I heard it before I saw it and knew at that moment I’d made a mistake letting my 4-year old jump from the couch to the metal barstool we’d never actually used at a bar since we didn’t have one. I saw her hanging over the bottom rungs of the chair, now on its’ side, like a limp rag doll, and yelled for my son to help because I figured that in his youth he could move faster. He wasn’t there, though, and by the time I got to her she had lifted herself up and was standing with her hair in her face and her mouth open while she tried to scream, but no sound would come out.
A bright red river of blood was streaming a path from her nose to her mouth and I wasn’t sure if she had ripped her nose or her lip open.
Always cool under pressure, I started to scream “Help me! Help me!” over and over, yelling for my son to call his dad at work. He, having been upstairs for what he’d hoped to be a relaxing visit to the bathroom, was a frazzled mess and stumbled to find one of our phones.
“Grace. Face bleeding.” He shouted into the phone and hung up.
Somehow I had mentally slapped myself out of my hysteria and asked for a box of tissues, snatched one and held it against my daughter’s nose, noting I had smeared blood above her eyebrow as I’d pulled her close for a hug and examination.
I knew that in order for her to calm down that I had to calm down and suddenly I went into robot mode. Wipe face. Hold nose, ask what hurt and what she had hit. She said her nose and her ear so I examined both appendages and saw blood caked along the edge of the nose and the tip of it swelled some, but otherwise it seemed fine. The ear didn’t have the gash I worried I would see.
My husband burst through the door a few minutes later and we checked her out together while she cried. A popsicle and a cartoon helped her calm down.
A half an hour later she was in the kitchen twirling in circles next to the counter, an inch from smashing her face in again.
“Excuse me. We’ve already had one bloody nose. Are you trying to get another one?” I asked.
And that’s when I felt it – another gray hair pop up on top of my head.
Every night and every nap for the last two years my daughter has had to listen to Frank Sinatra’s “In The Wee Small Hours” album while she’s falling asleep.
I’ve tried to change the music without her knowing but as young as two she would look at me and say “no. I want frank.” In the beginning she called him “Frank Satra,” but as she grew she knew how to pronounce his name clearly and she let me know no one else would do – no Nat King Cole or Diana Krall or even a different album by Frank.
I finally slipped in some Dean Martin from his “Sleep Warm” album, skipping over the slightly faster songs thrown in the middle of the more gentle and melodic tunes, and she accepted it.
Last night I decided to try some Sarah Vaughn, who I’ve never actually listened to that much, but we only got two songs in before I heard an exasperated sigh in the dark.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, hoping to God she did not ask me for the snack she’d tried to tell me she needed a few moments earlier, even though it was way past her bedtime.
“It’s the music,” she said with exasperation dripping off each word. “It’s just not working.”
Now it was my turn for a sigh. I switched the Apple Music on my phone to the playlist of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.
She relaxed in the darkness, obviously content, and in less than five minutes she was fast asleep to the smooth, soothing baritone of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.
Someday we’ll find another artist who lulls her into a state of pure relaxation but for now Dean and Frank remain our close and repetitive friends.
Little Miss, 3, 1/2 is back to calling me “mom” instead of “Mama” and saying it like an annoyed and spoiled teenager. “Oh Moooom.”
“Mooooom, watch me.”
“No, I don’t want that for dinner, Moooom.”
It’s seriously like she’s 3 1/2 going on 15 some days. And boy does she have my moodiness tendencies, much to my disappointment. One day last week she made a mess with water by pouring it all over the living room floor in what she said was an attempt to pour it on Zooma the Wonder Dog to stop her from pulling on her clothes.
I asked her to clean up said mess and she informed me, first, “No. I won’t. That’s not my job.”
Trust me, that little comment did not go over well with me.
Her second excuse was: “I just got comfortable” as she lounged on the couch watching a cartoon.
I promptly turned off the cartoon and this resulted in long sighs as if she’d been mentally transported into the future as her 15-year old self. Somehow my demands that she clean up the mess she made by herself became a completely overblown toddler crisis and she ended up hiding behind our couch, in a small area near our front door where we keep our shoes.
She had thrown all the shoes out, was crying and in between sobs was saying “but it’s not my joooob! I don’t want to do it! I just want to be lazy and not clean it up!”
I know exactly where her demands to be lazy are coming from and when my 11-year old son got back from camp we had a serious talk about the days he declares “I don’t want to do anything today! It’s lazy… (insert whichever day of the week it is). Eventually the entire drama came down to her saying she would have cleaned up the water if only I had used the word, “please.”
She said all this while still nestled in the space behind the couch and when I added the “magic word” of please to the request a slightly muffled voice informed me: “Well, I can’t do it while I’m crying and I can’t stop crying!”
Eventually, the water did get cleaned up and the drama was abated with a cartoon and cuddle but the attitude bordering on full-blown teenage angst continued off and on throughout the day, with most of her responses coming at me in irritated and impatient tones.
I liked my mom’s suggestion when I told her this story, which was that if she says again “it’s not my job” I turn the tables on her by refusing to do various tasks she would like done and saying flippantly “Sorry. It’s not my job.” Mom and I were fairly certain this effort will one day backfire on me, however, since I am a mom and it actually is my “job” to take care of my kids and Little Miss will most likely inform me of that. one day.