Now that spring break is over, we’re approaching the busiest time of the school year. I read my kids’ newsletters, whip out my color coded markers for my calendar, and mutter obscenities under my breath.
Me: “Field trip?…son of a…picnic?…goddamn…concert?….why I oughtta…”
My hat’s off to you if you like to go into your kid’s classroom on a weekly (or even monthly) basis. I love my kids. I love their teachers. I love their school. But, if I want to participate more actively in their education, I’ll either get my teaching degree or homeschool them. And there’s no shot I’m homeschooling. I hope to hear that they’re nice boys and that their behavior is developmentally appropriate. Aside from that, peace out until dismissal.
There is one day for which I don’t mind breaking my routine. And it happens this week.
Blue and Blue Day.
Greatest. Day. Of. The. School. Year.
The entire school is divided into two teams, based on school colors…light blue and dark blue. Parents attend, dressed in colors representing their son’s team. Older boys paint their faces to display their team’s color. A bagpiper, clad in kilt and blazer, fills the air with emotion-stirring music as he leads the all-school procession to the field.
And the games begin…
B&B and I grew up playing…and loving…sports. Field day has always been our favorite day of the school year. As parents, we’re just as stoked for it. We’re cheering. We’re sweating. We’ve got butterflies, cottonmouths, and sweaty pits…the works.
I’ve mentioned that, in the circus that is my life, I tend to forget things unless I chant them or write them down. Three years ago this week, our excitement was high for field day. At the time, the Interrogator was 3 and the Verb…still breastfeeding…not even a year old. Which means I was carrying around an extra 30 lbs on my 5’5” frame. Most of it in the tatas, which were a cup size H.
Yes, H. As in: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H.
I’d had a particularly colorful morning, so I sent an email to my good friend Ave chronicling it.
Woohoo, I’ve written it down so now I remember!
Below is my 3 year old email to her…with my current day inner monologue in italics
OK, so tomorrow is Blue & Blue Day at my kids’ school…it is the most anticipated, most competitive day of the year. Waldorf and the Kenyan (and, when they get older, the Interrogator and the Verb) are on the light blue team. In an effort to show my support, I just went to the mall to look for a light blue shirt to fit these enormous cans.
No small feat…
And some capris I can fit over my hips and oversized ass.
The Broad Street Run is right around the corner, so I ran a 9 miler early Sunday morning. I’ve had some nursing issues since then, which makes this the 4th time I’ve lost my milk. The Verb doesn’t take formula, and he’s not close enough at 8 1/2 months to drink whole milk. I know he’s my 4th, but I think it’s bad if he has nothing but juice or water…
I know both my pediatrician and his pediatrician wife are reading this and nodding their heads, “Yes, Bethany, it’s bad for your 8 ½ month old son to drink only water and juice”.
…suffice it to say I have HAD it with the nursing. I want my body back! And I don’t want another human being relying on it for life, nourishment, and sustenance.
Allow me to expand that to include “or as a human jungle gym where my breasts play the roles of handles”…
I am so tired of being overweight (for me) and of this enormous, unflattering rack. None of my clothes fit properly, so I constantly feel self conscious. I’m very frustrated that, even training the way I am, still the clothes remain tight….
Oh, cry me a river, I know. But I spent 36 months and 8 days (thank you, Waldorf…who continues to be late for everything…for those 8 extra days) of my late 20’s and early 30’s pregnant. I spent an additional 33 months breastfeeding. I hated being pregnant. It was no picnic morphing into the Nutty Professor 4 times over. And, no offense to La Leche, but I didn’t cherish every minute of breastfeeding either. The price was right, and my kids latched on like champs. I like sex, exercise, and clothes that fit properly. Sue me.
So, in my effort to keep my milk I have to chug water like a goddamn camel getting ready to cross the Sahara Desert. I’m tanking it down all yesterday and this morning. I tried several times…and failed just as many times…to close my goddamn double stroller so I could pack it into the minivan this morning. So I packed the single stroller. Yes, the Interrogator is 3, and still requires a stroller.
Maybe some of you parents have 3 year old sons who listen to you. My 3 year old sons historically do not.
I arrived at the mall, buckled the Interrogator into the single stroller, then attached the Verb to me in the sling.
Covered in sweat before I’m out of the parking lot. And it wasn’t sweat from the anticipation of field day.
Wearing one child and pushing another, I marched into the department store, grabbed 8 pairs of capris, 2 light blue shirts, and several more articles of activewear…aka running gear. Fatty needs exercise clothes to shed this weight.
Performing everyday tasks with a child strapped to your body, while necessary in some third world countries, is freaking exhausting for a chick from the suburbs of Philly. Performing these tasks outside the comfort of my home while pushing a stroller containing an inquisitive 3 year old with grabby hands and maneuvering clothing racks…it’s as enjoyable as a root canal.
So, I navigated the narrow racks of clothing with my potential purchases and arrived at the dressing room.
How am I going to pull off this trick? Can’t try on these clothes with the baby strapped to the front of me.
I removed the Verb from the sling and put him into the single stroller. Threw some goldfish at him, then set the Interrogator free in the dressing room. I had low expectations because the Interrogator has been a total asshole since his 3rd birthday. The same thing happened to my older 2, but it still breaks my heart every time it happens. Instant asshole on the day they turn 3.
