Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hide and Seek...in the Mall



I'm finding that being a homeschooling Mom does not lend itself very well to "free" time during the week. I used to have one morning a week where all my babies were at school and I could do WHATEVER I WANTED. I ran errands, met friends occasionally for lunch, exercised, SLEPT...those four hours a week were among the most precious I've ever known.

The rules have all changed now that my 2nd grader is homeschooling. I have my youngest in preschool on Tuesday mornings, but now, that time is invaluable to spend at home actually getting schoolwork done without someone wreaking havoc on a.)the house, b.)the dog {which okay, I don't really care about} or c.)our schoolwork.

Anyway, running errands during the week with the girls is inescapable these days. Yesterday was one of those times I had to take them to a REALLY tough place...THE MALL. This wouldn't be bad at all with my oldest daughter. She's pretty much learned to control her sudden moments of insanity while in public, and restrains from deviant behavior which could get us thrown out.

THIS one, however, has yet to learn such restraint.
Our first stop was to the Children's Place, my favorite spot to shop for the girls' clothes.

You need to know that Leighanne has kind of an obsession with mannequins. She tends to make a beeline for them whenever she spots one. I'm not sure what this says about her and maybe should be concerned. This day was no different. She headed straight for the plastic children in the display window and began undressing them.

Then she got mad because their shoes did not fit her and I made her put them back.

We finished at the Children's Place and made our way to the next store. Again with the mannequins. This time they were distinctly more mature, and much to Leighanne's delight, already naked.

I made a few selections (overriding my 8-yr-old's requests for shirts with pictures of every animal Noah had on the ark and anything that said, 'princess'...we don't need any more affirmation in that area, folks).

We made our way to the dressing rooms and I enjoyed about 4 seconds of sitting down and Leighanne and I played judges, giving a thumbs up or thumbs down as Olivia modeled outfits for us. Sadly, Leighanne was not as amused with our little game as I had hoped, and before I knew it, she was doing this:

The space underneath a dressing room door is perfect for a pint-sized person. I was pretty grateful we were the only patrons at that particular moment.

And where did that pen come from? How DO kids find random things like this everywhere we go? But yet if they ever misplace something that belongs to me, they can rarely locate it. Whatever. Keep the pen.

We finished with the all the trying on and hanging back up exercise, with just one small problem. My youngest little dependent had darted out of the dressing room without us and was now freely roaming the store. Not good.

We rushed out, calling her name and listening for sounds of distress (by employees, not my child).

"BOO!" I walked back in the direction I had come, and there she was, her little face sticking out from her hiding place in a rack of coats.
Again, with the pen she found somewhere, I'm still not sure where, but am really happy she felt so comfortable with putting it in her mouth. Hello, cold, or infectious disease, or bacteria I can't even identify.

I retrieved my little lost lamb and headed for the check-out area. There was no one in front of us, but the waiting just proved to be too much for her. She found the softest place she could to rest from her escapades.
It is a rule of the universe as we know it that 3-yr-olds need very little down time. She quickly recharged her batteries and set off once more, the possibilities endless...

Meanwhile, I was still trying to sort out the bill and get everything settled with the cashier, who apparently could not see the items I laid on the countertop very clearly and forgot about them, causing my checkout time to be even longer and more unbearable to the little lamb.

Finally, purchases in hand, we set out for the nearest exit. I could feel the watchful eyes of the associates on our little parade as we headed for the door. Sometimes it's not really wise to offer a kind smile to someone as they must pick up a zillion pillow pets your darling set free from their spots on the shelf. We left, the little lamb holding rather reluctantly onto my hand as she gazed at the wonderland of stuff she had somehow missed.


Ah, yes, shopping with little darlings is never boring. NEVER. It requires all your senses to be at their best. You never know when you'll have to search for your child in the clothing racks by sight, by hearing, and sadly, sometimes even by smell. It takes a lot out of you, a lot out of the mall employees, and a lot out of the perpetrator.


And let me close by making a formal apology to the mannequins who were harmed in any way. Next time you really should fasten your appendages a little more securely. Sorry about that arm.










Friday, August 19, 2011

It's been a big couple of weeks at our house.

