Thursday, March 6, 2008
My Little Angel
The hubbie was at work, all three kids were at school. I had the house to myself. The weather was gorgeous and pushing 50 degrees. I lounged and read blogs including this post from Sweet|Salty. I giggled, I sympathized and I secretly relished in the fact that it was not me. The day was mine for the taking!
Then off to Target and the car wash. Things were going well. I found a pair of pants that actually fit! And I had the brilliant idea to buy shoe polish for my danskos which, prior to this flash of brilliance, I was going to replace because they were scuffed (sometimes I can be a total blockhead). The car wash took forever but that was okay. Someone else was scraping the mushy goldfish crackers off the back seat. I was sitting in the sun drinking a chai tea, no one was fussing or pulling on my leg, and I had my book Momma Zen, by Karen Maezen Miller.
Then the children came home. First the boy. He was no trouble - straight upstairs on this gorgeous day to play on the computer. Wonderful. I started writing and time passed quickly. I looked at the clock, 3:30 pm. Where was middle daughter? We had to be at ballet in a half hour. I called the neighbor who was supposed to pick her up. No answer. I walked to the neighbor’s house. They were frosting a cake. Sissy didn’t want to leave. She came begrudgingly home and proceeded to spend fifteen minutes in the bathroom. Um hello! We’re late! Then she couldn’t find a ballet suit or tights. I felt the need to sarcastically butt in:
"Could this be a lesson? In what? A lesson in organization? If your room was clean you’d know where to find stuff. And, besides, you should have gotten these things together last night."
While giving this lecture I was thinking, well, you were too busy writing to bother getting stuff ready either. And then that other part of my brain chimed in, yes but it is her responsibility you don’t want to coddle her. The front of my brain screamed out we’re late, we’re late! And the back of my brain said, chill momma, what does it matter.
Finally she was dressed. Her tights were over her ballet suit but I managed to let it be, shoo the boy outside to play and take sissy to ballet.
Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out.
Ballet is at The Club; the athletic club. You know, the place all the ritzy, fancy schmancy people go to work-out, network and hob knob. We are not members of The Club but ballet gives us weekly voyeuristic views into this other world. When at The Club I do my best to go unnoticed. I waffle between pride and embarrassment. I don’t want people to think I am a member and at the same time I don’t want them to think I’m not a member. Can you say dork?
After I dropped off middle daughter I ran to the market. I picked up a meatloaf for dinner and raced home to put it in the fridge. I asked the boy if he wanted to go with me to pick up his sisters, i.e. why are you back on the damn computer?!!
“Are you going to The Club?” he asked.
“Yes.” I answered suspiciously.
“Yeah! They have the best sandwiches there, I’m going to get a sandwich.”
(The best sandwich being turkey, bacon and mayo, on bread. I could make the exact same thing at home and he wouldn’t eat it. But this sandwich is from The Club).
“Are you insane?” I asked, “I’m not about to buy you a sandwich when I just got stuff for dinner.”
“Then I’ll buy it myself.” he replied. Great. Now I’m making the eleven-year-old buy his own food.
He proceeded to spend the next ten minutes looking for money. Finally he emerged with eight dollars in quarters. Once again we were late.
We went to the preschool to pick up the baby. Her arms were crossed over her chest. She was pouting. Uh oh. We managed to get to the car with minimal fussing. Driving to the club I deluded myself into thinking all was well. I envisioned the baby and I skipping hand-in-hand to the ballet room while the boy got his sandwich. What the f*ck was I thinking?
We made it to the parking lot just as ballet was about to get out. Only ballet was on the other side of the building; think big square with center courtyard only the courtyard was closed due to falling ice so we had no choice but to go the long way around. We raced through the front door. I left the boy at the cafe in front. We made it past the treadmills and were about to pass the locker room. Suddenly, the baby had to go potty - NOW! I flashed back on our previous potty excursion; twenty-minutes of the baby refusing to poop until all people were gone from the bathroom. That wasn’t going to work. The boy wasn’t allowed in the locker room. Shit.
