You know that phrase “from the sublime to the ridiculous?”
It was coined by Thomas Paine in his Age of Reason, and has been used by and attributed to many others since. And no wonder – it so eloquently sums up an astounding amount of life.
And since about 12:15 today, I have been unable to get it out of my head.
To be entirely truthful, I wouldn’t actually say that my morning was “sublime.”
If given a choice of words I may have chosen “tedious” or “mildly aggravating.” But the kids did get up at 8:30 with minimal whining as part of our efforts to get back on East Coast time after 2 weeks in California. They also all ate breakfast – though for one of them it was black beans and cheddar cheese on tortilla chips. They even shared nicely and sorted colors patiently while playing with our new Perler beads – which any crafty mom will tell you is an accomplishment worthy of the word sublime.
Then we headed out for a trip to the doctor’s office and the grocery store. Everyone was wearing weather- and age-appropriate clothing and shoes. Everyone’s hair had been brushed. I had even showered. It was pretty darn sublime.
The pediatrician’s visit was bound to be interesting. One of my daughters had been treating the bathroom as her new home away from home. She had a stack of books and a box of toys positioned by her favorite toilet and had to be reminded that neither food nor Daddy’s iPad were allowed in the loo. There was no burning or itching (is that TMI?) but I suspected a UTI nonetheless. I coached her on the importance of answering the doctor’s questions honestly and without embarrassment. I coached her sisters on refraining from laughing or calling their sister “Drippy.”
Yes. Girls are mean. And insensitive. Even the good ones.
Our pediatrician was sweet and helpful – and agreed with my Web-MD-based diagnosis.She called in an antibiotic prescription and requested a “sample” just to be sure.
And for the 1st time in forever (are you hearing Anna from Frozen right now? Or is it just me?)…my little one couldn’t go.
I sat on the floor of the health center bathroom, whispering stories of waterfalls and rivers and raindrops, singing The Itsy-Bitsy Spider and Rain Rain Go Away, reassuring a certain little girl not to think about the cup in the potty, for almost 20 minutes.
The pediatrician suggested that we (free up her one-seater bathroom and) take a cup for the road.
As long as I had the sample back by 5, the lab would test it today.
We stopped by our house to try again.
Songs. Stories. Faucet running. Tickles. (Hey, I was desperate!) No luck.
We gave up and headed to the grocery store.
It should have been a very quick trip, since we only needed 6 items (and our antibiotic prescription, of course!)
I had forgotten that my children possess stomachs comparable in appetite and restraint to the black holes formed by the collapse of stars 20 times the size of our Sun. Clearly, I had erred in forgetting to pack snacks.
Since one cannot, in reality, argue with a black hole, we stopped at Red Robin.
It was there, ensconced in our comfy booth, mac-and-cheese and apple slices ordered, that my darling daughter finally felt the urge to pee.
And so I joined her in the restroom.
I held the coffee-cup-like receptacle to catch a sample.
I put on the oh-so-coffee-cup-like lid.
And I wondered what the heck to do next.
Would it go bad?
Should I ask for a cup of ice to keep it cold?
Could I put it in the car in this heat?
Did we need to ask for our food to go?
All my years of work in health care had not even begun to prepare me for this issue. After all, I was a PT. We rarely dealt in the preservation and testing of bodily fluids.
A quick call from the stall to the pediatrician’s nurse assured me that it could wait. I wrapped the cup in a handkerchief, placed that into a zip-top plastic bag, and carefully balanced the whole kit-n-caboodle in the outer pocket of my purse. (Which is, now that I consider it, very nicely sized for holding a coffee cup full of urine in an upright position.)
Hands thoroughly washed and seated back in the booth, I whispered to my remaining children that they shouldn’t climb around under the table or otherwise knock over my purse.
“Why?” asked one.
I shushed her and whispered, “There’s something in there I don’t want to spill.” I directed what I thought were significant glances in the direction of her sister.
Clearly, I was being much too subtle. “What’s in there?” the excessively loud questioning continued.
“Just what your sister and I ‘collected‘ in the bathroom,” I explained, again with the telling glances. “That I don’t want to spill. From the cup.” I saw understanding dawn on one little face – just as another little voice piped up shrilly:
“What were you guys collecting in the bathroom? Can I get some, too? It’s not fair!”
“Can you please stop talking about the pee in Mom’s purse!” my much-put-upon child shouted at her sister. “I’m going to get embarrassed!”
The waiter set down our orders. The nice people seated nearby smiled and pretended not to hear us. I drank my beer in silence and thankfulness. And tried really, really hard not to laugh.
From the sublime to the ridiculous, indeed.
Just another day in parenting.