Thursday, January 22, 2009

Choose Your Own Adventure Day

Every Thursday morning, we have the option of attending story time at the library. Usually, I pass, and focus my attention on the laundry piles, potty training, messy floors and transcription work. Plus, merely the thought....of wrangling three squirmy children through a parking lot, into a quiet lobby, and up an elevator into a room full of game-loaded computers, puzzles with millions of tiny pieces and a bunch of perfectly dressed and perfectly cute children whose look-they-got-it-all-together mommies bring them faithfully...makes me exhausted.

Today I decided to give it a shot, since we'd been holed up at home a little too long this week. I knew Jason was going to be close by, working on moving dirt at our new church building, and we thought it might be fun to meet for lunch. All the kids got baths and got dressed. I was feeling extra brave and let Helen go without a pull-up. Jack got a snack-nap of about 15 minutes, to be awakened by Mommy for an early feeding, and we headed out the lane only a few minutes behind schedule.

We made it upstairs to the library with everyone still smiling. Jack is too heavy to lug around in his carseat anymore, so I set him down on a blanket and gave him some toys. Owen made a beeline for a computer, and I got Helen started on a puzzle across from a little boy who was there with his attentive grandmother. I selected some books for the kids and checked them out. Since I had purposefully locked my purse in the car to avoid one more thing to carry, the librarian told me I could pay my $1.20 fine next time. I saw the attentive grandmother helping Helen with her puzzle as I buzzed past on my way to make sure Owen hadn't torn up the computer. Then I took Helen to the potty, and Owen wanted to come too, because he loves to use public restrooms, and I don't know why. I wasn't sure about leaving Jack, and thinking about it now, I probably just should have asked one of the other moms or maybe the attentive grandma (whom I didn't know) to keep an eye out for him. I thought it was just going to be a minute. A minute turned into several, since Helen couldn't produce anything, but learned all about the noisy fan and the sink and the paper towels in the bathroom. When we returned, story time had started and one of the librarians was holding Jack, who had gotten a little fussy when all the live entertainment moved to another room.

We made it through story time without a hitch. Instead of reading a story, Mrs. Dorothy showed one on video. Then she started singing time. Owen promptly trotted out of the room and back to the computer. After dismissal and line-up for suckers, which Owen had to bypass because of his rude behavior (mommy-imposed loss of privilege), we went to the potty again. This time I took Jack, and he hung out on my coat on the floor while I helped Helen hold on, but alas, still no potty. We bolted for the elevator and met another young mom who had two kids in tow. "I admire you so much with three children!" she said.

I smiled a real big one and told her the truth. This is only the second time I've been to the library since Jack came along. (And the first time I had to hole up in a back corner to nurse the little bugger, while a friend kept an eye on my other two.) We just don't get out much because it's so much work.

I dropped Owen off with his daddy and went to the store. I stuck to my list and did a decent job of matching coupons with sales. I even helped an older gentleman find the best deal on white rice. Jack didn't start crying until my stuff was halfway rung up. Mr. Bo helped me load up the groceries, and then I realized Jack had lost a sock. Fortunately, I saw it in the parking lot.

We went ahead with lunch plans, and I took off for Jalisco's, an unpretentious Mexican joint that has a great cheap menu and muchas chips and salsa. Since Jack was working on a full-blown wail, I fed him applesauce in lightning mode, while Helen had unrestricted access to the chip bowl. I was having a serious deer-in-headlights moment when I was scraping the bottom of the applesauce container and Jack was still cranky. Jason came strolling in just in time to take Helen potty for real and to return Jack's car seat to the truck. I don't know what ridiculous idea passed through my mind when I brought that thing inside. With two booster seats and a highchair, the booth was already more than full, and we were seated in the waitstaff's major roadway to the kitchen. I took Jack off to the bathroom--how lovely--to nurse him since he was still squirrely. The little stinker will not take a bottle well. Fortunately for me, he was already full and not interested.

Owen and Helen split a rice/beans/burrito combo, and pretty much cleaned it up. Owen was especially hungry, since he had missed most of his breakfast, due to eating the bananas off the top of his Cheerios and then leaving the table. It wasn't his beloved "Walmart cereal" frosted mini-wheats.

We got the kids back to my truck, and I was thinking I would have an easy ride from there. We got home just in time for naps. I tucked them all in their snug little beds, then went to get a celebration piece of chocolate.

None of them slept. I repeat, NONE.

If you choose to go back to the library next Thursday, turn to page 32.
If you choose to stay home, turn to page 56.


Carrie said...

Laugh out loud... I can so relate to all of these feelings of harriedness and child-juggling. I am comforted to hear you don't make it out of the house with all three much either. My one-time story-hour experience sure did sound similar.

les said...

woah! one place i would definitely not want to have nursed a kid would be the Jalisco's bathroom!! good for you that he wasn't hungry anymore! whew ~ that was a close one! if you want to get out, you need to just call me and let them tear up my house ~ it would be a lot easier. sorry about nap time! :)

Cottonista said...

Yeah, about dining out with ALL of the kids...Jason and I are thinking at this stage in the game, carry-out sounds a lot better. It wasn't fun, and we paid money for it, so the joke's on us, I guess.

Jenn said...

Bless your heart! I could feel my anxiety level rise as I read the words. I stand in awe of your accomplishment. :)

Anonymous said...

Hhhmm, nursing in the Jalisco's b-room is indeed rather undesirable!!!! Call me chicken, but I just stayed at home on Thurs morning. . its bad enough to go to the grocery store with all 3, much less try and get them to be quiet for story time :). You are brave. . maybe I'll get there one day. . or we could go together and try to have controlled chaos :) Jan

Anonymous said...

It will get easier, kind of, that is until you have #4 and #5, then the real fun begins! :) Regina

Grandma Ruby said...

Joyce, I remember some of those days. I know you have to get out sometimes. Be glad for your youth that helps you do this! At our age, two dogs and two kids overnight wiped out G'pa & G'ma.

heather said...

Seriously Joyce you are the best blogger of all time. I love your stories because they remind me so much of a couple of years ago. I often thought story time was such a nice thought....only to be met with the same circumstances. Nursing and trying to be on a time schedule with story time does not mix. When William was born, Isabella was 3 and Jack was 1.

Give yourself a couple of years and it will be so fun to go again.

But clapping out loud (along with laughing) for you and all your energy!!!!

P.S. For the first time in 8 years we go to story time every week and love it.

krista said...

I want to keep reading!

sherri said...

Joyce, you are an amazing writer and mother! Loved to hear the "real story" and oh how I have been heather said, it does get better as the kids get older.

You deserve some kind of award!

sherri said...

Duct tape works good too.