Last week on Thursday

(This post contains true-but-slightly-gross elements involving body fluids. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Also I do not usually call my children “it” but I would like to preserve gender neutrality throughout this tale. Thank you.)

Confession: I planned too much into my day, preparing for our travels the next afternoon. But things seemed to go fine for the first half. The big kids helped with the little kids while I made food and packed duffels.

My day went downhill when I woke abruptly from a stolen afternoon nap to the sound of thumping. I got up to rebuke the big kids for making noise while the little kids slept, and found it was a little kid making noise instead of sleeping. It was banging on its bed and pulling shreds of paint off the wall: anything works when you’re just trying to stay awake.

I made it go outside, if it wanted to make noise so badly, and there I kept it for a while. But it protested by throwing stones at my house window and peeing itself. Twice.

Another child had two poops in its pants that day. Two is not as bad as it could be – that is, as it is other days. I can potty train like a pro, but poop training is apparently way out of my element. Advice?

All three of the little kids kind of got into this stone throwing bit, since somebody started it, and began lobbing large ones at each other. And poking small ones through the front grill of the van.

One child got mysteriously quiet late afternoon and I thought I sent Big Brother to investigate, but Big Brother missed the memo, so when Mother Herself finally investigated, I found the child sucking on a soggy cloth in the upstairs hallway. The cloth turned out to be its own underwear, freshly dipped into the john and splashed about with joy for some time. I cleaned the floor (which was good, considering how long it had been since THAT happened) and the child.

I was in the downstairs restroom myself that evening when an older child came to me and said “Mommy, I found a tick on me.” Now, ticks are the one physical thing in this world that I truly fear. I took a deep breath and said “Okay, bring me a tweezers, honey, I’ll get it out.”

It said, through the bathroom door, “I already got it out myself.”

I said, “Oh DEAR, that is a grown-up’s job! What did you use?!”

“I used my fingers. I just pulled it out.”

“Oh NO! Did you smoosh it? Are you sure you got it all? Was it still moving?”


“Are you sure it was a tick?” I asked. “Maybe it was just a scab?”

“Well it had legs and it was black and crawling.”

“EEW. Okay, but it was still alive after you pulled it out?”

“Well, I can’t find it. I flicked it off my hand and it’s somewhere on the bathroom floor.”

Awesome. We never found it, but I cleaned the bathroom floor again. And that is how that went.

At bedtime, after all the children were at last settled to sleep, I came downstairs and found two neat piles of dog puke waiting for me on the linoleum floor, nicely in a row. Apparently the cat food I put out on the porch was entirely too temping, and she gorged herself. After I had forgiven her, and we were snuggling on the couch, she started pacing and retching and I got her as far as the door before we had another pile to clean up.

I was done.

I wanted my bed.

But when I went to sink into it, I found that one small child been allowed to fall asleep there, and when I went to move it tenderly to its own bed, I found that it had left me a large wet patch of pee as a present – the first time in weeks it had soiled sheets. And I mean it was through everything: comforter, sheets, mattress pad, mattress.

So I stripped my bed and scrubbed it, and got those sheets in the washing machine and lay down on the edge of the bare mattress, so furious I could not speak.

My husband said, “What do you want to do with the bed?” He was hoping for a blanket or sheet suggestion, but I was fresh out of all three: blankets, sheets, suggestions. I growled, “SLEEP IN IT.”

That is how some of my days go.

Sometimes what looks from the outside like being a superwoman is, from the inside, simply being too tired to cry, too stuck to quit, and too proud to ask for help.

(That was to make you laugh.)

I am grateful not all my days are like last Thursday. There are more of them than you’d believe. But not all. And that is how we survive.

I covet your sympathy, but more your commiseration. If you have a story to tell in return that would make our drama look normal, I’d surely appreciate it. [grin] 

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Nancy Overholt
5 years ago

I know exactly what you mean. Truely,I do. We did foster care for most of our married life until a tragedy happened in our home. We had mostly babies and toddlers and sometimes 4 at a time.!! I look back and wonder how I did it and now that those days are over I still revel in the quietness and the experience of sleeping the whole night through !!! It is wonderful !! I loved my babies during those years but want to savor this stage too

5 years ago

“That is how some of my days go.”
Oh Shari how I can relate to this. I felt each word written. You’re such a great mom and I’m so glad you can look back on days like this and laugh…..maybe not yet, but soon hopefully. ? xoxo

5 years ago

Thanks for sharing this. It is a little too close to home for me to be able to grin or laugh much. Those bodily fluids just get me sometimes. And the ticks!! Yikes. So, yeah, the drama is NORMAL and it is real and it doesn’t last forever. Although, when you’re fostering, I guess it could last long. Hugs from one mom to another. And it’s actually really validating to me that a counselor’s daughter can tell her husband to sleep in a bed without sheets. That’s actually what made me smile about the whole post. Thanks for being transparent.

5 years ago

Oh my!!! I feel downright angry that a TICK – of all things! – made it’s way into the story of your crazy day. I remember a night when I was up over and over to attend to a 2-3 yr old who was throwing up repeatedly. Towards morning she crawled into bed with us and finally fell asleep. I awoke to a terrible stench…”What is that smell??” I asked. She sighed a pathetic, little sigh and said, “I am afraid all that puking made me poop my pants.”

5 years ago

I do not have a fresh story but I just took 2 new children into my home and Thursday is coming.?I liked the words “too tired to cry, too stuck to quit, too proud to ask for help”.

5 years ago

This isn’t quite the same, because stomach flu is hardly normal. But if you haven’t read it already, this might give you a laugh

I’m looking at a stack of paperwork right now that promises the possibility of being right in your shoes one of these days……..

