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Déjà Vu All Over Again

23 Mar

Perhaps you saw me last night at Trader Joes schlepping my half-naked infant  in a stroller, while trying to keep up with my three-year-old who was hell bent on careening her mini shopping cart into every passerby…….but I digress.

It’s not the winter weather on my baby’s tender skin or anxiety-ridden apologies to every Trader Joes patron that has me down. It’s déjà vu all over again for me.

I start each morning with my usual mantras: “expect the unexpected” and “its motherhood-anything goes.” Yesterday was no different. At 7:30 a.m., the routine began. Breakfast, teeth brushed, kids dressed and out the door to preschool. As I pulled out of the driveway, I mentally chewed on my schedule for the day:  grocery shopping, naps, then a trip with the kids to Stretch the Imagination. In the back seat, Ella, my three-year-old, settled into a persistent cough that had me worried.  I left a message for her doctor and proceeded to the grocery store. All was going as planned.  I developed a masterpiece of dinner menus the night before and was quite pleased with myself. I checked my watch, no time now, I’ll visit TJs later. The doctor called back as I sped over to Ella’s school. “Check her for a fever,” he said. As soon as the words issued from his mouth, I swear she developed a fever instantaneously.

Plans were quickly changed to make an afternoon doctor visit. On the way to the doctor, unbeknownst to me, my darling infant, Zinnia, had the poop blow out of her life, soiling her diaper and pants thoroughly. I cleaned her up on the doctor’s examining table and of course had no other clothes for her but  a diaper, shirt and flimsy sweater—and its February, and raining. As the doctor examined Ella, she breezily pointed out the glob of poop I somehow missed on the exam table. Perfect. Thanks honey for being so observant.

After leaving the doctor, I wondered how I can slip over to TJs to complete my shopping list. It’s only a few items, and I can wrap up Zinnia in my jacket.  Bad idea. TJs is ALWAYS crowded, but uncommonly so tonight. Ella insists on her own cart. What I normally think is cute, turns disastrous as she heads down each aisle energetically, as if it were her own private pin ball machine and the shoppers her bumpers. “So sorry,” I call over my shoulder to each victim in her path. Fellow moms nod compassionately, singletons roll their eyes and older folk express pure dismay as they hop out of Ella’s way. Meanwhile, Zinnia kicks off the jacket to reveal her sweet, pink and overexposed flesh garnering some disapproving glances-can you believe that mother takes her baby out like that—in this weather!

I ignored them all and rolled up to the checker, exhausted. Ella wanted the pink balloon floating serenely above. As I began to unload our cart, she noticed a purple balloon half way down the line of check stands. She screeched in a voice that could be heard in the far reaches of the parking lot, “noooooooo mommmmmmyyyy, I want the purple ballooooonnnn!” She didn’t wait for my answer, but cranked her cart backwards and down the row. I’ve now lost my game face and shoulders slump in defeat. The TJ checkers have seen this before and graciously grab the purple balloon for Ella-all is saved.

Once in the car, I took a few deep breaths and reflected over what happened to me in the past six hours. I silently began my chant again, “expect the unexpected,” “its motherhood, anything goes,” and I wonder what tomorrow will bring.