I haven’t written much lately.
I wish it was because I was off adventuring Earth’s cradles of life but it’s more mundane than that.
I find myself at the children’s hospital here twice weekly again after a near two year hiatus.
I may touch base on these things at another time, but I’m feeling gun shy about it now. I had gone into this, much as I go into everything in my life, talking about it. I went to facebook and ‘moms groups’ in search of both support and advice. I was met with support and advice, but also, with a critical eye and a demeaning undertone that I wasn’t expecting. People questioned the authenticity of my concerns. I shouldn’t feel compelled to explain why I am concerned that my 8 month old is not rolling over. I shouldn’t need to explain that I am worried because my 4 year old has a more complicated relationship with food than a recovered anorexic. But I do feel that need, and so I’ve been staying quiet on the whole thing, or, as quiet as I can.
So that’s why I haven’t been around. Because the days are being consumed with therapy and then practicing said therapy at home. Because I write stories about my life, but my life is not a side show.
So now that we have that out of the way:
Let me leave you with a story from this past week.
I have crossed the threshold of two-children-families into the no-mans-land of three, also known as ‘is she going to get all Duggar on us?’ And suddenly people are getting kind of weird.
When I’m at the store (okay fine. It’s Target. It’s always Target, there is never any other store.) When I am at Target, with Three Wildlings sitting, standing, hanging off of the cart, I catch the sideways glances.
“A little boy?” I am trapped in the (Yes. Target) elevator with the Three Wildlings and one other mother. Other mother has a super cute dress on, and shoes that have heels. She is wearing makeup and a necklace. Her silent, clean, matching daughter was obviously put on this Earth to remind me of my failures as a parent.
Marilyn has chosen to wear a Steeler’s jersey and green shorts, panda socks that pull up over her knees and purple sparkle flats. She has refused my requests, and later my pleading to brush her hair. Sam is wearing a tie dye shirt and a madras bathing suit. Judah has a dirty diaper. I have a hang-over, but it’s from lack of sleep, not hard partying.
“Yep. A little boy!” I answer too cheerfully, trying to make up for the obvious. “His name is Judah.” She smiles at us, and then looks at her daughter. I can hear her silently thanking God that she is not me. “Sophia here has an older brother.” (I’ m lying, I don’t have a clue what her daughters name was. I don’t always remember to brush my teeth I don’t have the brain space to remember some random kids name). “My husband wanted more, but really, one girl and one boy, that’s perfect.” She smiles at me again, she has perfect teeth. I hate her.
I look at Judah. My lovely misfit who shouldn’t be here according to this woman because I already had a boy and a girl.
He farts loudly.
She pretends not to notice. (Of course she does!) Marilyn looks up at Judah and shrieks. “Judah! You farted!” then erupts into unladylike peals of laughter complete with a few snorts. As the elevator opens I smile viciously. “I just had him for the entertainment factor”
And then we are out amongst the wolves. If you’ve ever shopped with children before, you know it is impossible. I don’t know why we even bother trying. With three, it is particularly unfair. There are more of them, putting shit I don’t want into the cart than there are me’s to take it back out.
“You look like you’ve got your hands full!” This is the gem one woman dropped at my feet while slowly (painstakingly so) unloading her (over the top full) cart onto the conveyor belt while I stood behind her. In my cart was; four jars of baby food and one package of diapers. I had abandoned the rest of the shopping list after Marilyn and Sam cleared the My Little Pony aisle in one large sweep and dumped the entire contents into my cart.
Scene: Judah has decided he no longer wants to sit in his very comfortable cart-cover so I am now holding him in one arm, and pushing the cart with one hand. Meanwhile, I am also fending off a well meaning Sam. “No. I don’t need you to push the cart Sam. Last time you pushed the cart you hit every ankle in a five mile radius”
Marilyn pipes up with “What’s a radius mom?” and Sam kindly informs her that a radius is ‘her butt’. (I raise lovely children). I look longingly at the Starbucks kiosk. It’s just over there, but it’s past the checkout counters, so it might as well be on Mars. Marilyn is on the floor looking at the bullshit they put in the checkout lines. Barbie’s Key chains, smackers lip gloss, baby wipes, candy, some doll she’s never heard of that she is absolutely now going to die without.
I am watching the woman in front of me unload. The offender. “Yeah. I sure do. And we’d like to get home.” I tell her, staring at the back of her head. If she would just look at me, I know I could get her to let us cut in line.
“I wouldn’t have the patience to bring three to the store with me! I don’t know how you do it, not enough hands and all.” she says.
Let me tell you something, in case you don’t know. Parents are very aware of how many hands they have and how full they are. So unless you want to offer to hold a screaming child, pay for my items, explain to my now fake-dying four year old why she actually does not need that nameless-doll, or I don’t know… let me and my five items go before your 4500 items do not refer to my full-handedness.
The Offender took Twelve minutes to check out. Do you know how long that actually is? It’s about the time it takes for your four and seven year olds to concoct a plan to ruin the rest of your day, and then to go through with it, twelve different times.