I consider myself a ‘Patriots widow’ because my husband has seasons tickets. This means that at minimum – 8 Sundays a year I am left to fend for myself from about 8 a.m. until well after bedtime with all three kids. As if working full time, three kids, volunteering at the school, doing a half ass job at writing a kick ass blog, etc. isn’t enough – I get to add Single Parent Sundays to the list starting each September. Last year, I was in my third trimester during football season. I remember Sunday afternoons when I would literally stick the kids in the bathtub for two hours straight just to kill time and keep them contained to one place while I sat on the floor, read magazines and stuffed myself with Smartfood.
At least this year I’m not pregnant. But that means that the baby that was once so nicely contained in my womb is now on the loose as a fully functioning 9 month old. So, as usual I was expecting this past Sunday to be a rough one. For starters, it was drizzling out which automatically killed any hopes for inducing outdoor exhaustion. And, said 9 month old is teething so badly he actually drew blood from gnawing at his fist – poor thing. So there I was – with all three kids to myself, an empty fridge, a laundry pile that gives my dish rack a run for its money and a bad hair day to top things off. Yep. Bring on Sunday Funday.
First things first, I decided a trip to the grocery store was in order. If I can’t let them tucker themselves out by playing outside then I still have the old faithful, stuff-their bellies-into-a-food-induced-nap option. Into the minivan we went. Matthew still in his sleeper, Jake in his favorite Star Wars T-shirt, Addison in her Cozy Pants (anything fleece material automatically bestows the title Cozy) and rain boots. We sludge into Market Basket, which on a rainy Sunday Morning is probably about as packed as the parking lot that my carefree, child-less husband is currently tailgating at with a cold beer in hand. The only difference is that the grocery store is filled with wet frazzled women with crying babies and the parking lot is filled with celebratory child-free, cold beer drinking guys. But I digress…
Naturally I hit the free coffee station in the bakery first to give myself the liquid strength to go on, and grab a few sugary donuts to muzzle the kids for the next few isles. Next I grab a couple of rotisserie chickens, multiple forms of wheat bread, snack foods, three variations of yogurt, Dinosaur chicken nuggets (a freezer staple) and other such sundries. And before you know it, one cart is full and I still have half a list to go. In hindsight, putting a 6 year old in charge of grocery cart navigation was probably not the best option but it was the only option at the time. And he seemed to really enjoy bumper carts. Two cart fulls later, we finish our shopping and lo and behold, the line is so long that there is literally a store manager charged with keeping rows of shoppers and their carts in single files. Struck by a very temporary moment of genius, I grab a bag of party balloons from the isle end cap and let each kid pick which color they want me to blow up for them. As Jake circles his sister, they burst out giggling at the giant “tail” he creates when he sticks the 12 inch banana shaped balloon between his legs. I proceed to pay, being careful not to make eye contact with any of the onlookers as he and Addison are now doubled over in hysterics at their new found inflatable body parts. Just another day at the grocery store.
Back at home, I kill the next hour letting the kids “help” unload groceries as Matthew crawls amidst a Mount Everest of plastic grocery bags in the middle of my kitchen floor. As they help unpack bags asking where each item goes, I continue to stuff them further with slices of deli meat, yogurt tubes and juice boxes.
After settling Matthew down for his nap, I declare “It’s Movie Time” and make a big deal of getting them in their seats, dimming the lights and preparing them each a surprise snack tray of goodies. As I queue the movie, I notice eyelids are starting to droop. This is all part of my master plan.
Three sleeping children for three hours straight. I’ve never hit the lottery but this must be what it feels like.
With a spotless house, an empty hamper and homemade matzo ball soup simmering on the stove they each wake up all sweet smelling and groggy. We gather at the table over what tastes like home sweet home if it were a food, laugh at each other taking turns at making funny slurpy noises with our soup and eventually make our way to the family room for a game of Sorry together. Later that night when Chris got home, I followed him into the kids’ rooms to tuck them in one last time together, and with Jake still barely awake, Chris said to him,
“Hey buddy! How was your day?”
To which Jake responded,