Thursday, August 17, 2006

Cherrios, Goldfish and Diapers

Being the least prepared mother in the world, I showed up to the camp talent show with a dead battery in my camera.

I had to sit next to my friend Margaret, who is the most prepared mother in the world. Not only did she have a camera- real film- her husband was there with a video camera. All moments captured. Beautifully. I call Margaret the Martha Stewart of motherhood.

When our oldest kids were only toddlers, we used to go out to a park in Concord, one she found, a perfect spot, with a gorgeous oak tree on top of a hill, where there were no crowds but always a great breeze on a hot summer day. We would go up there, meeting in the parking lot.

I would show up, Ben strapped in his car seat, the wrong way I found out years later when they actually wrote instructions for the damn things you could read- you’re suppose to anchor it? Who the hell anchors a car seat? I had a big, blue Rebook diaper bag that had a pad. And a zipper. And it was washable. I thought it was great.

Margaret had the diaper bag with separate pockets, zippers and compartments so the carefully cut up, seedless grapes didn’t come near the wipes or diapers.

I had cheerios in a plastic bag. Sometimes, they were fresh. Only if I had been eating them, too. I had a few juice boxes. And goldfish. I always had goldfish. All piled into the bag. Wipes. Diapers. When a plastic bag was empty, I stuffed poopy diapers in it.

Margaret had Oatios, the organic alternative to Cheerios. In their reusable, washable container. In a separate compartment next to the previously mentioned quartered grapes. Also in a reusable, washable container.

Once we were settled under the tree, in the shade, enjoying the breeze, Margaret would pull out a small, tactile orange ball with indents for the kids to be able to grab a hold of it.

I had… um… no toys. Cheerios, goldfish, a couple juice boxes, diapers and wipes.

We’d throw the ball and Ben and Cate would go wobbling along after it, back and forth, for what felt like hours, probably only ten minutes.

Then, when the kids would tire of that, she’d had blocks, small, primary colored ones, for the kids to play with.

And we’d have another ten minutes of time to talk to each other.

And I had… cheerios… goldfish- you get the picture.

When we all went away for the weekend, having rented a house with a group of friends with kids, Margaret showed up with crayons in a container- plastic, reused from a take out dinner- and they were all whole. Nothing broken. And recycled paper from work for the kids to draw on.

I had… never mind.

So today, Margaret had her camera. With real film. A husband, with video camera.

I had a digital camera. No juice. Wife at work. Three boys who never even told me there was a talent show.

Guess who did? Yup. Margaret.

Margaret is the Martha Stewart of parenting.


I am a parent. I’m lucky no one has died yet.


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