Diapers and Dragons

Thursday, July 16, 2009

If You Need Me, You Might Want To Check With The Men In The White Coats

When I rolled over the sleeping form of my eldest child this morning and switched off the alarm, I had no idea I was heading into the kind of day that would make me reflect that a padded cell sounded awfully peaceful and serene.

Fifteen minutes later, as I hummed in the shower, the sudden din of what sounded like two small boys attempting to throw each other bodily down multiple flights of stairs gave me a dire hint of What Was To Come.

I don't know which side of the bed causes the level of whining I suffered through first thing this morning (most of it not even mine), but I'm planning on placing a brick wall there once I find out. The wailing and gnashing of teeth increased through the torment of packing a picnic lunch, as The Widget witnessed all matter of food disappearing into the picnic tote, obviously not destined for immediate consumption. DramaBoy sat, momentarily cooperative, in a chair and made smug comments to the tune of I'M not whining, Mama! You don't have to yell at ME! Charming.

We had to get out of the house earlier than usual, since the Detroit DPW was planning on "cleaning" the streets (better known as "smearing the dirt into interesting streaks") and all cars had to disappear between 8 ay-em and 4 pee-em. So before we descended upon our accommodating friends, I took the boys to Tim Horton's for donuts. Not to mention a caffeine fix for me. All was going surprisingly well until The Widget decided to tip his apple juice all down his front and DramaBoy began to play hide and seek around the counters.

(I also found out that I've been paying mocha prices at TH for about eight years when I should have just been charged for coffee, since I don't get the whipped cream on top. The whipped cream, apparently, is what makes it a mocha vs. a "half coffee, half hot chocolate" concoction. You think corporate headquarters would give me my money back?)

Once my friend's youngest son had woken from his nap, we piled in our cars and headed over to a nearby splashpark. We were delayed somewhat when I was pulled over by the police. Surprisingly, it wasn't for my duct-taped side mirror or the massive crack across my windshield. No, it was because my license plates have been expired for six-and-a-half-months.

Um, yeah.

You see, my birthday is on Christmas Day, which makes the whole thing a headache anyway, and then this last year my world/marriage fell apart two weeks before Christmas, and so with one thing and another, I kind of forgot.

For half a year.

Oh, and I didn't have my current proof of insurance with me because: guess where that was mailed? And guess where I wasn't these last few months?

I shared my sob story with the very nice and rather cute policeman, who asked me where I was living and why I was so far over on the West Side and glanced at my goggling children in the back seat (Mama, is that a policeman? Why won't he let us go? I can't see the line leader anymore! What KIND of mistake did you make, Mama? Is he going to let us go? Why aren't we moving?), and then he went back to his car to do sinister policeman stuff and I sat there answering my son's questions while mentally whacking myself on the back of the head and waving bye-bye to my bank balance.

Then lo and behold, the nice (and cute) policeman took pity upon me, wrote me a fix-it ticket for "not having my registration card in the car," told me to go get my license renewed, and saved me about $170 in fines.

And I didn't even actually sob or heave my bosom ONCE. Though my hands and voice may have been a little shaky.

At the splashpark, the kidlets became suddenly fearful of becoming wet, since the water was cold even if the day wasn't, and mostly splashed about in warm puddles instead of all the fancy sprinklers. I am willing myself to believe that the puddles were warm because of the sun.

(Note to self: stick to free splashparks until the kids stop being wimps. Cuz otherwise they'll be getting wet whether they like it or not, and then there might be some annoying fallout with Protective Services.)

My afternoon tutoring session was postponed, which left me with plenty of time to drag the kids from one suddenly necessary errand to another, namely tracking down my insurance agent (they'd moved) and getting a new copy of my POI, nipping into my school district's central office to pick up the new laptop that is replacing the PC at work, then backtracking to the Secretary of State's office to get my license plates renewed. With two young boys who had all of twenty minutes of naptime in the car, cruelly interrupted when we arrived at our first destination.

And in case you weren't sure yet whether I am certifiable, I then took them with me to Meijer to pick up a few necessaries because I didn't know when else I would be able to get there before the weekend.

By the time I wheeled the stupid car cart (with TV, conveniently placed on one side opposite to the faux steering wheel to offer maximum opportunity for arguing, hair pulling, biting, head knocking, and other brotherly pursuits) into the checkout lane, I apparently looked like I'd been the sole survivor of a natural disaster. At least that got a little sympathy from the cashier, who summoned a bag-girl to fetch me a regular cart for the required transfer of groceries and then later chased me down to give me the milk I'd forgotten on her bag stand. The two young men standing behind me in line looked on with mingled amusement, pity, and horror, never realizing how often I prevented my monsters from mowing them down with the cart, thanks to sheer muscle and mommy reflexes.

