THINKING OUT LOUD

Yesterday, of course, was Mother's Day. The flowery cards and grandmotherly images sometimes make us forget the realities of being a mom. However, Rick Brown, elementary art teacher for Norwalk Schools, painted a vivid verbal picture of modern motherhood in an e-mail message which made its way to me. Katy and Rick Brown have been married 11 years and are the parents of Josie, 5, and twins Emmett and Elliott, 2. With slight editing, I am sharing Mr. Brown's e-mail with you today. Perhaps you can relate. I returned late yesterday from a meeting and immediately recognized the signs of a bad day at home.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010

 

Yesterday, of course, was Mother's Day. The flowery cards and grandmotherly images sometimes make us forget the realities of being a mom. However, Rick Brown, elementary art teacher for Norwalk Schools, painted a vivid verbal picture of modern motherhood in an e-mail message which made its way to me. Katy and Rick Brown have been married 11 years and are the parents of Josie, 5, and twins Emmett and Elliott, 2. With slight editing, I am sharing Mr. Brown's e-mail with you today. Perhaps you can relate.

I returned late yesterday from a meeting and immediately recognized the signs of a bad day at home.

You know those scenes in movies when the bad guys go through someone's house and they are looking for the secret plans or whatever and how they throw everything on the floor and empty out cabinets and stuff?

Well, it looked a lot like that.

And one look at my wife's face told me she had the volcano of bad times about to erupt.

But she did not erupt immediately, instead doing a good-spouse thing by asking how my meeting was as she put my dinner in the microwave. However, part way into my explanation, she interrupted, saying simply: "Today has been the worst parenting day of my life. Get your offspring away from me, before I kill them."

This is what she told me:

The twins were up at 4:15 am. (I already knew this because I spent the 4:15 to 5:15 hour with them so Katy could get a little more sleep. I am not completely heartless.)

She gets all the children ready to drop Josie off at pre-school. And then she and her 88-year-old dad, who lives with us, throw the children in the van and take off.

After dropping Josie off at school, they go to Aldi's, where Elliott becomes angry about something and throws his die cast metal car at a stranger walking down the aisle. The nice woman tries to return the car to the boys, but my wife says: "No thanks, you keep it." This sends both boys into orbit. They cry and bawl through the entire store. My wife tries her best to ignore them, knowing she should not give in, but the glances and the stares from the other shoppers are unnerving to her.

After dropping Josie off at school, they go to Aldi's, where Elliott becomes angry about something and throws his die cast metal car at a stranger walking down the aisle. The nice woman tries to return the car to the boys, but my wife says: "No thanks, you keep it." This sends both boys into orbit. They cry and bawl through the entire store. My wife tries her best to ignore them, knowing she should not give in, but the glances and the stares from the other shoppers are unnerving to her.

Katy throws everybody back in the car and then goes home, where the boys eventually fall asleep on the couch (remember, they've been up since 4:15 a.m.). She thinks things are looking up, but while she is dealing with the boys the dog runs away to the neighbor's and does his business. While dealing with this nasty development, Katy realizes it is time for her to get Josie from school. There is just no way. So she calls a friend to pick her up.

When Josie comes home, the children have a pretzel stick snack. While Katy is not looking, the boys take the plastic barrel, half-filled with pretzel sticks, dump it on the living room floor and stomp on them. This is very funny to them.

Katy, nearing the end of her rope, decides to take everyone outdoors. A "friend" of ours had given us two battery operated "Power Wheel" type vehicles: a race car for Josie and a fire truck built for two for the boys. This is the first day the batteries have been charged and the children are excited.

Emmett is afraid to drive but more than willing to push the gas pedal. Elliott is happy to steer, but he is bad at it. Ignoring their mother's attempts to educate them on the nuances of vehicle operation, they promptly drive into the fence, over PaPa's blackberry bushes and crash into the trees.

Emmett decides to get out and play, but he is quickly knocked down by the jeep. Elliott runs over him. Appalled by Elliott's actions, Katy puts the jeep away. Bawling ensues.

Elliott, realizing that Josie's race car is on the patio, gets in, some how reaches the pedal and launches himself off the patio and into the bushes. My wife throws the car over the fence. Bawling ensues.

She now drags the children inside, all three crying at this point. She sets the children up in the living room and begins to hold them, thinking they just need to be held. However, one of the children we're not sure which slips into the adjoining room stomps on a videotape, breaks it, and then shoves it into the VCR (which later had to be disassembled to remove the tape).

But the day is not done. It is dinner time and Katy's impatient father wants to eat. The children, on the other had, spend the entire meal pushing food away and saying "Yucky!"

At last, dinner is over, the dog has returned, PaPa is fed, the children are not dead (yet), and husband is home.

The events of the day seem so remarkable to me I summarize them in an e-mail to my friends. Katy later scolds me for this message not because I sent it but because I left out so many of the other things that happened in that single 16 hour period.

Comments

just_me (Anonymous)

Ahh...I can totally relate. Thank goodness my boys are teenagers now. Which, by the way, is a whole 'nother experience in itself.