Life's little traumasOur two-year old daughter is just now recovering from one of those nasty upper-respiratory infections common to children. (Personally, I think it's fallout from the germy blond tykes at her preschool program, all of whom have perpetually snotty noses. One of those things that no one ever tells you about before you become a mother is just how much of your life will be dedicated to futile efforts at snot eradication, or how quickly you will resign yourself to the "draperies and upholstery as Kleenex" paradigm.)
I thought I had reached my personal parenting nadir last week, when I arrested her attempt to flee my side by grabbing—Hard!—her wispy top-of-the-head pony tail as she attempted to dart away toward the traffic. But no, worse adventures were in store. For her to sleep (and, importantly, for me to get any sleep whatsoever), we had to do something about her constant coughing. Enter the cough suppressant, known familiarly as "Yucky Medicine." She acquiesced to a couple of doses with minimal screaming. But by day 5, attempts to medicate her had deteriorated into full-scale battles, complete with flailing arms, kicking feet, and her impressive bubbling reflex, with which she managed to prevent nearly all of the medicine from getting anywhere near her throat, and which offered the added benefit (for her) of spurting great streams of it into my hair and face (already sticky with tears, drool, and snot). By the end of the battle, she'd gotten about one-fifteenth of the dose, cried herself into a major coughing fit, and rendered me permanently sticky and smelling of that sickly grape flavoring that adults falsely believe will disguise other, even more vile flavors.
I was Bad Mama. But what I hadn't counted on was the glorious forgiveness of toddlers. Even though I was the one who had inflicted the sticky grape suffering upon her, she came to me for comfort almost immediately. Now I can only dread the day when she remembers that it's me she's mad at, and has achieved the capacity to hold a grudge.