Asking my children to clean up toys, put on shoes, brush teeth, etc., is like herding slugs. Look. I get it. They’re small. They don’t have control over much in their lives. They are distracted easily by bright colors and their brains come up with random questions like, “Why do we have hair? Why did God make flies? How long do you think you can hold your breath under water? WHY DO PEOPLE DIE?” All the while I’m trying to find my keys and make sure I have my pants on the right way. This is why life takes so long.
“How was your day? What did ya’ll do?”
“We went to the store.”
“Ok. What else?”
“Nothing. There was nothing else.”
BECAUSE IT TOOK FIVE HOURS TO GET IN THE CAR. And then it went like this:
- buckle up
- help 3 yr old buckle up
- calm 3 yr old because he wants to do it himself
- answer 5 yr old’s question about how blood pumps through the body
- tighten 3 yr old’s buckle
- explain why there are no snacks
- dig in purse to see if there are snacks to prove there are no snacks while hoping there might be snacks so that they will stop asking for snacks
- drive to store while answering questions about super heroes, what will be for lunch, what will be for supper, farts, how pistons work, what condensation is
- promise to look at non-existent boo-boos when we get to store
- explain again the difference between playing music from my phone and the radio and why they can’t listen to Where Is My Mind by The Pixies because the phone is not hooked up to play right now (thank you, husband, for introducing our sons to melancholy 90s music)
- get to store and tell them to put their socks and shoes back on because we’ve discussed this many times and they are not to remove their socks and shoes in the car
- wait for 3 yr old to strap his shoes by himself…
- find a buggy that looks like a car
- find grocery list in the bottom of purse after removing toy cars, crayons, 2 pairs of underwear, bag with 3 pouches of hand sanitizing wipes and bottom wipes and a few pairs of latex gloves (BECAUSE), a brown banana, wallet, paperwork for school, EFFING SNACKS.
- keep children hands from squeezing the fruit in the buggy
- hide squeezed fruit back in the fruit bin and get new unsqueezed fruit
- no cookies, no. NO. Okay with the cookies, but after lunch.
- look at lobsters in the tank, the sad sad lobsters. Act as though the lobsters are happy to be there.
- get the children out of the buggy that looks like a car but isn’t the red race car, it’s the yellow taxi and SHAME OH THE SHAME because it’s not the red race car. They want to walk. They want back in the buggy.
- force 3 yr old to walk because he won’t keep his hands to himself. Immediately regret this.
- catch 3 yr old after sprint down paper towel aisle and force him to hold hands. Immediately regret this.
- stand by giant sculpture of charcoal grill made out of soda cans until 3 yr old has stopped screaming about how unfair his life is. put him back in buggy.
- 5 yr old asks for snacks
- 3 yr old asks for snacks
- tell them tampons are for nosebleeds
- stare at hair products, smell them, cry a little
- put hair products back because what a joke. doing my hair. HA.
- make it to check-out. stand in line. get them out of buggy. Keep them from touching all of the chocolate things when all I want to do is touch all of the chocolate things and then eat them.
- Have them “help” put things on the belt. Grimace as they squeeze the fruit and throw the bread.
- Talk to the cashier, bag groceries, and constantly remind 3 yr old to stay by the buggy. Hands on the buggy. HANDS.
- Swipe card, punch in numbers, see 5 yr old talking to strangers, HANDS.
- See 3 yr old activating the sliding doors with his “magical powers” and dude-man with one bag containing shaving cream and man vitamins is annoyed because he can’t get out of the door.
- Restrain myself from tackling dude-man and pressing a zucchini to his throat.
- Gather my dignity and my receipt + coupons that I won’t use and put children back in buggy.
Start over at No.1 except this time it’s all about getting the groceries from the car into the house and then into the refrigerator while making lunch or snack or a drink (for them, not me – so sad) and quell argument over who gets which cup.
THIS is why life takes so long. And why it goes so fast.