There have been times in my writing career that I have slightly exaggerated a story for comedic effect. Not much, mind you. Just a detail or two, here or there. For instance, when my kids are driving me insane, I don’t actually chug a whole bottle of whiskey.
It’s half a bottle, tops.
So, with that said, let me assure you that what follows below is not one of those times. It’s all true. Every single, last, horrifying detail.
It started out mundane enough. I took my kids to a children’s event hosted by the local library. A “multicultural concert for families featuring new and familiar songs played with a Brazilian beat,” to be exact. All that was missing were some organic vegan cookies and some one-legged, free range, orphan chickens and it would have been a skit straight out of “Portlandia.”
But it was either that or spend more time playing Batman vs. Little Bunny Foo Foo with my toddler, so I schlepped the whole crew over for some fancy music learnin.’
As we were sitting there waiting for the music to start, I noticed the not unhandsome guitarist staring at me. I’ll admit, it was a bit of a confidence booster. I mean, I had a baby only nine months ago. And when your days are filled with cleaning poop off a series of tiny tooshies (including the dog’s), it can be hard to feel attractive. I even sat up a little straighter. Started telling myself, “hey lady, you’re still keeping it tight, despite the oatmeal in your hair.”
Which is when I look down and notice that my shirt is unbuttoned almost down to my naval (thanks to the friction from wearing a baby carrier). A fact I had been oblivious about for 12 whole minutes, giving everyone in the band a good look at my boobs that were casually hanging out like they owned the place.
I discreetly try to button it back up when I made my second big mistake of the day. I was reaching into the diaper bag to pull out a toy for the baby when the toddler saw the chocolate-covered raisins I’d thrown in there as a treat to eat after the show. There are few things this kid loves more than raisins. But one of those things is chocolate. So, you can imagine his reaction.
“OOOOOOOHHHHHH…NOW WE EAT CHOCOLATE RAISINS! MOMMY! MOMMY! CHOCOLATE RAISINS! MOMMMMMMMMYYYYYYYY!”
I quietly inform him he can have them after the concert. And so now I’m stuck with a kid that, after every song ends but before the polite applause begins, yells “NOW WE EAT CHOCOLATE RAISINS!”
After the fifth song and the fifth time being denied his CHOCOLATE RAISINS, he decides to have a meltdown.
Because of course.
I knew when I was beat. I tell him we are going home and start grabbing our 17 pounds of items scattered around my chair (coats, hats, baby shoes that had been kicked off, diaper bag, sippy cup, the kitchen sink, my deflated ego). And it’s as I stand up that I realize my son has untied my shoes when I wasn’t looking. This is quickly followed by the realization that I have an undone and bulky baby carrier hanging down to my knees because I never took it off when we got there. Meanwhile, the band is still playing. Which is relevant because as I’m making the world’s most awkward and disruptive exit in the world’s smallest library (all our stuff in one arm, baby who is hanging off me like a giant sack of flour because she never learned to cling like a normal baby on the other), my son decides he doesn’t want to leave and runs back in front of the playing musicians, hysterically crying and yelling “NOOOOOO!” at the top of his lungs.
As I go to get him, still holding everything, baby still a lifeless sack of flour, shoes still untied, still tripping over the baby carrier, another mom informs me my shirt had come undone. Again.
Because of course.
So, now I’m trying to drag my toddler, (gently, because we are in public) away from the musicians, while still holding everything, tripping over everything and also now trying to discreetly button up my slutty, slutty shirt.
As you can imagine, everyone is staring.
And yet no one will look me in the eye.
I finally get him in what I assume is an out of the way location to stuff him into his coat and get the hell out of this, my own personal hell, all while telling him to knock it off in my best Batman voice. I’m pretty sure I also said something along the line of “stop being a butthead.” Which I don’t feel bad about because no one can hear us. Which is when I realize we are blocking the way to the bathroom and a group of moms and kids is waiting for us to finish our ridiculous family drama so they can pee.
Somehow, by the grace of God and whatever deity is in charge of mortifying moments at child-centric events, we make it outside the library. He’s still crying, I’m practically throwing chocolate covered raisins at him, and the baby’s left hand is now stuck in my hair, which is making it hard for me to button up my shirt (BECAUSE MY BOOBS ARE STILL HANGING OUT) and tie my shoes because my head is at an awkward 90 degree angle.
Luckily, all this is in full few of everyone, who are now leaving and awkwardly filing past because the concert picked that moment to end.
Because of course.
And all this is one very long way of saying that alcohol should always, ALWAYS, be served at children’s events.