ellie's The Mommy Diaries: On Second Thought, Maybe I'll Stay Home...
Welcome to ellie’s The Mommy Diaries, where we hear from moms who are juggling the agony and the ecstasy of life, work, relationships, and parenting. In each installment, we ask a mom to share what’s going on in her world.
Today, we’ll spend a few minutes with Alice, a mom to a 2, 4, and 6 year old. Alice is trying to leave town for 14 hours. This is a true story.
Thanks again for holding down the fort while I’m out of town on Thursday! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. Of course we can discuss tomorrow, and I’ll be reachable if you have any questions, but in advance of my trip I thought I’d set out a few high-level details.
Please arrive at 6:45 a.m., as my husband needs to leave by 7 at the latest. Please forgive a) his mood and b) the fact that he has neither changed the toddler’s diaper, given milk to the 4-year-old, or helped de-gunk the toothpaste tube for the 6-year-old. All three will be yelling.
Please change the toddler’s diaper, warm up some milk for the 4-year-old (yes, that’s right, warm it up), and de-gunk the toothpaste tube for the 6-year-old.
Please get all three dressed. The toddler will only wear his dinosaur shirt; it’s in the dryer due to a ketchup incident last night. Also when he screams “NO THE RED SOCKS” at you, he actually means the blue ones that have barely-detectable red writing on the bottom. The 4-year-old will dress herself in three different items of non-matching striped clothing; that’s cool, but please make sure that her hair has been brushed. (Sorry in advance about the tears, and know that she’s lying when she says I promise her a piece of gum in exchange for each brush-stroke.) The 6-year-old is pretty self-sufficient, but double-check that the underwear he’s wearing are clean. (It will be obvious if they aren’t.) (Sorry.)
Please give all three breakfast. They only eat Trader Joe’s yogurt; we’re all out, sorry. I ate the last of “Mommy’s cereal,” the only cereal they eat, yesterday, sorry. They’ll for sure all eat strawberries…which I don’t think we have, sorry.
Please make sure all three have hats and gloves in addition to their coats before you leave for school. All three will whine about this. Please remind them about the extensive pre-bedtime discussion we had last night about the polar vortex, but then shut the 6-year-old down before he starts condescendingly lecturing you about how climate change is your fault because you leave too many lights on.
It’s fine to do drop-off for the oldest rather than walking him in – he knows the drill. Said drill includes crocodile tears about being unloved; know that he’s lying when he says I promise him a new lego-set for every day he does drop-off. (Also please know that I do in fact love him.)
It’s fine to do drop-off for the younger two also. Because of the snowy weather the drop-off place isn’t where it normally is, at the top of the parking lot. It’s on the other side of school, by the other parking lot – the one by the other school. It’s right outside the middle doors – not the playground doors, or the parking lot doors (the parking lot where the old drop-off is, not the new drop-off), but kind of in-between them. Like directly across from the other parking lot. Make sense?
It would be great if you could go to the grocery store after drop off. I would write out a list of what we need, but the answer is “everything,” as what’s in our kitchen is “nothing.” Oh also my husband would be grateful if you’d grab some paprika while you’re there. Don’t ask.
Pick-up for the toddler is noon, and pick-up for the 4-year-old is 12:30. From the same school. The convenience is truly a gift! To kill that absurd window of time, I usually take the toddler out to the playground, but please don’t do that Thursday…polar vortex, etc. There’s a library….but it’s usually locked. The preschool is only one hallway long, so maybe just…walk up and down it? Thank you sososo much I owe you.
I’ve agreed to drive 4-year-old’s classmates home Thursday to help her mom out and also she’s having a playdate with another classmate, so please make sure to install the two extra booster seats in the garage into your car before pickup. I think they’re on the shelf with the broken camping stuff. Or maybe behind the Halloween boxes? Definitely on the far side, if you’re standing in the doorway, and sort of to your right, but not too far right. Call me if you can’t find them!!! You’ve installed a carseat before, right? It’s easy. Actually, may you should google the install instructions. Sorry.
I’ll text you classmate #1’s address and classmate #2’s mom’s number. Hopefully the mom will be over to pick up her son before 2:30, as that’s when you need to leave in order to pick up the 6-year-old. Which reminds me, make sure you put down the 2-year-old for his nap the second you get home from dropping classmate#1 off, even though he definitely won’t be tired and will definitely yell at you. Sorry.
