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“We’re almost done here,” the
dental hygienist said to me a couple of weeks ago as she picked and prodded at
my gums with some amount of finality.
“Oh, please take your time,” I pleaded.
“Really, I’m in no rush. Did you need to take X-rays today? Would you mind
flossing my bottom row again? How about getting that scraper tool back out for
Round 2 on those top teeth?”
I don’t mind trips to the dentist
because my teeth are in fine form. But I actually look forward to the dentist
because it’s one of the few times I am ever entirely kid-free for up to a whole hour in the daytime, which means no one is pulling on my pants leg, poking my
back or pinching my face.
There might have been a time when
I thought as a mom I’d get some alone time if I could just escape to the
bathroom, but when my older daughter started crawling,
she’d sidle right up to me when I was on the toilet and whine until I hoisted
her onto my lap, at which time she’d play with my eyelids—and by “play with my eyelids,” I mean
she insisted on twisting my eyelashes until she was satisfied that a sufficient
clump had been pried off and were plastered inside her chubby little fists.
Having her on my lap while I was
on the toilet made wiping rather messy, and it meant I had literally not a
moment to myself during waking hours (it also meant I had to look into an
eyelash transplant or fake eyelashes, which always made me think hard to try
and remember why it was I ever really wanted kids in the first place).
Now, at age 4, my older daughter
has finally learned what it means
when she sees the bathroom door is closed. Which is to say, one in every 14
times it’s closed she might knock, but even then, she knocks and rushes in before
I have a chance say either, “Come in” or “Go away” (we disabled all locks on
all doors in our home ages ago after a certain someone locked herself into her
bedroom and couldn’t figure out how to unlock herself out, and the fire department was nearly dispatched with an axe to
break her free).
Still, it’s an improvement. Sadly,
however, it’s a useless improvement, because my younger daughter, who is now 11
months old, has started crawling with a vengeance. Like her sister before her,
she thinks it’s great fun to charge me when I’m in the bathroom and cuddle up
on my lap when my rear is firmly affixed to the loo.
Sometimes, when my family is out around town and passes an upscale hotel, I make a mad dash inside for the lobby
bathroom and just sit for awhile. There’s usually a comfortable sofa, fresh
flowers, linen towels, some light reading material and a pleasant hum of
silence. No one asks me what I’m doing, and no one asks me to do anything for
them. It’s kind of like how I imagine heaven, only with more artificial air
freshener. I usually figure I can get away with 15 or 20 minutes in a hotel
lobby bathroom before my husband sends in someone looking for me armed with a
plunger and a bottle of Kaopectate.
Now that my younger daughter has
started sleeping in until 6:30 or 6:45 in the mornings, after I nurse her I’ll
get up and go for a walk or jog so I can have an hour to myself before the
chaos in the house climaxes at 7:30 a.m., and holds to a steady frenzy until the kids are back in bed 11 or so hours later.
Sometimes, when all else fails, I
stick in earplugs in the middle of the day to tune out whatever’s happening in
the house, but after the children’s pleas for snacks, scissors and butt-wipings
go unanswered for the 19th time, I need to tune back in.
It’s a nice idea to think I can carve
out more than an hour most mornings for “me” time, but I figure I’ll have
plenty of extra time to myself when my kids go off to college, or when they
learn how to operate the TV on their own (whichever comes first). And we’re
ready to start training them for both really soon.
In the meantime, I have a call
into the dentist’s office to see if I can come in next week for a voluntary