Monday, 79 degrees
“So what did you guys do today?” This was always one of the first things Cathy asks when ending her workday and entering through the threshold of chaos. I’m sure she is genuinely interested in how the day has unfolded for her family. I on the other hand, see this as a conversation driven straight up monotony lane; therefore I defer this question to Lucy… always. On most days I have a real hard time reliving those precious little minutes I spent: cleaning, feeding, playing, wiping butts and answering to the question, “But why?” Yup, this is Lucy’s question and I only interject when I get the feeling I’m about to be ratted out (once we had ice cream and with waffles for breakfast and it was the first thing Lucy told Cathy when she got home. It has been a point of contention in our household for months, because when Cathy makes breakfast on the weekends Lucy makes it very clear to her that “Daddy always gives me ice cream with my breakfast.” This has now progressed to lunches).
“Oh today we played. Ducky and I went on an adventure, we had soup, and I made daddy mustard drink…”
“Did you take a good nap?” Cathy asks. I have already drank a half bottle of wine which was started the moment Cathy walked through the doorway. That was 6 minutes ago.
“No, I wasn’t tired, so I told daddy I’ll just go to bed early, but he said I just had to stay in my room for a couple hours, or until Ruby woke up from her nap (damn, she threw that in there quick! Cathy stares at me disapprovingly, her eyebrows furled. What Lu didn’t tell her was we compromised, and both agreed it would be best if we watched Kung Fu Panda).
“What did you have for lunch?”
“Ummm, I don’t remember. Ummm… ohhh??? I had milk, turkey and cheese. Right daddy?”
“Did you have any fruits or vegetables?” Cathy’s now looking at me with that my husband is gonna malnourish our kids, face. “Uh… our daughter needs to have a fruit AND a vegetable for lunch.” She acts like I don’t know this, she asks everyday! Just then Lucy speaks.
“Oh yeah, and I had a yummy onion.” I give my wine a hard swallow then clear my throat. I forgot about that, she’s not lying. She said she wanted it and I cut a red onion in half and put it on her plate. She ate the whole thing! Cosequently I made her sit on the other side of the room for the rest of the day. My bottle of wine is now gone. Cathy dismisses the onion; I believe she does this because she thinks Lucy is making it up. She’s in for a surprise when she goes in for that kiss goodnight. This thought makes me happy.
“Did you go to the park?”
“Yup. We went to the small park. I ran with some new friends. We played tag, played in some mud, I was swinging on the big kid swings…. bugs… fell down… monkey bars… went down slides. Ruby went down the slides too. She went down the big slide all by herself.”
“She did? All by herself?” Cathy seemed a bit sad that she missed Ruby’s first slide experience, so I didn’t want them to keep talking about it, but she insisted.
“Did she like it?” She asked me. Whoa! A bottle of red in 23 minutes can mess you up quick! I thought I was off duty, why is she asking me?
“…. Yeah she loved it. She couldn’t stop smiling. It was so cute; she was sitting straight up every time. She was like a pro out there.” Okay, I’m drunk! How did that happen so quickly? Why am I holding this beer? Did I start drinking a beer after that wine?? What day is it???
“Did you take any pictures?”
“Ah no. We’ll just go back this weekend and you can watch her, by then she’ll be a pro… I’m going to bed.”
“It’s 7!” She said. Then she looks at me funny and inquires as to why it smells like onions in the house?
The rest of the week was pretty easy, no bumps, bruises or diaper blow-outs. The girls were great. The only negatives to the week were the gradual rising of an unforgiving heat and of course the ridiculously potent onion smell that continued to exude from Lucy’s pores.
Sunday, 88 degrees
Argh It’s hot! (That’s right, anytime it gets over 85 I have the tendency to speak like a pirate.) I just wanna strip down to my underwear, sit in the tub with a red Slurpee and listen to my I-Pod. From the other room Cathy asks if I want to take the girls to the park.