5 years ago

Aw, man, my older sister who had five children in as many years (a set of twins) had sent us a “poop” email years ago. I wish I could find it in five seconds and shoot it your way. It involved trying to clean up one mess in the bathtub, which instead produced a pile on the bathroom floor that was stepped in and smeared throughout the carpet of the entire house. I laughed so hard at my desk in the study room at Faith Builders. Now that I am (sort of) in that stage of life, I have much more compassion. At least, I would say a prayer for her now as I laughed. Consider yourself prayed for. That’s all I can offer. 😀

5 years ago

Or I could share the time my younger sister and I hid our Valentines Day candy under the bed so we wouldn’t have to share with the visiting children (in our defense, the guests had no sense of portion control). Anyway, the next morning my mom discovered a chocolate on her pillow. “How strange, that is really not like [my husband] at all, but I’ll eat it just the same.” Unbeknownst to her, there were multiple piles of doggy puke waiting for her downstairs. The only reason the dog had left one on mom’s pillow was because she had so gorged herself she couldn’t eat more. She was the runt of a mini-poodle/lhasa mix, about five lbs as an adult. Her sides were literally hard, she had eaten so much. Mom locked her in the laundry for the rest of the day where she drank incredible amounts of water, panted, raced around, and threw up. We still shake our heads in amazement that it didn’t kill her.

5 years ago

Oh……no….reading this seemed like one big bad nightmare that you can’t seem to wake yourself from. Sorry. I often think of a line from a devotional book for mothers that included this line: “young motherhood is like living through something like a poop storm” Certainly this work is not for the faint of heart. Blessings….

5 years ago

Oh Shari what a day that was! I’ll share my story. When my girls were children they were our church AWANA club. Well on AWANA awards night my youngest who was three at the time wasn’t feeling all that great. I figured she was just really tired because it was her first time for AWANA. Well unforturnately that wasn’t tbe case. I had her in my lap in the church sanctuary and the next thing I knew she was losing her dinner. There was the 3rd grade AWANA class in the pew in front of us one of the boys exclaimed ” Cool!” I fought the urge to give him a dirty look. After all we were in the Lord’s house!

All I could do was run with my daughter to the nearest bathroom. I’m sure people were wondering about that strange woman with a ” thing on her head” running to the bathroom a crying child.

5 years ago

Thank you for giving such a good laugh! Not at your awful day, but the episode with mattress at the end struck me funny! Sounded so much like how I would respond. 🙂 Blessing! Maybe you would enjoy this song.

5 years ago

After an epic bedtime tantrum, this was just what I needed! You are not the only Mama of challenging children that has these days! Thanks for sharing & making me laugh until I cried–Lisa’s comments only added to my tears with the family memories.

L. Baer
5 years ago

Mine was last Saturday… or was it Friday? Family gathering, hot humid summer weather, a kitten under the dishwasher… did it or did it not do its deed under there?? I still don’t know, but the questionable odors have vanished. Maybe because I scrubbed under the kitchen sink? I’d rather blame the cat than my housekeeping though.

5 years ago

I laughed. Then read this to my husband. What a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day! My baby turned 9 yesterday; I have so few days with dilemmas like yours. But I clearly remember the emotions you described! Bless you, for the nitty gritty days of following God’s plan for you!

5 years ago

Seems in my dim memories that I would have pulled out towels in such a situation. But maybe you didn’t even have those? I would’ve been afraid I would roll onto the wet spot. And I would have definitely needed my husband’s arms around me at such a time. Lol. One memory I have is of two little boys performing a baptism in a very shallow mud puddle and coming into the house to report on it. Hey, Mama, look. I baptized him in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I wonder now why I didn’t just laugh instead of scolding. Who likes muddy, gravely boys parading into the house? I could have been glad they were happy.

Twila Smucker
5 years ago

I remember a horrible day I had while we were living in Grenada. My baby Hannah at the time was into everything (we even found her with a half eaten lizard one time!) Well, this one day was truly awful. She had diarrhea and it seemed I spent all day cleaning her up from that and then she crawled over and pulled herself up to the glass fish bowl and somehow pulled it on to the floor where it smashed into a million pieces. There was wet carpet and glass shards and a poor fish flopping all over. Then we had an electrical outage just as we were sitting down to supper. This child reached out in the dark and pulled a bowl of very hot soup on to herself and burned herself quite badly. I was very ready for that day to end. And for Hannah to grow out of her stage! Thankfully she has by now (at least somewhat although she still tends to break stuff 🙂 )

Rhonda Yoder
5 years ago

Wow – such craziness! And to think that we “weaker vessels” somehow get through this stuff that our male counterparts just couldn’t!!!!!!!! Not a blanket statement,though – i know some guys actually deal with those things sometimes,too! ( And with things we don’t or couldn’t.) Just this past Sat. our little foster boy, who will be 3 in Oct. started puking on the porch on the mat right outside the door, then on the doorsill, then the rug right inside the door, then almost the whole length of the next room, thankfully not carpet!!!!!! My hubby got the pressure washer and cleaned the porch part of things. I was so grateful!!! But yeah, those times that make us feel like we just can’t do this are balanced out with the good times, and of just knowing we’re doing the right thing (: love reading your open,honest stories of life – it always helps to know we’re not alone!

5 years ago

“It puts the lotion on it’s skin or else it gets the hose again.”

Heh Heh Heh

Sorry, couldn’t help myself. I immediately thought of that movie line when I saw “it”.

My own wife is haunted by the critters (and remains of critters) that our two cats leave on the back porch.

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