I'm Just Gonna Ride it Out
You know those crazy folks who, despite knowing well in advance that some sort of natural disaster is about to completely LEVEL their home, insist upon staying put rather than getting the heck out of dodge? They’re the ones who you overhear telling news reporters “I’m just gonna batten down the hatches and ride it out,” while everyone else is packing up their precious belongings and running for the hills, screaming. I’m not sure if these crazies are on a suicide mission, or if they are under the impression that the hurricane/tornado/volcano/typhoon is going to miraculously stop at THEIR door and go “whoops! Can’t ruin this guy’s house!” I hate to pass judgement on complete strangers, but I always have to resist the urge to throw something at my television set whenever one of these loonies is being interviewed pre-storm.
But then, this past week, I WAS one of those stupid people. I ignored the all-too-obvious signs that danger lay ahead. I kept saying to myself, “I’m just gonna ride it out. How bad could it be?”
First sign of the natural disaster I like to call “Hurricane Emmy”? My daughter started sticking her thumb and fingers wayyy back in her mouth, gnawing on them like they were meaty, juicy ribs. Her poor little fingers looked like chewed up, shriveled hot dogs, and she didn’t care. DANGER! DANGER!
Second sign? Em started drooling like a rabid dog, all over her clothing, her chin, her toys, our furniture, my face… if it was in our house, it was covered in teething drool. WWWOOOOoooooooooowww WWWOOOOOOoooooowwwww (that’s my impression of an emergency siren)!
In light of the warnings that molar teething clearly lay ahead, I probably should have created an evacuation plan. I should have packed my bags and lied to my husband, telling him that I suddenly had to take a business trip to some far away island (if you knew my line of work, you would understand that it would be very difficult for me to make this lie believable, but I should have at least TRIED). OR I should have dug myself a bunker in the backyard, and filled it with all the necessary provisions for a few days of refuge (a blanket, my laptop, and dark chocolate). That way I could have at least been safe from harm.
But, no. I did none of these things. I chose instead to be a good and loyal mommy, and just “ride it out”. And so this weekend happened. And I, being the crazy loon that I am, stood my ground as my daughter slowly but surely transformed into a howling, crying, temper-tantrum-throwing, category five “Hurricane Emmy”. I did everything in my power to keep Hurricane Emmy at bay. I fed her Tylenol. I distracted her with fun activities, like a trip to a children’s expo (how I managed to make it through that madhouse without losing my daughter or being trampled on is a complete miracle) and a trip to the playground. I fed her frozen bagels. In desperation, I almost bought her rawhide to chew on (once, while shopping at the grocery store, a random woman came up to me, observing that Emmy was teething. She told me that if I was a decent mother, I would buy my daughter rawhide to chew on, claiming that it was the only cure-all for her teething pain. I of course ran home to my husband and told him of this suggestion, who then googled “rawhide teething pain” and advised that the nice opinionated lady was full of crap).
Despite my efforts, the nights were still sleepless and restless, with random bursts of high pitched screaming, and the days were full of cantankerous, crabby, and clingy behavior. There were moments of calm and happiness, of course, where the hurricane winds would die down and we could all breathe. But those moments were few and far between, and most of the weekend was, to put it mildly, a topsy-turvy, tumultuous toddler tempest.
So here I am. It’s Monday. I walked into my office this morning, feeling like a tattered and tangled survivor, kind of hoping nobody would ask me about my weekend. I’m afraid if they do, I might lose it and start bawling uncontrollably, despite my strict “no crying in the workplace” policy. I’ve decided the best thing I can do, when co-workers ask what I did to relax and have fun, is to simply respond “I rode it out.”
Just for the record, I know that "Hurricane Emmy" is NOTHING compared to an actual, real-life natural disaster. I really do. I honestly don't mean to make mountains out of mole hills (or mountains out of molars, as the case may be). But I'm exhausted and delirious, and being dramatic is about the only thing I can do well at this point.
So forgive me, but when I get home this afternoon, I’m gonna build myself a bunker and/or buy myself a ticket to a faraway island. Cause, holy smokes, folks, we’ve still got four more big old teeth waiting to erupt.
Parenting with imagination. Or at least trying.