Baby, Family, Life, Pets

Domesticity, or, GetMeOuttaHere

01.12.09 | 3 Comments

Approximately sixteen hours ago, I was so moved by the uncharacteristic quiet calm in our home that I tweeted. I thought I was being clever. Later Joel would chastise and blame me for precipitating the cascade of events that followed.

After waking to an alarm this morning in an effort to get ourselves up during the AM hours, I was lying in bed nursing Zoe when I heard a dog – Sarge, no question – heaving to vomit.

Perhaps I should back up just a bit. The vomit was no surprise; I had predicted it yesterday. In the early evening we went to Target as a family. On my way out the door, I told Sarge (as I always do, given his history; see example here) not to destroy anything and gave him a well-meaning pat on the head. When we returned under two hours later, we were faced with the remnants of his symphony of destruction. He had emptied and shredded the diaper bag, including some lotion and Orajel (thus, my prediction), and upset the contents of my backpack, TSA-style. Mouthed but not tattered toys and a few barrettes were strewn across the living room. I wished him pain and general discomfort for causing such an inconvenience and for not respecting our property, dramatically vowed to toss him on the highway from a fast-moving car, cleaned up the mess, and went about our evening, relatively happy that this was one of his less devastating tantrums.

Joel is wont to claim Sarge’s superiority as a dog, especially in relation to Chief, so I was certain he wouldn’t mind taking care of the piles of vomit this morning. Bleary-eyed at 10:30AM, he dealt with the worst of it and returned to bed.

Zoe and I shuffled into the bathroom where she tinkled at least two cups into her potty (revealing her dry diaper – after 11 hours in bed!). She then requested a bath. She splashed about while I got ready to meet a friend for lunch. Said friend is passing down several study aids for me, and as a thank-you, I planned to bake him some cookies. When Zoe and I were both dressed and ready, she was playing happily upstairs. Joel and I had talked a few minutes before (though he was still in bed) and I called to him that I was going downstairs to put cookies in the oven; I would be right back. (Let the record show that I thought he was awake at this point. Also noteworthy is that he was awake enough to have gotten a glass of water lodged into his armpit, a glass that he would later spill as he arose, wetting his shirt and the bed.)

In the famous metaphor, at this point the fan has been turned on, and the poo is definitely in the air.

The consternation transcended our separation; I could feel Joel’s dismay before I actually made it up the stairs. I can’t be sure at which exact moment his valve slammed shut, but it was closed well before he was able to speak. He was Rabbit to Zoe as Tigger. In his (unintentionally) best Rabbit’s voice, I heard, “She’s RUINED $3000 worth of equipment!”

If only I had a picture. We weren’t thinking clearly; no one can blame us. Zoe, on top of the desk, an Expo marker in each hand. Streaks and swirls of black and green on her face, her clothes. The desk. The keyboard. The flat-screen monitor. The mouse. The MacBook Pro.

“Stay calm. It’s dry erase. At least it’s not Sharpie.” Outwardly, I project confidence that this can be fixed. Inside, I know that my OCD husband never will be able to use these items, and possibly look at our daughter, the same way again. He would later describe the incident as having “violated his inner sanctum.”

I took Zoe with me downstairs, trying to keep the time in mind and find something that might clean the marker mess without damaging the items.

In the 8-10 minutes we were in the kitchen: Zoe helped herself to some water from the fridge’s dispenser, overflowing her small cup, which is really hardly worth mentioning since this is a multi-occurring event on a daily basis; a small bowl of syrup bounced with a zig-zag trajectory inside the fridge and onto the floor; and Zoe capsized her bowl of Cheerios, milk and blueberries. I was able to prevent her from playing in the sticky mess long enough to corral the dogs into the kitchen to remind myself why I keep them around.

After my lunch I received a text from Joel that he dripped melted chocolate chip onto his freshly cleaned sweater and jeans, and as we know from Chief Wiggum on the Simpsons, “Nothing gets chocolate out.”

Most of the marker has been removed with a combination of Clorox Green Works, Kaboom! and Goof-Off. Joel professes a continuing and undying love for Zoe despite her egregious error, though his valve likely will remain in the undesirable closed state for some time.


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