Ana had attached herself to the Trader Joe's Gummy Bear Vitamin container and it was well past bedtime. Choosing my battles, I decided to just do bedtime routine with her and her jar o' sidekicks. We walked around the darkened room with her slinky blanket until she was nodding off (slinky in one hand, gummies in the other). I laid her down in her crib and tip toed out the door. When John came home from work (at the usual time-8:00) both kids were soundly sleeping and he snuck around their beds to wish them good night(therefore fulfilling his role as parent for the day).
"Hey, have you checked on Ana since you put her down?" John whispered.
"What? Oh, oh yeah, I know she still has the gummies in the crib. She was emotionally attached to them at bedtime so I didn't fight it."
"Yeah, well, you may want to go in there and look at her," he persisted.
I reluctantly got up from the sofa and poked my head into her room. There she lay, sound asleep, splayed out in a pool of Gummy Bear Vitamins like some bizarre child magazine cover shoot, a yellow child proof cap gripped tightly in one hand.
"You have got to be F@#$ing kidding!" I gasped.
I gathered up the bears and carefully evaluated the volume to determine just how many she may have eaten. The jar was half full (optimistic) before Ana's gummy bear picnic and it seemed to be just that afterwards. CUT TO NEXT SCENE
It's the following morning and our household is in "GO TIME" mode. We have exactly 64 minutes to pack a family lunch and get everyone dressed and ready to go on Shelby's preschool field trip to the pumpkin patch. Thankfully, Shelby awoke early and Ana was still asleep, giving mommy time to shower and get two out of three dressed and ready. Departure time is 9:00 and the lunches need to be packed up and loaded into the car. My clock reads 8:37 and Ana squawks at the very moment I'm starting to worry about my gummy estimating.
"Phew, she's awake and alive!" I proclaim, as Shelby and I march into her room to greet her.
"Man, there are still more gummies in your bed, Little Mischief!" I laugh as I pluck and pull smooshed gummies from the folds of her blanket.
Shelby helps me change Ana's diaper and pick out her clothes (the preschool suggested something orange so Shelby is rummaging through every drawer like a fashion tornado).
We hustle into the kitchen to pack up the lunches...8:51 What the HELL is that? Ana is toddling across the living room rug and I'm staring at a dark gooey lock of hair on the back of her head.
Upon closer inspection I discover it to be the one gummi bear casualty in Ana's midnight picnic. A lone gummy has been smeared and double smeared into her white frizzy bedhead at the nape of her neck.
"Mommy! Is it time to go on the field trip?" Shelby hollers.
"Auugh! LUNCH!" I change gears, heading to the kitchen to throw our lunch together while pondering an approach to the gummy crime scene. Should I cut it out? She's only 14 months. I can't cut her hair yet! Should I use peanut butter? Olive oil? Soap and water?
I grab Ana's sun hat in hopes that today, for once, she'll just leave her hat on so no one else has to witness the gory gummy dreadlock.
The entire morning I noticed people taking double takes at Ana's head-because, of course, the hat did not stay on. First they'd look amused and doting at the cute little girl with the shocking white spiky hair, and then, just as they turned away they'd look back again. You could see their mind spinning, "What was, did I just see, what the hell is on the back of her head?" And they'd glance back to get a gander at the gummy lock. Depending on how long they stared, I would either dismiss it, or I'd say, "It's a gummy bear. It's a long story. I didn't have time to get it out this morning." And then, on cue, Ana would happily shake her head, bouncing the gummy lock back and forth.
After a few explanations of this I realized what a crime this phenomenon really was because I looked like the poster child for "How NOT to raise your second child". I held my banana crusty faced baby with the gummy lock in her hair while my preschooler swirled around us in an ironed dress, matching sweater and pom pom hair bands in her pigtails. It was the first day Shelby had allowed me to part her golden curls and comb her hair into two flawless pigtails. I, too, had blow dried my hair and applied makeup. And then there was Ana.
OMG I am a terrible mother. Not only did I put my child to bed with a jar full of choking hazards, but then I dragged her into public unkempt and gummy-locked. I may as well just write across my chest: I was not cut out to be a mother of two kids.
And then on my back: Beware of the Gummy.