Mouthwash (The Conclusion)

The scene of the crime and soon as my mopped floor dried when I returned to tidy up the bathroom counter.  (I don't take photos in the heat of the moment)

The scene of the crime and soon as my mopped floor dried when I returned to tidy up the bathroom counter. (I don’t take photos in the heat of the moment)


Pai: We’re home. Hello?

Me: (manage a groan, laying on the sofa, ice pack pressed against the back of my feverish neck, counting down the minutes to when the full extent of Molly’s flu hits me)

Molly: Papa! (play with every single one of her toys once before abandoning it in the middle of the living room floor for the next) MANO (Brother)!!!

Hank: Hi, mana (sister)! You’re feeling better.

Molly: Play? Mano, play toys? (nodding)

Hank: Sure, but I need to talk to mama for one sec, okay.

Molly: Okay. Mama, sick. (nodding)

Hank: Oh no.

Me: It was bound to happen. Taking care of a puking toddler with a suppressed immune system means it is only a matter of time before I fall ill.

Hank: I am sorry, mama.

Me: It’s okay. No matter how bad the flu is it will eventually end thanks to modern medicine.

Hank: Not about your flu, but I am also sorry about that. I am sorry about this morning.

Me: That was unfortunate. Why are you sorry?

Hank: Because you were right it wasn’t a big deal at all. I made it a huge deal and I am sorry.

Me: Did you feel better once you gave yourself permission to calm down?

Hank: Yes! And I was thinking to myself what was the point? It was just a small mistake.

Me: Raging over spilt mouthwash? Yah, there are much better uses of your time.

Hank: I was thinking that most of my classmates are ten and I will be ten soon and is this, like, puberty?

Me: Um… (really wishing I didn’t have a fever for this conversation)

Hank: Was that what you call a mood swing?

Me: Yes, you were chatty and wonderful the minute before you were screaming and crying. When you are a pre-teen or a tween your body fills with hormones and a lot of changes occur and some of those changes are emotional, but you have had issues with being far too critical of yourself and letting your big feelings over power your rational self long before now. Meaning you will need to work doubly hard to tell your irrational, lying brain to calm down and only you will be able to find the best way to do that.

Hank: This morning I kept thinking I was so stupid and it was so stupid that I was so upset and you are right I ruined my morning, not the mouthwash, me.

Me: How do you think you could have handled this morning differently?

Hank: I could have listened to you and papa.

Me: Listening to your parents when you are upset is a huge challenge for anyone. I want to know how you can help yourself. There was a part of you that knew you were out of control this morning. Did you notice that part of you?

Hank: (shocked) Yes! The whole time.

Me: And what do you think you could have done to better listen to that rational part of yourself rather than totally surrender to the irrational part of yourself.

Hank: (thinking)

Me: (so sick)

Hank: I could go into a quiet room. I could do that counting thing.

Me: Count to ten three times, that is a very helpful tool.

Hank: I could have done both and I could have asked for help with cleaning up because I was nervous about being late to school.

Me: Were you late to school today?

Hank: A bit.

Me: And was there any problems?

Hank: No.

Me: So you can scratch that fear off your list. And what about your shoes? Were they ruined?

Hank: No. They weren’t even wet.

Me: (shifting the cold pack from the back of my neck to my forehead) Now that you are almost ten and you have a tool box packed full of options to counter act a mega mood-swing-melt-down what will you do next time?

Hank: I will try and listen to the calm part of my brain.

Me:  (pinching the bridge of my nose, doing my best not to vomit) Punch that irrational, lying part of your brain that wants you to think you are a terrible mouthwash wasting person in the face and move on. You do yourself no favors when you collapse at the smallest crisis. Only a calm person can be at their best in a crisis.

Hank: Mama, go and lay down in your bed. I will take care of Molly.

Me: That is a wonderful offer and I will take you up on it, but watching your sister means playing with her and not YouTube, no phone just playing.

Hank: That’s fine. I understand. Who wants to play with a person looking at their phone? I can play with her until I have to stop and study. Amália, do you want to have a tea party?

Molly: No, doctor Amália. Sit down, mano (brother). Check eeearrs, check eeeeearrrrs. (gathering her stethoscope, and doctor’s bag) Check-up!

Me: (walking away, submitting fully to the flu now that my tribe is home)




The scene of the crime and soon as my mopped floor dried when I returned to tidy up the bathroom counter.  (I don't take photos in the heat of the moment)

The scene of the crime after my mopped floor dried when I returned to tidy up the bathroom counter. 




Me: What? Are you okay? Do you need help?


Me: Whoa there, blanket statement! No you don’t. What happened?

Hank: (literally stomping his feet) I spilled mouthwash all over me and ruined everything!

Me: Did you though?

Hank: LOOK!! (splashed on is shirt, a splash down his shorts and a puddle on the floor)

Me: Consider it minty cologne.

