Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Interrogation

Asking Knolan about his day feels like I am interrogating a criminal some nights. Take tonight's bathtub chat, for example.

Me: Tell me 3 things you liked doing at school today, buddy!

Knolan: I didn't do anything today.

Me: That can't possibly be true.  Did you learn any new math stuff?

Knolan: (whining) Nooo.  We didn't do ANYTHINGGGG!

Me: So if I asked Mr. Elmes why your class sat at their desks doing nothing all day, would he have a good reason for that?

Knolan: Nooooo!!! Not Mr. Elmes!! Don't do that!!!! Ok, ok... I'll talk!

Me: Oh! Cool! So you DID do stuff today?  Was it math? science? art?

Knolan: Yeah. Art. We did art.

Me: Cool! what did you do?

Knolan: I don't know.

Me: What? You don't know? Well, was it drawing? painting? sculpting?

Knolan: (exasperated) PAINTING.

Me: That sounds awesome! What did you paint?

Knolan: I don't remember.

Me: You don't remember?

Knolan: I don't remember!

Me: Maybe you painted something cool like your cats?

Knolan: That's impossible! The whole class painted the same thing, MOM!

Me: OK... did you all paint donkeys? Flowers?

Knolan: (throwing his head back, closing his eyes and fake crying) LANDSCAPES! We all painted... landscapes. (calming down and deep breathing... eyes still closed) Landscapes is what we painted.  We all did it.  Are you happy now?  You got what you wanted.

Me: Aww buddy... see? That wasn't so hard, was it?  I just care about you and like to hear about your day!


more silence.

Knolan: Hey Mom.

Me: Yes?

Knolan: Look... I'm milking my hair.


Editor's note:  I really need to remember to pick my moments... no need to traumatize my kids just for the sake of conversation!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Local Mom Needs All Her Mom Skills to Get Through Mother's Day Breakfast In Bed

Happy Mother's Day!

I like Mother's Day.  Since becoming a mom myself, it has become overwhelmingly clear to me that motherhood is not for the faint of heart, and celebrating the moms in our life is one cause I can totally get behind!

It is, of course, the best thing I have done with my life.  My kids are the source of so much joy, so many laughs, and so many moments that make my heart swell.

They are also responsible for many, many moments that I couldn't have made up if I tried.

Being a mom DOES something to you.  It makes you do things you never could have imagined.  I've caught vomit with my bare hands.  I've dealt with kids having to go to the bathroom in the most impossible scenarios.  I've made a separate place setting for an invisible friend AND talked to her for a whole meal.  And I've done things I will probably never admit to, but I've done them out of love because those little munchkins wormed their way deep into my heart and sometimes love means doing weird stuff.

What I find particularly interesting about Mother's Day is the number of people I hear from each year who have spent their Mother's Day having to draw on their best mom-skills,  or who were exhausted because they were up most of the night doing mom-stuff.

Just earlier today, in fact, I was chatting with my best friend, and she was having a tired and rough start to her Mother's Day because she'd been up dealing with her son's overnight barf-fest. 

And only a moment ago my sister-in-law reminded me that I spent Mother's Day 2015 in the ER because Knolan had taken a header off the bed, cracked his head on the wall and couldn't remember his name!

I am not bitter, but it sure does go to show that motherhood is a ruthless task master with a weird sense of humour.  This year was certainly no exception.

I woke up this morning to the smell of coffee being made.  It was such an awesome way to wake up.  But it was also kind of an alarming way to wake up because it meant that Kaycie had used the Tassimo by herself!  It's just me and the kids, so the days of waking up to coffee are behind me.  I blinked a bit and tried my best to wake up and assess whether I should go running downstairs to make sure the house was still standing.  But I listened, and I could only hear my kids happily chatting and the sounds of someone rummaging through the cutlery drawer. So, I decided not to ruin what could only be their Mother's Day surprise for me, and I dutifully waited in bed.

But then a slightly new wave of concern washed over me.  What could they possibly be making me for breakfast?  We were badly overdue for a grocery shop, and this is hard for me to admit, but my fridge is home to a lot of expired stuff!

Kaycie is a pretty sensible kid, though,  and I reasoned with myself that she wouldn't make something for me that she wouldn't make for herself.

I heard them excitedly coming up the stairs, and so I quickly pretended to be asleep.  Soon enough they were at my bedside singing "Happy Mother's Day" to the tune of Happy Birthday and I opened my eyes to see my two precious cuties completely vibrating with pride at the breakfast they had brought me.  I loved it.  So awesome!

