I spewed verbal diarrhea (pun intended) to quickly explain that I had not hurt my child and that I merely bribed him. Bribing is OK, right? I can honestly say I’ve never been more embarrassed in all my life. Well, up to that point…
Thankfully, the director was kind, understanding and did her best to not laugh out loud at me. She accepted my explanation, assured me that I would be at the mercy of my children and their mouths for the rest of my life and that every mother has a similar story to tell. And, as I watched her take his willing hand and walk him to his new class, it was not lost on me that I had raised a little boy who didn’t need a bribe to go off on a new adventure.