“Mommy, there’s something in my bed.”

“Mommy, there’s something in my bed.”

I have no idea where to start. Perhaps I could give you a visual from my husband’s point of view, for he was blissfully unaware of the latest installment of “This Crazy House” as he lay soaking in the jacuzzi tub in our bathroom. I come in and motion for him to turn off the jets so he can hear my explanation of why I am wielding in my left hand the enormous, meaty, remains of our Easter ham, shreds still clinging the bone, and gesturing frantically with my right hand.

How’s this for a beautiful end to Jo-Jo’s 8th birthday? Headline: “7-Year-Old, Previously Well-Adjusted Girl, Turns 8 And Suddenly Cannot Sleep In Her Own Room.” Or, alternatively I could title it “What’s The Weirdest Thing You’ve Ever Had To Clean Up Out Of Your Child’s Bed?” I mean seriously, it was like Ham-ageddon in there. Poor girl. Will she ever be the same?

Here’s the story. There were footsteps on the stairs, only halfway down since it’s past bed time: “Mommy. Mommy, I need you.”

Big sigh. “What is it, Jo-Jo?” (Translate, “What fantastic reason to delay your bedtime have you invented tonight?”)

“No, Mommy, you have to come up here.” Ok, there is real emotion in her voice. More real than just little-kid-trying-to-stay-up-longer emotion.  Her voice is small and shaky. “Mommy, please. You have to come up now.”

Then she really got me: “There’s something in my bed.”

Spider. “Ok hold on, now,” I’m on my feet. “This sounds like a Daddy thing. You need Daddy. Go get Daddy. Jay! Jay? Where are you?” Nothing.

“No, Mommy, I need you now. Come now! Please! You have to come now!” It sounded like panic. Now I’m panicking. Probably a wolf spider. Seriously need Daddy. And a shot gun. And someone to shoot it. I now have one foot on the stairs and the other one headed towards the bathroom where I hope Daddy is. I see the dog on the couch, so I know they aren’t out for their evening walk.

“Mommy, this is not an insect or….. something.” Tearful. Panicking. Fretting. Bizarre.

What.

The.

Big Sis pokes her head out of her door. Even she is curious now.

“Jo-Jo. Get ahold of yourself. What is it? What. Is. In. Your. BED??!!!!!” Oh, the images that flashed through my paranoid mind. Raccoon? Snake? Fire? Fallen-in roof? Person? Dead person?!!!!!

“It’s not, it’s not, it’s….” she is struck dumb. She makes a face that has more than fear in it somehow. What is it? Disgust? Disgust! Yes! The dog went up there while we were watching LHOP! We thought it was kinda strange! The dog was acting kinda strange!

“Ohhhhhhh! Oh, oh, oh, no. Did, did Josie….you know, did she….?” One time she had pooped in the play room to show us she was mad at us for leaving her. Strikes again.

“No. No, Mommy. I don’t know what it is.” Sobbing.

Sometimes I like to think I’m that person who can just live without knowing what’s in the basement calling you at midnight in scary movies. I’d be the one who buys that house but hears the raspy-voiced, “Get out!” and I’d just, you know, get out. No, I never picture myself the heroine of the horror film, the girl who has killer curiosity and ends up just facing Freddie Kruger or Jason or whomever. I’d just pick up and move to Canada. End of story.

But I climbed those stairs and went into that room. And what I saw in that bed, well, I can tell you quite honestly, if I were a just-turned-8-year-old girl, I’d never be able to get back in that bed again.

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It all began to click. We went out for birthday dinner and came home to find the lid off the trash can and a very thirsty puppy. I assumed she just, you know, ate the rest of the ham. I didn’t go digging though the smelly trash.

Then the weird trip upstairs during tv time. She’s a big dog and doesn’t really like going up and down the slippery wood stairs. It was fairly unusual. Not alarmingly so, but unusual.

Apparently, our dog had attempted to bury the Easter ham remains in Jo-Jo’s bed. Right up there next to her pillow, up against the wall. Our dog’s weird ascent during Little House had been a hambone inventory check. Poor Jo-Jo gets ready for bed only to find what truly appears to be a mauled carcass right where she is to lay her sweet head.

