How very fitting that on a day like today, a day when I’m JUST SO EXCITED to tell you WHAT A FANTABULOUS MOM I AM, BlogHer decides to finally publish the Day Two schedule of events. You may happen to notice yours truly scheduled along with Alice and Tracey to talk about why Mommyblogging is a radical act.
Hell, voluntarily deciding to be responsible for another human is radical. Blogging about it is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, methinks. ANYWAY, the bottom line is that I am thrilled to be headed to San Jose this summer, and I hope to see you (yes, YOU) there. I will be the one who trips into the pool, tipsy on half a glass of wine, and then flails through a couple of laps while insisting that I meant to do that. Woo!
So. Wanna hear about my day? OF COURSE YOU DO. Why, it was a veritable exemplification of parenting at its finest. I couldn’t be more proud. Though I sort of wish I had that wine right now.
It all started out well enough. We slept late, the children piled into bed with me and turned on the Cartoon Network around 7:30 or so. Chickadee and I went over all we needed to get done today to finish up her invention project for tomorrow. She commented that she sure was glad it was President’s Day and we’d have plenty of time. I agreed.
[Sidebar: After packing the children off to their father’s this weekend with several hours worth of work/creation and instructions to finish the project, four phone calls (“We’re at Home Depot”… “We’re thinking of trying this thing now”… “We’re looking for supplies again”… etc.) and two days later Chickadee returned with… exactly what she’d had when she left. Well, not EXACTLY. Her father was kind enough to cut several holes in fabric that I’d spent an hour sewing together the previous Friday. As for the rest? “Well, we tried a bunch of different things, but none of them worked.” Oh, OKAY then. I may have gotten a wee bit snippy.]
So, we’re lolling about in our jammies this morning, and around about 10:30 I say okay, we’ve got a LOT to get done today… I’m going to take a shower and then we’re going to get to work. Okay, Mama, both kids responded immediately. I headed upstairs confident that we were in great shape.
Raise your hand if you know where this is going! (I certainly didn’t, but then again, I’m a moron!)
I turned on the water in the shower, stripped naked, and was one leg into the stall when the phone rang. I considered letting it go, and then decided I’d better pick up rather than risk Chickadee doing me the favor of answering. (“Mama, someone called. I think they wanted to talk to you.”)
Perky Voice: Hello, Mrs. Lastname?
PV: This is the office at Sticks Elementary. I’m calling to confirm Chickadee’s absence?
Me: You’re calling to… wait… it’s a holiday….
PV: So you’ve elected to keep her home today?
Me: I thought… but it’s… oh SHIT. Sorry. There’s school today???
Me: I’m a moron.
PV: … uhhhh…
Me: I cannot believe I thought there was no school today. Oh my GOD. I’m so embarrassed.
PV: … uhhhh…
Me: WAIT! What time is it? I can bring her in! Can I bring her in? To finish the day? It’s not even lunchtime yet! I can, right?
PV: Well, she’ll be tardy, but yes.
Me: Okay! I’ll do that! I’ll leave right now! Except not really, because she’s not dressed yet OH MY GOD I have to go and get her ready. I’m a moron. We’ll be there in a little bit. Thank you.
PV: Don’t forget to come sign her in when you get here.
Me: I promise to sign her in if you promise not to call DCFS.
PV: Uhh.. haha… hrm…
Me: Okay well we’ll be there soon! THANKS AGAIN!
*hanging up phone*
Me: CHICKADEEMONKEYUPSTAIRSNOW! GETDRESSEDTHERESSCHOOL! WEHAVETOGORIGHTNOWHURRY!
It wasn’t really what I’d planned for our morning. Whoops.
Chickadee was thrilled that our predicament meant I let her buy lunch. At Monkey’s school, purchasing lunch isn’t an option. I grabbed up his lunchbag in a whirlwind and threw in the first few things my hand encountered inside the fridge. I believe he had a juice box, a cup of yogurt, an apple, and a jar of mustard. Lucky boy.
