Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Best Laid Plans of Moms and Dogs...

I want to first of all apologize for not getting a new posting out lately. Despite my best intentions of writing a nice Thanksgiving blog that centered around all the great things to be thankful for in our lives, I quickly got side-tracked by the deluge of not-so-great things that seemed to start happening to my life all at once! You know, that unexpected wave of negative energy that sends your finely-tuned plans for each day into a tailspin... 

And speaking of tails and tales, this brings me to a good lesson for the rest of the holiday season. You know, the one that has to do with how your expectations for a particular event might differ from what actually occurs, especially when there are children and/or animals involved! 

Take, for instance, one of those dreary, rainy days we just had. Troy had to leave the house by 7am and I knew that getting all 3 kids breakfasted, washed, dressed and out the door for school was going to be a challenge, but I was determined to make it as stress-free as possible. (Danger! Danger!)

So I made sure everything was done at least 15 minutes ahead of schedule for each part of our routine, and remarkably, all the kids were in their cooperative moods that morning. And oh, wasn’t I proud of myself when five minutes early, I was able to have all their coats on and walking out the door to get in the car. 

Patting myself on the back, I followed them all out with a smile on my face when all of a sudden Evan, who was the first to have gotten in the car, looked at me with a question as he looked down towards his feet; “Mom, what is this on my shoes?” My heart sank as I looked, for sure enough, the anonymous, tail-wagging, dog that has been happily terrorizing our neighborhood had laid his own plans on our lawn again, leaving a fresh morning sample in every nook and cranny of Evan’s only and favorite pair of sneakers rather than a knotted plastic baggie where it belongs!

Quickly ordering everyone to get in the car and not move, I took Evan’s shoes off and ran in the house, put on my rubber gloves and began furiously running hot water at high pressure on the soles, disgusted and cursing this dog and his owner as I realized that water pressure alone was just not cutting it. Frantically, I ran around to find any non-food device that would clean the infinite number of sneaker crevices without screaming and finally get it done. 

So I raced back to the car, with a couple minutes to spare, thinking my ordeal was over. And as we hurried to put his shoes back on again, we both realized that his pants were now also a mess! I ordered him inside to change quickly, all remnants of the calm, stress-free mommy now being flushed away. And as he is doing this, I begin getting Nikki and Luke back in their seats so we could leave. Is it over? Of course not, because as I lift Nikki over the muddy puddle I don't want tracked over the upholstery, I realize that she, too, has been anointed with fresh poop on her shoes! 

Now luckily, like most girls I know, she has many extra pairs, so I frantically take hers off and leave them on the front porch to deal with later, grabbing a new pair to put on. Racing back out, I throw them in the car and confirming that Luke is poop-free at this point, we race off to drop Evan off, pulling up to the curb just as the 2nd late bell rings. 

Wow, "we did it!", I tell them triumphantly, and as I look down at my hands gripping the steering wheel, I notice the “battle stains” stuck to my fingers and trying hard to be a role model mommy and not use every 4-letter word I know! I instead laugh with Luke and Nikki as we chant “stinky” over and over. And when we breathlessly got to their classroom, Luke quickly reminded me with a smile to wash my hands... 

So as you move into celebrating the end of this year and the beginning of a fresh new one, just remember that although your best laid plans may be well-prepared, life and “you-know-what” happens. The key is to not let it change the course of your day, because as your kids will perpetually remind you, there is always laughter to be found somewhere in the “stinky”. So just wash your hands with a smile and move on!