Perhaps I imagined it, but I think one of them may have added a box of condoms to their small pile.

Then I drove us all home (Let's just have quiet time, okay? Let's pretend we don't even know how to make any sounds at all!), threatened my way through the drama of dinnertime (If you don't eat it, you go to bed hungry! *** One more "no" out of you and there's no story before bed! *** That's it, go in time out!) , and wrangled the boys into bed (Don't you DARE get out of that bed, young man!).

And how am I now, as I sit here at my computer between bouts of continued boy-wrangling? Well, let's just say that the reason I haven't broken out the Smirnoff pomegranate martini is because if I open the bottle, I can't take it on my Girls' Weekend out at the island. I've about used up my luck with the police, and I don't want to have to start popping my top.*

Besides, I'm not so sure my saggy mommy boobies would keep me out of jail.

*Don't panic, Grandma. Never done it. Don't plan on ever doing it. Just said it for laughs.

12 bits of love:

Kathleen said...

Before I comment, I have ask...are you laughing? Or is this all too recent to be laughing yet?

I REALLY hope you're laughing because I am, and I totally don't want to hurt your feelings. I most like your footnote to your grandma, especially because I know one of your grandma's personally.

Has that deadline of yours already passed? Because this is my favorite post.

And about those kids of yours who get really whiny when they miss a nap? It gets better, I promise. Next summer you'll look back at this, and if you're really not laughing now, you will be then.

melissa said...

even though i have a feeling you were only half joking through this post...i love it.
honey, you are such an incredible writer!! honestly!! and a wonderful person. and i'm so glad that i know you in real life!!

MomZombie said...

Sadly, the bad days make the best posts, don't they? I had to laugh about the stupid race car cart. I only shop at stores that have these equivalents of semi-tractor trailers posing as shopping carts. They are a pain to drive but lifesavers for getting shopping done. Glad you dodged the massive traffic ticket bullet. Whew!

mom said...

Well, have to admit that Dad and I are both laughing. Funny how your crazy life, so craftily written, actually prompts a crazy response of empathetic tearful wry joy. Gotta love those shrewd little ones and their energy, even if it does seem (at the moment) WAY over the top. And gotta love a mom who can see the humor in a day full of frustration.

oreneta said...

One of my favourite techniques in the car when the kids were being really horrid was to turn the music/radio up so loud that none of us could hear each other...nothing. THey had to start arguing, and I left them sending semaphor messages into the rear-view mirror for a good while before I turned it down to hear them speak. If they began by complaining of each other, up went the volume again. It only came down when they both said they would stop.

Good music to do this with helps. Goodness knows what children's aid would think, but it saved my mind.

I saw a woman sitting on the curb outside her locked car with kids inside. She was clinging to the door handle with her head resting onher arms. My kids asked what she was doing. I said her kids were making her insane and she was talking herself out of simply walking away.

My sympathies.

Mwa said...

That was the funniest story about the craziest day. I think you should be very proud of yourself, though. That is one tough day to keep your shit together on.

Aludra said...

What a day. But on the bright side, you were super-productive. Hope this one is better.

Brownie said...

You have my full empathy as I have just spent a morning foolishly trying to shop for a dress with my children along.

Red yelled/screamed the entire time "I want to go home NOW!!" Fortunately he was in the mall stroller and strapped in. I tried to ignore him and hoped everyone else was too.

I know understand that determined look I've seen on women with screaming kids in the strollers... I never got it when I was childless.

Momisodes said...

Yeowza. What a day! So glad to hear you didn't get a huge set of fines.

Arby said...

The most impotant question is, "Did the cute officer have a ring on his left finger?"

My life is filled with days like this one (except for the license plate thing), which does make for the best blogs and allows me to laugh at you (or with you if you are laughing) without guilt.

And, we know for a fact that a young General Mayhem was sufficient incentive for friends of ours to never, ever have children. I don't think this couple resorted to condoms. I think they resorted to abstinence.

merideth said...

oh, i'm so sorry about this day. it's sunday as i type this, so you must still be recovering.

i have the feeling this day will be the gift that keeps on giving. just wait - one day soon, at church or the doctor's office, one of your little guys will shout, "mommy, remember when that police officer took us to jail?"

and just one more thing, in honor of my hubs and all other cops: why did God make police officers? b/c even firefighters need a hero. :)

hope you've had several calm and wonderful days since the Day of Errands.

babyblooze said...

Man, what a day! As a blogger, at least even the bad days can be turned into something good. Hang in there!!!

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