Yes. I do know it’s been over a year. One might ask, “what could Housewife(ish) possibly have going on in her life that would make it impossible to post less than once a year??” Answer: I have no clue. I think my children have sucked out my long-term memory, and basically all I can remember is the past 3 months. So, let’s start there — we moved to The Deep South, which means I started wearing lipstick, and have been bless-your-heart’d depressingly often. (To be fair, I was probably getting whatever the Yankee version is when we lived in New York… I don’t know what the actual words are, but no doubt it’s whispered behind your back instead of disguised as charity to your face.) C has become a full-fledged toddler, complete with ponytail and sass. K has been off to one school or another, but is currently home for some amount of time until he isn’t again for some amount of time, and I just cannot even keep track.
Most relevantly: J is in a new school — it’s at a Baptist church and has signs in the parking lot that say “caution — children praying.” I overhear completely absurd things at pickup/drop off every day. A current favorite:
Mom 1: “hey there! Did ya’ll get a new horse this weeken’?”
Mom 2: “Why, yes, ma’am, we did!”
Mom 1: “Well, ain’t that jus’ such a blessin’! [to the perfectly coordinated preschool girls] An’ I just love ya’ll’s matchin’ hair bows!”
Girls, in unison: “Thank you, Miss [mom 1]”
Mom 1: “Oh well, just bless your hearts. Ya’ll have a blessed mornin’!”
Lawd have mercy.
Recently pickup/drop offs have become a little more challenging. C has decided that being carried is for chumps — the exceptions to this rule are if I’m 1- cooking bacon, or 2- trying to pee — but she refuses to walk in a pace that reflects our inevitable urgency. She does, however, decide to dart into a classroom at least 2-3 times per day, usually weaving through preschooler bodies faster than I can grab her. By the way, I can’t grab her because as soon as I say, “C, please hold Momma’s hand,” she crosses her arms as tightly as possible, runs faster, and shrieks “NOOO!!” J’s current trick is deciding to play dead… in the middle of the church entryway, of course, and as soon as I try to tell him to get up and follow me, he yells, “I can’t get up because my body is dead and my soul is in heaven with Jeeeeeeeeesssssssuuuuuusssss!!!”
All that to say, our presence is noticeable against the backdrop of new horses, coordinating hair bows, moms not in baseball hats, and kids that aren’t on God’s “to smite” list.
And that’s where I get to today’s performance. I pre-gamed pickup (meaning I went through Starbucks on the way so that I wouldn’t have to listen to a 4 y/o yelling his order at the speakerphone even though I already told him that I would not be buying him a damn chocolate milk), dragged a reluctant 20-month old to J’s classroom with only one return to that stupid metal mat in the doorway that rattles when you stomp on it, and began the long journey back to the car. We almost made it with just the normal amount of shenanigans. Almost.
I had parked next to a mulched area with a small tree. As we approached, I recognized the scheming in J’s eyes, so I started to say “J. That tree is not for climbing. Please get straight up into your seat while I buckle your sister in…” except before I got all of it out of my mouth, he had grabbed onto a low branch and was searching for a foothold. I opened his door, and was about to interrupt myself to get after him, when he dropped down, dance-sprinted to me, and screamed “THERE ARE ANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNTSSSSSS!!!” My one moment of pride in this whole situation was that I didn’t look him straight in the face and say, “Yeah. No shit.”
Apparently, however, they were biting ants. I set C down on the ground; J shrieked and frantically stripped every piece of clothing off his body. From there, it was a game of brushing off scurrying ants, plucking off mid-bite ants, shaking out clothes, and pleading with a 4 y/o not to take off his Spiderman underwear in the middle of the parking lot, all while keeping a toddler from sprinting into peak pickup traffic and/or putting the spoon she found on the ground directly into her mouth. Oh, and trying not to lose all modicum of composure in front of 30+ Lily Pulitzer-clad ladies. (Yes, if ya’ll have a stacked blond bob, a perfect pedicure, and calligraphy monogram decals on your cars, I’m totally calling you ladies… even if you’re younger than me.)
Eventually, after much weeping and gnashing of teeth, I was able to strap a half-naked gangly preschooler into his Diono, remove the visible debris C had spooned into her mouth (note to self: google early indicators of ebola. There’s no way you can stick a parking lot spoon in your mouth without getting ebola.), plug her into her seat, and make it to the driver’s door without too much eye contact with the crowd of spectators. We drove the few minutes home, and then we just sat in the car. I played the “Love, Love, Scooby Doo” song for J (Actually entitled Love, Love me do, but close enough…), ignored the sound of C removing her shoes, and drank my coffee like the elixir of life that it is.
Before you breathe a sigh of relief that my ordeal was at least over, however….
After a couple minutes, I noticed the UPS guy walking by the side of the car. I jumped out so that I didn’t look like some creeper just drinking coffee and ignoring her kids (Lord knows I try to keep that shit private), and blurted out, “I wasn’t being a weirdo that sits in their car…. I was just enjoying a few minutes when my kids were strapped down.”
[What can Brown do for me?? He can please ignore the words that I just said and not report me to CPS.]
Needless to say, C is enjoying a nap, J is slathered in anti-itch cream and watching Netflix, and I’m having a beer in the hopes of finding some punchline that ties this all together in a nice little package…. Also, K — if you read this before you get home, please pick up more beer. This one will not be sufficient.
***It’s worth noting a few things: I love J’s school. J loves his school. I’m sure that C will love going there next year. We love our neighborhood. There are a lot of great things about where we live. Also, I’m from the PacNorWest which means that nose piercings, hoodies, distressed jeans, under-eye bags, and sneakers are appropriate for nearly every occasion. It’s for sure a paradigm shift and much more culture shock than I had anticipated. Also, mocking stuff is way more fun than talking about how great it is (which is probably something I should discuss with a licensed professional).