Friday, August 27, 2010

Dirty Little Secret

Good Morning. My name is Maegan and I am a klepto. And it's all my kids' fault.

It started off innocently enough. Doesn't it always? When my oldest was 1, she had a prescription that needed to be filled monthly, so at least once a month, I'd put her in the stroller, the baby in the baby carrier, and we'd make the short trek up to Walgreens. Once there, I'd do a little shopping, but since my hands were full, I'd put stuff into the bottom of the stroller. I'd only pick up small things, like a bottle of water, some energy drinks, maybe a snack for the older kid. By the time I got up to the prescription counter, at least one of the kids was fussing, so I'd pay for the medicine and whatever happened to be in my hand. It never occurred to me to recall the items in the stroller...until I started walking home. Invariably, I'd get hot and thirsty on the way home, so I'd grab something cold from the bottom of the stroller and realize, "Crap. I didn't actually pay for this, did I?" But by that point, I'd be more than halfway home and I'll be damned if I'm going to walk all the way back to pay for something that I didn't actually mean to steal.

Since baby #3, it's only gotten worse. Now, whenever I go to the grocery store, I've got the baby in the front of the cart, usually at least one other kid in the cart and the other one hanging off the sides. Fragile things like eggs and bananas must be kept away from kicking legs of destruction, cases of Diet Coke tend to squish small bodies, and so they are squirreled away at the bottom of the cart. Once it's time to pay, it's every man for himself as I attempt to keep 2 kids from pushing the buttons on the conveyor belt, because the teenager who rings me up likes to put the bread in front of the canned goods. I need to contain 2 energy-laden bodies within a 2-foot radius so they don't get run over by an 80-year old woman's scooter cart, hand over coupons, stick a nuk back in a baby's mouth, bag groceries, pay for groceries, answer at least 80 different questions, get the groceries in the cart, get my change, check the receipt, corral 2 kids through the parking lot, put 3 kids in car seats, unload groceries, and return a cart to the corral...all in preferably under 7 minutes...or one kid is sure to blow. So, do I remember the various sundries on the bottom of my cart? Sure, I do. Once I start unloading the damn thing. And by that point, I've got 3 kids loaded into a car, as well as perishable groceries, and I'll be damned if I'm going to go back into the store and pay for the stuff the on the bottom of my cart.

Really, I don't steal on purpose. And I'm sure most kleptos say the same thing. But the way I figure it, I've left plenty of paid items in stores since I've had kids. I have no idea what they are, but I'm sure I've done it. And technically, it's the cashier's job to check for items on the bottom of carts. If my 3 and 4-year olds know there are mirrors on the side of the cashier's booth, then the cashier should know they're there too. I never steal stuff from Sam's Club, because they automatically check the bottoms of carts. In fact, they encourage you to leave things there! Imagine that!

So, am I sorry I steal stuff? A little. Will I encourage my children to steal stuff? Absolutely not. But if there comes a day when they have kids of their own, and they're tired and under-caffeinated and happen to shoplift a few things, unintentionally of course, I will laugh with them and direct them to this post.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have a chilled Diet Coke calling my name...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

And the Award Goes to...

Yesterday, I won an award. It's a self-nominated award, but it's an award nonetheless. Care to know what it is?

World's Worst Mother.

That's right folks. For August 23, 2010, I, Maegan Schmidt, was the world's worst mother. No, I didn't beat the children or leave them on the side of the road or feed them to alligators, but the title still remains.

Here's why:

I started the day with excellent expectations. I have the girls scheduled for gymnastics camp all week and they were really excited to go. I bought myself an egg timer over the weekend with grandiose thoughts of trying out a new cleaning regimen (15 minutes per room) and achieving a sparkling house. It was supposed to be wicked hot yesterday, which it was, but then it's supposed to turn into a beautiful week. The State Fair starts this week. We got a big check in the mail from one of my husband's recent jobs. All should've been right with the world.

Here's what really happened:

We started off the day with a 6am voicemail from an unhappy customer wanting some sort of recompense on her floor, because the color didn't match the sample. She never actually saw a sample, so technically it would be IMPOSSIBLE to match, but apparently, that's neither here nor there. So, job stress to start off the hubby's day. Sweet. But I was not to be deterred.

The little girl woke up with a dry pull up! Score 1 for the day. She went potty on the potty, I cheered, we were right back on track for the excellent Monday. A little while later, she pooped in her pull up. I was deflated, but very good about simply reminding her she needs to poop in the potty and not her pull up. We get her changed and we're right back on track.

After about 4 tries, which is 2 more than usual, I finally get the baby down for his nap. Rather than start my magical new cleaning routine, I sit down in front of the computer. For WAY too long. And the day starts taking it's turn...

Baby wakes up and refuses to eat like the usual machine he is. He's moving around, won't sit in my lap, keeps stretching out his legs, wants to stand and is getting cranky because he's hungry, but won't eat. Sigh. In the meantime, the girls have asked approximately 80,000 times if it's time for gymnastics yet.