When you go to get the 6-year-old, please don’t go the normal way – the way you went for drop-off, as it gets jammed up with the carpool line. Actually you can get in the carpool line if you want, but just remember to get our carpool sign. I think it’s in the kitchen kind of near the stove, maybe behind the cat food? Oh that reminds me, please feed the cat! And sorry if he barfs it up – his stomach has been weird recently. But if he does barf, please clean it up ASAP because it stains the carpets. Anyway if you can’t find the carpool sign – actually maybe it’s by the fish WAIT ALSO PLEASE FEED THE FISH – just go the other way, the back way. All the parking there is illegal, so you’ll have to sprint into school with the toddler and 4-year-old, which should be fine because at least it will warm you up! Anyway the point is hurry so you don’t get a ticket, but sorry in advance if you do and duh I’ll pay you back.
Please then take all three to their sports class. One is too old for it and one is too young and the age-appropriate one doesn’t like it, so sorry in advance about all the bitching. Make sure you’ve packed water and snacks. (The purple cliff bars, not the green ones, and please use the Moana water bottle – but the one with Maui on it, not Moana. I’m not sure where it is. Sorry.)
After sports I’m totally fine with them watching a show while you make dinner. Please try to get them to agree on something that is not Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir. Preferably educational. (i.e.: not Boss Baby: Back in Business.) Sorry about how long that will take.
For dinner, I’m really trying to work on them eating ANY vegetables, but here’s a list of veggies one or more has puked up onto his/her plate after I’ve forced them to finish in the last week: beans, broccoli, spinach (cooked), spinach (uncooked), cucumbers, snap peas, and meatballs with broccoli bits hidden inside them. So…yeah, just toss some baby carrots on the plate along with the main course, ie: ketchup? Thanks.
After dinner please bathe them. The 6-year-old will want to take a shower on his own, but that usually doesn’t involve soap, so please try to ensure he actually washes himself. But try to do that without making your presence known, as that will make him freak out about his “independence” and “privacy.” Do not bother explaining to him that this household is not a democracy and that his constitutional rights do not exist within its walls – he will just start asking annoying questions like “what does democracy mean,” and then you’ll want a drink, which I would prefer you do not have. Oh also the 2-year-old shits in the tub a lot, so keep an eye out for that. Sorry.
Please get them in their pajamas after they’re clean, and no, they can’t sleep naked. (See above re: polar vortex.) They 2-year-old needs an overnight diaper. They’re the ones with the little Winnie-the-Poohs on them, next to the ones with the skulls on them. Please don’t put a skull one on him overnight. If there aren’t any Winnie-the-Pooh ones next to the skull ones, they should be in his closet, on the right, under a pile of too-small clothes that I need to send to my nephew. The 4-year-old needs a pull-up; when she fights this, remind her what it feels like to sleep in pee. She should remember easily, since it just happened last night.
Each of them can choose a book. The 6-year-old should read his out loud to you, though usually it’s so slow and so annoying that I just grab it from him and finish it myself. Try not to do that, but if you do, I get it. The 4-year-old can read anything she wants other than one of the toddler’s board books; the toddler can read anything he wants other than the 6-year-old’s shark encyclopedia. (The font is too small and it will destroy your eyes, trust me.)
By this point my husband should be home. Sorry about a) his mood and b) the fact that he’ll immediately rile them all up, getting rid of any semblance of calm and cozy you’d established.
But that is not your problem! Run away as fast as possible, and I’ll see you on Friday morning, usual time.
THANK YOU and LOVE,
P.S. – If the 2-year-old didn’t poop in the tub, he’ll probably do it the second my husband gets home, what with all the excitement. If you’d do a quick check before you head out so that my husband, whose nose is apparently broken, doesn’t let him sleep in his own feces I would REALLY appreciate it.
P.P.S. – I owe you $12 million.
About the author:
Alice Leiter is a recovering lawyer living in Washington, D.C. with her husband and four children. Her hobbies include watching Bravo, making fun of her family on Instagram, and worrying that people are mad at her. Find her at @ableiter and firstname.lastname@example.org.