4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.
Dear Committee Chair for Mother of the Year (CCMOY),
First, I hope this finds you well. I know it’s been one heck of a crazy week with snow days galore. And if you have kids like I have kids, well, I know it’s been taxing to say the least. How about happy hour at 3pm, ya know whad’ I mean?
I can imagine my kids have already contacted you.
First, there was the incident with the morning shakes. The yogurt and blueberries and coconut milk in the blender? I mean, it sounded like a good idea. But then they just weren’t drinking their shakes very fast and so I was
yelling imploring because we had to load into the car for school in five minutes. Then I chugged my shake as I was cleaning up the counter and I found that huge chunk of white plastic on my tongue and another sliver got lodged between my teeth, just as I thought, “Where the hell is the lid to the coconut milk?!”
But in my defense, who KNEW the new blender could grind up a plastic milk cap? And how bad could swallowing a few shards of plastic really be for young kids? They poop, like, three times a day, honestly. And they don’t even digest their salad or corn, so the plastic will be in good company in a few hours.
Then there was the sledding this afternoon on a single-digit-temperature day. (Why won’t the weather people just say the actual single digit temperature? Is it so hard now that it’s single?!)
These kids couldn’t come in the house. I mean, even their pre-school teacher said, “Good luck with them. They’re barely not wild at this point. Good luck,” and then she peeled out of the pre-school parking lot at warp 5. Would YOU have let them in the house?
So sure, I drove home, put snow pants on them and sent them back outside. And when Mica whined like he always does I sort of pushed him off the porch and into the snow like the little brother from A Christmas Story, all bound up in layers of snow gear and hats on top of hats.
But we went SLEDDING! How much fun is that?!
Except the little hill was sort of tricky and the kids kept ending up in the pricker bushes so we walked another hundred yards but then the sled tracks kept getting mussed up. So we walked across the field hockey field to the wicked crazy hill. And maybe Mica whined the whole time about his mittens and his cold fingers. In my defense (do I sound defensive?) I gave him the extra pair of emergency mittens from my pocket and then my own mittens. And while they are mismatched, they are warm, I tell you. His hands weren’t ice blocks! I checked. Really.
So then when he lay face down in the snow for about five minutes and his twin sister kept patting him on the back and saying, “Poor baby,” and his older brother kept kicking snow on him, I got the message, LOUD AND CLEAR! Time to go in. Time for cocoa. Got it. No need to send me a telegram!
Of course, they all whined and cried about their cold toes during the last twenty feet trekking up the hill to the house. But what’s new with that, I ask you? Cut me a break!
After removing the boots and mittens and rubbing everyone’s fingers and toes, I putzed around clearing those dishes from breakfast while they read books. And Mica was whimpering (I love him, but you do know this kid always cries? He literally said, “I’m a drama Queen, Mama. I’m weak, Mama.” Who says that?!) So I checked his fingers again. And they were still a teeny bit cold, but seemed fine. Then I flipped them over and they were BLUE BLACK, I tell you. BLUE. BLACK! WTF?!
And he started screaming and I started screaming. They’d seen that documentary reality show Everest: Beyond the Limit (never, never, rest, rest) as well as I had, and by the way, that was their father’s idea, not mine. Then he started screaming, “They’re going to cut them off. THEY ARE GOING TO CUT THEM OFF!” and I was like, “Get over to the sink.” Warm water. We both remembered the episode with the sherpa, god rest his soul. And the double amputee. Not pretty, I tell you.
So then I started rinsing his fingers in the warm water and rubbing them while he’s screaming, then I’m screaming, and the three year old started screaming, too. Then… I realized that MY FINGERS WERE BLUE BLACK TOO! Oh my god! Screaming!
Of course, it wasn’t long before I noticed my printmaking supplies drying in the dish drainer and I remembered that it was ink on my fingers. So I dumped some soap on his twitching screaming fingers and the blue washed off. Because they weren’t frostbit. It was paint. From school. Blue black paint. Get it? Funny. HAHAhaha…ha…ha… heh… sigh. Even he laughed.
“Ha, ha, Mama! Do ya remember da guy with the black fingas, Mama, from Neverest?”
So I poured myself a glass of wine (Really? You judge?! It was 5 pm!), finished making the soup and the cocoa. They ate and then I swiftly shifted to bath time, where, sure, I bathed all four of them in one tub. But to the sound of vintage Enya in the dark with their starlight night lights shining stars on the bathroom ceiling. And I told them magical stories about Jupit-turn, a planet covered entirely in water where water babies live.
I gave them their water names, Repsaj, Acim (You remember. The kid who didn’t have frostbite?), Dier and Tobac. We wrapped in slewot, read skoob, I desslof their hteet and dehsurb them. (Key to the language of waterbabies… it’s backwards.) Then we read a children’s biography of John Coltrane while listening to his song, A Love Supreme.
A Love Supreme, I tell you.
So please, I know this doesn’t look good. I mean, I can read the writing on the wall here, too. But it’s only January 24 and I was really hoping to at least be able to apply for Mother of the Year 2014. I hear you get an awesome badge if you win. Or a ribbon. Or trophy. Gift card? Whatever.
So, think about it.
Am-am (Which is Mama in water baby language.)