I feed the girls lunch, we do potty breaks, put on our leotards, get the hair done, finally get the baby fed enough to get him through the 35 minute car ride to the gymnastics center. I go to change the baby and Little Girl poops in her pull up...AGAIN. Enter awards time...I completely lose my mind and YELL, yes, actually YELL at a 3-year old for pooping in her pull up. She looks at me, completely nonplussed, with a dead stare. I want to throttle her. I ask her why she pooped in her pull up, which I know to be a stupid question, and she shrugs and says, "Because I wanted to." I leave the room, attempt to compose myself, do a miserable job of it, get her changed, apologize for having yelled at her, explaining Mommy shouldn't have done that and she's VERY sorry, and load the kids into the car.

On the ride to gymnastics, my car is a cacophony of noises that I simply cannot tolerate. The oldest has taken to making noise simply for the sake of making noise and it makes me nuts. On any given day, it makes me nuts; yesterday, it made me quasi-murderous. I asked repeatedly for her to be quiet, or to just talk to the baby with words and she simply would not do it. My husband called on the way over and I confessed my horrible yelling moment. He asked if I made the Little Girl cry; I confessed that I did. He just sort of sighed, made murmurings about understanding my frustration and told me she forgave me. I reiterated the fact that I'm the World's Worst Potty Trainer, in addition to several other areas in which I completely suck and hung up the phone.

Got the girls dropped off at gymnastics. They were excited. I was excited. Took the baby over to Barnes and Noble, bought myself a high calorie coffee, thinking that would be a quick fix to my craptastic day, ordered a sandwich from a snotty barista and prepared to settle in to write out Little Girl's birthday party thank you notes. Baby had other ideas. First he wanted to eat. Then he didn't want to eat. Then he wanted to eat my sandwich and drink my coffee. I finally relented a bit with the sandwich, just to stop him from yelling at me. I tried to get him to sleep. No dice. I scarfed down my sandwich and we went off to Petsmart to pick up 40 pounds of dog and cat food. Baby finally fell asleep on the ride back to gymnastics, over 2 hours past his regular nap time. I thought I'd get at least an hour to read my book, so I went into the gymnastics studio, careful not to wake the baby. He slept like an angel until I set down the car seat. Then all hell broke loose.

He wanted to get out. NOW. He wanted to crawl. He wanted to climb on me. He wanted to pinch and pull my hair and yank on my necklace and scratch and chew on my face. And all I wanted was one hour of peace, quiet and no one touching me. So, now I'm crabby at a 6-month old who won't do what I want. I mean really, how dare a 6-month old not do what his mother wants! I feed this little bugger on an instant basis!

Everyone falls asleep on the way home. Husband calls and says he's going to be home...late. Perfect. Get home. Think a picnic is a good idea for dinner. Open the fridge and a shelf comes crashing down, spilling bottles of various condiments across the kitchen floor. Get the girls' picnic ready, get baby's bottle ready, come back to find the girls stabbing each other with toothpicks. Baby fights me through 8 oz. Girls are making so much noise, none of which appear to be words, my head is buzzing. Baby refuses to sit still. Room starts spinning. Girls finish dinner and I send them upstairs to watch a movie. Baby is cranky so I attempt to put him to bed. He starts screaming. I leave him in his crib, hoping and praying he'll just fall asleep. He does not. I go downstairs, try to open a bottle of wine and THE CORK IS STUCK. I burst into tears. "Mother's Little Helper" my ass! Baby is still screaming. I go upstairs, pick up the baby, shove a nuk in his mouth and go sit on the couch. Baby sits still for a moment and then starts climbing all over me again. I'm just staring into space, thinking "Did I make these creatures on purpose? What the hell was I thinking?" Husband shows up a few minutes later, says hello to the girls, opens my bottle of wine and takes the baby. I think the day might be done.

Oh no.

You see, I still have 3 children to put to bed. And in the process, they will break me. The oldest takes over 10 minutes to get her jammies on. While I'm literally standing there watching her. The Little Girl refuses to go potty, so I have to pick her up, physically strip her clothes off and put her on the toilet. The baby starts screaming again. I finally get the girls into bed and the oldest has the audacity to ask me for a kiss good night. I do it, but I so did not want to. Baby is still screaming. Husband and I go downstairs, where I'm forced to watch Antiques Roadshow. Baby is still screaming. Husband tries to get baby to sleep. Unsuccessful. He comes downstairs about 3o minutes later. Baby is still screaming. I go up with a few ounces of formula. He takes about 4 sips. I lay down with him. He falls asleep in about 25 seconds. I'm still dressed, but I'll be damned if I'm going to move. I get him in his crib about 45 minutes later and I'm cooked. Burnt to a crisp.

So, folks, that's how I earned the World's Worst Mother award, at least for yesterday. Like I said, I didn't beat the children, but I did yell and say some truly awful things in my head. It was a day over which I had absolutely no control and it showed in every single movement I took. It was terrible, it was horrible, it was awful, it was no was a VERY BAD day.

And why do I tell you this? Because maybe you need to feel like you're better than other mothers out there. Or maybe you need to feel like you're not alone. Or maybe you need a good laugh. Whatever the reason, embrace it, embrace your kids, embrace any peace and quiet you can get, and hopefully we'll all make it through one more day.