Then as they sat my bed tray down and enthusiastically described what they had made for me, the genuine smile of delight on my face suddenly transformed into what I hope was the best fake smile ever.  They had certainly done a really nice job of putting together what they THOUGHT  was a lovely Mother's Day breakfast.  Coffee, Shreddies with berries. There was even a really sweet and eerily accurate note from Kaycie, and Knolan was proudly holding his contribution - a yogurt cup with a spoon.

They were looking at me so expectantly.  So proud of themselves.  So full of anticipation. And all I could think was, "Oh no. Oh no. Oh no."

The yogurt cup that Knolan was so lovingly holding out and encouraging me to eat?  Expired 2 weeks ago. The blueberries and raspberries on the Shreddies?  Have been in my fridge longer than I can remember.  I could literally see fuzz on the raspberries!  The milk on my cereal?  Expired 5 days ago.

I'll be honest. I panicked. I didn't have it in me to tell the kids they'd just served me food poisoning and potential gastrointestinal issues as a symbol of their love for me.  I know it looks nice in the picture, but trust me when I say I was staring at a problem... still with a fake smile plastered on my face.

I decided to go with the coffee first since Kaycie has used the Tassimo under my supervision before and I knew the International Delight creamer in the fridge was basically the only fresh thing in the fridge.  It would buy me some time.

As I raised the cup to my lips and took a sip, Kaycie squealed and said, "I put lots of International Delight in it, Mom, and lots of sugar to make it just as sweet as you are!"  She starts excitedly hugging me as I do my best to drink her sugary concoction.  It was the lesser of three evils, so to speak, so I was going to milk it as long as I could.

Then the two of them begged me to try my cereal.  I picked up my spoon and with love in my eyes, I thankfully found a few dry Shreddies and ate them, making a huge deal about how yummy it was.  The two of them started jumping up and down and hugging each other and hugging me while I kept saying how delicious it was and what a good job they had done. 

"And Mom... don't you love the fresh mixed berries we made you?  Try them!"  

Time to execute my next move... the sugar/coffee had given me enough time to formulate a plan.  I zoned in on the one blueberry that looked like it might not hurt me and ate it with dramatic flair. And then...

"Hey kids!  Why don't you guys go and pick out an outfit to wear to lunch with Gramma today?"

"But we want to keep you company while you eat!"

"You absolutely can, but Mommy has to go to the bathroom really quick and then you can watch me all you want.  I just want to be sure you have nice clothes ready."

That seemed to work, as the alpha-kid, Kaycie, suddenly got excited at the prospect of dressing her brother and she grabbed his hand and led him out of the room.

The second they left, I frantically gathered up as many of the berries and wet Shreddies as I could in my hands and ran into the bathroom, flushing them as stealthily as I could.  Why did I use my hands?  I have no idea... I never said I was good in crisis situations!

I jumped back into bed and called to the kids, asking if they had found outfits to wear.  The two of them came tumbling back in to show me what they had picked out... which was only a tie for Knolan at that point.  I praised them heavily for finding the tie and then encouraged them to join me again. I ate a few spoonfuls of the dry Shreddies and proudly showed the kids how much I had eaten.  They were so pleased, and I was so relieved!  And somehow Knolan managed to forget that he had given me that yogurt cup, which I hid in my closet - again, I have no idea why!

Maybe someone else would have just been honest with their kids, but today I just couldn't do it.  They were so proud and so excited.  I just couldn't burst their cute little bubble.

The rest of the day was pretty standard in terms of how most Mother's Days go.  We went out with my parents for a lovely lunch during which I took my son to the bathroom twice (both times he locked himself in the stall and needed to be rescued), served both my kids from the buffet before I got to eat, had to have a serious conversation about how much bacon is too much bacon to take at a fancy restaurant, had both kids asking me a million times if they could have another dessert, and finally drank cold coffee while my parents and I struggled to finish a complete conversation.  It has become a bit of a Mother's Day tradition, and to be honest, I kind of love it.

Big honking, inappropriate-for-fancy-restaurant pile o' bacon.

So yes, I had to muster up all of my mommy powers to get through my Mother's Day pampering, but the way I see it, at least we didn't end up in the emergency room this year.

Happy Mother's Day!  :-) 

Yes, he does love his mommy. He just really loves bacon and my phone a little more. :-)

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Crap on a Hot Tin Roof

Out of sight, out of mind.

