Friday, November 6, 2009

You've Been Warned

Today was one of those days that compels me to sound the alarm to anyone I know who has innocently expressed the desire to have children. Babies might be darling and they smell good . . . and those silky fingers and toothless smiles . . . but no, do not under any circumstances fall blindly into the baby trap. Those precious bundles turn into small savages who will dismantle your life as you know it. You will become intimately involved with body fluids. You will lose your sleep, your temper, your money, your capacity to put together a decent outfit on a daily basis. Let me put it this way . . . mom jeans were no accident.

If you read my H1N1 shot saga, you will understand that I fell exhausted into bed at the end of that day. I was woken up from a lovely dream when I realized Violet was perched over me, announcing, "Me ti-ud." Um, go back to bed then. "Pease you ome with me." I sluggishly walked her back to her room to tuck her in then beelined back to bed. Just after falling asleep again, she was back, announcing "My ummy huts." I barely had time to process what she said before I was drenched in vomit. All I could think was . . . what about me says "vomit target" to my children? What about their dad? What about the toilet?

This afternoon, I was preparing to leave the house to get Daisy and her friend from school . . . the friend's mom wasn't feeling well. I wanted to make sure to be on time as I have been known to run a few minutes late and this other mom often saves me. I called out for Violet, having just checked on her a few minutes ago, and there was no response. I found her in the bathroom with a guilty look and an ominous smell. I will spare you the details of what might go wrong for a recently potty-trained child. If you're not experienced in taking care of young children, you certainly can't handle the truth.

We were almost on time for pick up. I could see the kids coming out of the classroom from a distance and my daughter and her friend looking around in confusion as Violet and I ran towards them. Actually, it was more like I ran while yanking Violet by the hand. She didn't seem to mind though, even thanking me, "Nice ride, Mom." I told the girls we could hang out at the school playground for awhile but then we needed to go to Costco.

The process of getting the girls from the playground to the store was frustrating, full of arguments, complications and drama. I offered to take my daughter's friend with us, thinking I owed her mom and how hard could it be anyways? Well, what's worst than two whiny kids at the store? Clearly, it's three. I was pummeled by the constant negotiations . . . no, we will not be eating dinner at the food court . . . no, you cannot try the cappuccino . . . no, we will not be buying the large stuffed pony . . . no, I cannot buy sparkly dresses for all of you. Each plea was pitched repeatedly, tirelessly.

By the time we stepped into one of the checkout lines, I was looking forward to getting the hell out of Costco. Just as we got to the front of the line, I heard Violet - who was several feet behind me and in plain view of most of the checkout lines - screech, "ME GO PEEPEE!" I turned around to the sound of a crowd erupting in laughter and the sight of my daughter squatting with her dress pulled up and her bare butt sticking up in the air. I ran to her, yelling "NOOOOO!" then abruptly ordered the older girls to take her to the bathroom, while the person working the register waited impatiently for me to hand over my card.

As we finally made it out of the building, the lady checking the receipts offered to draw three smiley faces on ours, starting a frantic debate about who was going to hold it, which ended in upset feelings all around. It's days like today that make me think of a childhood friend who started having kids before me. The woman has motherhood dialed. She now has five boys . . . she's given birth to a basketball team. Shortly after Daisy was born, I called her for advice. She hesitated before answering my question, explaining that she and her husband were "anti-kid" that day. Her statement seemed a little harsh to my new baby sensibilities. Little did I know.


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