“It’s a Calgon, Take me Away! type of day,” a woman said to me at the gym this morning, sympathetically. She didn’t make the wincing, sucking in air through her teeth sound, but she didn’t have to. After all I had two toddlers (ah-hem, you guys) literally suction-cupped to my body screaming and thrashing forming a three-headed monster. You were purple-faced and salivating. That tonsil thing was vibrating in the back of your throats. I mean holy moses, were you guys mad. You did not want me to leave you at that gym daycare center. Wow. Roger that Podacter (see “Ave Ventura”). Loud and clear.
So, we left, and went grocery shopping, where you were just terrible. Baby Girl, you wanted everything to eat. Every. Thing. A giant silver tin of angel food cake. I was like, come on, you can’t even see the cake inside, you don’t even know what that is! Baby Boy, you were a monkey. A nice grandmother-type came over while I literally wrestled you like an alligator and tried to help me wrangle you back in your cage I MEAN seat, but it was useless. She had to go. She had to save herself. As she passed she put her hand on my shoulder and said, “I can tell you are a patient woman.” It is 195 degrees outside today (about 85) and I have been sweating since our air conditioner broke last night at 7:30.I have body odor, and a permanent bead of sweat in between my boobs. I am not patient, but hot and beaten. I looked like Jennifer Beals in the water scene of “Flashdance” except while yes, in workout clothes, I was very, very different.
As I steered the cart into the check-out aisle with one hand, the other hand holding you, Baby Girl, whose last tantrum over a box of Milk Bones was too much to bear (“I CANNOT GIVE YOU DOG BONES, I WILL NOT!”), and you, Baby Boy, were busy shredding a plastic produce bag (safe) and making raspberries, a giant picture of pregnant Snooki on the cover of People magazine caught my eye.
“It’s a boy!” it said.
“I’m losing my sex drive!”
“Wine and a boob job in the delivery room!”
Shut the fuck up, Snooki, was my gut reaction as I wrestled the eggs from you, Baby Girl, struggling to lay them down on the conveyor belt unbroken, you have no idea…
And you can’t have any idea how a simple thing like going to the grocery store can become such a trying event.
You have no idea what it’s like to see a parade of people go by, “Veterans for Peace,” and look at the pictures of the fallen soldiers they are carrying, look at these young faces (one guy was twenty-two) and feel a clinch in your heart, deep sadness for their parents, some of whom were there. The group marches on and you read another guy’s caption and learn he was a father who left behind two small girls. And you look at his wife. And your heart clenches again. And it’s Memorial Day and there’s a band playing with bag pipes and the mood is festive and the sun is shining and people are drinking beer. And you’re like what the fuck, go away, sad, scary, reality, go away…
No, you can’t imagine seeing the news coverage of the Etan Patz case and seeing that little boy on the cover of the Post. Feeling such sadness and anger. And fear. Paralyzing fear.
There’s this Winnie the Pooh quote I see on kids’ gift items sometimes. Picture frames and pillow cases and stuff like that. “If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.” What the fuck, Winnie the Pooh? Way to remind me we’re all going to die. And you never saw yourself as someone who curses out Winnie the Pooh.
So then you’re sweating in the grocery store, and you look up and you see it’s a boy, and I lost my sex drive, and goodbye wine, and hello old-lady boobs. And you never knew you would be sharing something in common Snooki. But everything changes when you have a baby. Every. Single. Thing.