Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Becky's Bottom Line: Mistakes Happen

Becky's Bottom Line
By Becky Brownstein


After having a C-section with my first daughter I was unable to drive for at least six weeks. The fridge, freezer, and pantry suffered dearly through my recovery. They were running on empty. I needed a restock on all food related things. My first stop would be the Kosher store in Scranton, which had the majority of the things I needed. The drive is about a 25 minutes on the highway.The thrill of finally getting behind the wheel with my baby in the back seat was exhilarating. After putting together a baby bag with a million things I would probably never need, I went out to the car to deal with her car seat. I buckled in the base and snapped in her car seat, like I had seen so many others do. I then checked to make sure everything was secure with the car seat and that the level tool ball was in the right spot. Then I closed the door. I drove very cautiously with my precious cargo. When I finally pulled into the parking lot of the kosher store and got out to get my baby, I saw that I had never strapped her in! Her base was buckled in tight. Her car seat was snapped in, in the upright perfect position. But she was not buckled! I thought the police were for sure going to come screeching in and take me away.

That was only the beginning. Once, on a long trip, I gave my first daughter (yep, her again) a pushka (charity box) to play with in the car. She was crying and fidgeting so much that I had thoughtlessly handed her anything to keep her quiet. Pushkas are actually really dangerous for little baby fingers. She put her teeny tiny, unmarked, perfectly plump and pink finger right into the penny slot. She cut her finger right open. She probably would have needed a stitch (my doctor told me) if I didn't quickly squeeze her finger and apply a butterfly band aid. I had a whole pack of them in my first aid kit that I kept in my diaper bag. So much for useless junk. I still carry one for just that reason.

When we had justtwo little kids, the living room in our apartment was decked out with a couch and a coffee table. Now, the living room in our home is decked out with just a couch. I now see the coffee table as a big object with sharp corners waiting to poke a hole in some unsuspecting child's head. In that same living room I had a cart that stored all the diapers. I didn't want them upstairs because then I had to go up there for all the diaper changes. I had no shelving space or drawers downstairs to stick them in. I didn't want a bag of diapers just floating around the house. I wanted them to look neat and tidy stacked in a three-tiered cart that could roll around for my convenience. The top shelf was for diaper cream and wipes and the bottom two shelves were for the diapers. The diapers never stayed on the shelf. My daughter thought it was the most hysterical thing to dump the entire thing out. When I made a game out of cleaning them all up, the diapers wound up looking like a stack of the used variety. It wasn't neat anymore. And it definitly didn't look nice.

Fast forward a few years with some bumps, bruises, and scrapes. My kids moved on to cabinets and cabinet contents. No more are my feminine hygiene products safe. After giving birth to my fourth daughter, my oldest daughter introduced "store" to her siblings. In an attempt to use money in the "store" they searched the entire house for a currency to meet their standards. They found panty liners. I didn't realize until I noticed half the box was gone. I didn't know where they kept them. That is, until one day a friend came over to visit. I had just finished nursing the baby upstairs and put her to bed. I went to answer the knock at the door. It was then that I saw my three daughters with purses full of panty liners, lining a walkway from the front door to the dining room. They were ripping off the backing and sticking the liners onto the laminate floor with such precision that I almost didn't want to interrupt them because of the workmanship. But someone was at the door, right behind the panty liner pathway. I answered it and hoped that they would smile, wave, and leave. No such luck. She wanted to come in and see the baby. She had to step over panty liners to get into my house. She was so nice about it. She pretended to not even notice.

Now that my kids are out of the infancy stage I have other problems. I am a huge diet Dr. Pepper fan. I open a can and then go about my day. That's not the problem. The problem is by the time I get back to it, the can is almost empty. I have yet to be brave enough to swallow the last few gulps of little kid backwash. Last week, I left my brand new, texting-enabled cell phone on my nightstand. The next thing I knew it was being carried out of the toilet on life support. It did not survive it's waterlogged coma and I had to get a new one. My grocery lists don't survive if I leave them on the table within reach. Especially if there is a pen on the notepad waiting to be used. We have to lock our pantry so we don't have random children grabbing cereal bags and emptying the contents. (I think every single one of the kids had done this before we got the lock.) It took the need to move my bedroom furniture for Pesach cleaning to find my glasses that went missing a half a year before.

Bottom line is: Mistakes happen. Sometimes we get so caught up in the moment that we can't think clearly. Sleep deprivation and loss of brain cells don't really help at all either. But as mothers, we have the stamina to pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off, take note of the incident, and try our darndest to never let it happen again. Okay, so my kids also seem to be huge diet Dr. Pepper fans. They also like to make lists on my designated notepad. I don't have to brush myself off for those minor offenses, but at least I have learned where to keep the candy stash and where I need hide to finish the tub of ice cream.

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