For the most part I can complete the various jobs required of a mom with competence, if not greatness. I safely chauffeur the kids from A to B, (not easy when world war 3 is breaking out in the back seat) and provide nutritious meals often catering for my family’s different tastes with a variety that would rival any diner. I am cleaner, laundry maid, personal shopper and on occasion even hairstylist. But one job at which I fail spectacularly, is nurse.
It’s not that I’m squeamish, I just have no patience for it. When poor Mo comes to me doubled over with pain because Flo (4.5 years her junior and around 20lbs lighter) has beaten her up again, my response is likely to be along the lines of “you’re ok, just walk it off.” Similarly when she comes to me with the initial signs of an egg shaped lump on her head, from hitting it on the granite counter (AGAIN, you’d think she would learn that it hurts!) a quick rub and she’s sent on her way. Even last week when Flo had a horrible cold with a hacking cough, the nurturing mom thing began to wear off after a day or two, not helped by two very sleepless nights and an incident that involved me using my hands as bucket to prevent certain projectile fluids hitting the duvet!
So yesterday evening when Mo yelled, “Flo’s crying”, I did not rush to her side covering her with kisses, but simply responded, “I’ll be there in a second.” Now before you all go nominating me for the Worst Mom in the World Award, I can tell you that this happens at least 4 or 5 times a day and is usually because Mo has the toy she wants, or has given her a taste of her pre-pre-teen attitude. Rarely is it because she has hurt herself and typically when she has, 10 seconds later it’s forgotten about. And as usual 5 minutes later all was quiet and playing had once again resumed.
When I went to get Flo and Mo for bathtime, Flo claimed “I hurt my foot, can’t walk”, and it being the end of the day I had no energy to argue and so carried her up, all the while muttering, “blooming drama queen,” under my breath. Imagine then my horror and shame when looking down at Flo’s foot, I saw not her precious dainty appendage, but a reddish-blue, swollen replacement. Immediately, to her amazement, I swooped her up and placed her on the bed with a bag of frozen peas and small foot pillow and called the pediatrician (which fortunately did not result in an ER visit since I was assuming the role of single (week-day) mom that night. And while Flo sat watching T.V. unusually late, I laid by her side asking every few minutes if she was ok, whilst stroking her head. Not even the fact that I was missing the Office season finale, which I had planned to enjoy with a glass of wine or that I could not retrieve the People magazine from the mailbox because, (most likely) Flo had hidden the keys in some random shoe again, could break my bedside vigil. Flo for her part, laid there lapping it up, emitting a small whimper of “my foot is still hurting mommy”, along with a weak smile every time I administered a healthy dose of sympathy and hugs.
Imagine then my surprise when instead of retrieving my brave soldier, ready to carry her around the house all day and cart her off to the Dr, she bounds out of bed, demanding breakfast, completely oblivious to the foot drama of the night before. Sure the foot still looks bruised and possibly a little swollen, but suddenly I realize that presented with an unusually sympathetic nursemaid, dear Flo may have been milking the situation for all it was worth.
So with some relief I can now ditch my Florence Nightingale cap once more and with a bit of luck set Flo to work on finding those damn keys.