Starts before we even go. Sitting down at the kitchen table. Notebook open. Staring out window.
What do I need to buy at the market? Should I go to the organic market or just take extra time at a traditional one? I gu-
“MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!! MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! MOOOOOOOOM!!!“
Rush to get up from the table, hitting my knee because I’m taller than necessary. Trip over purse, toy, cantaloupe (wha-?), shoes. Get to girls room. Not there. My room. Of course. Walk in, heart in my foot, unable to breathe, panting. Have to pee.
“RYLEIGH CALL 911!!!!! ARE YOU OKAY WHAT’S HAPPENING?!”
She’s whispering now. “Can I use your Avon nail polish? The blue one?” Holy thoughts of slapping. I just stare at her and count to ten. Six times.
“Yes, Ryleigh. Maybe the next time you could just say (I make my voice pretend loud-ish), ‘Hey Mom can I use your nail polish?’ or something like that.”
She’s laughing because I’m so crazy with my crazy ideas. “Mom that’s what I said.” Walks past me. “Thanks!”
“We have to go to the market in a bit Ry. After you do your nails get ready, please, okay?”
This gives me enough time to prepare the Don of our household. She’s a two-year-old toddler named Logan. Big belly. Short fuse. I prepare myself to be sweet. Put on my big smile. Walk into the living room.
“Hey Lola Bola, what are you doing?” Her face falls and her eyes water. She’s walking slowly toward me, like in a zombie movie.
“I SOWWY MOM I SO SOWWY I DINT MEAN A DO IT.” I’m still smiling because my face is frozen with fear.
I’m whispering now. “Do what, Logan?” Logan shouts that she’s sowwy again and runs out of the room. I stand there for a minute. I say aloud, my voice cracking a bit, “I just want to purchase some groceries, Jesus.” That was a prayer. To Jesus. I’m not going to look for whatever Logan apologized for right now. I need to get to the market. I turn right around. Walk into girls’ room.
“Lo, it’s okay baby. We are going to go to the market to get some food, do you want to pick out your clothes?” Still smiling.
“Ma, I no wanna doe too da mahkit my baby so sick she be kyin awe da tiiiiiime. I don’t yeave huh.” I’d foreseen this. I was ready. Whipped out big, leopard print silk scarf.
“You don’t have to leave Logan, Logan.” She has five favorite dolls. They are named Babydoll, Babydoll, Baydoll, Logan, and Logan. “You can bring her in your VERRRY OOOWWNNN…BABY CARRIER!!” I’m very excited.
“I dot a baby cayyuh? Yaaaay! Tum on Yodin, you don’t be khy otay?” Good, doll Logan has stopped crying. I strap doll Logan to Don Logan, who is beaming with pride and satisfaction.
“Mom, you memba my baby cayyuh?” Um, the baby carrier that I just gave you?
“Yeah, I remember it! It’s so cool! Where are you shoes?” Trying to use the momentum of the carrier surprise.
“I yost it.” Of course. We start looking when Ryleigh comes in.
“Mom, I’m not saying I’m sick so don’t call me a histochondria or whatever, but look at this gash in my chin – what do you think that’s from?” She comes to me with her head tilted back and her finger pointing to a space on her little chin. A space that appears to me to be gash and blemish free.
“Ry I don’t see anything. Have you seen Logan’s shoes?”
“Mom did you even look at my chin? There’s a huge GASH and it’s probably going to go down to my belly or something?”
“Ryleigh define ‘gash.’” She looks at me and rolls her eyes.
“You never take me seriously! I don’t know where Logan’s shoes are but I’m staying here while you go to the market.”
“No you’re not. Get your shoes on, please. And look up the word gash!” She makes a sound like a gorilla in heat and storms off. Logan is – I look around – Logan is gone. Great.
“Looo where are you?”
“I use poddy.” Okay. I’ll find the shoes. I see one in an open dresser drawer. Good. I leave it there because if I pick it up I’ll lose it again. I start searching for the other. I’m under the bed when Lo comes over.
“You hidin’? Yes, Logan, I’m hiding.
“No I’m looking for your other shoe.” Walk out to search my room. “Jesus, if you could please help me find this shoe, that would be a very Christ-like thing to do. Amen.” Another prayer.
“I fine it, Mom! I fine mine udda one shoe!” Logan runs in with the shoe.
“Thanks, Babe! You’re such a big helper fo-” WHOA. Logan’s butt. It stinks. “Lo, did you poop?”
“No!” Stern face.
“No, I mean did you poop when you were on the potty? Logan you’re supposed to call me when you poop, remember?” Kid’s really funking up my bedroom.
“No. I wipe mine self. I big guh.” She smiles and looks up at me proudly. “I stink?”
“Umm, yeah, kinda. Let’s wash up, Lo.” I’m exasperated. Bathroom’s in her room. As we walk toward it I confirm my suspicion that the shoe she’d brought me was the one I’d found. Run the water. Logan starts crying.
“What, Logan? What’s wrong?”
“I don’t yike showa I want take baf!” Making a fake sad face.
“Lo we don’t have time for a bath right now we are going to the market if Jesus ever helps me.”
“No! I don’t YIKE showa! I want take BAF!” I kiss her cheek and tell her that we can “take bath” when we get back. She screams the entire time I wash her. New underwear. New jeans. Still one shoe. Walk to living room. Ryleigh is reading.
“Ry, do you think you could please help me find her shoe?” My vision is blurring. I have high blood pressure.
“What shoe, Mom? I don’t see a shoe. Maybe you’re a shoe hypnochondria or whatever.” Cute. Cute girl. She gets up and starts to search, without looking at me. I’m getting the cold shoulder.
Then I see it. The mess that Logan had apologized for. On the side of the couch that faces the wall. Cooked rice. Everywhere. In some weird, crazy toddler pattern. She did this on purpose. I just breathe. Start picking up the rice.
“Moooom, I found Logan’s shoe in the closet but also THERE ARE A WHOLE BUNCHA ANTS IN HERE. Like an ant parade. Or an ant country. Wait, what’s bigger, a country or a continent?” Your face, Ryleigh. Your face is bigger.
“Okay, Babe. I’ll get that ant spray. Can you please pick up the rest of this rice?”
“Can Logan help me since she did it?” Fair question. Annoying, but fair.
“Ry you know she’s just going to make it harder to clean. Thanks, Babe.” She shrugs. Kid’s used to it.
“You’re welcome.” Picks up rice. I get spray. Bring it to the coat closet. It’s more like an ant town but whatever. I spray. Sigh. Say aloud, “Jesus, what’s going on?”
Ry asks, “What did you say?”
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah, just tired.”
“Why don’t we go to the market tomorrow?” Concern in her voice.
“Well all I have is tuna fish and broccoli.”
“We like that.” I love this kid.
“I don’t have bread.”
Laughter. “Mom, you’re a mess. That’s okay. We don’t even like bread.” Yes they do.
“Okay, babe. I’ll cook in a minute.”
Thank you, Jesus.