That is totally my mindset for so many things in life.  Unless that note that came home from school saying that Friday is Pyjama Day at school is stapled to my forehead, my kids will be heading to school Friday in normal clothes.  And oh yes... what about that birth certificate that I put away in a "really special place" so that nothing would happen to it?  Well, let's just say I've had to order a new birth certificate from the government not once, but TWICE.

And after the devastating "Gingy" incident, I suppose it should come as no surprise to anyone that the "out of sight, out of mind" rule especially applies to the crap I set on the roof of my car while I open the door and get in.

I have been a chronic offender.  I can't tell you how many cups of coffee have met an untimely demise because I continued to ignore my disturbing track record when it comes to successfully completing that critical last step in getting roof items into my car.

And there is truly no greater jolt to the system than when you come to a stop sign and the completely unexpected happens.  There you are, driving along in disbelief that you managed to successfully get the kids back in the car after a stop at Tim Hortons without one of them punching the other after the five year old needed to go to the bathroom a mere 5 minutes after you got them into the car.  Things are looking good... and you may even actually get to your parents' house when you said you would! You're driving along, listening to a great song, slowly becoming more and more self-congratulatory about how masterfully you orchestrated this last part of your day, and then you brake for that stop sign and BAM!

Actual Kirsten crap-on-roof incident.
Your windshield is suddenly coated in liquid, and for a brief moment in time you are completely and utterly bewildered.  It's kind of like when you wake up and can't figure out where you are... you can't, for the life of you, figure out where all this liquid came from, and then suddenly you remember the last time you saw that stupid cup of coffee you bought to assuage your guilt over using the bathroom at Tim Hortons... sitting on the roof of your damn minivan!

But it's not just cups of coffee, or tea even. I'm oddly proud of the variety of items I've left on the roof of my car. I mean, of course, we all have to start small.  At first I really did specialize in drinks. Hot drinks, Soft drinks.  A carton of chocolate milk. Once I got almost to the city limits on my way out of town with a 6-pak of bottled water on my roof, but then Kaycie said she was thirsty and saved the day.  :-)

But, like anything else, the more you do something, the more advanced you become... whether you like it or not.

One day I was driving along with the kids after a trip to Home Hardware.  Knolan kept insisting he heard something, but it wasn't  until he became quite insistent that I actually turned down the radio and heard it too.  Every once in a while we'd hear a sliding noise and sometimes we'd hear a slide and then a "thump".  I was completely mystified, but kept driving along.  Soon I noticed that the sound corresponded to when the car started and stopped and when I turned corners.  Not quite sure of what I might be looking for, I pulled the van to the side of the road and got out to see if I could figure out the source of the noise. Well, it didn't take long.

The culprit.
I guess I should have asked for a bag at the check out, because apparently holding on to this citronella candle AND opening my door was just too complicated of a task for me!

And there was also that frightening close call when for a brief moment I considered putting the cat carrier on the roof of the car while I got my kids in the car.  Good thing I thought better of it!

But I think my favourite and most memorable crap-on-roof incident was that sunny, lovely day in 2012 when I was headed a family event.  I had just stopped into Sobey's for some snacks was supposed to bring.  I was in such a good mood as I pulled out of my parking spot - I was really looking forward to seeing everyone!  And it seemed everyone else at Sobey's that day was in a great mood too.  As I drove through the lot, headed for the exit, people were waving at me.  One guy even gave me a friendly little honk.  Completely oblivious, I happily waved back, smiling like an idiot and in awe of my community's collective good mood.

In hindsight, it is kind of astonishing how far I got with that fruit tray on the roof of my van.  It was a good 15 minutes into my drive when there was a weird noise and then suddenly there was what can be best described as a fruit salad waterfall happening down my windshield. Even though I could see just fine, my immediate knee-jerk impulse was to throw on my wipers, and pull over to the shoulder. I suddenly burst out laughing as the wipers started catapulting chunks of melon and pineapple onto the roadway, and the realization of what I had done began to sink in.

The good part of all this is that after I stopped laughing, the fruit tray incident actually scared me enough to prompt a "no crap on roof" rule in my life.  Every time I am tempted now to put something on the roof of my car, I do my very best to ignore that temptation and figure out some other way to make it work.

And you know what?  It turns out that actually getting to drink my coffee enroute to places is pretty darn awesome!  :-)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

I'm a Bona Fide Bovine Heroine!

