Today, I almost managed to pull off a fully successful day of parenting.
I was totally killing it, too. I took the girls to the mall, thinking we would just hit the play place and maybe ride the train. There turned out to be a kids’ festival going on, but instead of panicking and screaming “MALL’S CLOSED!” while covering Addie’s eyes and backing slowly out through the men’s section of Dillard’s, I decided to be brave and face the whole thing head on.
The girls had their nails done at a spa’s booth, made masquerade masks at the library’s booth, and spent five minutes vigorously kicking each other in the backs of their knees at the karate booth. And somehow, when I told the girls we had to move on, they listened to me. It was as if I had been imbued with the magical power that I thought only superior mothers possessed, mothers whose children didn’t tend to fall to the ground, writhing in agony, whenever they’re told they can no longer linger in front of the prize wheel for the local minor league baseball team.
We even got shanghaied into an impromptu photo shoot with a professional photographer, for which my children decided to dress like Christina Aguilera circa the Dirrrty years:
They looked like tiny pimps, but they were adorable tiny pimps, so I decided to buy the photo. In order to do so, I had to go to the photographer’s studio, which was located in that shitty corridor of the mall that only has, like, an eyebrow threading place and a hippie store with the word Jakarta in its name. I got there, and the photographer had live bunnies on site for photo shoots, and I almost left right then and there, knowing my children would be unable to resist the allure of live bunnies and would likely squeeze them to death like Lenny in Of Mice and Men. But lo, somehow, my new motherhood magic persisted, and when I told them to leave the bunnies alone, they simply walked away from the bunnies without convulsing with rage at my terrible abuse.
So I decided to press my luck and take the girls to the library afterward, knowing they were tired and high on free shit. Rosie fell asleep halfway there, so we stopped at the gas station and CVS to let her sleep a little longer, and Addie did not insist on getting out of the car to “help me pump gas,” which really just means “wander the gas station grounds waiting to be kidnapped”. What is this witchcraft, I thought to myself as Rosie dozed and Addie played quietly and happily in the back seat.
At the library, Rosie awoke happy and smiling, and played by herself while Addie used the computer. She didn’t pull any books off the shelves, or make prolonged eye contact with anyone (a particular habit of hers that tends to freak people out after 30 seconds or so), and I was able to actually sit on the couch in the children’s section and read a book for myself. It was done! I had mastered parenthood!
Until Rosie walked up to me and, not breaking eye contact, stuck her hand into the back of her pants, pulled out a wad of poop, and wiped it right on my pants.
“That’s right, motherfucker,” she seemed to say. “I still own you.”