One of my favorite old posts is still the one about the swim locker room pack ‘n play. It’s really put motherhood into perspective for me…basically, just survive in the moment. Back then I thought I was crazy for taking the two kids to swim lessons alone. I almost took THREE of them alone last night, but then gladly accepted some help from my mom. Oh, if we’d only known it was still going to be a train wreck…
For those of you who know me really well and constantly insist that I’ve always got my shit together…this one’s for you…in all its brutal honesty.
The following are things said out loud last night.
Before swim lessons:
“Since daddy is not going tonight we all need to be helpers to mommy. Plus I also have to get ready since I have to get into the pool tonight with Henry.”
Moments pass…it’s chaos as the kids strip down and now think it’s funny running around the house naked and announcing it to each other.
“Naked Henry!” (although it sounds more like nake-henny)
More chaos. More barking orders. Because “nice mommy” isn’t getting anywhere.
“Didn’t you hear me? Damn it Stella (some more words I don’t even remember now; I said something about whatever it was she was doing wrong). Of all of you, I really need you to be a listener.” (Shocked eyes by both of us because I’ve never said “damn” to her before…now, Charlotte?? Well…)
“Stella, I shouldn’t have raised my voice or said a bad word. I’m sorry. I made a bad choice. Mommy’s just frustrated because no one is listening…even you! And you always listen.”
“In the car! Buckle up! We’ve got to go get grandma so she can help us tonight.”
Now we are in the swim lesson parking lot.
“I cannot believe I forgot the bag.”
“I guess I’ll head home and get it and be back by the time the girls are finished. Henry and I can skip the pool.”
My mom speaks up…”At least everyone has their swimsuit on. You’ve got a t-shirt and your cotton skirt over your suit. And the girls are wearing terry cloth cover-ups they can use as towels. Henry has a shirt that will be dry. And there’s an extra clean diaper in the car. We’ll be fine.” (My mom = always positive! But, then again, she’s not the one about to get in the pool with these kids and then not have dry under garments for afterwards.)
“Ok, I’ll just pull a towel or two out from under the car seats. How bad can they be? Well, let me just shake off these dried up, stale, and who-knows-how-old cheerios, gold fish, cracker crumbs. Ok, so maybe some of it needs peeled off. Sure, these towels will be fine.”
Right before swim lessons the realization that our goggles are at home hits the girls like a Mack truck:
“But these (replacement) goggles are magic goggles.” (me)
“I can only use MY Ariel goggles. Go home and get them.” (cries Stella)
“I’m sorry I left our goggles at home. Daddy always puts the bag in the car and mommy wasn’t thinking.”
“These are special goggles that only special people get to wear.” (swim instructor)
“Daddy bye-bye. Daddy bye-bye.” (Henry tells everyone sadly; I’m apparently not a great fill-in)
“My mom forgot the bag. She left our goggles at home.” (the girls tell everyone; they don’t realize that the lack of towels and undies are going to be more critical soon…for all of us)
After swim lessons:
“Is grandma coming home with us?” (Stella)
“No, grandma has to go back to her house.”
“But who’s going to help us? We really need some help.” (Stella on the verge of tears; and maybe she’s right)
“I just wear this cover up without panties??” (Stella with extremely quizzical look on her face)
“Yes, and Charlotte, don’t flash anyone. I’ll give you a quarter if you keep your cover up down over your bottom while we walk to the van.”
In the parking lot after swim lessons I found pull-ups in the van:
“Please just wear this pull-up for the ride home.”
“But I want to wear panties. I don’t wear pull-ups.” (both girls scream)
“We don’t have any panties. This is for your own good. Do you want the car seat buckle to pinch your vagina??”
“No. Alright. ” (Stella sighs and since Stella caved, so did Charlotte)
I was feeling grateful to be in the car headed home and more blessed to be flat-chested and have built-in shorts under my cotton skirt.
And yes, I said vagina. Loudly. In a public parking lot that was swarming with people leaving at the same time.
After dropping my mom off and getting all the kids to bed I helped myself to a box of frozen Girl Scout cookies. Just to celebrate surviving the evening.