*For those of you who have been following, C is Twincy and J is Twinjay
This is what the 4x4 dressing room at the store feels like. The kind women at the store helped me squeeze into the room in order to nurse Twinjay who had begun to cry. While answering Elliana’s many questions, and maneuvering the double stroller with one hand, I finally got all 4 of us into the room. It was like learning how to do a K-turn into a parking spot where you think you can squeeze into but you aren’t 100% sure - while you have an audience. The saleswoman nicely shut the door for us since I was now wedged in, couldn’t reach the door handle from that angle, and had not yet unbuckled the crying baby.
I was pleasantly surprised that Twincy was facing the mirror, which I thought would keep her occupied. So, I began nursing a now almost-frantic Twinjay. Elliana decided that Elizabeth (aka her baby doll Big Baby who was recently “born” and renamed) also needed to be nursed. She very seriously “nursed” her, which consisted of plastering her face to her tummy – about belly button level- and draping her shirt over Elizabeth’s face. Meanwhile, Twinjay is happily eating as though she hasn’t eaten in days and Twincy has a front row seat to what she deems completely unfair. Twinjay is eating and she isn’t. So, we sat there, sweating in the store with the broken AC while Twincy broke into full wails and Twinjay continued to nurse. I wondered how many customers were bothered by this racket as the store was about the size of our family room. It was so hot the mirror started to steam and the babies’ tiny bits of hair began to curl as it only does when they are completely sweaty. As soon as there was the slightest indication that Twinjay was done, I put her in the carseat (barely burped) and rescued Twincy. Elliana was now done feeding Elizabeth and full of questions about why we couldn’t get out of the dressing room yet. I fed Twincy and was finally able to reach over the double stroller, unlock the door, and maneuver the stroller out the door with one hand while holding Twincy in the other and verbally directing Elliana to the register.
After paying for the slippers and accepting multiple offers to help open the door for us as we left (the store was almost empty once we emerged from the dressing room – no idea if we cleared it out or not), we were in daylight again. In fact, it almost seemed cooler outside.
Following a quick stop next door to the toy store (not because I’m crazy but because they assured me the teething toy I was seeking was sold there), we headed to the car. Just as we go to the car I leaned to start disassembling the double stroller and Elliana hopped up (as 3-year olds spontaneously do) and knocked right into my mouth. Literally, I could feel my lip swelling instantly. Minor blood but immediate swelling. Fantastic. I began conjuring images from Hitch and tried to use it as a teaching moment for Elliana to still ask if someone is ok even if she didn’t intend to hurt them (her initial reaction was just to tell me to put a bandaid on it in a less than concerned voice). After our brief discussion she looked really sad which broke my heart and wasn’t my intention at all. Always trying. That’s what I tell myself. Always trying. Next time maybe I’ll know the exact right thing to say.
I walk around to the driver side and get a whiff of an awful odor. My initial reaction was, ah, this was the reason for fussing. At least one of those poor babies needed a diaper change. Poor kid. Yet, a moment later I recognized the stink and was amazed it was still with us! On our way out we had been unable to avoid driving over remains of some roadkill. It was indistinguishable upon sight but moments later recognized as a skunk. Apparently, they still really stink when dead and with each revolution of the tire the stench wafted into our car through the AC vents. So, this stink is going to continue to accompany us for some more driving pleasure. Truly, there is nothing I can do about this one so home we go.
As we drive, I try to answer Elliana’s chatterbox questions. Twinjay starts fussing again and one side of my mouth starts to swell shut so, while I answer questions, that half literally just stayed closed. Awesome.
The 7-minute drive home felt much longer, as it always does, when there are crying kids in the car. Once in the driveway, I quickly begin my dance of getting as many things in the house as possible while strategically removing kids. If Elliana is out first she’s mobile and that can be a problem, especially if she decides she doesn’t want to come inside OR is going to “help” with her sisters while I’m shuttling items. Sometimes, her version of help is squeeze/stress relief with a baby arm as the object of choice. Not at all comforting to a Mom who just sometimes wants to be able to step out of the room and know all 3 of her kids will live to see her walk back in.
Alas, we are all inside. And, while I was getting lunch on the table, Twinjay scooted. She scooted!! I was as proud and overjoyed as only a sleep-deprived Mom can be. I reached for the phone to call Spencer when I realized my cell must be in the car…in the bottom of the collapsed stroller. Not fun. So I got the house phone (yes, we still have one, long story) and left him a voice mail. Truly, 2 minutes later, Twincy scooted too! Each had gone a full body length and I was beyond thrilled by their accomplishments! I ran outside to get my cell to now call my Mom in hopes of actually reaching someone live. I positioned Elliana at the front door to watch me as much to protect her sisters as to keep her in-the-know. Now, popping open the stroller isn’t really that cumbersome but the stroller is heavy and I’m still recuperating from Lyme Disease. So, today’s outing alone was exhausting. Instead of opening it to get my cell phone and, good to see, my wallet, I tried fitting my arm through the bars of the stroller. Naturally, as soon as I did the phone slid to the very bottom and I couldn’t reach. Stubbornly, I began turning the stroller and reaching from every angle until I surmised that I’d already expended more energy than I would have if I’d opened the stroller in the first place. So, I relented, got wallet and cell and ran back inside.
Thankfully, Mom answered her phone at work. Elliana caught wind of my excitement and began racing around the house crowing that her sisters had scooted. “Good for fun, my sisters scooted!”.
And so, once the hubbub died down we all had lunch. Elliana happily chomping away and me, eating through the half of my mouth that still opened. Somehow, it still tasted good and I was happy. Nobody was crying, we were no longer in the dressing room, and I had worn a black shirt so maybe, just maybe, my pouring sweat wasn’t obvious at the store. I can dream, can’t I?