This realization hit me last night. I say “hit me.” What it really did was fall in my lap. And splash all over the car.
It all started with spilled milk. You know the saying. Don’t cry over it. Or in this case, don’t yell at your child over it. You will be paid back in kind.
On our way to visit my grandfather this weekend, we stopped about halfway through the three-hour trip to have dinner. As soon as our drinks were brought to the table, my older daughter, who goes gaga over straws, grabbed each one, removed its sheath, and deposited it into a drink, one for each of us. And she soon learned the hard way that straws and styrofoam do not always mix.
Picture the scene:
I’m frantically searching for something, anything, that will entertain the two-year-old. The toys we have brought are no good, and the crayons that came with the kids’ menu have lost their appeal. Actually, they are just lost, along with the partially shredded menu. I try my keys, but they are quickly flung to the floor. Next, I try a spoon, knowing that her banging on the table will likely annoy the people around us, but it’s either that or a screaming toddler. The spoon soon meets the same fate as the keys. Finally, and reluctantly, I give in and offer the only surefire winner — my phone. Now that she’s happily dialing outer Mongolia, I can figure out what I want to eat.
Or so I think.
A frantic voice next to me is calling, “Mama, Mama!” I look over to see a puddle of milk on the table and a six-year-old with a leaky cup, the bottom of which has been punctured by the straw. “What did you do?” I snap as I grab the cup and quickly try to stop the leak with my finger. Then, I’m out of my seat and dashing to the restroom to dump the cup and retrieve some paper towels. I come back to start mopping up the mess and continue my verbal lashing. “What’s the matter with you? How is it you can’t put a straw in a cup?” I continue mopping and gather up the soggy mess, which includes the masterpiece in progress on the back of her kids’ menu. Naturally, she’s crying, people are staring, and I’m silently cursing the group of teenagers who have no idea what they’re in for a few years down the road.
Fast forward to the trip home:
Once again, we stop for dinner, this time at a fast-food joint. The meal itself goes without incident, and we’re quickly back on the road. The milk-spiller wants to take her drink with her, and I oblige her request on the condition that it stays up front with me. She accepts this condition. A few miles down the road, she says that she’s thirsty. I pass the drink back to her. She takes a sip and hands it back over. Almost immediately, she says that she’s still thirsty. And now it’s my turn to learn the perils of straw meeting styrofoam.
I lift the drink out of the cup holder and straight up. It’s dark, so I can’t really see what I’m doing. A splash and a cold, wet sensation on my leg tells me that I have hit the ceiling and pushed the straw through the bottom of the cup. Its contents are everywhere. In the cup holder. In my lap. On the center console. Dripping into the diaper bag. It’s a mess. And, it’s blue.
The irony of the situation hits me full force, and I have no choice but to swallow my pride and apologize profusely to my child for spilling her drink and for chastising her the previous night. I guess it’s true that what goes around comes around. I just hope next time spillage happens I won’t be singing the blues.