Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I Hear and I Understand

by Julie Coulter Bellon

As a teenager, I could sleep through anything. Dogs barking, storms, you name it, nothing seemed to disturb me. This little quirk made me very aware at a young age that I always wanted to be the last to go to sleep at slumber parties so my friends didn’t do disgusting things to me like put my hand in warm water or run any of my clothing items up a flagpole. I knew that with how deeply I slept, I wouldn’t hear their fits of laughter as they tormented my sleeping self.

But everything changed the moment I became a mother.

I firmly believe that mothers are given super-hero type hearing. It’s like there’s some cosmic transformation that happens when they lay that tiny baby in your arms and it only continues to get more attuned as that child grows. No matter how deep I am into my REM cycle, I can hear a child’s whimper, I can hear tiny feet trying to sneak down the stairs on Christmas morning, and I can hear the muttered whispers of, "you’re the meanest mother ever," when my back is turned.

The most interesting part of this power, however, is the little feelings you get when it’s too quiet and you just know that you need to investigate and check on the children who are probably doing something they know they shouldn’t. I especially seem to be able to hear when the water is turned on outside. Last time that happened, the boys were trying to recreate a scene from Return of the Jedi with the Great Pit of Carkoon and the all-powerful Sarlacc in our sandbox. Sand, water, and a bunch of little boys equals one big mess, let me tell you. Yet, even with that fiasco and cleaning up sand for what seemed like weeks afterward, I didn’t learn my lesson to investigate things—especially water things—as soon as possible.

The Saturday before last, my husband was at a youth activity with my three oldest children, and I had the three youngest children with me. My four year old had a soccer game and it happened to be that we were in charge of treats for the team that day. It had been a hectic morning and we were rushing around trying to find the shin guards that had been right where they were supposed to be only the day before, while juggling the treats, grabbing water bottles and fumbling with getting the chairs into the back of the van. We finally got out the door, but of course one of the boys had to use the bathroom right before we left. At that point, I was just grateful he remembered to go before we left and not informed me that he needed to after we’d hiked out to the middle of a soccer field where there are definitely no bathrooms close by.

I was hurrying him along, waiting at the door while he washed his hands, and as I shut the door I heard a rushing water type sound, the kind you hear when you need to jiggle the handle on the toilet. My investigative mommy radar went off, but we were already running late, so I pushed it to the back of my mind. I would just jiggle the handle when we got back. With the decision made,
I got in the loaded van and left.

We made it to the game with a minute to spare.

I love watching four-year-olds play soccer. It’s like magnet ball—everyone is magnetized to the ball in a clump that is running around the field en masse. The little goalie is bored to tears in the net, weaving their hands and feet through it until they are tangled and the coach needs to come and untangle them. This particular game, the coach’s son kept lying down on the field claiming he was tired until everyone had had the chance to jump or step over him while he played with the grass. It was funny! I cheered and clapped for my son and his team, having a great time with my boys. We handed out the team treat at the end of the game, then started packing up our stuff and heading home.

When we got home, I walked in the door, and instantly knew I should have heeded my mommy radar. I could still hear that rushing water sound, only this time water was seeping under the door, covering the tile, extending all the way to my back door. I opened the bathroom door to find more water and it was leaking down into our basement, flooding an unfinished bathroom down there. A teeny little pipe had come loose, spraying water everywhere and because I hadn’t heeded my own instinct to check it out before we left, I was left cleaning up when I got back. Not quite as daunting a task to clean up as the great Sarlacc sand disaster, but still, it took some time and wasn’t fun.

I think I have now learned my lesson. If there is water running somewhere and children have been nearby, check it out immediately. Don’t wait. Don’t assume. Because if you do you will be left cleaning up something icky.

And mother or not, you don’t want to hear about it.


At 9/06/2007 11:03 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Ack, Julie, that stinks about the pipe! Reminds me of a friend whose daughter came and reported that the toilet was clogged. The mom didn't realize the daughter meant overflowing-type clogged until later when she saw water coming down the stairs . . .

At 9/06/2007 11:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ewwww, well that makes me feel better. Thanks Stephanie! :)


At 9/07/2007 10:54 AM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

Or the mother who still sleeps so soundly that she got up in the middle of the night and stepped ankle-high into soggy, stinking carpet.

Oh, wait. That was me. And it was just a few weeks ago. So yuck!

At 9/07/2007 8:38 PM, Blogger Marta O. Smith said...

My uncle was one of the mischief magnets and my mother loves to tell how my grandmother would often say, "Harold, go see what Don is doing and tell him to stop."

At 9/08/2007 1:47 AM, Anonymous marlene said...

Marta, your grandmother reminded me of my mother who, in the need of some private time during a chat with a friend would say to us, "Go tell your dad that he wants you."

And Julie, there was a morning after our family brothers at BYU told us just to turn the hose on and let it soak over night in the grass around the house we were renting... No one told us the basement walls were not water proof and that the foundation had been surrounded by sand...

At 9/08/2007 4:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kerry, you poor thing! I hope you got new carpet after that.

Marta I definitely have boys like that.

Marlene, our sand got foamy which was a whole other mess to sort out with little boys who had all tramped into my house. Thankfully it wasn't our house foundation I guess! LOL


At 9/09/2007 1:50 AM, Blogger Janette Rallison said...

I don't think people grow old--children just suck the life out of them. I've had overflowing sinks, blown up microwaves, flooded yards, melted carpets, superglued countertops . . . the list goes on.


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