I was getting Madeleine into her car seat and she was, of course, being uncooperative and squirmy. And she’s very strong. So there I was pulling the strap that tightens the entire harness, once I had clipped it together. My hand slipped, sending it right back at my face. I was wearing sunglasses and they smashed into the bridge of my nose, as well. Unpleasant.
We were heading to the pediatrician’s office for a check-up. When we got there I needed to use the bathroom.
“Madeleine, please don’t touch the door,” I said as I teetered on one butt cheek attempting to pee. I pressed a hand against the bathroom door to spare the entire waiting room from getting a view of me on the toilet. In these situations I’m always glad when I’m wearing cute underwear. You never know who might be putting you on Youtube. Damn those easy-open door handles that even a toddler can manage.
Her appointment was mercifully quick and my plan was that she’d fall asleep on the way home. My plan, not hers. I so badly wanted her to sleep, but by the time we pulled into the driveway she was still looking at me. I took her out and put her right into the stroller.
We walked and neared the bridge, “Mommy, stop!” she shouted. There are small bridges in our neighborhood that cross over canals. Ducks and swans love to hang around the area.
“It’s quiet time,” I said softly.
“But I want to look for the ducks!”
“I think they’re sleeping.”
I walked faster and now I was sweating. Frustrated and hot. There were construction trucks ahead working on the road. Noise. More frustration.
We turned back toward home and I got Madeleine into the car again. I needed coffee and I thought maybe she’d finally pass out on the ride.
Thank you to whichever genius decided to put a drive-thru Starbucks nearby. I use it weekly even though I don’t particularly like the coffee. The only problem on this day was how the guy at the window was holding my coffee. I had to stop myself from blurting out Excuse me, Sir, but do you mind not man-handling my coffee? When was the last time you washed your hands? It’s cold and flu season and he was holding his finger over the spout part of the lid where you put your mouth. (See how much energy goes into being neurotic?)
In this case and on this day it was worth risking infection.
“Is that your coffee, Mommy?” Madeleine said, still wide awake, eyes sparkling.
“I have some?”
“Nah, not today.”
“Are we picking up Luke?”
This is the part where the story doesn’t have a tidy, perfect ending. The part where I ask for HELP. Madeleine has been skipping her naps lately and by around 5pm she’s a mess. Some days it’s an all-out meltdown as I attempt to make dinner. Other times she’ll dance around the house with socks on her hands, banging a bongo drum with the glow-in-the-dark star wand I got her at CVS, with her hair stuck to her sweaty forehead. It’s incredibly, deliciously cute. Then Luke will inevitably chase her around the table and she’ll shriek He’s scaring me! Then they to battle until dinner is on the table. Not cute.
My question to all of you is: What do you do with your kids from after-school-time to dinner-time? Are your kids running around during this 2-hour stretch, beating each other up and tearing through the house like they’re on Supermarket Sweep? Input welcome 🙂