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Leaving the House is a Hassle©

January 13, 2010

I miss the days of leaving the house quickly.  I remember what it was like to get an idea and carry it out with quick precision:  grab keys, shoes, purse, and close the door.

I even remember the days of a timed leaving.  I used to do this when I worked outside the home.  I could take a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, and exit the house one minute later.

Yesterday it dawned on me that I hadn’t savored that joy in five years. 

Yesterday I had only one errand to make and my son was already at Kindergarten.  That left my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter and me to putter around the house for a leisurely morning.  She watched television while I checked email, nibbled on a warm bagel, and finally changed out of my ratty sweats.

Once I’m wearing decent-looking clothes, however, Relaxed Mom disappears, and Quick Mom arrives.  I expect us to leave the house shortly thereafter.

“Let’s go!” I announced, emerging from my room wearing clothes with no stains, spills, or tears.

“Huh?” my daughter burped.  She was lying in a ball watching her favorite cartoon.

“What is this?” I barked.  In just the few minutes it took me to get dressed, enough hair had fallen out of her clip to create the perfect bonding surface for a red, sticky piece of candy.  (There is always a price to pay for leaving kids happily unsupervised.  But that’s another column.)

“Where candy go?” she had the gall to ask.  She then tried to find it on her clothes, depositing red, sticky remnants as she went.

“Let’s clean you up!” (In my sweetest sing-song voice.)

On the way out the door I checked the diaper bag:  Diapers, check.  Wipes, check.

“Mommy, hungry,” my daughter whined.

“Yes, mommy did forget a snack and drink.”  (Teeth slightly on edge as I packed supplies.)

Down to the garage.  “Let’s get your coat on!”

“Where backpack?” she asked as I juggled her hat, coat, and mittens.

“Find it!” I said with a chirp, followed by a low grumble.

Finally, on to the car.  I waited with the door open while she walked at the pace of molasses moving down a cold plate.  “Almost there!”  I said.  No chirp, only a fake smile to hide the steam from my ears.

“Do it myself,” she insisted, climbing into our SUV.  Out of her backpack dropped two small balls and a clear marble.  I watched with detached alarm as they rolled under our car and down the gutter.  As I bent over to retrieve them, I caught the faint aroma from her diaper.

“Did you poop?”

“I pushed it out!” she announced with glee.

By lunchtime, we had finally left the house.

“Mommy, binky.”

I reached into the glove compartment and pulled out a handful.

“The pink one or the green one?” I chirped.  And meant it.

©2010, Kim Knuth.  All rights reserved.

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