I was somewhat comforted to discover that several other children on the tardy roster were marked as “vacation confusion” as the reason. I may be a moron, but I’m not the only one!
And really, you would THINK that after a start to the day like that, it would get better afterwards. But you would be OH SO WRONG. Because now, our “entire day” to work on that infernal project was now back to just the evening after school. And I’d already messed up one thing, and had no intention of this project–already on its eleventh hour–being screwed up as well.
I headed out to Home Depot, a mom on a mission. Really, I’d been puzzling out the problems with Chickadee’s contraption since she’d returned home Sunday night, and I thought I might have a solution. We’d been wanting something to act like a swing-arm, and her father had reasoned that a cheap lamp could be dissected (but then he’d failed to find a cheap lamp of appropriate size for this purpose). I was sure I could make something that would work just fine. For just a few dollars, even.
(Remember how I’d said I wasn’t going to do her project? Apparently guilt overrides my common sense, sometimes.)
I snagged a sales associate and asked for help finding the type of wire I was seeking. He led me to a display of various gauge wires, and the one I wanted came on an ENORMOUS spool. I explained that I didn’t need that much. We looked for a smaller spool without much luck, and I mused aloud that if I got the larger one, I’d still have plenty left over with which to strangle my daughter. He looked a little frightened. But as soon as I said the magic words “Invention Convention” he laughed and said, “Oh YEAH… had a LOT of those the last few days. I’m so glad I don’t have kids.” HA. Finally I settled for a thinner wire on a smaller spool, vowing to make do.
At home I doubled up the wire. It didn’t feel strong enough. I wrapped a third strand around. Still not enough. On the fourth strand, I had to fetch my gloves, as my thumbs were starting to blister. After the FIFTH strand I was certain my resultant cord would serve the needed purpose. I jammed my quintuple wire strand through some rubber tubing (that took… nearly another hour. shut up) and triumphantly tested what I was sure would now be a flexible yet strong “neck” for our contraption.
It didn’t work. I set the entire thing on fire and stoked the flames with my left leg, which I’d ripped off in a fit of pique.
Or maybe I just went and picked up the kids, because I’d spent THE ENTIRE DAY (well, what there was of it, once I packed them off to school late) giving myself blisters by playing with wires.
Back home again, Chickadee commenced with the melting down and the fresh mouth and I placed her in front of the television while I retreated to the other end of the house to call a friend. “I can’t do this,” I told her. “What happens if she just doesn’t enter her project? Because I am DONE. Do you hear me? DONE. This is INSANE. We have spent hours on this thing and it’s not even close to being an actual project. And she doesn’t seem to care. And I am about to lose my mind.” Fortunately, my friend has been through this circle of hell with all three of her children, before, and she gave me great advice. She talked me off the ledge and I returned to my daughter with A Plan.
“Hi!” I said brightly, as I separated Chickadee from the television. She regarded me with suspicion. “Here’s the plan! You have exactly 10 minutes to come up with how’re we’re going to do this. And whatever you come up with has to be something we can DO in 15 minutes. Otherwise we are done and not entering. Got it?” I have to say… she looked relieved.
We chucked out all of our previous attempts and started over. Twenty minutes later we had something–designed and more or less executed by my not-quite-eight-year-old, rather than overthought and overwrought by either myself or her dad. Finally. The angels sang and the earth rejoiced and I decided to let her live.
Sure, we spent another hour on the accompanying poster, but now Chickadee was actually thinking and working and OWNING it, and I didn’t mind that part at all. “It’s good you did this, honey,” I told her, towards the end. “Because the last thing you want is for someone who… I dunno, say, someone who doesn’t even know if it’s a school day or not, designing your project! I mean REALLY!” She giggled and rolled her eyes at me.
So, yes, I’ve got all the bases covered. Mother… moron… radical. It’s not easy being me, but somebody has to do it.