This morning was, to put it mildly, kind of horrible. And kind of amazing. Back and forth in rapid succession.
People without kids don't really understand how fully and completely a small child's mood can alter in a split second. Or how often it can happen in a minute. Well, it's been one of those days.
Before 5am, SI woke up screaming. I think she was just totally overwrought from her birthday shenanigans (meager as they were, there was still an inordinate amount of cake involved), but whatever it was it woke her up crazy early. M was a rock star, reminding her that the sun was down and that it was time to sleep, and eventually she passed back out. It was less than an hour before she was awake and screaming again.
That time, I brought her back to bed with me. I hoped I could catch a little bit more sleep.
Wrong. She screamed and cried, and insisted over and over that we needed to wake up. I'm guessing there was a nightmare involved.
Of course, M had to go to work, and that sent her into paroxysms of grief as well.
And then DD woke up. And the first sounds I hear from her were epic wails- "WHERE IS SI????"
Her screaming woke up RH, who is on the complete opposite end of the house.
So, that was how my day started.
Amazingly, things smoothed themselves out dramatically. Potty breaks, purple oatmeal, and story time. The girls *love* Gene Zion's "Harry" books, so they got a new one for their birthday. That brings the Harry library up to three books and one video.
And we enjoyed all of them.
The girls all took turns needing comfort and cracking me up. I managed to get a shower by convincing DD and SI that RH needed their help to play with some of her toys. One of my cleverer moments to be sure.
And of course, SI was still mostly overwrought. And RH is still having a growth spurt. So I'm over stretched and exhausted and short tempered myself.
...and today was going to be difficult anyway, because today I had an appointment to give blood.
So I packed up my little family, got my three year old girls into their dresses and leggings of choice and their "new" sneakers, grabbed a few distractions for the event itself, and took all of us to a blood drive.
I told them what I thought they would see. That mommy was going to sit in a chair, and that a very nice person was going to take some blood out of my arm and put it in a bag. And they could play with the treat I brought them, and watch me. And while they were playing the bag would get full, and then i would be all done and we would get a cookie. And then I could share the bag with somebody who needed blood.
Because it's good to share. Sometimes, people get hurt very badly, or get very sick, and then they need to see a doctor. And then the doctor can give them some blood from another person to help them get better.
Because we all need blood to be healthy and happy, and I want to help other people who need it by giving them some of my blood.
Because you never know who might be hurt, or why, and when you want to do something to help them then, it might be too late. So I'm doing it now so that if somebody gets hurt, they'll be able to use my blood to get better.
Because we're all the same on the inside, sweetie. We all have the same parts. And we can share some of those parts, like our blood, to help make other people better.
Why we going to the hospital?
So that I can donate blood.
And so it went for the entire drive.
Unfortunately, the experience didn't quite meet my own expectations.
Did you know that your kids can't come with you to get your iron tested or your forms filled out? I didn't. And I'd asked specifically when I made the appointment. I wasn't even allowed to bring the baby back with me. SI was nervous enough about the trip that the moment I told her to sit and wait for me, she lost it.
SI was in hysterics while I filled out paperwork and got my iron tested. But she rallied well once I returned- I handed over a book of stickers and some paper, and a nice nurse took the time to help my daughters put Sesame Street characters willy nilly over pages of my old Spanish notes.
And then I sat down in the chair, and I donated blood.
My children watched me. DD with looks of joy and shock, as though she had never seen anything so amazing, and this was the ripest of novelties.
SI? She was terrified. She kept looking at me as though she was afraid to ask me if it hurt. "It doesn't hurt, sweetheart," I said. "It's okay."
As she got her nerves up, she began pointing to every little thing.
That's iodine. It's to make sure there are no germs that get into the blood.
That's a needle. She's going to put the needle in my arm so that the blood can come out and go into the bag. Don't worry, it doesn't hurt.
That's a tube, that takes my blood out of my arm and puts it in the bag.
That's a scale that tells this very nice lady how much blood has gone into the bag.
Why are your feet up?
Because it keeps more blood up where it can come out of my arm, and I don't get dizzy.
Why you get dizzy?
Because we need blood to make our parts work. But that's okay- I'm not giving away all of my blood. Just a little. I'll be just fine.
What's that tape for?
It's to hold the tube in one place, so that it doesn't spill any blood.
That's gauze, so that I don't drip any blood on my arm.
That's a baseball! I'm squeezing it! I get to play with a baseball! Isn't that fun?
Because when you play with toys, your blood moves around! And when it moves around, it can move into the tube and into the bag.
That's another little bag of blood, so they can do extra tests and make sure it's okay.
What that sound?
That sound means I'm all done! Now I'm going to get a bandaid!
And then she watched me get a bandaid. All the while looking like she might be on the verge of tears again.
To cheer her up, I let her carry the information about my blood donation, in case I ever needed to locate that lost pint of blood. She felt so important, carrying around that silly piece of paper. DD kept eyeing her jealously. RH had completely passed out, watching me squeeze that silly stress ball.
I hadn't meant to traumatize her, really. I had thought that my kids might still be too young to understand what was going on, and that they might be scared, but I wasn't going to pay for three hours of babysitting (our sitter's minimum) so that I could be at a blood drive for half an hour.
And then, yes, we got a cookie.
And then I took my children home, and put all of them down for a nap.
And sat and relaxed and had some fluids, just like I was supposed to.
But in the car on the way home, the interrogation was unceasing.
Why you give blood, mommy? Why you give blood? Why?
Because, honey, we're all the same on the inside. Every person is mostly the same on the inside. We all have the same parts, and need the same things to keep us healthy. Because sharing is important, and helping each other is important, and sometimes, what people need isn't toys or food or clothes... it's their parts. And we can help them by sharing our parts. And so mommy gave blood to share with other people who might need help, because all of us are the same on the inside.
Please consider making a blood donation: