Sunday, February 22, 2009

Boy Forgotten

Today I won the Worst Mommy Award.

Someone needs to give me a medal made out of a rusty, jagged tin-can lid. I deserve it.

Olivia stayed home from school this morning so I could take her to the doctor for a probable urinary tract infection. We waited at the doctor's office for a long time, saw the doctor for two minutes, took a urine sample, waited some more, saw the doctor again, then waited some more for the pharmicist to get the antibiotics ready.

By the time we made it back to school, I was forty minutes later than my projected time to be back at school. But my brain was working it all out. We'd find Aaron, eat lunch with him, run to the library, then go home.

It was 11:40 when I was making all these plans.

And if you've ever been a mom of at least one small child, you know how long it can take to (1) find a husband in a large building, (2) eat lunch with him (because right in the middle of eating there will inevitably be potty breaks and hungry, crying five month olds), (3) run to the library.

So, here we are in the MIDDLE of lunch at 12:30. We hadn't even made it to the library. Aaron had just finished a meeting and looked up with his fork halfway to his mouth and said, "What's happening with Gabe?"

My eyes flew to the clock on the wall. GABE!

Yes, Gabe. My beloved son Gabe who arrives home from the Early Childhood Center on the schoolbus at 12:30.

The next few minutes, I'll admit, were panic-stricken and probably pretty hilarious to all the people sitting around me who didn't have a five-year-old son standing outside an empty apartment knocking incessantly and crying.

Finally, I commandeered my husand's cell phone and called my downstairs neighbor Rachel (Yay for community!). She went downstairs and found him. I guess he'd come up to our sixth floor apartment. When I didn't answer the door he went downstairs and was waiting outside. Our first floor neighbor Renee saw him and brought him in. But she had to leave, so as Rachel was coming down to find him, she was coming up to find someone to take care of him. So, Gabe spent a happy 45 minutes at Rachel's house with his friend Sam, while I tried to accomplish ONE task -- getting home.

Of course, if you have ever been the mother of at least one small child, you can imagine how long performing even one task can take. "Quick! Finish lunch, child!" "Mommy, I have to go potty!" "No! We don't have time for hand washing right now. We'll wash our hands when we get home! Let's just go!" "Come on, Anna, run!"

It did ease my burden incredibly to know that Gabe wasn't standing out in the cold waiting for us. I knew he was probably having fun at Sam's. I, therefore, did make a brief stop at the library, but I'm going to put that in very small print so that hopefully Rachel won't read it and get mad at me.

When we got out in front of school at long last, Sophie was asleep and there were no taxis to be had. So, that meant another ten minutes, and more mommy-stress-comments like, "Stay right by me! Don't run in the road!" (I don't know why I bother, though. Really, in Tianjin, you're just as likely to get hit by a vehicle when walking on the sidewalk as you are walking in the road. )Finally, we did get a taxi; we did haul ourselves up the stairs to Sam's house; we did find Gabe, crying and moaning....

But only because he didn't have "any fun." It was "too short." He only got to play at Sam's for "one minute."

So, I dragged Gabe up the stairs listening to his lamentations. I laid Sophie on the bed in her snowsuit, still fast asleep. I held Gabe and cried. Gabe stopped moaning. I walked around the house. I stared at the dirty dishes in the sink. I considered the wet clothes in the washing machine that needed to be hung up. I stepped over toys littering the floor. And thought, "I need some therapy."

So, here am I. Blogging.

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