forget me not
once upon a time in the very near future a mommy named Me will open the most important school in all the land. a school that will save all the parents like Me from being total fucking failures. this school will be named ‘forget me not’. it’s logo will be a naked child with an empty lunchbox. the logo will read: “you supply the kid, we supply everything else.” okay, maybe the logo kid should be wearing undies since the school doesn’t plan on supplying the pedophiles…
it matters not what district you’re zoned for and there is no tuition so cost won’t be an issue. the only criteria you have to meet in order to be admitted is that each and every student must have parents who can’t get their shit together. every parent needs to be just like the mommy named Me.
below is the checklist to determine whether you are a candidate for the school of ‘forget me not’. if you meet at least six of the ten qualifications you are eligible:
1. You send your child to school more than 3 days a week without brushing their teeth.
2. Someone comes to the school at least twice between drop off and pick up to bring your kids shit you forgot.
3. You haven’t signed up for classroom snack in at least four weeks or you’ve signed up for snack in the past month but forgot to bring it.
4. Your child comes to school in shorts and a t-shirt because you’re apparently the only parent that doesn’t check the hourly weather forecast each morning to know that between the 10:30-11:30 playground hour the temp will drop from 74 to 70 and you didn’t pack a sweater or snow suit. You also wonder how everyone else knows when playground time is. Did they email a schedule???
5. Your kids are sent to school in something that hasn’t been washed yet (bodies and/or hair counts).
6. You believe pajama day, bring your favorite bear to school day, striped shirt day, halloween parade day, pizza fridays, graduations, lunch in general, paying tuitions on time or at all, creative projects the kids are too young to do on their own, getting to school by 830am, homework and all the other school related things you have to remember and prepare for are purposely designed to reveal the failure that you are and that the only “good” parents HAVE to be functioning on some serious stimulants or NEVER thinking about ANYTHING else.
7. You can’t ever remember which days you signed up for school lunch and which days you are supposed to pack it. Or you leave for school without their lunches that were sitting in the fridge, completely packed, staring at you when you reached for the milk ten minutes ago. This results in frequent trips back to the school or very hungry kids.
8. Your kids grew out of all their school clothes six months ago and you keep forgetting to buy bigger sizes even though the uniform store is INSIDE their school. you actually have to walk right by it EVERY day in order to get to their classroom.
9. You’re ashamed to admit you have been woken up at 9:15am by your fully dressed toddler standing beside your bed pulling on your arms while wearing a backwards t-shirt and shoes on the wrong feet with a breakfast of airheads sticking out of his pockets demanding that you “stand up mom! we need to get to school. we need to see our fwends!”
10. You’ve driven your kids to school without realizing it was Saturday.
* You are only required to meet one of the above criteria if you are a stay at home parent who makes your kids take the bus to school so you can sleep in. You are then considered a bonus round winner and will be guaranteed admission into the ‘forget me not school’. Congratulations!
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before my twins could crawl i had my shit T.O.G.E.T.H.E.R. my diaper bag was so famous around town that it named this blog. i was carrying around a super target in that thing. prepared for anything those babies threw my way. usually vomit. i had everything needed in that bag to survive for a month on a mountain in the freezing cold without any limbs -just in case, ya know, that ever happened…which it could have…you never know….
and then something happened that dramatically and instantly changed the mother i was. the babies started moving. began crawling, then they stood up and W A L K E D. slowly at first, then picking up speed. they got faster, and faster and stronger and stronger and climb-ier. and what could i do but RUN (usually towards a bar). we haven’t stopped running, the three of us, four on the days my husband is in town. every day of our lives has been a chinese fuckin fire-drill since the moment they stood up. thank god they are out of diapers because there’s no time to even think about what to put in the diaper bag, let alone actually be able to pack it. there’s no telling how much scotch tape they could wrap around the cat in that minute and a half.
