As it (not so surprisingly) turns out, it’s unlikely I’ll ever have the need to hotwire a car with a bobby pin. Even more depressing, I don’t actually possess the skills to stop bomb timers with paper clips or patch a car’s radiator with nothing but water and egg whites. Yet while it’s true I’m no secret agent getting into sticky situations, my gig as a mom requires no less thinking on my toes (and stickiness).
Recently I was at toddler story time. Despite the fact that it takes place in a library and not a third world jungle, there was a woman in attendance who was wearing what can only be described as “mom utility belt”. Around her waist, in khaki pockets, hung snacks and sippy cups, diapers and wipes, and I can only assume a stack of business cards that read “Mary Smith Professional Snot Wiper” considering when her son sneezed, her draw of the kleenex rivaled the gun slinging of Wyatt Earp. When my daughter did the same, I found myself tissue-less and in my usual fashion, sacrificed the inside of my sleeve. As I looked over, we locked eyes and with pursed lips and a satisfied look that had “AMATEUR!” written all over it, she shifted her gaze to her nylon belt of maternal glory.
But here’s what that future PTO President/Girl Scout Troop Leader/mall walker doesn’t know. What looks to her like ill-preparedness is actually my own version of Parental Survivor Man. Because I enjoy a challenge.
No carrier? No problem.
I hate strollers. I always have. Both my kids would often rather walk, leaving me stuck pushing around a giant inconvenience and taking innocent folks out as I struggle to keep up with the toddler on a mission. Last summer, on the VERY LAST day of the god forsaken fair, I felt guilted into taking both of them. ALONE. It’s the stuff of nightmares really.
I planned to attempt the day stroller free, relying on just my Ergo carrier. Yet my assumption that it was in the car was incorrect and I found myself in the parking lot of the fairgrounds empty handed. No need to panic. The kid can walk. A couple hours later she lost steam completely. I picked her up and she quickly passed out. Intent on riding 10 ton death traps until he puked (and I got every penny out of that overpriced wristband), we weren’t about to leave. So I finagled my backpack full of crap around to the front of my body and slipped her legs across me and over the strap to dangle from my hip. I kept my opposite arm under her head, but supported much of her weight on the pack itself. I felt slightly like I’d been dropped off a building by the time she woke up, but that’s not all that different than the way I usually feel.
That’s not coffee.
Last summer, a couple months before my daughter turned 2, I began to encourage her to ditch the diapers. As I’ve already established, I hate lugging extra shit around, especially wipes and diapers. One evening, we decided to finish out the day with a short trip to the beach just a block away. Tempting fate (and knowing she wasn’t going to swim anyway) I decided to forgo the swim diaper and just stick to the bathing suit she was already wearing. We couldn’t have been there more than 15 minutes before her innocent crouch in the sand became suspect. Slowly, she rose to stand and her waddle in my direction told me everything I needed to know.
Quickly, I scanned the beach and spied a gas station coffee cup, complete with lid, tossed carelessly behind a log. The turd, a noticeable lump sagging from her otherwise sweet and frilly pink bathing suit bottoms, was thankfully just the right kind for carefully rolling over the top as I pulled them down. I steadied the cup under her to catch it, much to the feigned disgust of my 7 year old. (Truthfully he found it hilarious and delighted in my clever use of litter.) I popped the lid on top, carried on about our business for a few more moments of playing before heading home and dropped it casually in the trash can on our way out. I even made eye contact with a gentleman watching the sunset while holding a cupful of my daughter’s feces and smiled at him all, “enjoy your evening”-like as he was none the wiser.
I guess that’s a lesson for us all. Never assume someone’s coffee cup doesn’t contain poop.
No spoon for your yogurt?
Listen, I remembered to bring food, so everybody just slow your roll. Yes, I brought yogurt. No, I didn’t bring spoons. Metal spoons add weight and require me to drag them home again. Willy nilly use of plastic utensils and wasting the resources required to produce them makes me feel like a bad person. And also, I sort of just forgot. So, take the foil lid and fold in two sides to make a point. Then twist the point until half of the lid is like a handle, and mold the other side into a scoop.
I blew my 8 year old’s mind when I pulled that clever move out. And much like any conversations I have about politics, I pretended the idea was my own and never mentioned I’d just read it on the internet.
No Pull Ups? I’ve got this.
For a good stretch of time post being day time potty trained, my son wore pull ups to bed. Not for lack of trying to stay dry at night. Somehow no matter how early we cut him off from drinking or how many times we woke him to pee, he’d wake up floating. Like he conjured it out of the moisture in the air. A couple times a month I’d begrudgingly drop 15 bucks on a pack of what looked like giant man diapers and cross my fingers it would be the last.
One night at bedtime, I discovered we were fresh out. My husband had taken the car to a gig and wouldn’t be home until the wee hours of the morning. So I improvised. With a strategic arrangement of panty liners.
Momgyver’s coming for you, Angus MacGyver.