Laura Zoeller

You’ve been there, so don’t judge

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On Sunday my husband and I had one of our infrequent dates and left the kids home alone. We arrived home later than we had anticipated, so we all went straight to bed.


Monday morning, I woke up late, woke the kids up late, and then remembered that I hadn’t done any of the cleanup that should have been done the night before. The sink was full of dishes, there were cookies still out, and the living room was a disaster. Still, the dog needed to be walked, the kids needed their breakfast, and I needed coffee. Unfortunately, the coffee pot was hidden under some bakeware, some papers I needed to sign, and of all things, a toboggan. You’ve been there, so don’t judge.


I tried to hold it together. I cleared a spot on the counter where I could prepare some eggs. I shifted the stack of things off of the coffee pot so I could brew some. I sent the dog outside with the first child who showed up downstairs dressed.


I could feel myself getting heated up when my girls started bickering in the bathroom. (There is a five-foot mirror and two sinks - there is room for both of you!) I swallowed the irritation and reminded them it was almost time to catch the bus. When I walked through the living room, I discovered the pile of cups and bowls from their dinner that they never bothered to take to the sink, and shouldn’t have been there in the first place because they aren’t supposed to eat in there. My temperature rose another degree.


Then I saw an old towel on the couch. The kids said the dog lay on the towel on the couch last night. My argument that the towel should not have been there because I used it yesterday to dry off the dog’s muddy feet held no merit. Neither did my argument that the dog is not allowed in the living room or on the couch. Suddenly, no one knew how the towel had gotten there, or who had let the dog in the room. My thermometer ratcheted up higher.


When I packed my son’s lunch, I finally hit boiling. You see, my son spent much of the first six years of his life vomiting, not sleeping, and suffering from eczema that doctors couldn’t figure out. We eventually discovered it was a dairy allergy. That has meant not only drinking soy milk and avoiding cheese, but also avoiding anything containing whey, cream, real butter, or casein - a milk protein - as well. That means he can’t eat chocolate, ice cream, many baked goods, any food that has no ingredient list printed on it and most flavored potato chips. I have to pack his lunch for school every day.


So when my kids served themselves dessert during their living room picnic with the dog, what did they choose? The only dairy-free cookies in the house.


I finally yelled.


I grounded them all and told them they will be eating dairy-free for awhile so they can gain an appreciation for what my son goes through. Then I said I loved them and sent them to the bus stop.


Then I started cleaning up the house. If that doesn’t cool me down, I’ll eat a handful of those cookies that are still on the counter. You’ve been there, so don’t judge.


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