Currently experiencing that phenomenon with the Verb…
I maintained a running dialogue with the kids while quickly trying on all 8 pairs of capris…none of which worked…and both light blue shirts…swing and a miss times two. On the bright side, the Interrogator behaved well in the confines of the dressing room. And I scored some new workout duds.
Me: Preparing to exit the dressing room with the Interrogator walking, “Please hold onto this stroller with Mommy.”
Me: “Fine, I’ll pick you up.”
So, against his will, I picked the Interrogator up…he’s enormous, nearly 40 lbs… and pushed the stroller containing the Verb. And proceeded to roll the stroller over the clothes I’d intended to purchase.
Bonus. New workout clothes bearing tire tracks.
I put the struggling Interrogator down for a moment to pick up the clothes from the floor. His feet hit the ground. And he bolted.
For the most part, I’m calm. But a running 3 year old in a store full of strangers is slightly panic-inducing.
So I screamed his name…
“INTERROGATOR MIDDLE NAME LAST NAME!”
…his FULL name, which means trouble. He laughed and kept running.
So he was a solid 30 yards away from me. And the Verb was chowing on the goldfish. I left him alone in the stroller…with my handbag, naturally…and sprinted after the Interrogator.
I covered the distance between the two of us quickly. Grabbed him. Picked him up. Brought him to my eye level.
Me: “Don’t you EVER RUN AWAY FROM MOMMY, DO YOU HEAR ME? DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED TO NEMO?!”
Son of a bitch laughed again.
Here comes the bad part…
So, like a terrible, TERRIBLE Mom…I pinched his leg.
Don’t judge. It was through his sweatpants! If I knew how to choose a small font in WordPress, I’d use it on the word “pinched” as evidence of the shame I still harbor.
Bad choice, but at the time I was desperate to make an impact. And, don’t forget, I was sleep-deprived! My kids didn’t sleep through the night until I weaned them! Consequently, the pinch made more of an impact than I had anticipated.
Interrogator: Screaming, “OUCH! DON’T PINCH ME, MOMMY! I DON’T WANT TO LOOK AT YOU!”
Silence. Silence accompanied by judgmental stares from strangers.
Me: Using one of Mom’s go-to shopping lines, “Just you WAIT until we get to the car, young man!”
Newsflash: nothing’s going to happen in the car. No more pinching. Certainly no hitting. Not even any yelling. Just more sweating from me and some pleading with the then 3 year old Interrogator to use his listening ears…a conversation which will undoubtedly be over his head but make me feel better.
The Interrogator needed restraining, and I didn’t trust myself not to squeeze the life out of him. So I wrestled his flailing body into the stroller and became the proud new recipient of several bruises in my attempt to protect the Verb, whom I was holding, from his older brother’s windmill-like arms and legs. All the while acting like I wasn’t seething for the benefit of all the strangers whose attention was focused on my shopping excursion.
I paid with a smile that didn’t come close to reaching my eyes.
Clerk: Over the screaming of the Interrogator, “Don’t you just love being a Mom?”
Me: Sighing, “Oh, it has its moments.”
This is clearly not one of them.
We arrived at the car, and I realized my teeth were floating because I had to pee so unbelievably badly. I was doing the dance and talking to myself in the parking lot.
Me: “Please don’t pee, please don’t pee, please don’t pee…”
4 kids=weak bladder.
4 kids + still nursing 1 + chugging water in order to produce enough milk for him=essentially 0 bladder control.
Ironically, this issue has gotten worse with time. Just ask my running partners. Guess I should ramp up my kegels.
So, I put the kids in the car, locked the doors and leapt into the very back of the minivan, where Waldorf and the Kenyan usually sit. I grabbed an empty Gatorade bottle…a staple in the car for a mother of boys…dropped my jeans, took aim, and started peeing.
Now I was really aiming for the bottle opening. But this was the first time I had peed into a wideneck Gatorade since August of ’98 while tailgating at the Pearl Jam concert. I was over a decade out of practice. Had given birth four times since then. And my precision was…well, it was slightly off.
I did manage to hit the bottle opening….sadly, it was only after I had flooded the ENTIRE seat over which I was squatting.
Oops. Sorry, Kenyan.
I filled the whole 20 oz bottle, while listening to the Interrogator.
Interrogator: Panicked, “OH NO! Your pee pee, Mom! OH! It’s on the chair! OH! NO!”
Me: Shamed, “I know, I know, honey, I’ll clean it up, I’m just trying to finish here.”
Interrogator: Horrified, “What? What’s that? You got hair, Mom?!”
Interrogator: Straining his neck, “Can I see your penis, Mom? Where’s your hiney?”
OMFG. Is nothing sacred after giving birth?
As always, Murphy’s law applied, and a car pulled up next to us while the entire scene played out. The windows were down, so they heard the entire exchange.
Thank you, makers of my minivan, for the tinted windows so those poor strangers didn’t have to watch it unfold before their eyes as well.
I also managed to pee on my jeans, which had just been washed and already felt two sizes too snug.
Naturally, I gave them away to Purple Heart after that next laundering. No need to wrestle on jeans four sizes too small.
To recap, I returned home with:
- no light blue shirt
- no capris
- $80 in workout clothes bearing tire tracks
- one toddler with a pinched leg
- one minivan whose backseat was saturated with urine
And that about sums up my morning.
- one Burger King happy meal for me to eat in order to deal with my stress.
But you’d never guess from my smiling face in this picture…
…although I was probably experiencing a winner’s high.
GO LIGHT BLUE!