I come out from hiding under the covers. The first thing I notice is that 18 MO is fussing from her crib. But sad to say, that’s not what forced my brain to kick on. Strange, metallic clangs are coming from the kitchen. Baby on my hip, I trudged down the stairs, still half asleep (it’d been a long night). Mid-yawn, I step into the kitchen to see burned toast crumbs spilling from the counter onto the tile floor (which I’d just swept the night before) all around my 8 yro’s bare feet. He looks up from where he’s shoving a butter knife into the toaster.

“What’re you–“

He cuts me off before my lecture has even begun, “Someone put batteries in the toaster, Mom.”

Still befuddled with sleep, I step closer. Sure enough four rechargeable batteries. All toasted a nice crispy black . . . kinda smells like my sister-in-law’s idea of the perfect bacon.

“Who did that?” I demand.

8 yro shrugs. “I don’t know. Not me.”

I take a deep breath, pull out a rag, the broom, and dustpan and get to work.

After I’d finally finished feeding everyone breakfast, I picked my 18 month old up from her high chair. Of course, she’d figured out how to unscrew her sippy cup a few days before. And of course she dropped it. All. Over. Me. Soaking wet, I clean her off and penguin walk toward the bathroom.

Before I’ve made it up the second step, my 8 yro comes bursts  back into the house. “I forgot to have you sign something.” Winter wind whips in from the open door, freezing my milk soaked pajamas to my legs. Shaking, I sign it and hope against hope his teacher doesn’t think he forged my handwriting.

At this point, I know there won’t be time to clean up the kitchen if I’m going to make it aerobics. I jump in the shower, just to rinse off my bottom half. Then I fight to get the kids out the door, find shoes, and convince the 5 yro that the little kids WILL NOT chase him anymore.

When I get home, I jump in the shower for the second time. Just as I’m starting to shave my second leg, 5 yro bursts into the bathroom, his voice high and panicked, ” . . it ing . . . off . . . waw.”

Wiping soap out of my eyes, I move the shower curtain back. “Huh?”

He’s dancing from one foot to the next. “it . . . fell down . . . waws.”

He’s spinning in circled and miming something falling. “Do you need to go potty?”

“No!” he shouts in exasperation.

“Is your sister okay?”

He takes a deep breath, as if finally understanding I’m not going to get it unless he speaks very slowly. “The ite ting fell off the waw.”

At this point, I’ve decided it’s time to rinse off. “What white thing fell off the wall?”

“You know,” he points to the ceiling. “The white ting above the tabwe.”

It suddenly clicks in my head. Shutting off the water, I run downstairs, dripping water all over the carpet as I go. In the kitchen, the mess that awaits me has reached epic proportions. The ceiling light has indeed fallen from the “waw”. It’s now teetering serenely on a box of Multigrain Cheerios. Another box of cereal has been knocked down, spilling Life (how perfect is that metaphor?) all over the table, chair, and floor.

At least nothing is on fire. Yet, I think. And no one needs to visit the emergency room. All in all, not as bad as it could’ve been.

And then I realize something profound. I’m standing, perfectly naked in my kitchen. And all the blinds are up.

With a little squeal, I rush back up the stairs to dress (at this point, toweling off seems unnecessary). Of course, when I finally pick up the box of Life cereal, milk has practically dissolved the cardboard. The sack would have prevented the cereal from flying everywhere, except when my 18 mo had spilled it the day before, she’d ruined said sack. And with the cereal in nothing but the box, I know have SOGGY cereal all over me.

Of course, the phone would have to ring at this point. As I screw the light fixture back into the ceiling, phone propped on my ear, I remember the flyer my church handed out recently. About training for disaster response.

Disaster Training, ha! I’m already an expert.

And that, my friends, is why only one of my legs has been shaved today.

Amber Argyle

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