I Didn’t Mean to Take Your Cup
This morning, my six-year-old shouted, “Mom, I missed the toilet!”
“What do you mean?” I asked from another room, a few feet away.
“Mom, Mom, Mom! J is trying to drink my pee! Eeeew!” he shouted in answer.
“Bet that’ll teach you to close the door,” my husband called from still another room.
I ran into the bathroom to find J–who’d been at my feet maybe twenty seconds earlier–on hands and knees, trying to lap up a puddle in front of the toilet.
(For the life of me, I cannot figure out what we did to make J think he’s a puppy, but he chews flip-flops in between attempts to eat and drink in communion with our Collie mix.)
“No!” I cried, sweeping him up from the floor before giving him a wash-down. I couldn’t tell if he’d actually succeeded in his yellow-water mission, but he’d been at one with the bathroom floor all the same. His fists were wet and he needed a cleaning, which is, indeed, a nearly perpetual state for most the toddlers I’ve known.
He jammed a hand in my mouth and giggled. He thought it was hilarious.
“Well, shoot,” I murmured as I sat back down at my desk with water cup in hand this afternoon.
“Hmm?” ask my nearest colleague and friend, pausing her typing to look my direction.
“I just grabbed my cup of water from the bathroom lounge and finished drinking it,” I explained, bouncing the cup on my knee. “Only …” my eyes drifted over to the corner of my desk, where actually-my cup sat empty.
“Oh, no!” she exclaimed after following my eyes. “You drank someone else’s water again?!”
“Yep,” I sighed. I considered being worried about it, but then thought of J’s fist jammed in my mouth this morning. An adult stranger’s straw didn’t seem at all menacing by comparison.
“That’s weird,” she said, chuckling.
I paused. “You know, I actually wrote about this on my blog. ‘Parenthood is like juggling.'” I pulled up the old blog and showed it to her.
“You’re a single person, and you have a couple of balls to juggle,” I explained, pointing to the first image.
“Then you add a dog, and you have a few more balls to juggle,” I continued. “And then there’s the husband, and the first kid, and then the second kid, so you just get to the point where it feels like a mighty fine day if the biggest ball you drop is the only-drink-from-my-cup one.”
“That’s cute,” she said about my stick figure drawings. I smiled. I doubt she’d have said the same had she witnessed J diving for a pool of pee this morning.
Before I left the office today, I pulled a single item from my filing cabinet and placed it on my desk.
There’s not much room on my desk now that I’m in a bullpen, so I retired a bunch of items to “storage” to keep a tidier working area.
Today I realized that my parenting thinking shortcuts meant it was time to take one of those items out of storage. Drinking from a stranger’s nondescript disposable cup once isn’t a huge deal. Anyone could make that mistake once on a bad day!
But twice in a couple of weeks means it’s time for a self-intervention. Like, for example, taking my Tigger mug out of storage and sacrificing those nine square inches of desk space.
‘Cause though drinking from a stranger’s straw might not be as revolting as tasting a tiny pee-covered fist in my mouth, I’d rather reduce what risks I can … such as by only drinking water from my unmistakable Tigger mug.