April 26, 2012

Dear Babies,

7:15 a.m.: (Place hands on knees and squat, as if you are talking to a puppy, and cue Mother Goose): “Whatchoo doing there, Baby Girl?! What’s that funny little dance you’re doing?! What’s that you got?! What’s that!–OH GOD! NO! NO!”

7:15:30 a.m.: Realize you are sticking your hands down your diaper, pulling out poop and throwing it on the floor.

7:16 a.m.: “NO! NO!” as your brother picks the poop up with hands and starts smashing it in his palm, like playdoh…

8:30 a.m.: “How about, butter? Maybe some butter on the waffle? No? How about, applesauce! Want some applesauce? Mmmm. Yum. No?”

8:31 a.m.: Chuck box of apple cinnamon waffles we tried in the garbage and make note to self, stick with blueberry.

8:47 a.m.: You are licking the dishwasher door, Baby Girl. Baby Boy, you topple the play kitchen and have stuffed yourself in the stove.

9:06 a.m.: “Leave the chair where it is.”

9:18 a.m: “Don’t touch that.”

9:27 a.m.: “Put the shoe down.”

9:27 a.m.: “Out of the mouth.”

9:28 a.m: “Down.”

10:05 a.m.: “Straight into the garage. Straight to the car. Come on. Don’t touch anything. No. Keep going. No, don’t touch that. YUCK! Come on, we are the pirates who don’t touch anything. No. NO! GROSS! Come on…”

10:07 a.m.: (Strapping you into your car seat, Baby Girl) “Where’s your brother?” Stretch neck. Don’t see anything but hear ruffling in the corner. “COME ON!” Nothing. I hurry to fasten your seat belt, and leave you eating stale goldfish crumbles that have been in the cup holder since three weekends ago. “Fine, whatever, bon appetite.” I run to the corner of the garage and find your brother sitting in an old planter gnawing on a twig. At least he’s alive. “Fine, come on.”

10:35 a.m. (in Home Goods): “Don’t take your shoe off.”

10:35 a.m.: “Leave the shoe on.”

10:35 a.m.: “Leave it.”

10:37 a.m.: “Where’s your shoe?” Roll us back to the floral and fauna section. There is the sneaker, in front of a ceramic deer.

10:37 a.m.: We all stop and admire the deer. You guys point and grunt at it. “LOOK! Wow! He’s a nice deer! He’s a fawn! Hi deer! Aw, hi! He’s so nice. Want to pet? Want to pet the nice deer? Okay…” And we all pet the statue on its nose.

10:39 a.m.: You guys go bananas pointing and grunting and laughing as we roll past the full-length mirror section. I cringe at the sight of myself. My hair is terrible. It is orange.

10:40 a.m.: We roll past the full-length mirrors, again.

10:47 a.m.: “Wow! Look at the sign! That’s a nice sign!” We are on the check-out line underneath a giant digital sign that repeats in red dots “Thank you for shopping at Home Goods.” We stare up at it for a while. I say, “it’s very informative.” You can hear a pin drop.

11:00 a.m.: “What’s that smell? Oh my god, I must have it. Chinese food!!! Is it open?”

11:01 a.m.: I wheel us into Petland. I park the stroller in front of a gurgling aquarium at your eye level. We are all wide eyed and quiet. I am Cameron staring at the painting in “Ferris Bueller,” in a stare off with a giant peach fish. The fish moves its mouth at me. I make fish faces back. I realize I have lost all shame.

11:10 a.m.: I buy two bags of “jungle leaves” and a climbing vine intended for an iguana’s tank to hang from the ceiling in our basement. I will do this later, or maybe on Saturday.

11:15 a.m.: I order $30 worth of chinese food for myself. On the way out the door, the cashier gives you each a fortune cookie in an individually wrapped plastic bag.

11:16 a.m: I hear crinkling from you guys chewing on the cookie wrappers.

11:30 a.m.: I buy milk at Stop & Shop. Arnold’s whole wheat bread. Newman’s Own Lemonade. Vanilla Almond milk. And bananas. None of this we need.

11:30 a.m.: I hear crinkling.

11:37 a.m.: I hear a woman on line ask someone, “How are the blisters on your feet?” I feel sweaty, and gross.

11:37 a.m.: Crinkling.

11:40 a.m.: I put you in your car seat, Baby Girl, as you are still chewing on the wrapper. Crinkling.

11:42 a.m.: You in yours, Baby Boy–crinkling.

11:43 a.m.: Suddenly–no crinkling. I look in the rearview mirror. Baby Girl, your cookie has fallen to the floor. Baby Boy…”Hey, where’s your cookie?” I look harder in the mirror. “Hey, what is that?” I see a clear wrapper in your hand, but no cookie.

11:43 a.m.: I stop the car. Get out and run over to you like a maniac. “OPEN YOUR MOUTH!” You laugh and reveal a whole fortune cookie stuffed in your cheeks, paper fortune scroll and all. “NO! Come on, GIVE ME THAT!” I go to scoop out the cookie, or at least the paper, with my finger but you clam your mouth shut. Chew. Chew. I grab your chin and try to pry your mouth open. We wrestle. “NOT THE PAPER, COME ON, NOT THE PAPER!” You cry now. Spit and cookie bits fall out of your mouth like a crumbling building, all over my hands. I will later wipe this on my shirt. I fish in your mouth for the fortune with my index finger. You block my attacks with your tongue like a hockey stick. “I’LL TELL YOU ONE DAY HOW GROSS THIS IS! YOU DON’T WANT TO EAT THE FORTUNE, COME ON!” You swallow, hard. I lose.

11:44 a.m.: I get back in the car. Blink. “Don’t worry, I’ll tell you what it says later,” remembering the time my dog ate a stick of butter and that unmistakable gold wrapper coming out in his poop. “Can’t wait for that.”

…Around 7:45 p.m. tonight I will close the door to your room. I will go into my bathroom and take a shower. I will let the hot water and steam pour over me. I will close my eyes. I will linger.

Downstairs there will be a true mess waiting for me. Food all over the floor. Maybe mashed potatoes in the crevices of the tile. Maybe marinara sauce. Toys everywhere. TV on. High chairs that need to be cleaned. Damp clothes in the dryer. Wet towels in the washer. A half folded basket on the floor. What am I going to have for dinner? I didn’t get any work done today. Maybe later I can read. Is that 30 Rock on? What time is it? When’s Mike coming home? What is he going to eat?

And, I will still have terrible orange hair.



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