The Scapegoat Is Out To Lunch

I am saying this in my own personal limited experience as a parent, but I don’t think there is anything worse than hearing the sound of your toddler screaming/crying in discomfort/pain while frantically trying to find the thing that will calm her.

This was how my humbling experience began this evening, and in the end there was no one to blame but myself.

This evening just as we were getting Celeste ready for bed, and I was mentally thinking of some reading I’d get done as soon as she fell asleep, she suddenly started to scream. It was the kind of scream where it’s not just an I’m hungry give me my milk, but the kind that, at least for me, seems to get trapped in the space between my ears and grow louder and louder with each passing wail. The kind of scream I’ve heard before whens she’s teething. A scream that is paired with a look that says “help me!”

This problem had a simple enough solution, find her Orajel and apply. You could say that in moments like these, my daughter screaming, me trying to dress her in her PJ’s, and all the while barking giving directions to my husband of the endless possibilities where the Orajel could be, I tend to let my frustrations get the best of me. While I’m trying (and failing) at keeping my cool, my husband (bless his heart) is calmly searching through the diaper bag, her lunch bag, and other countless places in search of the missing Orajel tube. And as much as I wanted to lash out and put the blame on him I couldn’t very well do that because he’s never had the Orajel tube in his possession.

So this goes on for several minutes and the damn tube is nowhere to be found and Celeste is crying and not wanting to sleep and so my husband tells me to just go buy one at the store and he’ll stay with Celeste to soothe her. So off I go to CVS but I’m frustrated because I know it has to be somewhere and since I still haven’t been able to direct my full frustration at someone I decide to call my mom because in my frantic moment I convince myself that she must have taken the tube out of the little side compartment of her lunch bag where I always keep her baby tylenol and Orajel. And as my mom picks up the phone I decide to take a deep breath rather than immediately let loose all my ranting/raving and ask her if by any chance she took Celeste’s Orajel out of her lunch bag. “No mija (spanish term of endearment for “my daughter”) remember that I don’t ever give her medicine if she needs it, you take care of that before dropping her off”. Screeching halt. Then she reminds me that a few days ago I handed Celeste one of the medicines to distract her while I packed her in the car seat. Ouch. It was so much nicer when in my mind I was ready to just blow off some steam and direct it at my mom. She was right though.

The reason I was in this situation was not my husband or my mom’s fault. I had to accept the fact that countless times in the past I had given the medicine to Celeste as a distraction, or taken it out to use it and then failed to put it back where it belonged. I had to laugh with my mom, because there was no scapegoat and I owed an apology to both of them. So I bought a new tube, came home, applied it on Celeste and within 5 minutes she was asleep.

And wouldn’t you know it, as I went back to my car to check in the back seat, there was the original Orajel tube hidden in a corner next to Celeste’s car seat.


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