Mark has a man cold* so he stayed home from work yesterday. When I called to check on him around 4:30 and see if he needed me to pick anything up on the way home he said no. But then, just before he hung up I asked “You’re going to pick up M, right?” (Because pick-up is his gig, I do morning drop off). He answered “Oh…I wasn’t planning on it – can you do it?” Thus began my crazy evening.
This was the day we needed to pick up the prints of M’s 3 year old photos by 6:00 and there was no way it was going to happen if I stayed in the office until 5:00 and had to go pick her up. I went and told my very kind, understanding and generous boss (who is also a mother and wife totally gets it and I love working for her) who said I could leave early. I go to get the girl who had yet another potty accident (a story to be blogged about later) and was wearing some of her back-up pants. These happened to be hand-me-down leggings that are about 6 years old, faded, dated and about 4 inches too short. Oops! Guess it’s time to restock the daycare cubby with new clothes in the correct size.
So I load up my little ragamuffin-in-flood-pants and realize I need the payment paperwork in order to actually pick up the photo prints. So I head home, calling Mark to tell him to meet me in the driveway with the papers – which he had in his laptop bag as this was his chore to do – and a snack of peanut butter crackers for M. Then we retrace our path back northeast and I recognize that taking the expressway during rush hour would mean certain failure so I hit the back roads. I pull into the parking lot of the Target where the photo studio is located at about 5:30 (don’t judge – I had a massive coupon and the photos are way better then I expected. Cheap formal photos are a good thing). As I get the girl out of her carseat I find that she did not so much eat her snack as lick off the peanut butter and discard the crackers all over the back seat. Wonderful.
We hurry inside and I drag her past Halloween and princess displays (why does Cinderella have to be on everything?) to the Photo Studio. I love the photos and as I’m admiring them I don’t see M pull a couple of sheets off the counter and proceed to mark them up with peanut butter smears. The very nice Target lady offers to re-print them for free; I will just need to pick them up in 10 days. Awesome.
I grab some meds for the man-cold and do a quick look at the toddler girls clothing section where I find a pile of knit pants on clearance for $2. New daycare back-up pants – Score! Some of the prints are kind of fugly up but I load up with 4 of them, at least they will be long enough for her. During the 2 minutes I am choosing the pants, M is wandering in and out of the clothing racks and I find her stuck in the center of one. I haul her out and we walk the gauntlet that is the front of the store (again with all the princess stuff!) and I have to physically drag her away from the rack of shiny pink princess purses to get in line. Here M promptly latches on to some $5 princess mini-doll and I have to bribe her to put it back.
Back out to the parking lot where I’m trying to juggle 2 bags while keeping a firm grip on M’s hand and simultaneously trying not to crease the envelopes of photo prints. I buckle her in the car and call Mark to ask about dinner. It’s already 6:00 and M is hungry. He doesn’t want anything so I tell him that we are going to stop somewhere for dinner.
Because it lacks any forethought or planning I decide to just turn into a McDonalds and M is ecstatic at the thought of her Happy Meal toy. As we are crossing the parking lot I glimpse our reflection in a window. Her with wild hair, too-short pants and bright pink shoes; me with ill-fitting maternity pants (I don’t need them yet but the thought of an elastic waist sounded good that morning…but they are truly horrible pants), my in-need-of-a-cut hair pulled into a haphazard and crooked ponytail and my makeup is long gone. We were quite the motley pair and I had to laugh at our image. Once inside the first set of doors, M pried loose from my grip and ran straight into the inner glass door. She hit so hard she bounced off and all I could do was laugh…really hard. She wasn’t hurt and didn’t shed a tear but was a bit stunned, and she couldn’t figure out why I was laughing. I scooped her up and we held each other tight, both of us laughing out loud for a minute.
She kept bringing up her run-in with the door throughout dinner and the whole episode made me purposely slow down and enjoy my one-on-one time with her. The rest of the night was pretty uneventful, but given the unhurried pace of my girl’s eating we didn’t get home until 7 which is the start of bedtime. As I sat in her room for the next hour, waiting for her to fall asleep (again, a post for another day) I kept thinking over the 2 ½ hours we spent, just my girl and me, and had to smile. From our disheveled appearance to my constant chirping of “hold my hand!” and “you need to listen!” it was a rushed and exhausting round of errands. But, of all things, a leisurely dinner at a fast food joint gave me a little perspective. Sounds like a perfect evening to me.
*he really is pretty sick, but the man-cold stereotype still holds true.
Don’t forget I’m giving away a 4-pack of tix to the opening night of Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey’s “Zing Zang Zoom” at the Q over on my review page. You have one more day to enter!