Back Again
Wednesday, August 15, 2007

"Thank goodness I don’t have a bad back."

Ahh, how those words, like a child who won’t stay in bed, would come back to haunt me.

Awakening with a lump between my shoulder blades, I attempt to lay perfectly still under the sheets, frantically combing the spotty memories of the previous day. Was it from carrying the fussy baby on the walking tour, grimly pushing an empty stroller with a not-so-free hand? Was it the groceries? Unfamiliar noises surround me, the sighs and whispers of sleeping little girls. Ah, yes. The toddler has climbed into bed with mommy closely followed by the preschooler. They curled their chubby legs up to their chins, deftly and expertly wiggling between their parents. Their parents, who in turn had to curl their legs to their chins in order to make room for four people in the bed, a feat not easily accomplished once the downhill slide of adult physicality has become the avalanche called middle-age. I'm not really middle aged, yet, but each pregnancy counts as dog-years, so I am actually 97.

I take some ibuprofen and putter around the kitchen. By "putter", I actually mean simultaneously fixing some sort of sustenance for six different little tummies, unloading the dishwasher, and pondering aloud on the difference between frogs and toads for my sons. I realize it would be easier to let them fix their own breakfast, but I've spent too many mornings cleaning up after the "easier" part. It's actually harder to wash the entire contents of the sugar bowl off of the toddler than it is to just sweeten the stuff myself, despite what efficiency experts would have you believe. It becomes even more difficult when you are unable to lift said child due to back problems. How does a stay at home mom apply for time off due to disability, anyway? Perhaps a call to the ACLU is in order.

Later, after too much coffee and not enough chocolate, I beg my husband to untie the knot hovering next to my spine, under my neck. He rubs, he kneads, I get no satisfaction. Wait here, he whispers. I’ll be right back. We’ve been married long enough that I have no fantasies of a romantic surprise, of my man slipping over to a hiding place in order to reveal a bouquet of flowers or mended backdoor squeak, the things that make a woman giddy.

He returns with a rolling pin and orders me to lie face down on the ground. I fear he's been watching too many shows on the Military channel, and switch to HGTV while he attacks my spine with the enthusiasm of a pastry chef. Unfortunately, the human back is curved and contoured, not lending itself to a unilateral steamroller approach. My vertebrae, in a stunning gesture of defiance, refuse to be flattened. I have a sudden insight into where my eldest son's personality may have come from - he does have rather too much spine, sometimes.

I mention that I do have a tart shaper that would be better suited to the task at hand, but husband dear determines that one try with a kitchen implement is enough. I am left to my own devices, which, while very useful for baking, are not going to be putting the chiropractor out of business any time soon.

I spy a wayward child, one of the lasses responsible for this mess in the first place. I wheedle and cajole her to put her cherubic piggies on my back. Her balance is spotty, but she gives it a go. The therapy ends abruptly with a topple and tears.

I lay on the carpet and ponder the status of our aging vacuum cleaner. I decide to keep it at Status: Baby it Along, to be shortly followed by Needs to Be Replaced. I wonder idly why there are Cheerios under the couch, when I only buy bran flakes. I am all too briefly caught up in a short but poignant advertisement on the television. Oh, that Pillsbury Doughboy! He's such a prankster!

I suddenly realize that Advil is truly a gift from above, as long as you give it a little while to kick in. And that I have, perhaps, taken too many. Springing to my feet with the energy of a Galapagos Tortoise, I get on with my day.

Thank goodness I'm not prone to headaches...

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 8/15/2007 11:31:00 PM | Permalink | |