One ongoing problem I have as a parent is an underdeveloped ability to recognize when things are going permanently and irrevocably into the crapper.
While I don't really consider myself an optimist, I find that as a Mom I possess an astounding ability to expect a positive outcome even when it involves blinding myself to some very obvious realities.
Take, for example, last Monday.
The plan was simple: My oldest was in pre-school, so I took my two-year-old son and 9-month-old daughter to try out a music class. We are actually music class veterans, but last semester my two-year-old had a bit of a "rough time" in class. Instead of participating in the music-making, he would spend class time dancing in front of the mirror like a possessed monkey, after which he'd move on to stealing other children's shaker eggs and hurling them about in all directions before occasionally running into the bathroom for some rhythmic toilet flushing.
He was such a music-room menace that I had chosen to forgo class this semester in favor of something more appropriate to his needs, like, say, toddler alligator wrestling. But then I heard they were offering a test-class and I decided we would check it out on the off chance that my son had experienced a change of heart.
We arrived and things got off to a good start. My son seemed elated to see his old teacher, and the fact that my baby was sitting up meant that she was able to participate without the constant threat of being trod upon by one of her marching classmates.
I had a glimmer that this was all going to work out.
And that glimmer was the beginning of the end. For almost immediately after said glimmer appeared I realized that my baby stank of poo. Rather than try to hump down the hall to the bathroom I opted to discretely change her in one corner of the room, safely hidden behind a pile of tambourines. As my happy two-year-old was rockin', rockin' in the middle of a circle of new friends, I opened my daughter's diaper to realize that I had A BIG PROBLEM.
The moment I saw the DEFCON 5 diaper disaster in my chid's pants I should have admitted defeat, dragged her stank butt to the car, and headed home.
But no, my music class menace son was having a ball! He was playing the triangle like an angel! He was dancing with whimsy! I couldn't leave.
And so I decided to stay and fight, armed with the only weapon in my arsenal - a 1/2 pack of slightly dried out wipes. I was massively outgunned. There was poop everywhere. The neck was involved. One wrist was affected.
The class was becoming distracted by my grunts of frustration and concern as they tried to enjoy a rousing round of "Jumpin' Josie". At some point I realized that I did not have a spare outfit, but still I pressed on. In my desperation I thought perhaps I could create some sort of protective layer out of wipes between my daughter's back and the most profoundly affected areas of her clothing. I was way past the point of reason.
I finally accepted that my daughter's clothing was a lost cause at which point I reached into the diaper bag only to discover that I had only brought Size 5s. Which meant that I now had in my possession about four dozen hideously grotesque wipes, one disastrous diaper, a two-piece garment full of yuck, and a completely nude baby clad only in a diaper that came up to her neck.
At which point I admitted defeat.
I stuffed my now screaming baby into her car seat before grabbing my dancing son by the arm, dragging them both towards the door as my son screamed,
"NOOOOOOOO! MY EGGGGSSSSS!!! NOOOOOO!"
and my daughter wailed in stinky frustration.
As we limped out the door leaving a fetid trail in our wake, the music teacher looked up at me with a wan smile and said,
"Come back anytime!"
Not totally sure she meant it.