Saturday, October 15, 2005


We went to a local pumpkin patch today. I didn’t want to go. When we made the arrangements to go, my husband was going to be with us and all was groovy. But then something came up, as something always seems to do, and suddenly he couldn’t go and I was on my own with the four of them.

Interesting fact: Captain Adventure weighs 24 pounds. Which isn’t that heavy if you’re just picking him up to put him in his high chair, but which becomes downright onerous if you put him into a backpack and tote him around a pumpkin patch for four hours straight. Kicking you all the way. And chewing on your hair. Eeeeeeeeeeeyuck!!!

The knots I have acquired in my back and shoulders will be with me to the grave.

Also, I have about three-quarters lost my voice from all the shouting. The pumpkin patch is very noisy, especially when there is a DJ on site. Very, very noisy. And three little girls all dashing off in different directions gets kind of hard to manage. And three little girls who are dashing off around a petting zoo is enough to give you gray hairs in spite of the fact that you just dyed it.

As an interesting aside, however, I cracked myself up by shouting, “Get OFF that chicken, NOW!!” at one of my kids. Of all the phrases I just never thought I’d be yelling at the top of my lungs in public…that’s a big one.

And, from the Annals of Naïve Insensitivity, I produce the following gem: Danger Mouse and Eldest were making alphabet shapes with their fingers. “Oh look, I’m a ‘z’!” “I can make an ‘h’!”

And then Eldest comes up with this one: “Lookit, I’m a big fat A! Boy, I sure am fat, I must be eating WAY too much, I’m so fat-fat-fat, eat-eat-eat, fat-fat-fat…”

Sitting right next to us, watching the girls play, was a lady who was morbidly obese. Three hundred pounds if she was an ounce.

{rubs forehead}

So I nixed the game and tried to discreetly point out to Eldest that she was being a bit insensitive – it wasn’t nice to say things like ‘I’m so fat because I eat too much’ when there was a lady sitting there who obviously had a problem with her weight, because it might hurt her feelings.

And Eldest looked up at me and said, in a voice that was probably heard all the way in Arizona, “But MOMMY! The letter ‘A’ is fat, and my teacher says that you get FAT when you eat too much of the wrong foods and don’t EXERCISE!!” (Here she jogged in place and did a few frantic jumping jacks to show what she meant by ‘exercise’)


Memo to me: in safer venue, try to get Eldest to understand that regardless of the basic truth that most of us who are overweight are overweight because we tend to eat more calories than we need while leading lives of all but total inactivity, shouting this in the face of a very, very fat woman is hurtful and unnecessary. And if she can’t grasp that, resort to the timeless classic of, “It embarrassed me, don’t ever do it again!”

So eventually the ordeal was over and I threw all the children into the van. The shrieks of “I’m hungry” began almost immediately, so I pulled us through a drive-thru.

They were very fast handing the bags out the window, because they utterly ignored the ‘ketchup only’ part of the cheeseburger order. So I got to listen to the wails and cries of the oppressed as my poor, abused, starving and otherwise put-upon children had to {gasp!} take the pickles off their cheeseburgers and {ack!} deal with having a smidgen of mustard on them.

Ooooooh, the sheer unmitigated horror!!

(My French fries were cold, but I mostly fed them to Captain Adventure anyway so it didn’t matter – see, see how easy I am?!)

Then, we got home. Now, Danger Mouse and Boo Bug are still in the lock-up (a.k.a., the playroom/kitchen area) until further notice because every damned time they get out of my sight, they instantly rush off to sin. As much as it irks me to have them climbing the walls in the playroom with me all stinkin’ day (just try to, say, read a newspaper, with them around), they have got to learn how to play with their toys in their rooms without sallying forth to attack my closet, my jewelry (such as it is) or tearing apart the bathroom.

So after a few hours bouncing children, we had dinner and while I cuddled an exhausted baby to sleep, the older kids were sent upstairs to get ready for bed. This should involve changing into night clothes, brushing teeth, going potty, and getting into bed.

But no.

It involved brushing teeth and apparently the mirror as well, since it was covered with toothpaste. It involved dumping the entire frickin’ bottle of kid’s shampoo into the sink and then filling the sink with water to make bubbles. It involved getting yet more water on the floor. It involved using the potty, but never flushing the potty, which resulted in a potty which is full of both pee and toilet paper.

Lovely. I just cleaned that bathroom, too. It was shiny and spotless this morning when I helped them brush their teeth. In fifteen minutes, those kids took a sparkling clean bathroom and reduced it to rubble. Impressive, aren’t they?

THEN, Danger Mouse decided that instead of the more survival-oriented response of, “Sorry, mommy” about the toilet paper + not flushing + toothpaste on the mirror + not having nightclothes on yet issues, it would be a good idea to sass me, loudly enough to wake the baby I had just spent half an hour coercing to sleep.

Bad idea.

Bad, very bad, supremely bad idea.

My hand is still a little tingly-sore from beating her on the behind. She’s just lucky the lizard in my head woke up and said, “Whoa, hang on there, no killing the offspring – we need them! For…something…” because I have not wanted to backhand one of my children right out the second story window quite so much in a long time.

Another thing to discuss with Eldest at a better time is whether or not it is wise to try to jump into the fray when mommy is administering a scolding. Even if you are agreeing with mommy, it is simply a Very Bad Plan to get in the middle of something you could just as easily take yourself entirely out of by, say, going into your room and closing the door.

The toilet, when tentatively flushed, promptly backed up. I am getting way handier with the stupid plunger than I ever wanted to get, thanks all the same. But at least the pee-tinged water did not flow all over my floors this time. Unlike That Last Time…wait…let’s not go there, OK? I’m almost out of vodka around here as it is…

But now…two hours later…everybody is in bed. The dishes are being washed by the dishwasher, which I learned today many immigrants don’t use, for reasons I really just can’t grasp. Because I love my dishwasher. I love being able to throw my dirty dishes into the damned thing, turn it on, and end up with (mostly) clean dishes, suitable for putting food upon so that I can put them back into the dishwasher.

And I, too, am going to bed. Because tomorrow is another day and because tomorrow, I will still be the mommy and required to provide three squares, clean clothes, reasonably clean living space, decisions on everything from what colors may be used to whether or not it’s OK to use glue sticks…which it is not, because the last time glue sticks were used in this house, Boo Bug ate one and Danger Mouse used the other to glue paper all over my fridge and by the way, little known fact, by ‘washable’, they mean ‘might probably come out of clothes in the washing machine’, not ‘can be easily removed, along with attendant paper, from the side of a refrigerator’.

Because it was not easy. It was not easy at all.

No glue sticks in the Den. Ever again.

And with that, good night, and may your God go with you…

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