It started with this:

I show you this photo as a way to demonstrate my appreciation and trust to my readers. Also, because if I don't show it to you first, my husband (who was supposed to be comforting me at this last moment before cataract surgery instead of taking mean pictures) will show it to you. I told him payback will be sweet. Just waiting for his future colonoscopy.

Two eye surgeries. Super fun. I have been blessed with the eyes of an 80-year-old woman and had an amazing doctor who fixed my vision! My husband jokes that he'd better start shaving now that I can actually see him.

So that was a fairly big deal in my world.

The very next day, we started this:
Kindergarten for our middle child. She was so excited it was comparable to Christmas. She put herself to bed on time the night before, got herself up the next morning, made her bed, dressed, brushed her hair and teeth, and smiled brightly during breakfast. Someone told me that apparently this little girl did not receive the memo on middle child behavior. In fact, her memo must have gotten mixed up with our oldest daughter's, because they behaved totally oppositely on the first day.

So big deal #2 was letting go of my baby for all day kindergarten. I couldn't even wipe my eyes since I wasn't allowed to touch them due to surgery.

Big deal #3 started that same day:
We took the plunge and decided to test the waters of homeschooling this year. There was no way in God's green earth that I could handle two different grades and two sets of curriculum my first year at this, so we sent Lauren to kindergarten as planned and kept Olivia home for second grade.

You need to know I am a crazy hyper, over zealous, type A overachiever. It is my goal to make crazy hyper, over zealous type A over achievers just like me.

Doesn't it sound like fun to have me as your homeschool teacher?

Not only is she going to learn and have fun, she's going to learn and have fun til she drops!

One (well, okay, two) of the biggest kinks in my world currently as it relates to homeschooling are these little creatures:
Don't let them fool you. Sure, they look cute and cuddly and innocent, but they are actually masterminds of destruction. They are the official mascots for destruction, as a matter of fact.

For instance, yesterday as I sat with my eldest child, teaching her the wonders of astronomy, Hank the menace was shredding a wet diaper into a million pieces.

Again.

On my still new carpet (I know I'm going on and on about this new carpet thing, but seriously, it's new, and it's been exposed to way too much trauma in less than a year.).

Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto had to take a backseat for a few minutes while I painstakingly plucked ammonia smelling diaper shreds from the floor. Olivia was thrilled because it gave her an overdue recess break.

Okay, back to work...I settled Leighanne down at the table with us and gave her an entire container of pretty cool, colorful beads to string a necklace. Olivia and I got to work discussing monks and the life they led during the 16th century.

"Mom, can you help me?"

I took the plastic needle from her little chubby hand and surveyed the problem: the doggie shaped bead would not fit over the eye of the needle. I can make this work, I thought. I pushed and pulled and even held the stupid needle tight with my teeth while trying to force the doggie bead over it.

Funny thing, plastic needles. They stretch and finally break when you bite them. Also, when I broke the needle, the beads went flying everywhere.

The children laughed at their hair-brained mama who had broken another one of their toys. Olivia found this particularly humorous because I broke both her reading glasses and her dad's reading glasses this same week.

Our conversation of Benedictine monks resumed with beads everywhere, a 3-yr-old happily sorting them all over the floor, and the dog staring at them longingly from behind the french doors on the back porch.

I think I'm going to learn a lot this year as I homeschool. I've already learned about space, monks, and plastic needles.

Hopefully I'll not forget to learn to chill out and laugh when my crazy hyper, type A, overachieving self messes everything up.




Friday, August 5, 2011

Prejudice


In my home, we have chosen to protect the kids from the more brutal truths of the world we live in. They know the VERY basics of our great nation's history with racial struggles. They've heard a few things about women not being treated well in other parts of the world. They could tell you a couple facts about oppressed people groups (mostly that some people in the world don't get to choose their own jobs or use facebook).

See? Very basic information about the prejudice that has gone on and is still going on in our world. They'll find out the cold, hard truths later in life.

I am beginning to think they know much more about prejudice than I once thought, however.

