About me: I'm 40 and just added a gherkin to our pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our 7-year-old Junior, our 4-year-old Everett and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). When I'm not busy working as a graphic designer, I lie in a ball in the corner.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
I'm not 100% sure I like children
Last night I went to bed at 7:45. And it wasn’t one of those gee, yawn, stretch, I’m pooped maybe I’ll hit the sack. It was I am going to die if I don’t lie down and shut out the world.
Why the tizzy?
I brought Junior to IKEA. On a Saturday.
All I wanted to do was buy a topiary tree for my office. Trees and plants keep dying in my office, but that doesn’t stop me from trying again. If I admit that plants can’t live in there, what does that say about human life? Anyway, a coworker overheard me talking about the $19.99 topiary trees, and she sweetly asked me to pick one up for her. As did the coworker next to her.
So, here we go: IKEA. Saturday. Junior. Three topiary trees.
Chuck happened to mention to his sister, Angela, that I was taking Junior down to IKEA. She offered to meet me since she lives a few minutes away and has two little girls who like to pet Junior (I’m serious, they brush him with their hands, which is very cute but also very show pony-ish).
I like Angela because even though she’s not on lithium she acts like she is. She says she’s taking the B family of vitamins. I think I took those vitamins in college—from a bong.
Revised agenda: IKEA. Saturday. Junior. Three topiary trees. Chuck’s sister, Angela. Two little girls.
Angela happened to mention to Chuck’s step-father that we were taking Junior and the girls to IKEA and since he is retired and does nothing but craft life-sized wooden cows in his free time, he offered to meet us. (I’m not kidding, the backyard of Chuck’s parents’ house looks like a miniature dairy farm.)
Revised agenda #2: IKEA. Saturday. Junior. Three topiary trees. Chuck’s sister. Two little girls. Chuck’s step-dad.
I won’t bore you with the details of our trip except to say that there was something happening in the children’s section of the cafeteria that was straight out of Lord of the Flies. Furniture was thrown. Children were beating their chests and jumping against walls. Boys screamed. Girls screeched. The goings-on were so traumatizing that they instilled in me a profound and all-encompassing fear of Junior’s fifth birthday party, recess, playgrounds—basically anything having to do with children.
I’m pretty sure I ate; the crusty piece of macaroni I found wedged into my shirt collar is evidence that at some point food was near my mouth.
And then, the store.
Oh holy mother, the store. Junior wanted to touch everything. He wanted to yell “fast! fast!” then show us how he could run fast. For the hour it took for us to wind through that evil maze of a store, I bent over to remove his hand from stemware, lifted his 25-pound writhing body as he tried to pull curtains down from the wall, wrestled him into the carriage only to have him scream “down, down!” Basically, I laughed, cried, stretched, ran, jumped—I might have even thrown up at one point.
And I hadn’t even gotten the fucking topiary trees yet.
Finally we got to the damn plant section, which was the last stop before the registers. I crammed the trees into the carriage and wiped my dripping brow (I had long since abandoned most of my clothes, because it was a hellish 90 degrees in the store) and raced to the registers.
The end was in sight.
I paid for the trees. We all walked to the door. Stood a moment. And everyone said goodbye. Leaving me to push a carriage full of trees and a child to the far corners of the slushy parking lot.
You know what? That’s fine. I bought the trees. I didn’t ask for help. But after I had put Junior in his car seat and thrown the trees on top of the stroller, bags of sand and other miscellaneous and unnecessarily large hatchback items, I sat in my front seat and contemplated dropping Junior off at my mother’s and buying a one-way ticket to an island where liquor is plentiful and so is silence.
Until yesterday, I never would have associated IKEA with things like anarchy and Armageddon. But leaving the world of babies and venturing into the land of toddlers and children is a trip best taken with booze and small steps.
IKEA, until Junior is 21, I have to break up with you. Or at least meet you in back alleyways when no one is looking. And Junior, your fifth birthday party is going to be me, you, your dad and a leisurely stroll in the woods.
Emphasis on leisurely.