Monday, May 18, 2009

A body in motion stays in motion

I went in the daycare center to pick up the girls and the first child of mine that I spotted was E, who screamed, grabbed my arm and dragged me to her cubby. I tried to pack her empty bowls and cups but she yelled NO! Take my sweater first! so I complied, and stuffed her sweater in the bottom of her backpack. Then we piled her art projects, Spanish worksheet, numbers worksheet, show-and-tell, and empty bowls and cups on top. We got her jacket off the hook and went to L's room. L wouldn't put her bowl of chicken in her backpack, and insisted (by tugging and screeching) on carrying her chicken bowl. So I packed up her other foods and grabbed her jacket and her doll (sympathy show-and-tell) and tried to usher the girls out the door and that's when the trouble started.

One of the teachers (whom I am sure had good intentions but she had no idea how much trouble she was about to cause me) yelled goodbye to the girls. E went flying towards her to fling a hug upon her. L waved goodbye and very carpe diemly picked up her sister's jacket and backpack, such that she was carrying one chicken bowl, one doll, two backpacks and two jackets, gloating at the top of her little voice Bahpah! Bahpah! Ja-uh! Ja-uh! Then, E had no choice but to begin her own screeching. MAMA!! SHE HAS MY THINGS ALL OF THEM SHE HAS THEM AND I DON'T WANT HER HAVING THEM MAMA!! This was followed, as I'm sure you know, by grabbing L's wrist and yanking the jacket from her. It was only a matter of self-defense that E began to put it on but I pleaded with her not to. But WHY? she shriek/whined (shwined?) and L began reaching for the half-dangling Big Sister Jacket. "Because it's not cold out and you always put it on and then complain the whole car ride home that you're too hot." L sensed defeat on the BSJ and began to put on her own jacket, which made E shwine some more. But L's wearing hers!! "But L doesn't get hot like you, and she doesn't complain like you." Then L grabbed both backpacks and ran towards the door, while unjacketed E gave chase.

At the doorway we found a sentry. E's friend S was holding the door open. E screamed. S stared. E shwined. S stared. E cried and fell to the floor. Mama! But I wanted to open the door! L darted through the open door into the vestibule. S stared. E cried into the carpet. I kindly thanked S and asked her if she would mind just letting go, though, because despite her really nice gesture E also wanted a door-opening turn. S stared. L did the Two Backpack Vestibule Happy DanceTM. E screamed some more. The teacher who had said goodbye was sort of giggling behind me, watching the whole thing and trying not to get caught giggling. I asked her if I have the loudest two kids in the whole school. She laughed more. She didn't dissent.

S's mom lifted S out of the door frame. S shwined. E pulled the door closed and pushed it open and grabbed her backpack. S cried into the carpet. L shwined into the Vestibule Amplifying Echo ChamberTM. E tore her backpack apart, flung her jacket on the ground and donned her sweater. I collected her backpack contents as she pushed open the outer door and ran to the tree. I begged her sister to come outside. L grabbed the discarded jacket and shimmied the Consolation Prize Two Jacket Semi-Happy DanceTM down the sidewalk. E hugged the tree and ran to the next tree and hugged it and ran past our car en route to the third tree, which she hugged just as I yelled to her to come back and get in the car. I succeeded in making L scream by temporarily separating her from her chicken bowl and her doll so that I could buckle her carseat straps and I yelled to E that if she hugged another tree she would have no books at bedtime so she ran to the fourth tree and encircled it with her arms so that her fingertips touched but very exaggeratedly did not squeeze its trunk. I made L cry again by taking the car keys she had stolen from my jeans pocket, explaining to her for the gazbillionth time that I needed them to drive. E ran into the car and climbed up in her carseat and as I asked her why on Earth she wasn't leaning back and starting to buckle her carseat straps she rationalized to me, because, Mama, I'm hot. And I need to take off my sweater first.

But now they're happily coexisting, swinging outside on the swingset under the supervision of a neighbor girl who has just little enough experience with kids to think these tantrums are cute. E's on the glider and L's in the toddler swing* and I hope our neighbor realizes just how well she'll have earned the $2/hour she charges me to "mother's help" with my kids, because both of them have been planted in swings for at least 25 minutes. Not since they were little have I had so much free arm-age, but then it came from depositing them in the (indoor) Fisher Price Ocean Wonder Aquarium Twinkleness and Hypnotification Infant Swing TM. And for that, I had to buy size C batteries by the metric ton, which certainly costs more than a $2/hour helper. If I could invent a similar electronic mechanism to power the outdoor swingset, that would be patentable genius. But it would probably require an awful lot of batteries, so many so that I'd feel compelled to switch to rechargeable. And all those charging panels have to plug in somewhere, which is a problem because as it is I feel I don't have enough electrical outlets in this house.

*I feel compelled to note: even within her toddler bucket swing, L is still clutching her not-show-and-tell doll and her chicken bowl. Pin It