Last week I decided that I had to give up exercising altogether. Until that point, I’d been working out three times a week since I decided to stop being a lazy jerk back in January. When the SI joint pain started in, I figured going to the physical therapist and modifying my workouts to include no running and less exercises that require “repetitive pounding” would keep me going for at least a few more months of this pregnancy.
But I was wrong.
Two Saturdays ago I worked out and then was unable to walk at all … for two days. Have you ever tried to care for three children under the age of 6 while you’re physically unable to move your legs? I’ll give you a minute to visualize that situation in your head. And then you should give thanks to whoever it is you pray to that it has never happened to you. (And if it has happened to you, I don’t know what to say except—I feel ya, dude.)
My husband and father-in-law were busy fixing the roof in the playroom which leaks water whenever it rains (of course it does), so I was left to entertain the kids on my own. Usually we’d go out and about and find something to do. Only when you’re unable to walk, taking three unreliable flight risks anywhere seems like less of a good idea. So instead, we just stayed home. I let them watch more TV than is probably recommended. But even the awe of the television wore off after awhile. And then only shrieking, hitting and kicking one another was amusing to them. And I was basically powerless to stop them. All I could do was try to shout louder than they were shouting, that I wanted them to stop shouting. Effective parenting, let me tell you.
By some stroke of magic, we made it to dinnertime. Dragging the dead weight of my right leg behind me, I hobbled into the kitchen as I tried to ignore the stabbing pain in my lower back, and I made them a super nutritious, healthy dinner which I’m sure consisted of chicken nuggets, cheese sticks, tomatoes and a side of rage. Milk, too. I gave them milk to drink.
The milk is important because it was very nearly what ended me that night. As you may not know, the way you determine how much milk to give a 4-year-old is measured by how much milk you feel like cleaning up off the kitchen floor when he inevitably spills it. However much seems like a good amount to cover the dining area floor, carpet included, is precisely the amount you should pour into the cup. No matter how many times you remind him to move the cup back from the edge of the table or ask him to please pay attention to what he is doing, the 4-year-old will—without fail—writhe and gyrate in such a way that the milk will end up all over the floor.
And normally, after the milk spills, we do the “I Told You So Dance” (you know, the one where I dance around, waving my arms and singing “Told ya so, told ya so, told ya, told ya, told ya so”), clean it up, provide a short lecture on how this is why we don’t goof off at the dinner table (which goes completely unheard) and move on.
But last weekend, I couldn’t walk.
I couldn’t bend.
By this point I couldn’t even move my leg back and forth to mop the milk up with the dishrag.
The pain in my back was near unbearable.
The floor was covered in milk.
I was angry at everyone.
My patience level was below zero.
It was at this precise moment that the 4-year-old started to laugh. His laugh was not a chuckle or a giggle. No, no. I’m telling you it was a full-on belly laugh. He was watching me desperately try to find a way to clean the milk up off the floor that didn’t require any movement at all, and he was laughing.
And it was very clear that he was laughing at me.
He was not laughing with me (which is reasonable seeing as I wasn’t laughing). And maybe it was funny. I will admit that there was a teeny, tiny part of my brain that was like, I get it dude; this is so pathetic that it’s funny. Only, in that moment, it wasn’t funny. I was so, so angry. And the louder I yelled at him to stop laughing, the harder he laughed. And the harder he laughed, the angrier I got.
Before I did something that I would later regret (or that would land me in jail), I “walked” away. I hobbled, slower than it’s possible to imagine, dragging myself upstairs and away from the laughing. I may have sat down on the bed and cried.
At some point the desire to workout and maintain a level of fitness throughout this pregnancy gave way to the need to be able to take care of my family. And, you know, function as a human being. So I decided to give up working out. It’s been two weeks since I last worked out, and I’ve been able to clean up every glass of spilled milk since then. I guess we’ll count that as a win. A very, very sad win.