Today they broke me; the kids broke me.
It all began with the misguided plan to go to the library before lunch. Like a total amateur, I announced to Madeline, “We are going to the library this morning!”
If you are new to parenting, you should know that announcing a trip before you are dressed, packed, and walking out the door is moronic. Boarder-line-masochistic.
9:00am: ”Let’s go to the library!”
9:05am: I dress myself while Sam crawls into the bathroom and pulls all of the cleaning products and all of my pads out from underneath the bathroom sink.
9:10am: I clean up Sam’s mess, pick him up, and change him into daytime clothes.
9:20am: I change Sam into his second set of daytime clothes. (If you are new to parenting you should also know that the quickest way to get your child to use the bathroom is by placing him/her into a fresh diaper. Forgetting wipes at home and being late for an important meeting also work. All three are more effective than prune juice.)
9:30am: I find Madeline in the dining room, naked, trying to open a tub of Play-doh by herself. I dress Madeline and instruct her to put on her shoes while I put on my makeup.
9:36am: I realize that my makeup bag is lost. I give up on makeup.
9:37am: I look in the mirror for the first time to discover zit-zilla growing between my eyebrows. I reconsider makeup. I rummage through a basket of old makeup and find some summer concealer that is 2 shades too dark. I schmear it all over my face, shove a bunch of bobby pins in my hair, and kiss my dignity goodbye.
9:41am: Madeline wanders into the bathroom, barefoot. I instruct her – again – to go put on her shoes. Sam unshelves all the books in the living room. I leave them on the floor.
9:42am: I notice that it is monsooning outside. I decide we’re going anyway because I am hard-headed and also sometimes an idiot. I tell Madeline to take off her shoes and to put on her rain boots instead.
9:43am: Madeline needs socks. I get socks. Sam, still sitting atop his pile of books, rips the cover off of Madeline’s Polar Express book. Madeline yells at him. Sam starts to cry. Madeline starts to cry. I ignore all of them and walk to the kitchen to make Sam a bottle for the increasingly ill-advised trip to the library.
9:45am: I bring Madeline a drink and she stops crying. Sam sees his bottle in my hand and starts crying harder.
9:50am: I grab the umbrella and walk Madeline to the car. I have to put down the umbrella to buckle her in, soaking my back. I go back to get Sam and strap him into the car (more soaking). I go back a third time for my purse, library bag, coffee, and bottle. I’ve given up on the umbrella.
10:00am: I look at the clock, realize it’s required an hour of non-stop work to move the three of us 10 yards from the house to the car. I realize that I am soaking wet and looking rough. I think about how, before I had kids, I could have used that hour to shower, put on real makeup, do my hair, have a cup of hot coffee, and walk to my car without incident. I wonder if people without children know that it takes a shower-less, coffee-less HOUR to move 10 yards. I wonder if they are thankful for their 30-second walk to the car; 30-seconds in which their cleaning supplies and pads and books are not strewn all over the floor of their houses. I question my decision to have children.
We arrived. Because the universe was enjoying its laugh at my expense, I encountered another human being on the way inside. An unfairly thin ginger woman wearing an appropriate amount of makeup stepped out of her car and looked up to find me standing in the parking lot – zit-zillaed, dirty, and soaking wet – balancing a baby on my hip and yelling at Madeline for swinging her cane around her head in circles.
By the time we got inside it was 10:45 and my entire back side – neck to ankles – was sopping.
We spent an hour in the library where Sam unshelved more books and Madeline said, “Hey, Mom; Hey, Mom; Hey, Mom; Hey, Mom…” every 30 seconds. It wasn’t until Sam started to happy-squeal that I realized I’d left all the pacifiers in the car.
Sam squealed loudly.
My phone rang loudly.
I checked out.
I owed $5 in fines.
I had no cash.
I drug us all out to the car (you can picture “drug” as literally or figuratively as you want).
I had just pulled out of the parking lot when Madeline said, “Hey, Mom?”
“Yes, dear?” ( Through gritted teeth.)
“I have to go potty.”
And here is my confession:
I said, “Well it’s going to have to wait because we are not getting out of this car until we get home!” Then I drove to Chick-Fil-A and ordered calories I had no business ordering and spent money I had no business spending and I DID. NOT. CARE.
I stress-ate my fries on the way home – shoveling them into my mouth with one hand without taking my eyes off the road.
Also, I do not plan to leave the house for the rest of the week. Also, I might have an ulcer.