How Small Children Complicate Life

Ed. Note: I love my kids, truly.

Okay, so yesterday was my birthday, and since I’ve been six years old and learned that I wasn’t allowed to keep the white rabbit the magician at my party pulled out of a dusty top hat, I’ve tried to downplay the importance of the occasion. I’m not the only person around who’s fretted over having a rainstorm cross their special day. Or the birthday breakup unfortunate coincidence. (Or was it really causal?) You know, birthdays aren’t guarantees that the course of the twenty-four hour period will shine with perfection and happiness. Not only does isht happen, but it happens devoid of thoughtful timing.

I would have enjoyed relaxing yesterday, with some kind of nap on the couch in the new living room, but there were several problems with this scenario:

  1. I’m between case managers at the office right now, so I needed to work all day.
  2. There are still 12,287 boxes in our new house that need unpacking.
  3. Lucas doesn’t like any position other than “being held by mommy or daddy,” which is difficult to do whilst lying down on a sofa.

So I stood with Lucas on one hip and tried to unwrap fragile pottery from packing paper. It was a bit like unfolding thawed filo dough from a ticking time bomb with one hand tied behind one’s back. Fortunately for the pottery I gave up in short order and left most of it nestled in place. Then it was back to the office for the afternoon, post-lunch shift. Susanne dropped me off because she had a friend date at one of the two froyo joints in town. I knew she had some kind of plan for dinner that night, but didn’t know what it was. Maybe she’d gotten a sitter? A taco truck would magically appear in our driveway? An impromptu backyard barbecue? I was happy with any of it, as I’d forgotten to eat lunch and had taken to licking peanut butter off of a plastic knife at my desk. (Note to self: Be careful which side of the knife you lick.)

birthday cakeShe picked me up shortly before we were to get Emile from the nanny’s house, and the little baby was crying in his car seat in the middle of the back seat. Shh, shh, baby, it’s okay. Emile was freshly woken from a nap, not seeming to recognize me when I came to the door, but after pushing at me and telling me to go away (who is this strange man) he put out his arms and I picked him up. His damp head went plop on my shoulder, so I hustled him to the car and poured him into his seat. By the time we made it home, he’d clearly sucked energy from the sun at the center of our solar system and was in active squirrel mode. No, I don’t want dinner, he wailed, except for the blueberries Susanne had sprinkled into our salad, of which he wanted every one for himself. No, he said, to the chicken tikka masala Susanne had picked up from a new and the only Indian takeout restaurant in town. He did want the thin slices of cucumber from the cucumber salad, but no, he didn’t want to eat them per se. They were only interesting as objects on his plate. He cried that I hadn’t given him his monkey plate.

We don’t own a monkey plate.

Next he wanted to set up a little table by himself at the very edge of the deck. The deck that has no railing. Yes, I know, we’re the assholes who bought a house with a deck that has no railing knowing that we have a 2.5-year-old and a 3-month-old, but damn it, you should see the rest of the house. We’ve talked about putting up some kind of fence or toddler-resistant architecture, or obstructive furniture, but as we’ve only lived there for four days, haven’t gotten around to it yet. We better get going soon though, because we have approximately 1461 more days before our children will be fully capable of not falling the hell off of the deck with no railing (give or take).

Emile settled down and then Lucas began crying, having woken up from his slumber to discover that NOBODY WAS HOLDING him. The poor neglected baby. It’s a good thing he doesn’t know how to use a phone, or he’d probably be calling Child Protective Services on our ass. Susanne looked at me sheepishly and asked if dinner was okay. Apparently the new Indian takeout place is made in some gluten-free establishment, so to get naan she had to go across the street to the grocery, where apparently gluten is in at least limited supply. Because what really ruins a good chicken tikka masala is freaking gluten.

I scooped Lucas out of his car seat and bounced him while checking out the dinner that Susanne had assembled. It was pretty tasty, and I thanked her for her goose chase. Lucas let out a huge fart on my leg, Emile declared dinner over and proceeded to try to yank a sprinkler head out of the ground, Susanne sighed and declared the dinner a “sh*tstorm.” And I looked at her and said, “I love our life. But yeah, this is a tough evening.”

And she smiled and said, “Welcome to birthdays for the next five years.”

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Categories: Family

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2 Comments on “How Small Children Complicate Life”

  1. lorisolomonperson
    June 4, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

    So funny. I woke the neighbors laughing.

    • evmaroon
      June 4, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

      Tee hee. Was it the gluten comment?

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