Today it has just been one thing after another... as usual, Emma woke us up by getting in our faces and demanding things at 7 a.m. Emma loves two things in life: getting up at 7 a.m. and eating cereal for breakfast. The day that Emma can go downstairs and successfully help herself to cereal and milk without waking us will be a glorious day in our household. Today was not that day. Silly me left her back turned and the Special K out in plain sight and turned around to a mountain of Special K poured out on the kids' table. It was already absorbing some of the milk that Charlie had spilled earlier and so it was turning into Special K papier mache. Super. $4 worth of Special K into the trash.
Cut to about thirty minutes later...Emma has been dropped off at school. Charlie doesn't have school today, so he gets to go Christmas shopping with me (lucky guy). Well, really, there wasn't much Christmas shopping going on today. Really it was me walking around the mall with Charlie in a backpack (accidentally left stroller at home of course) while the backpack pushes my jeans dangerously lower and lower. Here I am hiking my jeans up, walking into Banana Republic. Here I am walking out of Banana Republic with a screaming child. (Hike.) Here I am walking into Nordstrom's. "NO NO NO NONO NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!" howls Charlie. And now we're leaving Nordstrom's (Hike.) Here I am bribing Charlie with Hot Wheels cars from KB Toys. (Hike.) There we are riding the holiday train that goes around the mall. See us waving merrily? I think we might actually both be happy at this moment. Hello, stores that my son will not allow me to go into. Look at you with your Christmas presents just waiting to be purchased. (Choo choo.) Here we are in Macy's. Charlie announces, "Mommy, I'm not crying!" I almost start crying as we wait in line for about 15 minutes while the person in front of us seems to be buying things and returning them and buying them again. (Hike).
Now we are in the car. It's time to pick up Emma and our car is not cooperating. The parking brake is angry and it won't let me turn it off. There are all sorts of exclamation marks on the dashboard. There is also a "P" inside a circle with a line through it. Apparently our dashboard is now anti-parking brakes. To make matters worse there is a "DING! DING! DING! DING!" sound which is constant and makes my teeth hurt it is such an ugly, persistent sound. Amazingly, the car still works despite all of this commotion. I drive to Emma's preschool (DING! DING! DING! DING!), call the car dealership on the way and tell them what's going on (DING! DING! DING! DING!), pick up Emma (DING! DING! DING! DING!). Guess what she studied in school today? Bells! (DING! DING! DING!). I have an appointment at 2:00 to get the car looked at. It will take at least 2 hours. (DING! DING! DING!) Charlie will miss his nap. (DING! DING! DING!) I will be stuck in the dealership waiting room all afternoon with 2 non-napping kids. (DING! DING! DING! DING!)
We are home eating a quick lunch of pb & j before heading to prison, I mean the car dealership. I go upstairs to brush my teeth and put on lipstick (apparently I'm still trying to give the impression that I have my act together) and come downstairs to a huge mess in the playroom. Charlie thinks it's a great idea to run his new Hot Wheels through the pb & j and then run them along the white toy box. He is shouting, "Oh no! Cars in the jelly!! Cars in the jelly!!" like this is not something he intended to do, but we know better. Emma is playing a game called "Make a big mess." I'm not kidding that is really what she's calling it. I try to get upset that she has dumped every bucket of legos, blocks, clicks, wedgits, every puzzle piece and doll accessory out into a big pile on the playroom floor, but she objects. The whole point of "Make a big mess," she argues, is to...yeah, you already figured this out... make a big mess.
Now we are in the car dealership playroom. I am feeling pretty confident about our 2-hour stay at the dealership because I (being an experienced Mom of two) have brought my secret weapon: the portable DVD player. I get it all set up and realize two out of three of the DVDs I brought are empty boxes. The only box with an actual DVD inside is a Bob the Builder DVD that only Charlie likes and he sits still for TV for about 5 minutes. So much for my secret weapon. I am huddled in the corner of the playroom floor of the Volkswagen dealership. It is all I can do not to hug myself and rock back in forth, muttering incoherent things under my breath. My kids keep taking sneaky steps outside the glass partition that sections off the playroom from normal society. There is a plastic Wiggles character singing a song over and over again. He is obviously in need of some assistance, but I don't have it in me to care anymore. Charlie stuffs the Wiggles man into a toy firetruck and he is silenced. One hour goes by... Miraculously, the Volkswagen man comes in to tell me that they have to order a part and they are giving us a rental car and we can go home. (!!!!) We are saved!
Now we are home and I am making the kids watch "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" while I write this. I feel a little like the Grinch who stole something today. I have been short and impatient with everyone today. My body aches from the tension I've been carrying around all day like a heavy coat (or a heavy 2.5 year-old in a backpack). I saw this lady on Oprah the other day who has created a little sanctuary in her closet in order to escape from her kids. She lights candles in there and drinks a glass of wine and reads magazines. My closet is stuffed with Christmas presents. The shoes are strewn all over the place because the kids like to go in there and try on my shoes. There's hardly room in there for my skinny jeans, let alone candles and a glass of wine. Plus, I feel like if were to go in there for more than 30 seconds, I would be greeted by jelly car, Special K mountain and "Make a big mess" as soon as I opened the door.
Now the movie is over. Emma just walked up to me and asked, "Mommy, do you work?" "Yes," I say. "Yes, I do."