Friday, April 17, 2009

Mom's diner

My car--it's horrifically messy. I know it while I’m driving it, because I look around and see it, but what can I do about it then? I know it when I stop the car at daycare, where I see all the parents of single children use one hand to keep track of Junior and the other to gather a couple (such a cute little pile) of dirty napkins and drop them in the curb-adjacent trash. They’re adorable, the parents of one kid in proximity. They only have one kid, you see? That’s only one backpack. Only one sheaf of art projects. One blanket that needs to come home for washing.

I have two kids. And it’s Friday, so two blankets need to come home for washing. Plus, Fridays mark the Weekly Pacifier Trip Home for Sanitation Purposes. Two backpacks of foodstuffs. At least one hanging half open because someone NEEDED her milk NOW, and couldn’t POSSIBLY wait until the CAR. Maybe, two Someones needed their milks NOW. So two blankets, pacifier, backpacks, spilling-on-the-curb foodstuffs. Mama, take this! And now I’m holding a milk, too, probably two. Who knows how many children of mine had how many accidents for which I carry how many bags of urine- or tempera-paint- or papier-mache- or apple-juice- or Elmer’s-covered outfits. And, of course, it’s Friday, so not just the daily ordinary (but not in their eyes!) art projects, but also the highlights, the cleaned-the-walls-off-for-next-week’s-dose-of-glitter,-yarn-and-FUN! pile of my little Picassos’ handiwork. You know, we can’t fold them, because then how do we hang them on the basement gallery wall? They don’t look the same after they’re all bunchied up, they really don’t. Plus, L’s art and E’s art and L’s stuff and E’s stuff and L’s blanket and E’s blanket – they’re not supposed to touch the things of the other sister. Good fences make good neighbors, and that’s why God gave me a right AND a left side. And look at that, the sun is shining? Guess who’s carrying their jackets? Because they can’t run to the tree if they carry their jackets! If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding! How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat yer meat?

By meat, of course, I mean the Froot Loops or Cheez-its or Cheerios that they will Need to Have in the car. They intend to eat them, I think, but it's only about with 60% accuracy that any food passes their delicate lips.

You think: well, why doesn't she clean out her car when she gets home, if it's so bad? A few of those things that I carried into the car, they need to get into the house. I have to get the girls in, too, of course. Then at least two of the three of us usually need to use the potty. Right Away. And then the third one usually starts mauling my shirt front, looking for a snack. And then it's dinner and bedtime and playtime and the other bedtime and after I've fallen asleep in E's bed tucked the big girl in and come back downstairs for Evening v2.0 (Adult Ensemble), I've forgotten about my messy car for yet another night.

Until the next morning. Then I load the car with two girls, two backpacks, two plates of three breakfasts: two bagels, cut in six pieces, covered in three toppings; and two apples or an apple and a pear sliced in eighths each.

I eat my bagel. By which I'm saying, all this mess: is not my fault. The girls, especially the younger one, I keep telling people not to mistake her cherubic face for any actual innocence. That many a crusting cream cheesed bagel fourth lie for days under my seat moldering is not an exaggerated fact. The apples: every time I brake aggressively (and hello, I commute 35 minutes twice a day, five days a week in suburban DC -- I brake aggressively about thrice a minute) one of those slices skitters to a fuzzy, remote corner like a jumping bean, gone before I can grab.

And then I have to get them into school. And I could probably clean it up then, but I? I have to get to work.

And then I pick them up. Crunchies and milk cups and Mama! I want my extra grapes! and then there's a plastic bowl discarded on the floor.

Crumble, drip, repeat.

The last time I had my car detailed, the technicians took before and after photos to post on their website.

I'm not proud of any of this. My car is mortifying. A friend had to sit in it today -- a friend with only one kid. She doesn't know the depths of two-kid mess and I almost had a panic attack about confronting her with it.

And then I resolved that I will get the car sparkling clean this weekend. But then I remembered that I did my back exercises this morning; that I'd already resolved today that I'm going to be diligent in completing my back exercises.

They say you're only supposed to take on one new goal at a time, otherwise you might lose your focus. And that won't help with achieving world domination. Pin It


Ninotchka said...

V. entertaining post & so true. Imagine 3 kids! The only reason my car stays clean is because I send them inside the house upon arrival & do a quick sweep straight into the trash nearly every day. It's easier to do that, though, when they're a little older.

ConverseMomma said...

David took the car to get cleaned yesterday because it was in such a wicked state that I was ashamed to even open the sliding caravan door to get the children out, for fear a large rat might come scurrying out with rotten cheese sticks or a moldy bottle between his paws. The car came back all shiny and new. We took the kids to the park, and promptly were pooped upon by two large seagulls. And, so it goes.

Nonnash said...

Dude. I love your car, it's hysterical in a non-judgmental sort of way. It's kind of the way I imagine the inside of your head to be .... it all has a purpose, even if that purpose expired a month ago, and when you REALLY don't need it anymore you'll get rid of it.