Now that she realizes what it is, and what that smell is, she refuses to even go in her room. I go in and strip the sheets as carefully as I can (I’ve already thrown away the ham bone since I am finished relishing over my husband’s bath) but still some bits of ham spray across the room, behind the headboard, down into the tight space between the mattress and the wall and the frame, down into the trundle bed mattress and frame. I try to move the bed over and, of course, the ceiling fan begins to bang loudly against the bedposts. I run to shut off the fan then return to attempt to remove the ham juice, grease-soaked mattress pad, only to find it is one of those zip ones that encases the entire mattress. Whose great idea was that? Yeah, mine. Go me. I won’t be able to fit all this into the washer in one load anyhow.

So Jo-Jo is having a little birthday sleepover in her Big Sis’ room tonight. I’m sure we’ll all get plenty of rest as we face a day of cleaning the ham bits from Baby Girl’s room tomorrow. And laundry.

You know what? I take it back. I can totally live without anyone else sharing what is the weirdest thing you’ve ever cleaned out of your child’s bed.

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The Muted Birthday

The Muted Birthday

It’s hard to believe our littlest turns 8 today. Like many couples unable to have more children, my husband and I have sometimes failed to thank God for what we have and instead  wished for more. I won’t lie: it is painful to imagine that I will never again experience the joy of cradling a tiny baby of my own so tenderly in my arms. There is nothing in this world like that love. But we know–for an anatomical fact–that no more will be coming. We have, I suppose, come to terms with that.

A while back, rather unexpectedly, a family we know shared some awesome, but surprising, news.  I had the great privilege of a few weeks of joyful planning and vicarious, happy anticipation. But yesterday, my friend went to her doctor appointment for a check up and some good news. She came home with very, very bad news.

I cannot even imagine her pain. We experienced the fear, yes, when I had first trimester bleeding. That was a little over 8 years ago. But that fear turned into…well, she is 8 years old today. My friend will not be experiencing that great wave of relief today, tomorrow, or even 8 years from now.

And, over here on this side of town, I am trying to celebrate a birthday. There is a cake to frost, a house to decorate, and dinner plans need to be made.

I feel guilty.

What kind of friend am I to celebrate my child’s life when, not too far away, a family is mourning? Sure, I’ve done a few little tasks to help, expressed deep sympathies, offered my services in any way possible. I’ve probably done the “right” things. But it is not enough. And I pray.

If you are reading this, please pray for my friend and her family. Any comments are appreciated.

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There Was A Little Girl…

There Was A Little Girl…

How did that old nursery rhyme go? I’ll be honest. I couldn’t remember past “right in the middle of her forehead.” I had to Google it. Turns out, it’s a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow! Ha! Who knew? Here’s the rest:

 

“There was a little girl,
            Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
            When she was good,
            She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.”

 

And Mr. Longfellow lived from 1807-1882! How could he have predicted “Molly?”

 

There’s more, but nothing quite so ingrained upon the memories of most of us (especially us mothers of curly-headed little girls) as that first stanza.
 
 
And in our case, the family’s even come to name it. The Lead Curl. It occupies a slightly more prominent frontal-scalp area than Curl Number Two, but is impressively larger than Curl Three. Ironically, the Curls neither accurately predict nor correctly reflect Molly’s moods. In fact, quite the opposite. When Molly has finally succumbed to the evil institution known as “taking a bath,” the curls come out all nice and smooth and bouncy and incredibly ringlet-y and spirally in a perfect shade of brand-new-shiny-penny-copper.

 

Then she is good.

 

 But when it’s been (cough–a few days) some time since her last shampoo, the curls become less curl-like and more, well, erratic, animalistic frizz? This is the Molly whose heavy, scowling eyebrows, stomping feet and clenched jaw has worn down Momma to the point where cleanliness is relevant, right? I mean, she got most of the chocolate out of her ear and the mud between her toes, I mean, seriously. How harmful can a little mud be?

 

Moms of Mollies out there (you know who you are) does curl quality correlate with behavior? Please share.