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From Super Mom to Super Mess In Sixty Seconds Flat

With almost seven hours of sleep under my
belt, I felt invincible yesterday. I wasn’t even phased by
the fact that Maddie went down for a nap and Cora refused to at
all; I simply took it in stride and got busy.

Throwing a cranky Cora in the sling, I let her snooze as I made
phone calls to realtors and got bills paid. Thirty minutes later, a
contented Cora woke up and we headed to the living room. As Cora
rolled happily on the floor I started cleaning up our wreck of a
house. We moved to the kitchen (me standing, Cora in bouncy seat)
where I prepped dinner and began work on our Christmas fudge;
it’s become Maddie and I’s habit to do some holiday
baking after her nap, and fudge was on the agenda for the day so I
did all the “boring” work so Maddie could step on up
for the fun stuff when she awoke. Since Madeleine was still not up
from her nap and Cora continued to beam, I boldly moved back to the
living room and began doing a bit of holiday decorating, stringing
up lights and opening boxes with Cora underfoot trying her best to

When Maddie’s nap rounded the
three-hour mark, I made a difficult decision: start the fudge
without her. All my dinner plans rotated around a
finely-orchestrated timeline, and the fudge with its sugar
caramelizing needed to be finished soon. I reckoned I could throw
the fudge together, let her lick the bowl and call it a day.

Tossing Cora back into the bouncy seat I hit the stove. With the
milk and sugar cooking stovetop, I began putting together the
cranberry relish for dinner just as Cora decided she needed more
attention. Everything safely simmering, I turned my attention to my
Li’l Bit. Peekaboo! Peekaboo! Where’s Mommy? Here she

I began to smugly ruminate on what a fantastic multitasking job I
was doing. I’d packed a box for moving, unpacked a few boxes
for Christmas, paid bills, called the painter and plumber, started
dinner, and done a fantastic job stimulating my baby’s
developmental growth, all before I sat down to supper. I was Super
Mom! I was – what’s that smell?

I turned around to a neglected pot of fudge ingredients boiling
vengefully over; those unwatched pots definitely boil more. By the
time I’d reached it half the contents had spilled out of the
too-small pot and down into the stove mechanism. Shutting off the
burner, transferring the contents to a larger pot, moving to
another burner while juggling the dinner contents of another pot, I
glanced at Cora. Meltdown coming up.

I began frantically smiling and dancing (read: hopping), trying to
bring Cora back from the brink while I dealt with the $#@% fudge.
All you cooks out there know it’s a chemical reaction, and
one I’d interrupted with my eruption so I needed to get back
to it pronto. Stirring vigorously, singing, and tap dancing away, I
got the fudge heating safely back up. I did it! I thought. Then
Cora began to really cry.

And then Maddie woke up.

Suddenly I was Bad, Inept Mommy, as I left my oldest calling for me
and my youngest wailing in the bouncy seat to tend to the fudge.
Sorry, girls – I wasn’t about to let those expensive
ingredients go to waste. Fortunately Brian got home from work at
that exact moment and rescued me.

As I sat there at 9 p.m. that night scrubbing away at the
cooked-on, carmelized sugar all over the stove, I reflected that
much of motherhood goes that way: stunning successes followed by
abysmal failures. Everything can unravel so quickly, and what makes
a parent a good one is how we react when that happens – how
fast we grab that thread and try to stem the unweaving, so to speak
– and how quickly we recover.

That, and a bowl of fresh fudge helps too.


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