I made dinner tonight while wearing a firefighter’s helmet.
This isn’t a metaphor.
My son was wearing his construction hard hat and wanted me to wear the firefighter’s helmet. So I did. Because I am an outstanding mother. And because the helmet is remarkably comfortable, improves my posture, and makes me feel like an unofficial member of The Village People.
In reality, there was little risk of a fire, given that my oven hood was raining on me. I’d started the pasta boiling without turning on the exhaust fan over the stovetop and while forgetting that we no longer live in a desert. The moisture condensed on the oven hood and, when it saw its chance, dropped on me and the food and, with a hiss and a sputter, the hot burners.
It’s been that kind of day.
Before we’d even had breakfast, my son met me as I was coming upstairs from putting some laundry into the washer.
“Mommy, where my candy cane?”
“I don’t know, honey, where is your candy cane?” I asked, picturing a furry, sticky mess on the carpet or the sofa or the cat.
“In da bedroom!” he exclaimed as he ran down the hallway on his little toddler legs. He stopped at the closed door of his sister’s room. He turned the knob and we walked into the half-light. He pointed at his sister, still snoozing away, and there was the candy cane, stuck in her hair.
“Get it, Mommy!” my son ordered in a stage whisper.
I gingerly held onto my daughter’s hair near her scalp and tugged the candy cane out of her hair. I handed it back to my son.
“Bank you, Mommy,” he said, and commenced licking his candy cane again.
After we’d had breakfast and rinsed the sticky section of my daughter’s hair, we drove to the all-day homeschool co-op. And the less said about that, the better.
Okay, no, it wasn’t that bad. I actually pretty much liked it except that I was overwhelmed at the level of attention I had to give my children for five and a half straight hours. At home, I can leave them in the toy room or listening to audio books for a few minutes while I sneak off to my computer or, on really good days, read a chapter in whatever book I’m reading. At co-op, I have to keep them from getting paint on their sleeves and spreading it all over the building before I can wash it off, intervene before they acquire negative behaviors (like throwing fake food or issuing preschooler death threats), and try to get my son to the potty before he wets through his pants (at home he just goes pantsless. Why he can go all day with no accidents while he’s pantsless but can’t seem to get the hang of going potty when he needs to while he has trousers on, I’m not at all sure).
But my kids have a blast there and the parents and kids are all (except the four-year-old issuing the death threats) sweet and warm and welcoming and well-mannered. So, I ought not to complain, I guess.
While I’m at it, I probably ought to just be grateful that I have an oven hood and an oven and electricity and indoor plumbing and candy canes. But it’s more fun to complain just enough to see the comedy in the situation before I settle into gratefulness. Then the gratitude is all the sweeter.
Just like the candy cane I just found stuck to the toy room rug.