“Umm …. Couldn’t you go and I…”
“No! You sat in the tub yesterday.”
Lucy loves the park, and today is no exception; she runs the whole way there. Then she quickly surveys the grounds for any familiar faces, sadly, there are none. I try to tell Cathy that the reason why no one is here is because everyone is at home sitting in their tubs. She then informs me, that I’m the only one who likes to do this; I find that hard to believe. After a few melting minutes on this plastic hell Cathy decides she wants to see Ruby go down the slide. I only half-heartedly pay attention, I have bigger problems. My flip-flops have begun to melt into the playground surface! Cathy laughs, “That’s what you get for buying them at the grocery store.” Touché, Cathy, touché. I guess the lesson here is: Don’t buy flip-flops that are sold in the same aisle as pasta sauce, even if they are on sale. Anyway back to the slide.
The girls were so excited to see Ruby slide, hell even Ruby was excited, she couldn’t stop smiling and kicking her feet. She knew what the slide represented, we all knew. It was freedom, it was speed, it was that euphoric free fall sensation one can only get from your first sliding experiences. At this age the slide must have looked huge, oh the precious little moments that we store in our heads. The whole scene was playing out like a Norman Rockwell painting, right down to the creepy old Santa Clause looking guy sitting under a newspaper hat who has mysteriously appeared on the park bench. Life was great.
What happens next now becomes a cautionary tale for all of my parent friends. No one was “hurt,” hurt, but there is a lesson to be learned. The whole week leading up to this particular “slide,” was quite pleasant. It wasn’t too hot, or too cold. We were also spending all of our time at playground during the mid-morning hours. In all cases Ruby was dressed appropriately: shirt, pants, hat and socks. That is not to say that she wasn’t dressed appropriately today, it was blazing hot! We were all dressed down; Ruby was simply in a nice white cotton onezie. No socks, no pants and no hat, this was going to be our mistake!
Cathy placed the all too overjoyed Ruby at the top of the curly slide. Ruby knew the next step, she scooted to the edge and………………………………………….. It all happened so quickly, yet it was all in slow motion. Now, Ruby is a big girl. I’m talking 25lbs and 30in, all that is stuffed into a nine month onezie that looks like the snaps are about to explode. I quickly realize that the reason why she was so good at sliding all week was all the extra clothing. The sock, pants and hat all helped to glide her way down the slide, I should have saw this coming! The moment she starts her decent it all goes terribly wrong.
Her fleshy wet skin mixes with the unforgiving plastic and sends her head over heels immediately. Her pudgy white sockless feet are now at the top of the slide and she is sliding down head first. We can’t stop her! For some reason the song “Momma I’m Coming Home” is playing as if this were Ruby‘s slow motion swan song. Her lack of pants now turns her sideways, and around the first turn. As I reach to grab her and stop the flub-dub sound she is making when her feet meet her forehead, she slips through my hands, and screeches to the second turn. Cathy is screaming “Noooooooo!” Out of the corner of my eye is see Lucy doing jumping jacks. Crazy Santa has started a fire and is eating a can of beans???
She is now going upside-down and backwards toward the end of her journey, when her hatless head hits a crease in the slide and flips her right back onto her butt, then to her face and finally into a barrel roll onto the ground. The slide spit her out, like a cat clearing her throat of a hairball. I pick her off the ground, and everything goes back to real time. Cathy is in a panic, Lucy mentions how my feet and flip-flops are now one, crazy Santa has now pooped under the teeter-tooter and Ruby is silently staring at me. She is shocked! If she could talk she would have easily said, “What the hell, was that all about?” But she barely made a peep. Instead she continued to stare at us; she had no idea what to do. We gathered our things and started to walk home. Ruby fell asleep immediately.
“I thought you said that you had been practicing on the slide all week?” Cathy says this to me as if this whole thing is my fault.
“We did, wasn’t that cool?”