There is one significant distinction between schlepping one kid around and the addition of another. With one child any daily traveling was mostly uneventful. I could go an entire outing not having to change a diaper or even stop to eat…But, I love to eat, especially out, so Mr. Man luncheons were often superfluous additions to our schedule… Sure, there was the occasional public tantrum that amounts to a belly flop dive in the middle of a main walkway, or my son jamming something horrible in his mouth as I do a Matrix style freeze frame deciding on what level my freak-out should be.
With two, however, dumb shit happens just about every schlep; It’s pretty remarkable, actually. It isn’t so much that things become heinous or terrible to endure, but as events unfold I’m acutely aware of how stupid and unnecessary the situation is, yet completely unavoidable.
The toy-play bonanza historically was my go-to, especially during pregnancy. Reliably uneventful, mostly free from stupid stuff occurring. Now, however, I carry two. I took my little ones to a different one to vary things. I’m still adjusting and stick to the reliable and pleasant…for me… Things were going well. I’m dancing around to the surprisingly good and kid friendly music with the almost six-week-old Warrior Queen snoozing away in my carrier. I feed her without incident. My daughter is pro spit-up, so lasting through an entire feeding without such an event occurring is remarkable in and of itself. It was time to go, so I didn’t bother to tuck her back into the wrap. I carried her and began my trips to and from the car that I parked just outside the door. Little Man was last, and so far mostly oblivious to my actions; his girlfriend was working. Warrior Queen was buckled in, and I hustle to get Mr. Man who tantrumed for a brief moment for show…all moving according to plan…until I smelled it. No way I’m leaving my girl in the car while I take my two-year-old to the bathroom to change the noxious lump he was harboring in his diaper…car trunk it is… The change was awkward, but easier than usual…I didn’t get kicked in the face and Little Man giggled as the wind danced across his bare bottom. The situation wasn’t catastrophic or all that unmanageable, but stupid nonetheless.
Park and playground outings are becoming more reliable sources of entertainment as my son has started liking the outdoors. I’m still hesitant to go to them as a mainstay occupation, as he doesn’t endure all that long and I don’t like bugs. I will, however, take him as an auxiliary activity, especially if I can rope in a friend or two to join us. One particular playground outing occurred in our town. The structures are new and the area expansive, as the playground is part of a larger recreational area. My son was running along the field and the perimeter of the woods selecting and handing me random rocks, acorns, and pine cones. I’m not sure why; he started acknowledging that I toss them almost as soon as he hands them to me. He doesn’t seem to care even when I’m not all that covert about the sudden nature expulsion. I don’t know what dead animal my son eagerly grabbed, but he managed it full fisted…I calmly asked him to release the decayed bit of fur or feathers while internally running though the possible diseases leading to death my son exposed himself to…and that’s why parents carry hand sanitizer…except this parent. I clearly need to get on the bandwagon…
I really haven’t been carting two children for more than a few weeks, this week was the first time it was my show for the duration. How can such a short time span yield so many stories because I’m not all that interesting of a person? Mondays we tend to go to a free library program that is pretty good and short. This particular Monday I’m describing, though, had us leaving the house late, but I couldn’t say why this day was such a problem. I’m pretty good about getting out of the house. I guess it was just a lot of dumb little things like a bag of crayons getting tangled on my purse strap (They are both inanimate objects. How did that even happen?), and the same purse getting caught on the garage door knob as I was exiting carrying the bucket car seat…I need to get a different purse. We arrived at the library just as the program started, but it was at capacity. I take the kids to the walled in patio because it would be safe from anything eventful, right? Wrong. My torrid tangle of toddler managed to dump over three pots of dirt that looked to be a children’s group planting project before I even had a moment to register the destruction before me. I wonder if they have “Wanted” signs at libraries.
Another day later during the week, we were on the way to the bonanza. I missed the drive thru turn, so decided it would not be a day for an iced tea…totally changed my mind after the following disaster. Then, I was on a mission. But, the initial pursuit was not meant to be. The later attempt not much better, sadly yielding empty hands. No lemon, fine, but then they tried to hand me an iced green tea. I have a newborn. What’s the point of that? The cashier tells me that they were out of the regular. I think they just messed up my order.
In between the depressing iced tea fiasco, I took my children to our less frequented indoor play spot; it was Little Man’s girlfriend’s one day off…bad sign. Usually my son handles disappointment pretty well…for a toddler, which translates to him refraining from burning down the establishment. But, this day it was bad enough his squeeze was absent, but he REALLY was unhappy we could not join the music class in the back room. I get it. The guy had a guitar, and Mr. Man will be the next frustrated musician complaining about the industry and poo-pooing the latest talentless rage while he continues to live in our basement. For the first time ever he wanted to leave after only an hour, but it was time for my fierce girl to eat, so my son would need to wait. Not usually a problem, c’mon, this place has toys, slides, and a bouncy castle… But, alas, he started launching a wooden toy that might be a Jetsonesque lamp for the full size doll house. I had to stop feeding the Warrior Queen so I could snatch my son for a time-out. As I tended to him, my girl started exerting her hunger battle cry, which oddly is less dramatic than the poop one. Holding my son’s leg with one hand, I plunked the bottle back in my daughter’s mouth with my other hand. I did that twice before my son gave in and demonstrated dramatic “gentle hands” with every object he selected from the floor. Not soon enough we are able to leave. I tried to be quick, but my Mr. Man completely lost whatever miniscule cool he had.
Ten or so minutes from home we drive past a pretty good playground. I had been feeling bad that on such a beautiful day I chose to take the cherubs somewhere inside. It was still early, so we stopped. My son doesn’t last all that long on playgrounds, but it’s always more than ten minutes. Little Man enjoyed the swings and wanted to leave much sooner than the typical thirty minutes he usually indulges before running cattywampus on every structure he can manage. Sounded good to me though. I was schvitzing up a storm. But, on my son’s lead, we enter a grocery store and proceeded to roam aimlessly like crazy people before he fell and slammed his face on some part of the cart with a car front stores started getting in solidarity with parents…kind of, have you tried maneuvering these things? Maybe the real reason for fleets of them is so at the end of a long shift employees can watch and amuse themselves even if they have to perpetually fix displays. Regardless, my son could sport a shiner badge of honor for his clumsiness…
Everyone buckled in the car for our journey home, the drive surprisingly quiet. Both kids wanted to be fed almost immediately upon entering our homestead…because they always want to eat at the same time. Some day that will be sweet, but not this day. Little Man finishes his meal, my daughter lagging. My son was tired exhibiting his telltale impulsiveness. He climbed on the table winging his unfinished and half chewed food everywhere. I ignore him and continued to feed his sister. The only indication of my annoyance was the vein about to rupture in my forehead. Mr. Man either realized his commotion wasn’t working or he developed a last ditch appreciation for my mental state, climbed down from the table and in a sleepy daze snuggled into me while I sat uncomfortably in a mild contortionist pose at the kitchen table. I couldn’t resist giving him smooches. After all, everyone is a douche when cranky…pretty sure I’m not an exception, but I’m hesitant to ask my husband. Maybe I can’t avoid dumb shit from happening now that we are a troop of three, but at least I earn my sofa time.