There has been a trend in our home for the last eight years. The prejudice that goes on every single day is both shocking and saddening. It is blatant and serious, leaving an innocent victim in its wake. Who is this victim, you might wonder?

Yours truly.

My children REALLY like me. I mean seriously like me.




They crave my presence and attention to such an extent that I sometimes have to remind them that they are part of a two-parent family. Oh sure, they enjoy having Daddy around for the good times. He's pretty good in a pinch. Sometimes they even halfway convince him that he's their favorite (especially when they want something they know I'll say no about).

And yet, with astonishing regularity, I, as the mommy, am the parent the girls turn to. It's not because my husband is less capable. Often times he has more clarity of thought than I do after a day of parenting. Kids just really like us. I have friends who have the same situation in their homes. It comes to light in many different scenarios such as the following:

"Baby, can I help you put your pajamas on?" asks their father sweetly.

"NO! I want MOMMY!" Enter stage right Mommy, the one who's been attending to their every whim and need for the last 11 hours. Does the child care or even notice that Mommy's eyes are bloodshot, her hair sticking out all over the place, or that she's wearing the same clothes she wore yesterday because she hasn't had time to change yet? Nope.

Daddy: "Honey, I brought you your shoes. Come here and I'll help you put them on."

Ear shattering wails..."NO! MOMMY does it better!" Shoes are hurled across the room as far as a 3-yr-old can throw them. Discipline ensues for that little stunt, only the outcome sometimes produces the opposite effect we desired. Daddy did the disciplining, so naturally it's time to run to Mommy for comfort. It's just a vicious cycle, you see.

"I'm going to read you a story for bedtime, okay?"

"GET OUT! WHERE'S MY MOMMY?" Mommy shuffles in. Her fatigue undeniably written on her increasingly lined face. She's almost unrecognizable as a human at this point. You'd think that would scare a kid, seeing her mother in such a state.

Nope.

Now I told you that I was the victim of prejudice and you may be feeling a little confused by that statement after reading about how my husband is being treated for no other reason than that he is not me. I still hold to my claim and here's why: when Daddy is discriminated against, he is effectively given a golden ticket. A free pass. A legitimate excuse to hand the little darlings over and give them what they want. Which is ME.


I have a dear friend whose daughter pulls the same stunts. It got to the point where they developed a sticker chart of sorts. A rewards program. If the child allowed her father (who is a pretty awesome dad, by the way) to read her books, tuck her in, and pray with her at bedtime without pitching a fit for her mommy, she received a sticker. FIVE stickers earned her some kind of toy.

She only needed five stickers. It took her a month. At this rate, I'm afraid my child will be in a dorm room somewhere with a roommate before she has earned her five stickers.

I have another dear friend whose home was filled with the exact opposite version of discrimination. That's right, her children actually prefered (and insisted many times) on their daddy doing everything for them. She once mentioned to me that it hurt her feelings just a little. I offered to share the overwhelming love for me in my home with her. I really hate to see anyone excluded, you know.

Yes, mothers everywhere are fighting prejudice in their own homes. We must get through to our children and convince them that daddy is not only just as good, but actually MORE desirable to carry them, to help them get a snack, and to sing their bedtime tunes. It is a cause for which we will not back down.

We have a dream. (And yet, if the truth really be told, I am already living the dream...I wouldn't have it any other way.)

Proof I love my Children...




Jesus said that "greater love hath no man than this: that he lay down his life for his friend."

I think I did this in a pretty major way today.


(and on a side note, I have a picture exactly like this of Chuck E. and some random kid I've never seen before. She asked me to take her picture and then never even wanted to see it, just walked away. I would rather avoid lawsuits so I will not post it on the web.)

I have talked about this establishment before.

It is not on my bucket list. It's not even on my dustpan list.

My oldest child is on her very first trip without mom and dad this week. She was thrilled and is staying with my sister and her family and my parents for a few days halfway across the country.

In the meantime, I have two little girls still at home who are feeling rather miffed at being left out. Big sisters kinda do get to do everything. I should know as a middle child myself.

And so, to ease their pain, I indulged them in a very special treat. After bribing them with the promise of a surprise on our three errands, I revealed the magical news that we were on our way to see the big rat. The one and only.