But, I remembered, there was a bathroom right next to the ballet room. I told her we were going to use the other potty. NO! She didn’t want to!
I could feel it coming, I knew what we were in for; I ...just...need....to.... get ...middle... daughter...before... she... BLOWS!
She dragged her feet, she fussed. We made it past the pool and then the basketball court, past the racket ball court and to the ballet room. The ballerinas were just finishing up. And we were there -at the potty!
"NOOOOOOOO! I DON’T WANT THAT POTTY."
Deep breath. Count to ten.
“Okay, we’ll go back to the other potty but first we have to get your sister.” I said calmly.
“I HAVE TO GO POTTY!”
“Well there’s a potty right there.” I replied through clenched teeth, “You have two choices (and its all about choice right?), you can go potty now in that perfectly good potty or you can wait.”
“FINE! I’LL USE THAT POTTY.”
We went into the bathroom, which I was thanking my lucky stars was a single private room. She pulled down her pants and the band-aid on her life-threatening injury (i.e. skinned knee) started to fall off. She completely freaked out and started hopping around the bathroom crying about the band-aid. I, in my infinite wisdom, pulled it off. Bad, bad idea. She started to SCREAM!!!! She was going to die, she was going to bleed out from this small abrasion, and I just sped up the inevitable process.
Sissy amazingly found us via echolocation; it was quite obvious where we were. I left the girls in the bathroom, the baby still screaming at the top of her lungs, and went across the hall to procure a new band-aid from the ballet teacher. I was waiting for security to arrive. Surely they were going to kick us out and arrest me for child abuse. Jail would be okay though. Jail would be quiet.
The new band-aid temporarily placated the devil child and she went potty. Then we had the long trek back to the front door. Back past the racket ball and basketball courts, past the pool; Satan walked five feet in front of us grunting and hmphing her way along. She nearly walked into the man in front of her and I got the “what the f*ck is wrong with you, why can’t you control your child” look. We made it to the locker room. She stopped. She was done. She was going no further. Beelzebub was tired.
Sissy started whining. "It’s no fair brother gets a sandwich. I want something."
“Fine!” I said pulling money from my wallet, fully aware I now had to pay my son back, “Get something!” So much for meatloaf. She joined her brother and I remained in a stand-off with the baby.
The baby wouldn't let me get close. She made deep gutteral noises every time I approached. Clearly I was kidnapping this child. Finally, exasperated, I told her I was leaving, I was going home and I began to walk away. That was the final straw.
“NO!” she screamed barreling past me, past the treadmills and to the cafe. There she stopped and in her loudest primal piercing scream (think wounded hyena) she hollered, “I DON’T WANT TO GO HOME!”
F*uck it all to hell. If I ever had a chance to join this club it was gone. Not that I ever wanted to join in the first place but really. I shoved my purse into the boy’s chest and ignored my doctor’s orders to not pick up anything over ten pounds. I grabbed the writhing screaming 40 pound ogre and hauled her outside. We made it to the car with the only casualty being her new band-aid. But once at the car I could not buckle her flailing body into the car seat. I seriously considered smacking her across the face but settled for placing my nose an inch from hers and screaming, “YOU KNOCK THAT OFF RIGHT NOW!” This startled her just enough for me to buckle the belt. The entire way home she screamed stopping only to cough and gag.
Once home I was done. I put her on the couch and put on public television. Damn it all to hell, the kids programming was over. What the f*ck, I thought and put on Scooby Doo. She proceeded to fall asleep.
This same child is now dancing naked around the living room. She is balancing on my chair and showing me her moves. She is a little angel. And I am reminded that satan was, is, an angel too. They are one and the same; angels and the devil, separated by hunger and sleep. Now I am going to go play with my little angel until satan rears his ugly head. Then I will nap with the devil.
Don’t forget to check out Love Thursday at Shutter Sisters!