This Monday was one of those days. I'd slept terribly the night before due to the onset of Daylight Savings Time, and the whole day had just been completely off the rails. By mid-afternoon the boys were busy playing the newly invented game "Let's throw dirt from the garden through Mom's bedroom window", my husband had recently announced that he'd be home late, and my baby was suffering from a wicked case of diaper rash.
I was busily applying dollops of diaper rash cream to the baby's aching backside when the boys burst through the front door, dragging with them several cubic tons of dirt. I left the baby with a toy in the living room while I carted the boys into the bathroom to hose them down.
I got my older boy fully de-dirtified (well, as much as is ever possible with a four-year-old) and sent him on his way. I was almost through wiping down his brother when I heard laughter from the living room.
The sound of children's laughter is so rarely a good sign in our house.
I rushed towards the hilarity and heard my son announce,
"Oh, Mommy! Look what the baby is doing!"
...and discovered that what the baby was doing was happily devouring A&D ointment directly from the tube.
I snatched the stuff away from her and confirmed that there was indeed a large sheen of white on her tongue. I flashed back to the myriad of doctor's office questionnaires where I checked "YES" to the question, "Do you have the information for Poison Control handy?" while promising to rush home and tape the number to the fridge and then promptly forgetting. Thankfully, a quick Google search brought up the number. I dialed and was quickly connected to Mark.
I started with a white lie...
"Well, Mark, I turned my back for just a minute...."
Mark gave the non-commital grunt of a man who'd heard this line before and then encouraged me to go on.
"Yeah....well...um...it's possible that my daughter may have swallowed either not any or what may have been several tablespoons of diaper rash cream."
I paused, fearful on some level that the moment the phrase was out of my mouth a carful of Child Protective Service agents would swarm my house to whisk my children away -- or at the very least affix a large "THIS MOM SUCKS" banner to my front gate.
Instead what happened was that Mark, in a lovely and calming tone, said simply,
"You're fine, Mom. It's not going to hurt her. She may get some diarrhea, but that's about it."
My only regret at that moment was that I was not pregnant with a boy whom I could name Marky Mark Markson in tribute to this amazing human being.
I scooped up my baby and cuddled her in my arms for a blissful 45 seconds before I needed to jump up in order to stop my sons from sticking forks in the toaster.
Maybe the CPS folks shouldn't cancel the order for that banner just yet.