A Mr. Chuck E. Cheese's himself.

The van erupted in squeals of delight and proclamations about me being the best mommy in the universe as we headed toward that reprehensible place. It is a place which braver moms than I have attempted and failed. A place created by someone who hates parents.


As we walked in, I couldn't help but notice two things:
1. the clientele

and
2. the kind of disturbing looks on the faces of most of the children.

First, let's discuss the patrons who tend to frequent Chuck E.'s. I can make this very brief and give you a fairly accurate mental picture. The men were wearing wife beaters. The women were wearing spaghetti straps and had multiple tattoos in places I really shouldn't even have been able to see. The children were the unfortunate ones here, forced in the prime of their cute years to sport mullets. I don't care how adorable your kid is. You put a mullet on him or her, the game is over. You just surrendered your IQ card. Everywhere I looked I saw tragic haircuts and somewhat concerning fashion choices.

I realize this makes me sound like a total and complete snob. But honestly, when you are a man weighing in at more than 225, a skin tight white tank is maybe not the best choice.

Next, let's ponder the crazed looks I witnessed on the kids' faces. One child in particular was camped out at the Chuck E. version of a Vegas slot machine. His eyes were glazed over, his skin looked clammy and pale, and he looked as though he had been living on stale pizza and flat Coke all his life (all 6 years of it, anyway). His mullet looked a little greasy to the touch, but he was not focused on anything except the perfect positioning of the next token. The tickets were pouring out of the machine and other customers were having to go way around him in order to avoid stepping on them. Small children were lined up behind him, waiting for their chance at riches and fame. They seemed to be strategizing how they would hit it big.

Then there's the kid who simply followed around any adult she could find, hitting us up for tokens. She was cute and she was workin' it. Pigtails, rosy chubby cheeks, and a t-shirt with a rainbow on it. She had her routine down to a science. I later observed her working her magic on the prize dispenser person behind the counter.

Of course there's the kid who simply shows up after you've put a token in games like ski ball and helps himself to a few balls. Considering I am 33 years old and had left my girls riding some roller coaster ride (watching it makes me sick), I did not feel the freedom to yell at him to give back my balls. In fact, I realized I kind of looked like a predator without having my children at my side. I simply gave the remaining balls to him and went back to my job as a mother.

Of course, we must talk about the children who are cashing in their tickets. When I was a kid, this involved actual basic math skills and we all added for all we were worth, trying to figure out what piece of junk we could purchase. Nowadays, they have these fancy machines that make chomping noises and the kids simply feed the tickets into it. It does all the adding and prints out a nice little receipt for you with the total. The kids who are feeding the tickets have an almost animal ferociousness about them. Anyone coming into their territory is putting their life at risk. You do not want to come between a kid and his chomping machine. I'm serious.

And so, we concluded our time at Chuck E. Cheese's. I must say I racked up some pretty major Cool Mommy points. I plan to trade them in tonight for a couple extra hugs and kisses and maybe one of those cool sets of vampire teeth.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Too Many Cooks




I hate cooking. REALLY hate it. I actually would have really loved the movie, "Julie and Julia" if it weren't for all the darn food talk. If there were one job in my house I could farm out to someone else, hands down it would be the planning of meals and cooking. Give me the toilets, the scrubbing of crown molding and blinds, the laundry, anything...just please, please don't ask me to cook.

This is somewhat of a problem since I am, after all, a homemaker. Also kind of problematic is the fact that I have three daughters whom I am supposed to be training in the art of keeping a home. Sadly food is part of that task and food consumption is rather important in the circle of life. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the eating part (except meat...not a big fan and not for 'earthy' kind of reasons, I just don't care for it that much).

Oddly enough, somehow my hatred for cooking does not extend into the baking genre. I LOVE to bake.

Cookies, bread, cakes, pies....if it contains sugar or chocolate, I'm in. If you've seen the blogs I've written about my girls' homemade birthday cakes involving multiple tiers and marshmallow fondant and making huge batches of cream cheese frosting, you know I'm serious about sugar. If it were up to me, we'd eat cake every single night for dinner and totally skip the steak and potatoes.