Hank: NOT HELPING, MOM! (storming off into his room, slamming the door behind him)

Molly: Mano (brother) sad? Mano? (knocking at their closed bedroom door)

Hank: Go away, mana (sister).

Me: Molly, your mano (brother) needs some space.

Molly: (muffled, face pressed against the door) It okay, mano (brother). No crying.

Me: Come with me, MaGoo. Let’s watch more cartoons.

Molly: Okay.

Hank: (storms out of his room, changed into a new outfit, carrying his old pair of sneakers)

Me: What are you doing?

Hank: I’m getting dressed!

Me: Why are you changing your shoes? You were excited to wear your new running shoes to school for gym class. (grabbing his discarded shoes from the floor noticing they are hardly wet at all)

Hank: Because I ruined them! I ruined them and I don’t want to ruin them more. I like them too much!

Me: Running shoes can’t be precious. They’re a tool.

Hank: THEY ARE PRECIOUS TO ME! (throwing his old shoes across the room)

Me: Hank, we have very few rules in this house…


Me: WOW. Calm down.

Hank: I CAN’T!

Me: You can’t or you don’t want to?

Hank: (fuming, making himself cry)

Me: Hank, it was mouthwash, not bleach. You will put on your new running shoes, get your backpack, swim bag and luncheira (lunchbox) and go wait by the door quietly.

Hank: I HAVEN’T FINISHED MY HAIR. MY SHOES ARE WET! (collapsing in fits and sobs)

Me: (walking him into the bathroom) You don’t get to destroy your day because of a simple mistake. (noticing half a bottle of mouth wash on the floor) You also don’t get to have a tantrum to avoid cleaning up after yourself.

Hank: (giant squid of anger, all flailing limbs and whimpering)

Me: Sit down. Take deep breaths (handing him a comb) and comb your hair.


Me: Hank, I am aware you want to continue punishing yourself, but the way you punish yourself is unhealthy. Sit down.

Hank: (ripping painfully through his hair with a comb, wincing and wailing)

Me: (turning around from my trip to get the mop and bucket, marching back into the bathroom and taking the comb from him)

Hank: MOM!

Me: (calm) You do not deserve the way you are treating yourself. I don’t let people treat my son badly. This includes you.

Hank: (sobbing)

Me: It was mouthwash. Breathe. Deep breath.

(Too deep into his lying, irrational brain to hear me Hank escalates the situation to the point where he kicked, punched and raged so much in the elevator that his pai (dad) brought him back upstairs and sat him in a dark room to try and calm him down, but he only got worse as he realized he was becoming late for school. Hank finally agreed to stop being violent and merely cry his way to school. To Be Continued…)



Learning What Tomorrow Means (Bilingual Toddler Problems)

Actual representation of what our Molly looks like when she reeeaaalllyyy wants to persuade you over to her side of the argument.

Actual representation of what our Molly looks like when she reeeaaalllyyy wants to persuade you over to her side of the argument.


Molly: (bathed, dressed in pajamas, minutes away from going to bed remembers I introduced her to Silly Putty yesterday) MAMA! Play eggs? Play eggs, please?

Me: Oh, Molly. We were so busy this evening, weren’t we?

Molly: Sim (yes)!

Me: And Akika (prima) came over for dinner.

Molly: Sim (yes), come on. Come on, mama! (reaching for my hand to pull me to where the Silly Putty eggs live in the book shelf)

Me: Amália, we can’t play with the Silly Putty tonight.

Molly: (starting to cry) Mama? Eggs! (pointing to the book shelf)

Me: I am so sorry, MaGoo.

Molly: (disappointed, fat tears streaming down her cherub cheeks)

Me: Tonight is a no, but tomorrow we shall play with the Silly Putty as long as you like.

Molly: (uplifted) Sim (yes)!

Me: (dubious) You’re happy about playing tomorrow?

Molly: SIM (YES)! Play! (giggling with tears still stuck to her face)

Me: Do you know what tomorrow means, Amália?

Molly: (nodding, doe eyed, shoulders lifted, tears frozen to her cheeks, the epitome of adorable, like that scene from Shrek 2)

Me: Tomorrow means not today.

Molly: (dreams shattered, tips head back, tears resume) Play!

Me: Tomorrow means amanhã.

Molly: NO, mama! (shaking her head and the tears from her face) No amanhã (tomorrow)! Play. (collapsing in my arms)

Me: I am so sorry, lovie. It feels terrible to be disappointed.

Hank: But you can have some milk.

Molly: Sim (yes), quero (I want) milk.

Me: And we can read a story.

Molly: Quero (I want) story(in the depths of despair) e (and) EGGS!!!

Me: (hugging her)

Hank: (rubbing her back)


Epilogue: Molly was fast asleep not ten minutes after this conversation