Another Auntie weighs in on parenting-for-the-day while I was gone. My initial reactions:
1) You let the kid ride in the FRONT seat? In the SNOW?
2) Families freak me out, too.
3) Welcome to my world: butt cracks, fruit loops, and dead mice.
Now, on to the hilarity:
It’s Friday afternoon. I’ve been all over town, running manically from one appointment to the next. The snow, they say, is coming, but no sign of it yet. I manage to get out of my office and onto I25 in time. On the way I realize that I don’t know what the fuck E. was talking about regarding booster seats and how to get in the house without a key (actually, there was no mention of the latter in his unprecedentedly epic email). I call him at work to check on said details.
I arrive at the house, use the garage code, get into the house, and see the car seats sitting in the mud room. I look closer: what am I supposed to do with all those straps? How do I get that shit in my Honda Civic two-door? I start reading directions on the tags of the seats. They’re indecipherable. I call E. for the second time, and he instructs me to just shove them in the car and pull the seatbelts over them with kids inside.
Ok, that seems doable. So I shove the seats in the car and drive to the end of the street to meet Addie’s bus. The snow has begun, is coming down in quarter-sized flakes. I wait with the next door neighbor and his shivering Greyhound. I feel kind of guilty for not inviting them to join us in the car, but it already feels crowded with the seats.
The bus arrives and Addie trots out, all pink-bundled and adorable. She’s wearing the hat and gloves I gave her last Christmas! She’s happy to see me, which is awesome, since it’d been so long since I’d seen hear that I thought she might’ve forgotten who I was. (She did, for what it’s worth, talk quite a bit about how cool it was to have Auntie M. pick her up the day before. She goes, “Someone new picks me up every day!”
I realize I’ve made a big mistake when she says, “Oh, I get to sit in the front seat? This’ll be the first time I’ve ever sat in the front seat! I LIKE the front seat!”
Wait, why in the hell did I think I could put one of the boosters in the front seat? Because it fit, and I was raised totally without car seats. And I’m not a parent. Oh, crap.
“Ok, Addie, I made a mistake,” I say. “You can ride in the front on the way to pick up Nolie, but then we’ll have to put the seat in the back.”
“No you didn’t,” she says confidently. “I’m allowed to sit in the front. It’s safe.”
“No, it’s not, but I wasn’t thinking.”
“No, it’s fine. I like the front seat.”
“Ok, but this isn’t going to last long.”
Snow looks like wet mice falling from the sky. We are on the simple drive to pick up Nolie, but I’ve forgotten where to turn left. We come to an intersection.
“Addie, do you know if this is where we turn?”
“Yeah, this is it.”
“Are you sure?”
“Um...yeah. I’m shuwah.”
Of course, it’s not where we turn. We repeat this exercise two more times before we actually hit the correct turn. I try not to be pissed (primarily at myself) and am amazed at the amount of SUV traffic at 3:30 on the back roads of the suburbs. Families freak me out! We get to Nolie’s school, skidding around in our shoes on the snowy deck, but Addie takes me to the right place and I sign in. We walk around the entire school to Nolie’s classroom. She’s psyched to see me, and starts getting bundled up. Then the teacher asks me for ID. Eric didn’t tell me about ID, and I stupidly left my whole backpack in the house. I tell the teacher this, but she insists I go back to the sign in place and get permission.
We skitter back to sign-in and the same lady says, “Ok, Addie, do you know this Nancy? Where does she live?”
Addie looks at her blankly. “Um...”
“Does she live in Colorado?”
“Does she live in Denver?”
“Um...I think so.”
“Ok, you’re clear. You can pick up Nolie now.”
So that’s our big security check, just FYI. Not that I wanted it to be harder, but...
We head back to Nolie’s room, finally collect her, and make our way, holding Nolie’s hand, walking in super-clumsy-slowmo to the car, where we then, with the big wet mice falling, have to take the booster out of the front seat and move it to the back, next to the other one. I am trying to navigate this delicate operation, with both girls pushing into the car to get out of the snow, so literally all three of us and the seat are trying to cram into the back at the same time. My jacket has hiked up with me all bent over, and it’s now snowing on my tramp stamp, melting down my ass crack. Fruit loops and hairballs and months-old throw up chunks or something are falling from cracks and divots in the seat as I flip it over to get it in. I feel the urge to scream, The girls are giggling and squeezing. It’s fucking awkward beyond description, but somehow I manage to shove the damn seat in and wrench belts over bellies.
We then blast Classic Rock all the way home—Creedence, as I recall. I’ll spare you the ridiculous snack conversation, but suffice to say I eventually figured out how to work the DVD player and we settled into the couch and, after a big argument between sisters about what to watch, settle on that movie about the oddball penguin. It’s pretty good; I had no idea!
Then E. comes home and tells me there’s already about three inches of snow on the ground and I should try to get home before it’s really bad. So I’m up and out and back on the wet highway, littered with dead mice.