We went to Toys R Us yesterday, after a play date, McDonald’s, and the mall. I had a pretty bad cold (still do) and was trying to find things to do where I could comfortably strap Autumn down without it being illegal. I knew Steve had to work into the night and I didn’t know how long my energy would last chasing her all over the house, preventing her from tearing it apart and breaking up fight after fight among the kids.
The boys main focus at the toy store was to purchase a plush Angry Bird with their “hard-earned” money. Sheehan quickly found his bird in a special display at the front of the store, but they still wanted to look at the regular display in case they found something better. Autumn was in need of a nap. She was tied down…uh, securely fastened, but was swinging her arms around and whining a lot. When we got to the second Angry display, I told the boys we needed to get moving after that because their sister was losing control, I was starting to feel a lot worse, and I had forgotten my tissues in the car and was resorting to my sleeve.
Josiah kept bringing item after item to me of Angry Birds paraphernalia to see if he had enough money for it. He is one of those kids that often gets upset because he never has enough money for something he really wants because he buys something – any little thing – whenever we visit a store. He ended up having enough for three Angry Bird erasers.
The boys each paid for their items and we exited the store. We have a rule that the boys aren’t allowed to open their toys until we get in the car. Josiah forgot this rule yesterday. He ripped the packaging apart, and tried to balance all the trash in his hands, along with his three prized red eraser head Angry Birds, as the little rubber tufts of feathers fell out of the tops of their heads and bounced across the tiled floor. I (naggingly) reminded him of our rule, then told him to put the trash in the trash can. When he threw the trash out, one of the Angry Birds went with it. Panic immediately swam across his face. Three options went through my mind:
1. Say good-bye to the little red ball (you still have two!) and be on our way. But that would involve at least an hour of crying and two days (maybe years) of mourning and with my cold and fatigue, I wasn’t ready to commit to that kind of long-term impact.
2. I go in after Angry and win the Sacrificial Mother of the Year Award. But that would involve something disgusting, and at that point, Autumn was no longer in the cart, but standing, me holding her hand, ready to bolt at the first opportunity.
3. Josiah goes in after the stinking bird. He’s a good climber. He doesn’t mind getting dirty. We have wet wipes in the diaper bag. He looks ready and willing.
Number 3 was obviously the best option. We lifted the lid off the can and found that it was only about a quarter full. I spotted the bird, but it was too far down for anyone to reach. It was wedged neatly between a smashed McDonald’s cup and the gooey, sludgy side of the trash can. I considered throwing up, but that would have hurt my already aching throat. So I did what any sensible parent would do. I asked Sheehan to hold Autumn, as I mustered all my energy to pick Josiah up, then lowered him, head first, into the trash can. He yelled out, “I see it!” then started some kind of frog-kick with his legs to get deeper. I started laughing and my nose started running down my face. Autumn was screaming, while Sheehan held on to her, and screamed even louder for her to stop screaming. I laughed harder, which made me cry and made my nose run more. Finally, Josiah yelled, “I got it!” and I pulled him out.
At that point I was covered in tears and snot and still laughing. I grasped Autumn’s hand, as I tried not to pee my pants, and returned the trash lid to its proper place. Josiah had the biggest smile on his face. Then I knew I had made the right decision.