Tuesday, March 13, 2007


She woke up just in time to wake her son up for kindergarten. They made it to school by the skin of their (possibly unbrushed?) teeth. She stayed up until 3 a.m. the night before catching up with an old friend from back East. She felt hung over all day even though she’d barely swigged to the bottom of a single lukewarm Corona (a beer she vows never to drink plain again, without so much as a lime to kill the taste).

She remembered to include rectangles of fresh honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon in her kindergartner's lunch. She did so after her son ratted on a teacher for chewing him a new one after his bad mother sent him to school with a miniature bag of Ruffles potato chips. “At this school, we don’t do chips,” my son’s food cop informed him as she confiscated his carb-heavy contraband. She smiled an I-told-you-so smile on the inside thinking of how fiercely she nagged her husband for buying junky lunch snacks.

All day she tirelessly mollified her grumpy, insomniac of late two-and-a-half-year-old, who demanded her “fav-rit’ bubba’ gum” every hour on the hour. She stuck to her hard-ass mama guns and never produced the (choking hazard) gum, advising sternly and patiently, “When we ask Mommy nicely, then we get. I can’t give you anything until I hear a 'please,' little lady. You may not yell at your mother.” She cracked midday and screamed, “Homie don’t play ‘dat, little sister! No gum! How many times do I have to say no before you get it?!! Nooooo friggin’ gum, k?!!”

Between stoplight red lipstick reapplication and nearly swallowed whole bites of toasted, butter drenched English muffins bookending a sliver of processed cheese and a runny fried egg, she zipped across the city like Mario Andretti in a minivan.

She zigged and zagged from the top of the city to the bottom of the city than back up again. Trekked from one son’s school to the next, than back to the first son’s school and again to the other son’s school. Somehow in between she managed to pit stop at Kohl’s to return a pair of too-short carpenter-style jeans she bought her husband for his birthday the day before (yeah, boring threads, just what every guy wants for his birthday, right?). She sidetracked from her gift replacement mission and bought her baby girl a lilac Bohemian Easter dress for a slick nine smackers plus tax.

She changed ten diapers -- two of them stomach-turning blowouts -- while breathing only through her mouth. She wiped three noses, all of them equally nasty but equally cute.

She scrubbed petrified spaghetti sauce from pots and pans, Swiffered and swept, folded whites, darks, even managed to hunt down the mystery matches to solo socks she’d long given up as sacrifices to the Abominable Sock Monster.

She followed up on an old, confusing sprained kiddie neck medical bill and was pleasantly surprised that the emergency room graciously “wrote off” a daunting remaining balance. How often does that happen?! Sheer serendipity. She chalked her good fortune up to all the hours she’s recently logged “paying it forward” between babysitting for fellow mamas and hosting annoyingly high-energy play dates.

She cruised like a zombie though a record three red lights, clinging to her extra but apparently permanent appendage – a cold, congealed cup of home-brewed hazelnut coffee – like a lifeline. She interpreted the pesky yellow lights as strict orders to “step on it” with her bare foot. She noticed the kids looked a little scared and thrilled at the same time when she accidentally skimmed a curb and burned rubber on a sharp turn.

She smiled and said through her teeth “I’m great. Just great, “ when a spunky office lady at her youngest son’s preschool kindly asked “How are you today, Mrs. S?” She was cool and calm until her bubble gum-addicted daughter launched a shock and awe fist-windmilling tantrum when the sweet office lady declined to let her take her personal calculator home. She felt like a complete numb-nut when her Terrible Two twister sister baby girl sucker punched her in her deflated-by-breastfeeding-but-gallantly-still-holding-up thanks-to-Wonderbra-under-wire boob.

She resigned herself to letting go and sprawled out on her belly on the grass at her son’s preschool. She watched her children’s wispy blond hair rise and fall in the warm Spring wind. She watched her sons plan and build an obstacle course out of oversized wooden blocks. She watched two of her son’s three-year-old classmates biff hard to the point of tears on her children’s shaky invention. She felt guilty but not that guilty.

She kissed her son’s crushed-in-the-door finger. She felt a twinge of gloom when he recoiled and said he was too big for boo boo kisses in front of his friends.

She fed, bathed and clothed three kids quick enough to have time left over for a dramatic reading of one more cliffhanging Mummies in the Morning chapter of the latest The Magic Tree House installment. She laughed when her kids said they were too scared of mummies under their bunk beds to go to sleep. She remembered being the biggest scaredy cat wuss on the block as a kid. She told the kids she still leaps lightning fast up onto her bed at night because she’s still a wimp. She wasn’t lying.

She wondered how to balance motherhood and work. She wondered if she should eat the toffee almond chip candy bar she slipped on the sly into her husband’s briefcase for his birthday. She knew better.

She worked her tail off but didn’t lose a pound and never broke a sweat. She did so much in such a short amount of time. Too much to go on cataloging like a grocery list.

She received a late-night text message from her husband saying he needs attention too. She wanted to tell him to “take a number” but smartened up right quick.

She is me, and she is finally going to bed.



At 5:28 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

Are our two year olds getting together under the cloak of night to plot against us and share tips on 'what makes mama go crazy'? I swear my sweet verbal 2 year old has turned into a screaming banchie overnight. It's charming, really.

At 8:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, what a day! I'll be thinking about you today as I sit here on my couch and do nothing. heehee.

At 9:37 AM, Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

You managed all that, and got lipstick on, too? I bow to you.

At 5:03 PM, Blogger Amanda said...

I love this post. It made my day! =) Just wanted to say that!

At 11:52 PM, Anonymous karenkt said...

excellent writing. keep feeding us.

At 11:57 PM, Anonymous mel said...

"She told the kids she still leaps lightning fast up onto her bed at night because she’s still a wimp. She wasn’t lying"

I do the exact same thing. The Husband thinks I'm crazy.

Great post. After all of that, how did you find the energy to type it?

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