Because I enjoy baking (and let's be honest, mostly because I want my girls to have some memory of their mother in the kitchen), I invited my kids to join me last week in baking homemade bread. They were pretty excited as we pulled out all the necessary ingredients and gear.

They were also pretty darn cute.


We happily began and even a neighbor child was over to share in the wonderful Mrs. Cleaver moment I was having.

Yeast, flour, sugar, salt...it was pretty great. I was feeling fairly confident in my mothering skills in that moment. So what that they had watched t.v. for an hour already that morning? I was spending QUALITY time making memories right now. I even put on fun music.

If you've ever made bread, you know that the kneading process is fairly important to the final outcome. You also know that it can take quite a while, forever, in fact, to kids. This particular recipe said to knead the bread "vigorously" for five minutes.

Everyone started out really enthusiastically. They were going at it, working the yeast through that dough like champs.

45 seconds later, they were totally over it, leaving me with a double batch of bread dough to knead all by myself. I felt a little like the Little Red Hen, and daydreamed for a moment about holding the warm, heavenly bread under their noses and then denying them a single bite. By the time I finished kneading all that dough, I felt as though I'd done an intense upper body conditioning workout. "No, no, don't mind me, children. I'll just keep slaving away here while you watch Tom and Jerry."

As we let the dough rise, I cleaned up round one of the mess. A small fight broke out over who was using which rolling pin and I'm pretty sure someone was not going to walk away without a concussion if I didn't intervene.

Finally, the really fun part. We get started rolling out the dough. A few minutes in, I take a look at my youngest child. Her cheeks are puffed out. Her mouth is covered in flour. The ball of dough she is supposed to be rolling out is half the size it used to be.

I remembered why I keep such a close eye on her when we play with playdough. She's pretty much an addict. Sometimes I think I need to arrange an intervention for her dough problem.


Each girl puts her loaf of bread on the baking stone and adds their special insignia so they'll be able to tell them apart. We put them in the oven and waited for the culmination of my Suzie Homemaker morning.

The smell of fresh bread began wafting through the house. I momentarily debated going to get the plastic pearls from my girls' dress-up box and donning a pair of heels. Motherhood is pretty easy sometimes, I thought.

And that's when it all went wrong.

A huge pile of flour got knocked onto the floor. My kitchen looked like a powdered sugar nightmare with white billows of haze settling onto everything and everyone. My 3-yr-old suddenly could not tolerate her baking outfit one second longer and laid on the floor in frustration that she couldn't get it off quickly enough. The dog got a hold of my favorite oven mit and destroyed it. And the pinnacle of a good thing gone bad: the baking stone turned out to not be quite large enough and the girls' bread had morphed together into a massive loaf bearing all kinds of identifying marks.

I am only supposed to eat sugar on Saturdays. I'm usually fairly disciplined about it.

Somewhere between the rolling pin squabble, the flour on the floor, the puppy mauling my oven mit, and kids upset because their loaves of bread didn't look quite right, I gave into my weakness.

I think I ate the equivalent of 5 or 6 pieces of bread all by myself.

Yes, I love to bake. And someday I won't have any little helpers left to make it more interesting and I will miss the chaos and frenzy that so often fills my home. But the next time I want to show my girls what a great homemaker looks like, I'll just turn on Leave it to Beaver and let June handle it.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Toxic Trashcans





We are almost officially out of the diaper stage.

I say 'almost' because we are still in the night time diaper stage. Because I am not a big fan of changing sheets every single day, I force my sweet children to wear 'baby diapers' (which they hate) each night and cut off the beverage supply about two hours before bed.

This is no small feat.

My girls become dehydrated every evening around 8pm. Tonight the youngest even asked if she could have milk. Milk! I can't get her to drink one measly ounce of milk with breakfast. She begins her gagging and dry heaving routine after even a tiny sip during the day, but once the threat of bedtime looms ever nearer, milk suddenly sounds like the sweet nectar of life to her. She can't get enough, I tell you.