There is something about me that seems to beckon strange adventures.  Anyone who has heard this story has said something along the lines of, "It completely does not surprise me that this happened to you."  Truth be told, I kind of like that I have this kind of a reputation.  My life is interesting! 
I actually can't believe that I haven't posted this little story sooner.  Once it was all over, I was on an adrenalin high, and kind of in shock, to be honest!  But I can honestly say, it was one of the best days of my life.
It all began as I was taking my favourite route home from my storage unit.  I'd just bought a new house and so I'd gone to the unit to make sure it was ready for the movers I'd hired, and to pick up a few stray items that I didn't want to deal with on moving day.  I had the kids in the backseat, and as usual, I was doing a running commentary of all the things we saw along the way.  There was the strangely bent tree branch that we always liked to point out, the house with the wood carving of an eagle with a real trucker's hat perched on the eagle's noggin, the swampy pond that the kids call "Shrek's Swamp", and our favourite rugged, rocky farm with the creek running through it.
As I drove past this farm, I said, "Hey kids... there's our favourite farm! Looks like the cows are out!"  Then I did a double take.  I noticed a cow acting a little strangely.  I almost missed seeing her, but she was standing at this oddly severe angle and was nudging something with her head.  I kept driving, but something made me turn around to take another look.  Of course, any unannounced change in our itinerary was cause for alarm and repeated questions and shouting from my two travel companions - sooo helpful.  As I returned for another look at the cow, I craned my neck to see what was going on, while I fielded the onslaught of questions from the kids.  It kind of felt like one of those moments you see on headache remedy commercials, where the crazy demands of the world are all swirling around a headachy person's head, and it all starts to sound like the principal from Peanuts.  Suddenly I realized precisely what was going on... there was a baby calf stuck in the creek struggling to keep its head above the water.
I'll admit, there was a fleeting moment where I thought I'd just keep driving.  Maybe the calf would be just fine.  Maybe the mama would manage to nudge her out.  I am ALWAYS the one who stops to help - it's programmed into my DNA or something.  But then I had a flashback to me wandering around a fall fair with my dad.  We had just seen the prize winning pumpkins and cornstalks, and we had strolled out to where the livestock were being showcased.  There were kids there who were really proud of their calves and sheep and whatnot, and I recall saying to Dad, "I don't get it."  Lucky for me, Dad had grown up on a farm, and the next 10-20 minutes were a crash course for me in 4H and the value of livestock in farming families.  Little did I know, there were kids MY AGE who were getting calves for birthday presents.  This completely baffled me until my dad enlightened me on the worth of full grown cows at auction.  Oh!  Suddenly I saw baby farm animals as an investment.  And those farm kids were so freaking lucky!  (Note:  Dad hadn't, at that point, got to the part about getting no holidays and having to get up at 5 every morning, and all that additional information)
Jumping back to the present moment, I knew I had to do something to save that baby cow.
With the audible sigh of a reluctant martyr, I turned the van around and headed to the farmhouse to see if someone was home.  All the while, the never ceasing soundtrack of questions from the backseat ramped up in intensity. 
"What is going on?" 
"Is that a baby cow?" 
"Who lives here?" 
"Can cows swim?"
As I drove up the long driveway to the house, I suddenly got quite nervous.  What if no one was home?  What the hell could I do about a drowning calf if I couldn't even get to the creek?!  What if the farmer annoyed that I stopped by?  What if the farmer was a killer?!!  My mom loaned me a book a couple of years ago called "The Gift of Fear", apparently all about how fear is something that is a gift or good for survival or something.  AGH!  Why the frig hadn't I read that book!  It was probably written for situations EXACTLY like this!
Nevertheless, I slid out of the van and knocked on the door of the house.  Just when I thought no one was home, the farmhouse killer emerged:  a nice old lady who literally walked with a cane, and was in my best estimation, about 89 years old.  I cannot tell a lie... I breathed a wee little sigh of relief!  She was talking on the phone to someone, and swung open the door to greet me.  I told her what was going on with the calf, and she kind of freaked out... in an adorable way.  She immediately started fretting and said into the phone, "I have to go.  No... no... Hazel... not unless you want to come and fish a calf out of the drink!"  SLAM... she hung that phone up like a boss and headed out the door towards the creek.
And I was just standing there watching her move as fast as she could with her cane, thinking: "Yup... I'm going to have to do this."
