Tuesday mornings mean play group at 10:30. I used to think it took me forever to get out the door (you know, hair and makeup and choosing my clothes), but now “forever” has a new and intensified meaning – and it has nothing to do with those delightful time-wasters listed above. The madness begins at 10 a.m. when I realize the baby has to nurse before we leave. My 2-month-old nurses on a 3-hour cycle, so this scenario gets repeated throughout the day: I sit down, get him latched onto the boob, and then the toddler knows he has free run of the house. I’m incapacitated; I cannot keep pulling the baby off in order to break up whatever shenanigans is going on. Typical activities that the toddler enjoys while the baby is nursing: washing dishes with excessive quantities of dish soap (and getting it in his eyes); flushing excessive quantities of toilet paper down the toilet after he’s tired of running from one end of the house to the other, dragging the roll behind him; “checking his email” on my laptop, which consists of sitting in front of the screen and bouncing up and down; and the all-time favourite, which is climbing behind my head on the back of the couch.
My next task is to dress three people entirely, and when the weather consists of frigid blowing snow, as it often does in this corner of the world in January, the task seems rather formidable. Snow pants, heavy coats, hats, mitts, scarves, and boots are extremely difficult to put on when a child is either unwilling or completely limp! The order of dressing also involved some forethought. For example, if the baby’s going in the Baby Bjorn carrier, I need to get dressed first, but then I won’t be able to dress the toddler very easily with the baby on my front. Oh, the things I think about nowadays that I never could have imagined just a few years ago!
Finally, we explode out the front door and head toward the car. The car seat gets snapped into place in a few split seconds while I yell at the toddler to keep off the road and stay nearby. He usually heads down the sidewalk and I run after him. He then gets wrestled into his car seat, the straps eternally too tight on the ridiculously puffy snow gear that is already caked in snow from his multiple flops into the snowbank. I don’t care anymore about snow filling up the car. It melts and disappears from my mind, thank goodness. Then I have to clean off the car. That usually takes a good 5 minutes, at which point I can see the littlest one’s face through the window, crumpled in rage like a little red raisin.
We arrive at play group by 11 a.m., half an hour late. I’m thoroughly exhausted. All the other moms are there. (How do they get there on time?) The kids start their usual antics, playing and fighting and running a bit wild, and I sit down on a mini chair that fits half my behind and try to get comfortable. Play group has always struck me as an odd place, where people, mostly women, get together and expect to be friends because they share one thing in common – having kids. Why on earth is that a reason to be friends, I wonder? Now don’t get me wrong; I’ve met some great people at play group that I never would have met otherwise, but there are others that I’d likely barely speak to if it weren’t for having kids the same age.
The conversation turns to minivans. They’ve asked me if I want another baby – a strange question, I think, when I’ve got a freshly-born infant on my lap! I give my usual vague answer with a smile and make a distracting reference to the fact that my husband would die before buying a minivan, so we’d have to figure out the logistics. A strange and awkward silence falls before conversation resumes again. I am quickly led to understand that 3 out of the 4 women sitting beside me drive minivans. Then I get to listen to all the reasons why minivans are fabulous. Have you ever noticed that people who drive minivans are very defensive of their choice? People with cars don’t feel the need to proselytize so fiercely!
Once the toddler has played, yelled, snacked, and run out all his energy, it’s noon and I have to perform the reverse of all the activities required to get to play group in the first place. It’s always more difficult when we’re heading home, because he’s hungry and tired and generally angry to be leaving his little piece of heaven. Somehow we make it and he gets dropped into bed for a long winter’s nap shortly after lunch. My Tuesday morning is officially over, though it will repeat itself in seven days’ time!