Also not a small feat is getting them stuffed into the night time diapers. You need to know that we are rather cheap. When we see less expensive options, we go for it if it will work at all. Who needs name brand chips? Not us. Publix brand is just fine (and slightly less tempting for my husband b/c it's a grocery store brand), so win/win. Detergent? Costco brand. $12 cheaper for the same amount than Tide (though we do miss the happy Tide smell and have to use dryer sheets to make our clothes smell name brand).

The same holds true for pull-ups. They're like $13 more or something like that than size 6 diapers. Our mamas didn't raise no fools. And so, every night we struggle just a tiny bit to fit the heavy sleepers of our family into size 6 diapers. They are not big fans.

We just tell them they're supposed to fit like that and if they start losing feeling in their legs, to come get us and we'll apply more duct tape so the openings can be made bigger. Problem solved. With all the money we just saved we can keep NetFlix or go out for ice cream or (and more likely) buy our oldest child yet ANOTHER pair of flip flops because the dog keeps eating them.

So, talk of night time diapers brings me to the actual point of this blog. I know. It took me a while.

Each morning, my bleary-eyed, tossle headed babies emerge from their beds. I am fairly convinced that they have embedded some kind of tracking device on my person somewhere, because they immediately find me no matter where I am or what I am doing. I can be doing laundry or sitting on the back porch or making breakfast and they know exactly where to find me at every moment. I think that small children tracking their mothers may just be the inspiration behind Big Brother. I get that "being watched" feeling a lot at my house.

Anyway, they find me each morning and I immediately tell them to take off their diapers and put them in the trash.

Now my goal is to empty the trash every couple of days from the upstairs bathrooms.

This is my goal. It rarely happens. I have a lot of goals like that now that I think about it.

And so, inevitably, I forget all about it until the moment I walk into one of the bathrooms and am nearly knocked to my knees by the odor of old wet diapers. It is a smell so powerful it can make you light headed with ammonia fumes. This smell, repulsive to humans, is like the song of the Sirens to our puppy. He CANNOT resist. He has been known to chase the kids thru the house trying to grab their wet diapers which were being taken to the trash.

A couple weeks ago I had the pleasant task of taking apart my vacuum cleaner because every time I turned it on, the smell of wet diaper overpowered me. I had used it to clean up the million pieces of wet diaper which the beloved puppy had shredded everywhere, and the odor had made itself at home in the different compartments and hoses.

Some moms have trouble with forgetting about sippy cups for weeks at a time and then finding them practically walking around with sour milk in them. Others confess to being fairly adverse to cleaning their refrigerators and the unpleasantness that goes along with that. Our problem is the stinky wet diaper trashcans.

If you get a whiff of ammonia the next time I'm around you, just give me a gentle reminder and send me on my way. But please make sure I am wearing an ID bracelet because with all the poison air I've been breathing for the last 8 years, the old brain isn't what it used to be.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Night at the Movies


Every few weeks, my wonderful husband agrees to take charge and play Mr. Mom so that I can enjoy a night out with friends. A real, grown-up night out where conversations last more than 4.3 seconds and nobody lays on the floor to lick their shoes and the meal does not have to be consumed fast enough to qualify you for the national speed eaters finals.

A night like this is kind of rare and really, really precious during our current life stage. At home, our nights together usually go something like this:



Or this:


The following is a description of events as relayed to me by both my husband and daughters. Names and places have not been changed.

My hubby offered to take the girls to see Cars 2, something they’ve been begging to do for weeks now that the film has been out. I frankly didn’t care what they did while I was out as long as it didn’t involve illegal activity, sharp objects, or anything that might leave lasting emotional scars.

They drove to the movie theater. This was one happy little crew listening to the soundtrack from the original Cars movie as they bee bopped down the road. He really is a good daddy.

Here’s where I have a little problem. My girls know not to even ask me for popcorn, coke, or other outrageously overpriced snacks while at the movie theater. I make sure we all have eaten before we leave and have been known to accidentally leave a bag of m&m’s in my bag that we might as well eat while we’re just sitting in there. Now if we’re at the dollar theater, the rules change a little bit since it costs us just $3 total to get in, but when we’re paying nearly $30 just to see the movie, we can live without snacks for an hour and a half.