So, I called after her, already knowing the answer, asking, "Do you want me to come and help you?"  This amazing woman didn't even stop to turn around, and hollered, "Do you mind getting muddy?  I really do need your help!"  So, in a split second, I needed to decide what to do with the kids.  I surely wasn't about to risk them getting trampled by a freaked out mama cow, so I aimed the front of the van at the pasture, locked their doors and told them exactly what was going on, and instructed them not to leave the van for anyone or any reason and to watch their mommy attempt to rescue a stranded calf through the front window.  Ok wait... that's terrible grammar.  I was NOT going to try to pull a calf through the front window.  I was just trying to keep my kids contained.
So, off I ran, trying to catch up to my new friend. In hind sight, I don't know how on earth she got out to the creek so fast.  When I say this pasture was a complete mud pit, I actually mean that the one and only way to get to the calf was goopy, clingy, mushy, wet, foot deep mud, manure and cow pee the WHOLE way.  I found out later that the reason for this was that the pasture had been flooded for a few days prior.  Perfect timing!  I did my best... I honestly did, but I was wearing these Mary Jane style hiking shoes - NOT engineered for manure spelunking.  I would take a step and sink so far into manure and mud with each and every step that it made a splooochy sucking sound every time I tried to pull my foot back out of the mud for the next step.  My shoes got stuck in the mud so many times that I finally gave up and carried my shoes the rest of the way.  Oh, and I should mention that I made that decision after this slurping shoe business caused me to fall face first into the mud.  When I put my hands out to brace my fall, I had absolutely no option but to plant my hands in manure, and THAT was the moment I decided I needed a new plan.  How I managed to just take this all in stride is a mystery to me.  I guess sometimes you just commit.
I finally reached the creek, where Hettie (I never did find out her name, but I am finding it awkward to refer to her without a name, so now she is Hettie!) was trying to coax the calf out of the water.  There was about a metre and a half incline down into the creek, and I slid down it as fast as I could to help.  I apparently felt the need to make a dramatic entrance, because I slid down the bank and fell into the river.  Like, right on my stomach in the middle of March in a freezing cold river!  All I could do was laugh about it and scramble to my feet.  The poor mama cow was frantic on the other side of the creek, pacing back and forth, seemingly unable to step into the creek or help her baby.  I asked Hettie what I needed to do, and she suggested that I wrap my arms around the calf's chest and try to get her to stand up.  As I heaved on the poor little calf to try to get her to stand, it seemed to me that the calf had no clue how to stand.  Hettie kept surmising that "Kathy" (the mama cow) had tried to lead her baby through the river and the calf got stuck.  As I kept scanning the scene, though, it became very obvious to me what had actually happened.  The mama cow had all sorts of birthing junk hanging out of her rear, and there was afterbirth streaked all over the other side of the creek bank.  This mom had just birthed her calf on the riverbank, and the poor thing rolled down into the creek!  I quickly concluded that I certainly wasn't going to be able to teach this newborn how to stand in a rocky creek!
So, I started trying to drag her up to drier ground.  This was no easy task.  This cow felt like it weighed a hundred pounds.  And it wasn't like the little tyke was helping me at all.  Oh no... she kept trying to roll herself back towards her mom... and the creek.  With Hettie cheering me on, I lugged that calf all the way up the creek bank and onto level ground.  It had a definite "1 step forward, 4 calf rolls backward" type of a feel to it, but after a good long while, I got her up to safety.  I felt victorious!
This side of the creek was actually pretty steep - you just can't tell from this picture.
As I stood there breathing hard and basically using my legs to prevent the calf from rolling back into the water, I said to Hettie, "Now what?"  Well, turns out that Hettie's best plan was to go get a wheel barrow from the barn.  I kind of started to panic.  First of all, which one of the two of us was going to lift this freaking cow into a wheelbarrow, when I could barely DRAG it along the grass?!  Second, I really think that trying to navigate a wheelbarrow full of slimy new cow through that same poop-filled gauntlet that had bested me earlier was going to be an exercise in futility.  So, I started to grill her about who we could call.  She couldn't think of one person that we could call to come help us - partly because she didn't memorize numbers, but partly because - according to her - most of the time if they wanted to talk to someone, they just drove to their house! 
So, Hettie decided she'd go get the wheelbarrow.  This was when I frantically started texting my friend, Milja.  The text basically said, "I am in an SOS kind of situation.  I am rescuing a baby calf and I need help!  If you guys are bored, can you come help?"
No reply.  I called her.  No answer.  I stood in that field for what felt like an eternity!  It must have been 20 minutes at least.  Maybe more.  And let me tell you... that is a LOOONG time to be trying to stop a slippery calf from trying to fling herself back at her mom.  Finally I saw Hettie heading back my way, sans wheelbarrow. Turns out she did have someone she could call, and that someone was her daughter and son-in-law.  Joy of joys, her son-in-law was on his way!!!
