Why I tell the doctor I work out

Sunday dawned bright and warm, and the kids wanted to be out in it. But Anya is very much in not-listening mode, so no way am I taking her and Kai to the park all by myself…that’s a recipe for disaster right there.


I thought instead we’d go run a few errands; that would get us out of the house, at least. A couple of stops, max. We’d be back by mid-afternoon.


Preparing to leave: 10:00 am

Fed the children while loading the dishwasher with one hand and slurping tea with the other. Attempted to corral them in the living room with their toys and a movie so they were entertained while I got ready. Nice try. Kai stood at the baby gate and howled while I put on makeup and fixed my hair.

Dressed myself and Kai while Anya dressed herself. She emerged in a dress and heels. Tried to talk her into wearing comfortable shoes. Lost.


On our way out the door, Anya noticed my parents were home and casually suggested we stop by and say hi. Which is code for “I need to beg Mimi to come with us so I get my way.”


However, Mom had things to do around the house, so she declined to join us on our outing. But if we brought back strawberries, she’d make shortcake. Off we went.


In the car: 1:00 pm

Kai was asleep when I put him in the car, but then I had to grab something from the house. When I returned, 30 seconds later, Anya was screaming (really – screaming!) because, she says, she thought I was just going to leave them in the car. (Seriously, she wasn’t even buckled in to the car seat; she could have, oh, come in the house if she were that worried.) So Kai was no longer asleep, and in fact did not get a full nap at all that day. And he’s teething. Yeah.


Back out of the garage and head towards Michael’s. Anya has been to Michael’s many times. But for some reason she was insistent in her belief that:

  1. Michael was a person.
  2. She knew Michael.
  3. We were going to his house.

And carried on about it for 45 minutes. Finally I just turned the stereo up so I couldn’t hear her. Yeah, I went there.


We arrived at Michael’s, finally, and I parked. Anya gasps. “I love this place! This my favorite place!”



Michael’s: 2:00 pm

Start gathering silk flowers for a new table arrangement. Kai does not like shopping for flowers; he begins to fuss, then scream. Walk him around until he calms, then go back for the flowers.

Stop by the bead section and get an idea for a gift.* Go ahead and pick out the materials because Kai likes beads (which I know because he’s stopped fussing at me). Unfortunately, so does Anya, and  she wants some. But she’s too young for these beads. (Lead content, maybe?) Buy her off with a kids’ craft kit that costs more than the rest of my purchases together.


Look at materials for other craft projects, but decide I’m probably pushing the limits of my available free time with what’s in the basket already. Plus, Kai is starting to lose it again. Cut my losses and leave.


Lowe’s: 3:30 pm

“Lowe’s!” screams Anya, as we get back in the car. “I want to go to Lowe’s!” So we go. I don’t know what she wants at Lowe’s, but what harm?

We look at plants for about 30 seconds before she starts complaining that her feet hurt.


Quickly make a purchase* and get back in the car.


Back in the car: 4:00 pm

I start heading for Whole Foods. “You have crunchies?” Anya asks. It is, in fact, kid dinnertime. I had not intended to stay out this late, but here we are. If I let her snack, she would not eat dinner. Damn.

After some finagling (and a call to my mother, who confirmed that, indeed, she was not twiddling her thumbs waiting on the strawberries), Anya consented to eat dinner at “peanut butter place” (Panera). Which, as luck would have it, is right across the street from Whole Foods.


I could do Panera.


Panera Bread: 4:15 pm

Soup and a sandwich for me, mac-n-cheese and an apple for Anya, PB&J and yogurt for Kai. Anya was enchanted by the frosted shortbread cookies at the checkout counter (even though she’s had them before and didn’t care for them). I told her that if she behaved through dinner, I’d get one for her afterwards.

I was really hoping she would behave, too, because Panera’s brownies are tasty.

Kai snatched his juice box from me and managed to squirt half of it down the front of him before I even managed to sit down. I emptied the napkin holder at the beverage center (thus earning the stink-eye from my fellow diners) to clean up the mess. Turns out I did not need them all, so I set the rest aside for the messes yet to come. (There are always future messes. Always.) Which didn’t stop Anya from raising her skirt to wipe her mouth, showing everyone in the dining area her Hello Kitty panties. When she wasn’t laying on the booth seat with her feet in the air, I mean.


It was a successful dinner, though. We all ate pretty much everything on our plates, only got a little on the floor, and nobody cried.


Still, Anya did not get her cookie, because I had to say no 147 times during the course of the meal. Mostly regarding the laying down/skirt napkin business.

No, she got a whole box of cookies at Fresh Market. Showed her, I did.



Whole Foods: 5:00 pm

Somehow managed to pick up the things I’d come after (except their strawberries were kinda sad looking) without screaming or losing my cool. Though the times I said “Come here, come here, come here NOW” numbered well into the double digits.

Anya and I had a deep, philosophical conversation about why I no longer drink coffee.

“Mommy drinks too much coffee when she drinks coffee,” I told her. “And then Mommy doesn’t feel well. Tea is better for Mommy.”
“I like coffee,” she replied. “Mimi gives me coffee.”
“And that’s on her,” I replied, earning a snort from an employee.

I noticed other people’s children behaving badly – swinging from the refrigerator doors, screaming, throwing things on the floor – and left feeling much better about myself and my children.



Fresh Market: 6:00 pm

Strawberries, whipped cream, bread. And cookies, because I only had to say no 34 times while we picked those three things up. Mostly thanks to the fact that, in explaining why I did not want her to play on the split-rail fence out front, I reminded Anya that my grandmother is dead, and she was far too busy asking about that to act up.

“You had a Mimi?”
“Poppy had a mom?”
“Yes, sweetheart.”
“Where she go?”
“She died, honey. Remember? We went to her funeral.”
“Why she dead?”
“Because she was old, honey.”
“Why she old?”

Bought myself a brownie. It wasn’t as good as Panera’s, but it was chocolate and I needed chocolate.


Kai was pawing at my top all the way through the store, so I nursed him in the car while Anya and I ate our treats. He nursed a little, but mostly pulled on my nipple and gawked at everyone. Good thing I have no modesty whatsoever anymore.

We had a trunk full of perishables; time to go home. An hour Anya filled with questions about my Mimi, questions about Michael, and apologies for things she’s done – not just that day, but in general.

Suddenly, silence. They were both asleep. We were 10 minutes from home.


I drove around for an extra 5 minutes, just on principle. Dairy be damned.


Home: 7:30 pm

We got home just in time to shower and go to bed. We were asleep by 9, and slept hard – I don’t even think Kai nursed once during the night.

The next morning, I awoke groggy and sore, as though I’d done hard physical labor the day before.


Because I had, dammit. Going places with children is a workout, in and of itself, and should count as such.


*I’d be more specific about my purchases, but they were Mother’s Day presents, and it’s entirely possible my mother could stumble across this blog.



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