Sunday, November 9, 2008
Home Sweet Home
I arrived at the airport only to be greeted by an extremely enthusiastic and affectionate three-year-old. Only neither of those things was directed at me. I basically got a wink and a nod, but Frankie was so excited to see her sister. They hugged and looked at each other and laughed and smiled. It warmed the cockles of my motherly heart.
As I expected, Frankie and Dean had been living the good life while I was gone. The house was pristine, but there were tell-tale signs of some hard core fun. I found Sponge Bob Square Pants macaroni and cheese in the fridge and pictures of our living room coffee table on the front lawn with elaborate wooden train tracks perched atop. There were down sleeping bags in the play tent downstairs and caramel apples coated in colorful sprinkles on the kitchen counter. In addition, there were eyewitness reports of leisurely walks down train tracks, matinees with extra large popcorn buckets, and forays to the mall with stops at Auntie Anne's for "sugar pretzels." I will have my work cut out for me when Dean goes back to work and it's just boring old Momsie who reads books and plays puzzles but doesn't build obstacle courses with two by fours in the backyard.
It was nice to sleep in my own bed and be able to flush the toilet in the middle of the night as needed. At my sister's house, flushing is verboten during nighttime hours. In fact, any walking or talking of any kind is discouraged, and moving about on the second floor, since it is above her bedroom, is strictly prohibited. Since my baby woke a good two and a half hours before hers did, I had to whisk her quick as a cat could wink her eye downstairs and speak to her in pantomime.
We did have a good time juggling child care together, though. We got absolutely nothing accomplished the entire week, since each time we readied ourselves for an outing, someone, often the children, started to cry from hunger or fatigue or both. There were a few occasions that we made it out the door, including one ill-fated trip for a post-partum check up wherein I was left to care for all three children in the waiting room. At one point, I was hefting a crying Sylvie, rocking a crying Jude's car seat, and fishing a quarter out of Molly Jo's mouth, all while muttering under my breath about overscheduled inconsiderate health care providers. By the time Molly got out, I had broken out in a full body sweat. Clearly, two children is going to have to be my limit.
The one other time we got out of the house was to go pick up Applebee's Carside-To-Go. The beauty of thisconcept is that they ask for the make and model of your car so you don't have to burn even one extra calorie of your Quesadilla Burger wasting your valuable fat stores fetching it from inside the restaurant. Since we knew we wouldn't be going in, Molly and I ventured out clad in what we like to call our "cozies." For both of us, this means slightly too short faded velour sweat pants, the oldest and most voluminous stained T-shirts we can procure, hair pulled tightly back, no makeup (and let me assure you, we need it), and large pairs of Matt's crocs. Unfortunately, as I drove past the local toy store, I remembered I had promised to come home with a new wooden train for Frankie. I had Molly drop me off, hoping to dash in anonymously, and found myself smack in the middle of a giant crowd of women waiting for a special one-night-only sale that rolls around once a year. The woman next to me seemed a trifle put out by the fact that I had wandered fortuitously into line at that exact moment when she had it in her day planner since the middle of the summer. My sister was appalled when she drove back around to pick me up and saw me, decked out in an XL "Because of Winn Dixie" T-shirt, stained with leftover tamale pie, standing in a tony crowd of her neighborhood suburbanites in artfully faded jeans and spike heels, as the owners of the store made their way down the line with wine, margaritas, and appetizers. The glorious freedom was short-lived, but so serendipitous, so humiliating.