Life is better when it?s gift-wrapped

By nature?and maybe birth order?it goes against part of my soul to fly by the seat of my pants.

It?s great when life comes gift wrapped and tied with the proverbial pink, polka-dot bow. I like neat and tidy. And I like gift-wrapped boxes that come pre-adorned.

But life with kids is to beautiful gifts as a tornado is to a trailer park. Inevitably, something gets unwrapped.

Take for instance, this column. I like my writing to have a beginning, middle and end. And I prefer all the words to thematically connect. Every word and thought should be strategic and in order.

Over the weekend, I was brainstorming those very thoughts as I was attempting to write in my head while I had a few minutes alone. (Every day, I thank PBS for those few precious minutes when I can wash my hair in silence.)

After I exited the shower, I knew I had a few more minutes of Word World to utilize. But as I was making a mad dash to my computer to write down the words I had in my head, I noticed something amiss out of the corner of my eye.

My youngest was in her infant swing. No problem there. My oldest was on the couch, no pro?but wait, why was her face purple?

There my daughter sat, licking her purple fingers. And there, all over my couch, was a large pile of purple sugar sprinkles that were to eventually make a Powercat on a birthday cake for my father-in-law. (Can you hear the wrapping paper ripping?)

I had explicitly told my daughter to leave the sprinkles alone. But that?s like the Man with the Yellow Hat always telling Curious George to ?be a good little monkey.? Seriously, doesn?t that man ever learn?

So, instead of putting my thoughts to electronic paper, I got out the camera to document the occasion. (A girl?s gotta have a little bit of daring.) And then I grabbed the hand vac and went to work on my couch.

But the ripped story of motherhood doesn?t end there.

The sprinkles episode built on a previous day and a wardrobe malfunction.

With the exception of a few blowouts, when I put a diaper on my 10-month-old, I expect it to hold up. That?s why I fork over the big bucks for Huggies. (Well, that and the fact that she has sensitive skin, so cheap diapers end up giving her a nasty diaper rash.)

On this particular day, I had just sat down to feed the baby when all of a sudden I felt warmth spread over my leg. Yes, it was pee. No, it was not mine. Somehow, the liquid ran backward and up out of the top backside of the diaper, ending in a pool on my leg and on my daughter?s shirt. Isn?t that a little like swimming upstream?

I calmly and patiently finished the feeding (which says a lot about how far I?ve come as a mother), and went to get a fresh diaper. Only as I was putting the new diaper on, the tab ripped off. Thank you, Huggies. I am now experimenting with a new brand of diapers.

And wading through a mountain of wrapping paper. But hey, what?s the use of a perfectly presentable present if you can?t open it? There?s bound to be something good inside.

Just make sure my birthday gifts are wrapped and include a bow.

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