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March 30, 2013

Theresa Timmons: Bad day gets longer in car ride

In the song “Honey I’m Home,” Shania Twain sang Mutt Lange’s lyrics: “The car won’t start, it’s fallin’ apart. I was late for work and the boss got smart. My pantyline shows, got a run in my hose. My hair went flat, man I hate that ...”

Clearly Shania and Mutt had some personal experience with a bad day (which obviously turned around for them briefly when they wrote a hit song describing it).

We’ve all had bad days.

But here’s what I would like to say — I contend that nobody ... NOBODY can have a bad day quite like a 3-year-old.

A 3-year-old lives in his own little world that is plagued by unbelievably bothersome events. Those events have moment-altering significance. For two or three minutes, the perceived problem can be as monumental as a swarm of locusts or an outbreak of boils.

My grandson, Cayden, recently had a bad day.

Breakfast is generally uneventful, because it consists of a Cheerios/Sponge Bob Square Pants combination that temporarily lowers his IQ to the point of slobbering, ignorant bliss. He just sits in his high chair, chases Cheerios around in his milk with his Spider-Man spoon, and laughs at Sponge Bob.

The actual problems started that day in the car on the way to day care. We haven’t had too many crisis situations since he grew the imaginary mustache last year. But this day was different.

“Mamaw!!!!” he wailed from the back seat.

“WHAT?” I wailed back.

“My eaw is sticking out!!!”

I adjusted the mirror to take a look. I was curious because in my experience most people have ears that stick out, more or less, and short of stapling his ears to his head there probably wasn’t much I could do.

“SEE?” He pointed to one ear. His knit Star Wars toboggan was ever-so-slightly off center on his head, so one earlobe was exposed about a quarter of an inch more than the other earlobe.

“Well pull your hat down over your ear, for crying out loud,” I suggested.

“I CAN’T!” He gave it a mighty tug and pulled too hard, which then exposed the opposite earlobe about 5 inches. “SEE???” He glared back at me in the mirror.

“Well I’m driving, so you gotta wait till we stop before I fix it.”

“Don’t wook at me!” He looked away and out the window in disgust — his hat now obviously lopsided on his noggin. Clearly I was to blame for all his problems.

A couple of minutes later I heard him breathing loudly, inhaling and exhaling through his nose like a bellows.

I couldn’t resist asking. “What’s-a-matter now? Why are you breathing like that?”

“I got boogaws in my nose!” he shouted.

“Well pick ‘em out. You want a Kleenex?” I had to offer the Kleenex, because I am an adult.

“NO! Day won’t come ouT.” He stressed the ‘t’ in OUT. He proved his point by inserting his finger into his nose to about the first knuckle. Which either served to permanently integrate the boogaws into his sinus cavity, or push them into his brain.

Five minutes passed. He was quiet. Apparently he had learned to live with his hat and his boogaws.

“Mamaw,” he said calmly.

“What now?”

“My cawseat is aw messed up.”

“I don’t care,” I assured him.

“Wook at it.”

I couldn’t stop myself from wooking, and there it was. His shoulder strap had drooped a millimeter off his shoulder.

I could see the day care sign ahead. Relief was at hand. I had a pang of guilt for what his beloved teacher Miss Debbie was going to go through on this day.

Theresa Timmons’ column appears Sundays. She is an Elwood resident and can be reached at paperflinger40@yahoo.com.

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