In swoops Mr. Fun, who is easily conquered by the girls’ pretty amazing big brown doe-like eyes and ringlets.

They settle into their seats a few minutes later loaded down by popcorn and 32 oz. Cokes.

Now remember that the baby of the family has a bladder the size of a juice box. That is not very compatible with a full length movie, so inevitably the moment arrives.

“Daddy, I have to go pee pee RIGHT NOW!” You do not wait to be informed twice when you’re dealing with a 3-year-old in a public place. My husband updates the older two on where he’s going and says they’ll be right back and not to move, stands up with Leighanne (and brushes off ¾ of the popcorn she spilled on his lap), and they make their way out of the dark theater.

There are a few things that are so rare in the universe that few have ever witnessed them. I’ll name just a couple:

*hitting all the green street lights just right when you’re running late and making it on time to your destination

*all the children behaving quietly and properly and nicely in the chick-fil-a playground even while unsupervised by their parents

*meeting a mother who not only allows, but encourages her children to experiment with fingernail polish

And the rarest thing of all in the known universe:

A public men’s restroom with a line coming out the door.

And yet, this is exactly the scene upon which my sweet husband and a rather uncomfortable child arrived. It was incredible. It was like a scene out of Mystery Science 3,000 where the little aliens watching the film commentate and make hilarious comments about ridiculous situations. Men and boys as far as the eye could see.

Obviously this was not going to work. My husband glanced around nervously, eyes darting back and forth as he faced his possible options. He could wait in the line (which would be disastrous, not to mention the fact that the 2 little girls waiting in the theater would come out screaming that they were abandoned children if he did not return in five minutes or less). He could take her outside to a private area. No good. He’d look like a predator.

And finally, he came to grasp the only viable solution…the three-year-old would have to be sent into the ladies’ room ALONE. Unattended. Completely on her own and faced with decision making that could prove quite difficult.


And so, that’s exactly what happened. He sent little Leighanne into the restroom with strict instructions to do what she needed to do, wash her hands, and come back out where he would be waiting by the door. Feeling quite grown up and liberated, she flashed him a huge (somewhat unsettling) grin, giggled, and ran in the restroom like it was a candy store instead of a bathroom.

And then came the waiting.

And more waiting.

And still more waiting.

Women were going in and coming back out at regular intervals, yet no three-year-olds appeared. He began to worry. What on earth might she be doing in there? He imagined her getting thirsty from all the popcorn and sticking her head under the sink for a quick drink of refreshing water. And that was the PREFERABLE of the other options he could contemplate her doing. He hoped she was not experimenting with just how much toilet paper could fit at once in the bowl. He waited to hear little cries of surprise as women suddenly noticed a pair of little eyes watching them from under the stall door.

And just when he was about to stop someone before they went in and ask them to check on his little girl, out she came. She looked blissful. Confident. Proud of her achievement. And she even had hands that smelled faintly of soap.

Making their way back to the theater, they found their seats back with the big sisters (who had not even noticed they were gone). Little Bit climbed back into her daddy’s lap and after about 15 minutes, promptly fell asleep.

My husband is a real sucker for snuggle time with his girls. He enjoyed the feel of her little head leaning against his chest and the way she had reached for his hand before she drifted off. They sat there, father and daughter, in a moment he would not soon forget. He wished he could slow down time and savor this a little longer.

He very quickly changed his mind when he suddenly felt a warm sensation across his lap.

This takes us back to my “no snacks” policy and explains my other reason for not allowing them. You give a kid a 32 oz. Coke and they’re going to drink themselves into oblivion, which is exactly what she had done.

The movie ended quite a while later (to him, anyway) and the big sisters got up and began heading out. When they looked back, however, they spotted Dad, sitting there with their sleeping sister, with no intention of getting up. Once he explained the situation, they found it so totally hilarious that they started cackling loudly at his misfortune (they ARE their mother’s daughters, after all). The little crew waited til all the other patrons had left the theater before making a hasty exit.

I found laundry waiting for me at home later that night.

Mr. Mom is pretty awesome…but I’d be willing to bet everyone will either be wearing diapers next time, or they will be fasting during the movie.

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