Chronicle of a Business Trip Foretold

Perhaps once or twice a quarter, Tom has to jaunt off on a business trip within the country. These trips are usually rather easy–leave on a Sunday morning, return late Friday night, and remain in the same time zone for easy Skype sessions with the girls. Our weeks are full and exciting (for the girls; I find the sand table at the local special needs playgroup unfulfilling) and so with a fridge properly stocked with healthy convenience foods, I sail right through.

Maybe it was the full moon. Maybe it was because it was the week immediately following a long road trip vacation. Maybe it was the separation anxiety typical for Moira’s age and her tendency to upend anything that isn’t firmly nailed down (up to and including her sister). Whatever it was, my children totally and utterly lost the plot.

Sunday: This is easy! Delicious fresh pasta and sauce left for us by Daddy in the fridge? No squabbles? A call with Nana and some quiet movie time? Simplicity itself, all. I’m mother of the year.

Monday: Moira discovers her upper body strength, launching herself onto the bay window ledge and scaling her toy kitchen. Maggie takes solace in her new yoga practice, but they begin to irritate each other. Overheard on Skype: “Are you smirking? ARE YOU SMIRKING AT THEM SCREAMING?”

Tuesday: Everything goes swimmingly well until the post-nap/pre-bedtime hour. What is it about then? Lots of families report issues around this time; they’re the little-kid-witching hours. Blood sugar amiss? It’s just endless bickering and crabbing and sniping, with lots of hitting and kicking for good measure. Nobody eats a proper dinner. Finally at 6:45pm, Maggie announces “I need to put on my pajamas.” In the immortal words of Mrs. Tweedy from Chicken Run, “Finally, something we agree on.”

Wednesday: Longtime readers of this site know that I have a condition called optic nerve hypoplasia, which in layman’s terms means that the optic nerve in my left eye didn’t develop correctly. It doesn’t connect to my brain; I don’t even have light perception in that eye, rendering me effectively half-blind with limited peripheral vision. I tell you that so you’ll understand why I no longer can use checkouts at the grocery store that make me face right: Moira figured out how to undo the strap on the shopping cart, stood up, and LEAPT into my arms…which were not waiting for her. I didn’t even realize she had stood up until the cashier screamed, but managed to catch her before she hit the ground. This was after we got sucked into a conversation with an older woman who was also named “Margaret” and whom I didn’t realize was quite racist until well into our talk. Maybe I should have named Maggie something modern and new, like Madysyn and older racist women won’t talk to us.

Later that evening, Moira sprang from her tiny potty, ran into the hall, peed, and then ran into Maggie’s room beelining for the pillow. Let’s add “DO NOT RUB YOUR GENITALS ON YOUR SISTER’S PILLOW!” to things I never thought I would, but have now, said.

When I got into bed myself, I discovered a flashlight, Maggie’s favorite book, and a personalized Scrabble-tile pendant emblazoned with “Maggie” in my bed. Child, if you want to illicitly sneak out of your room at nap time that’s your business, but watch an episode of “CSI” next time to avoid rookie mistakes.

Thursday: Today was our day of mystery. Somehow, without using a knife or scissors and with me in the room and her father on Skype not noticing, Maggie made two vertical tears in her t-shirt of equal length and of perfect straightness, going straight through the hem. Maggie doesn’t put things back where she found them, and all our knives and scissors were accounted for. “Did you use a knife or scissors?” “Scissors.” “Which ones?” “The red ones.”

We don’t OWN red scissors. Asking for a reenactment is pretty sophisticated at Maggie’s language level, so I didn’t bother. A friend theorized that perhaps cuts or tears were made at an earlier time (perhaps at school) and Maggie just exaggerated them with her fingers. It is the most plausible but doesn’t account for the cleanness of the cuts, nor the slice through the hem stitching.

In other news, Moira is climbing on and subsequently falling off everything, and refusing to eat any of her meals in favor of throwing her dishes to the floor in great splattering crashes.

Friday: After a week of smashed dishes, climbing children, and shirts torn to ribbons, I post this status update: “The kids haven’t destroyed any furniture or electronics yet, but there’s still a full day left to this ridiculous business trip. Aim high, my children. I have faith in you, and we could use a new TV cabinet.”

5:45p.m.: Moira, in an attempt to scale the dollhouse, cracks part of it. Good job, kid. I knew you could do it.

6:30p.m.: I no longer care. Bounce around, children! Daddy will be home to handle the morning shift.

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You know, they have totally worn me out this week, the little feral devils. But I haven’t stopped laughing for a second. They just crack me up. I adore them shamelessly.

…Even if I still can’t find the knife and/or scissors used.

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3 thoughts on “Chronicle of a Business Trip Foretold

  1. OMG, I am dreading the husband-business-travel week after our baby is born. My husband has one week of business travel in August, September and October already scheduled, and with the time change he ends up missing the weekend on both sides. I’m nervous I will go insane taking care of a small baby all alone, but it’s nice to see that humor can get you pretty far through a week.

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