Instead of just waiting for him to arrive, Hettie kept asking me to hoist the calf to its feet to try to teach it to walk. I don't know anything about cows, so I just did whatever I was told in that cow pasture - including teaching this calf one of the basic foundations of cow life.  I whispered soothing words of encouragement into the calf's ears as I wrapped my arms around its belly and tried to make its dangling hooves plant firmly on the ground... at least at the rear end.  I really, really wish someone had a video of me smooth talking a calf into standing up - I probably looked ridiculous.  I finally got her on all 4 hooves, but it only worked when I was holding on to her.  The instant I attempted to let go, she just slumped forward face first into the ground.  This was going nowhere.
And that's when the song "Dreamweaver" started echoing in my mind as I looked up and saw Hettie's son-in-law walking in slow motion across the field toward us.  We were saved!  I was never in my life so happy to see a dusty, sturdy middle aged man in overalls, a trucker hat and rubber boots walking my way!  My Dreamweaver sequence was abruptly interrupted as Hettie rightly pointed out that he was taking his sweet time getting to us.  As I watched him, I realized that he really, truly couldn't be walking any slower!  Didn't he know that I was a selfless city girl doing them a favour!  Come on!!!
After a painfully long wait, he arrived on the scene, and without so much as a word or a tip of the ol' farmer's hat, he bent down, scooped the calf up into his arms and walked her about 40 feet into the field and set her down.  Then he walked over to the muddy land bridge (that the mama cow had presumably forgotten existed!) and headed over to Kathy, and with a few whacks on the bottom, he guided her through the mud and over our way.
Redirecting \Mama Kathy
This whole time I am acting like a complete loser, taking selfies of me and the calf and Hettie with my crud-covered phone, and talking to the calf like I was the only one in the whole word who understood it's struggle - cooing and petting and reminding her that her mom was on her way.  Her little heart was beating a mile a minute!
There was only one problem.  I hadn't actually anticipated what it would be like when that glorious moment actually came to be.  Suddenly I was jerked out of my nurturing state when I heard the son-in-law holler, "HERE COMES MOM!"
I looked up just in time to see wild-eyed Kathy come running full tilt right at me and the calf.  Talk about the gift of fear - I almost wet my pants trying to scramble out of the way!  Kathy came to screeching halt when she got to her baby and started licking and nudging her calf, cleaning her up and trying to get her to stand.
Hettie and her son-in-law and I headed back to the barn.  Hettie was quite worried about the calf, but her son-in-law just urged her to let Kathy do what her instincts wanted her to do and give her some space.  I managed to get back to my van, where my kids were waiting, all doe-eyed and confused about why I smelled so bad.  I let them out of the van for a stretch and some doting from our new friend Hettie.  She took the kids over to the fence line and picked them some pussy willow stems and let them look at all the other calves that had been born this spring.  Apparently our calf was #9!  The son-in-law turned out to be so grateful that I had stopped to help that he let me and the kids name the calf!  I turned to the kids, who after an hour in the van of complete model behaviour deserved the honour of naming her, and said, "Well, what should we name her?"  Apparently all the calves this season had to be named with an "M" name, so the kids chose "Molly".  My heart melted... what a sweet name.
Then Hettie brought a little reality check to the moment when she inquired as to how I was going to drive home.  It was a good question, as I was literally covered in mud and cow waste from head to toe!  Suddenly I remembered that I had randomly grabbed a tarp from my storage unit as a last minute take away just hours earlier!  I dragged it out of the back of my van and fashioned a giant shower cap for the driver's seat that did quite nicely!
A bit of a sidebar - while this was happening, Milja had finally got my text and called me to say she was game to come and help.  It was all so confusing because everyone was talking to me while she was on the phone, but I was able to convey that we were all good now, and she did text later to call me a "bovine heroine".  No wonder she's in marketing!
As the kids and I got into the van, Hettie's son-in-law extended an invitation to us to come and visit Molly any time we liked. As we backed out of their driveway, the kids and I looked out into the field and saw Kathy and Molly nuzzling one another, and Molly was up on her feet... standing on her own! 

I headed for home, and as the kids and I excitedly recapped our adventure, and as my tarp flapped in the breeze from the open window, I had the biggest smile on my face.  I had just rescued a freaking cow!  I have never felt so simultaneously heroic and completely filthy and drenched in all my life - it was wonderful.