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.