Whew, boy, what a Friday afternoon we had. The Diva went for a playdate at a waterfront mansion and was all, Why can’t we live here? They are so lucky! I love mansions. Is this a mansion? and I was all, They have a septic tank, honey, so they have to drive past a mound of their own crap every day. HaHaHaHaHa!
While she was off pretending she was rich, Hot Firefighter Husband and I spent an hour convincing the Pterodactyl to go to the beach. Honestly. Can you believe that? Little Known Fact: Florida kids actually get tired of having sand in their butts. He finally agreed and we were all ready to go when: I remembered that he and the Tyrant had their first karate class. Like, right that minute. The Pterodactyl got all excited and the Tyrant shrieked in terror. I dug up the boy’s old too-small karate robe and she put it on, and loved it, and reiterated that she WOULD NOT go. The boy said he wouldn’t go, either, which was BAD NEWS because we are so desperate for him to show interest in something other than Pokemon, Lemonheads, and clinging to me like belly fat.
So I told her she had to go to the gym and watch but didn’t have to do the class, which was a total WHOPPER. She was sooo doing that fucking class. The Pterodactyl caught on right away. “She’s going to do the class, right, Mom?” he whispered. I nodded and winked at him, my partner in deception. But he was a mole. He turned to his sister and said, “You’re doing the class.”
Mother. Of. Confucius. The indignation ignited her inner whirling dervish, and as I deflected her flailing limbs, it occurred to me that she might not actually need to take karate in order to excel in it. By this time we were in the Motorized Landfill, with me in the back seat holding my tiny daughter’s seat belt in place. She whacked me in the face with Teddy, so I grabbed Teddy and pretended to throw him out the window WHICH I KNOW WAS NOT MY FINEST PARENTING MOMENT and the Pterodactyl went ballistic in defense of his sister, whom he can’t stand, and started screaming, “DON’T HURT HER, MOMMY!”
For the record, she was hurting me.
Okay, let me just end Part I of this nightmare for you more quickly than it ended for me. We arrived at the gym in one piece, abandoned both children to the Dojo, and the Tyrant LOVES karate and can’t wait to do it again.
After karate, we picked up the Diva at the mansion, where the mansion mistress lured us in with adult beverages and the children were seduced by the actual movie theater located within. By the time we left, it was after 7 pm and Husband and I needed FOOD. “Is it time to go to Target?” asked the Tyrant. “Wemember? You pwomised if I went to kawate we could go to Target.” Oh, the things we say in the heat of the moment!
“How about we go to Target tomorrow?” I said. “Mommy and Daddy have to eat.” The children were hungry, too, but they didn’t know it. Except the Diva. She had eaten a bite of pizza and was full for the week.
And with that, the Pterodactyl began competing in the Tantrum Olympics, where he is favored to win the gold. He started with some gentle seat-kicking, and worked up to unbuckling, trying to open the sliding door, digging his fingernails into any piece of flesh he could find, and screeching at World Record decibel levels. Husband kept driving, en route to our local beach club. Eventually I climbed into the back and sat on my son, and, because I am one solid hunk of mama, he was forced to stop fighting and a very short peaceful moment ensued.
Then the Tyrant, very meekly, asked, “So are we going to Target?” AND I WENT OFF. It sounded something like this: I AM SO. SICK. OF TARGET. MAYBE WE SHOULD SELL OUR HOUSE AND LIVE IN A TENT AND JUST GO TO TARGET EVERY DAY. IS TARGET THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO YOU KIDS? DO YOU LOVE TARGET MORE THAN YOU LOVE SPENDING TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY? OKAY THEN! LET’S JUST BUY EVERYTHING AT TARGET! WE’LL SPEND ALL OUR MONEY AT TARGET! ALL THE TIME! WE WON’T HAVE ANYPLACE TO LIVE, BUT WE’LL HAVE EVERYTHING WE WANT FROM TARGET! I am quite verbally adept sometimes, and I went through several permutations of this soliloquy. By the time we arrived at the beach club, everybody was crying. Except Husband. I think he was just silently praying for the end of time.
After we parked, I announced that everyone had a choice. They could go into the club and eat with Daddy, or stay in the car with Mommy. The girls opted for food, and the Pterodactyl and I stayed in the Landfill, still for a minute. Then he said, very sweetly and gently, like a butterfly flapping its wings: “I thought that going to Target was a nice present for me that you promised because I went to karate, but I guess I just won’t get the present.”
I heard a tinkling sound that was my heart breaking into a zillion pieces. “Honey,” I said. “It’s late. Mommy and Daddy have to eat. You have to eat. I did promise to take you to Target, and I will, but sometimes you have to be patient about things. Not everything happens exactly the way you want.”
“I love you, Mama,” he said, and nuzzled me like a baby squirrel. Then we called Target to see what time it closed, and agreed to go there after dinner. Because that’s the kind of Namby Pamby mom I am – when I sit on my children and accuse them of being materialistic brats, I buy them things to compensate.
After dinner, on the way to Target, we all began singing One Thing by One Direction –
Now I’m climbing the walls
But you don’t notice at all
That I’m going out of my mind
All day and all night
Appropriate, n’est-ce pas?
We sang with abandon and the kids did, too, swaying and laughing.
At Target, as we walked across the parking lot, the Diva slipped her smooth little hand into mine and softly said, “Mama? You know when we were all singing in the car?” I nodded yes.
“Well,” she said. “I wish it could always be like that.”
And there went my heart again.