I’ve found myself in a few compromising situations lately, and I can only say it’s because I’m outnumbered. I’d say anyone taking care of two toddlers has basically hit the skids. Let’s never mind three. So, I’ve compiled a handy list of ways to help determine whether or not you’re, well, ineffective, just a few short steps away from being tied to a chair and gagged with your own socks.
You drop food on the floor and leave it there. Upon cleaning up after dinner, let’s say you, oh, I don’t know, drop a container of potato salad by the patio door. You collect your corn kernel-coated children one by one, clean them up, and send them on their way to Disney Junior Land. You handle the dishes, then happen back around the kitchen table some time later to spy the overturned, plastic, mayonnaise-dripping container on the floor out of the corner of your eye. Oops.
You can’t find a pair of clean underwear for yourself but know exactly where all the components of the three outfits you’ve picked for your kids are. Like, for example, I can tell you that Matthew’s Thomas shorts are in the dryer, and that the matching top is jammed in the back right corner of the couch. I know. It’s a gift. Meanwhile, you’re sniffing the least dirty of your husband’s t-shirts to figure out which one will be passable for your trip to the grocery store.
You’re constantly reminded that you’re a parent. You reach into your handbag, trying to make good on a promise for a business card, but instead pull out a Mater, then a pediatrician appointment card, then an open bag of crushed (stale) animal crackers. Hey, never mind. How about you just Google me?
Your family comes over and performs random acts of kindness when you’re not looking. You’ve been opening the microwave with the comfort that you’ll be staring angrily at the tomato sauce dried to the ceiling, but today it’s sparkling clean! Kitchen fairy? No, your family’s just sick of looking at your mess.
There’s never enough of ANYTHING. And I mean anything. You make ten pancakes? You need eleven. You bought two gallons of Lactaid two days ago? Nobody cares. You have a spoon/toy/cookie for each of them? They need one for each hand! And you’ve prided yourself in the anticipation of their every need. You’ve made calculations. You know what? Forget it. Just walk away. You’re not going to win this one.
Everything’s now in stereo. Especially “No”. And banging on the table. And crying at 3am when your husband’s working overnight. You’ve birthed yourself your very own angry mob.
There are several episodes of stark nudity every day. They’ve learned to take their (and their siblings’) clothes off, and there’s no wrong time to demonstrate. Turning your back on them is like turning your back on the ocean, however, sometimes you need to get things done. You realize when you return that you’ve inadvertently walked into Lord of the Flies: Your daughter’s buck naked, lying on her stomach, licking the fireplace bricks, while piddle drips off her leg onto the rug. Your son is marching back and forth in front of the television, swinging his shirt around over his head, attempting to rouse rabble because Bubble Guppies isn’t on today, and your younger, less coordinated son is walking around in circles with his shirt half off, his head completely covered and one arm hanging unnaturally through the hole. You’ll go in and right the situation, but realize it isn’t static and resolve to find one-piece pajamas for all, because it’s only thing from which they haven’t yet been able to extricate themselves.
You do nothing for yourself until after 9pm. Or 10. Depending on when the Princess sees fit to retire for the evening. And that’s after you’ve been kicked, head butted, and had your lips pinched inside her armpit during her failed attempts to settle down. And do you know what I’ve been doing after nine? Nothing. Not a damned thing.
The sippy cups now outnumber the glasses. Between the glasses you dropped when you were pregnant and the ones of which your kids somehow attained possession, you’ve probably got three left. But their collection of brightly colored plastic vessels greets you happily every morning. And you use them sometimes. But only when you have to. Or when someone asks for orange juice and then pitches a fifteen-minute fit because you brought him a sippy cup instead of a juice box. Sorry, kid. Do you have any idea how much Mommy pays for this juice? Bottoms up!
People cringe when they see you coming. I know. I’ve touched on this before. That look, you know, that horrified, Academy Award-quality look you get when strangers’ eyes dart from one twin to the other, then to the toddler, and then to you? The fact that we both know my son is going to go straight for the Ok magazine and a bag of Combos? And maybe the lady in front of us in line’s stick of pepperoni. If he can reach it. And there’ll be screaming. And he won’t let go of the pinwheel so you can scan it. And Maggie will, at the same time, be trying to eject herself from the stroller. And I will have to reach into my wallet to pay. I know. You poor thing. But it’s just a few minutes and then you won’t see us for a couple of days. Promise.
I realize I’m outnumbered, but there’s not much I can do aside from grin and bear it. One of the upsides? It looks like I may have a kitchen fairy, and you don’t.