so when is there time to have actual thoughts needed to remember things? i have a vague memory of reading a letter from the school fairly recently that said: “REMINDER: PAJAMA DAY IS TUESDAY!” how was i supposed to remember something that seemed like a lifetime away? there was no telling how many disasters and travesties we would have to survive before then, after all it was only monday! and yet no matter how many ways i tried to justify my forgetfulness, the ache i felt in my heart for having made my sons left out bystanders forced to watch their excited friends show off their favorite pjs was unbearable. i had forgotten something more than just pajama day. i’d forgotten that the things that seem so trivial as an adult and barely worth your attention to remember are THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS IN THE WORLD to a child. perhaps my shortcomings are why god made them twins; so they’ll have someone to lean on and bitch to while they suffer through the humiliations and frustrations of growing up with a disorganized mother.
on a good note the more chaotic and demanding life becomes the more i find myself grateful for the little things. like how fridays at school are show and share days instead of show and tell days. because if they were show and tell days the twins could tell their class how mommy forgets to send them to school with a toy to show every week and so one week she frantically ran back out to her car in hopes of finding a toy hiding under the seats. when she found no toy she decided to give us some gauze from the first aid kit that came with the car. and it wasn’t even G week….
anyway, back to the pajama rescue:
i sped through every school zone to get their pjs to them as quickly as possible all the while seething with irrational displaced anger at the excellent school my children go to:
who has special dress days on a tuesday anyway?! why do schools even do these “special” things? don’t the kids have enough fun with all the toys and computers and the playground? is this just to torture the parents? as if we need ONE MORE THING to remember to do??? these people make toddlers their profession so how can they not understand that every day is fucking survival mode! every day we are dodging lacrosse balls and nerf pellets and just trying to make it to bedtime without a casualty. can’t the schools help make this a bit easier by giving us less to think about? less to do? less to remember?
that’s it! i‘m gonna build a school! a school where no child will know their parents think about other things more often than what days to pack their lunches. a school that will have a supply room bigger than any classroom filled with extra striped t-shirts, extra pajamas and an abundance of halloween costumes. a gigantic refrigerator to hold all the would be forgotten lunches. clothes that actually fit. soap for the kids whose parents haven’t made time to bathe them in the past week. show and share items for every letter of the alphabet. this school will have transportation that will pick the children up at their doors. all the parents have to do is give them a door to walk out of and the rest is up to the administrators. the school will be built right next-door to social services so when the time is right they can supply each kid with a brand new mommy and daddy.
then, when the crazy wore off, i sobbed the rest of the way. i cried for every moment my babies felt left out and less special. knowing your children feel badly about themselves is hard enough to endure, knowing you are the reason is impossible to forgive. i cried with frustration over how in the hell i can memorize hundreds of pages of scripts or every word from every conversation between my husband and i that pissed me off throughout the past decade but i can’t remember the letter of the week is V? i cried not just for my irresponsibility and inability to prioritize this time but every time i’d made it more important to be on top of assignments for work than on top of what i needed for my children. nothing has ever or will ever be more important to me than them and yet i’d forgotten their lunches twice that week, forgotten their pajamas and as i pulled back into the school remembered i was supposed to bring their favorite stuffed animal too.
after a sound proof cursing explosion inside my car in the parking lot, i decided it more important to get them in their pjs instead of spending more time going back for the stuffed animals. when my sons saw me walk in the room their faces made me want to cry all over again. they were beaming ear to ear as if a ninja turtle had just walked into their school. they instantly started to show me off as if their friends hadn’t met me before. “look we mommys here!” “this is my mom!” they looked SO PROUD to have their mom there. me. the forgetful, disorganized mess who was crying and cursing in the parking lot for ‘screwing them up for life’.
they were happier than i’d maybe ever seen them. they didn’t care why i was there- that it was because i’d let them down that day. they didn’t even ask for the pajamas. didn’t mention them. it was as if they’d forgotten all about it. all that mattered to them was that i was there. with them. sharing in part of their day. THAT is what made them feel special. more special than any pair of pajamas ever could. no matter how horribly i thought of myself that day i had the ability to make these two precious people feel so special. just because i was me.
as i write this i am reminded of a few months earlier when i had again forgotten to bring their lunch. i was so late getting it to their school that i saw them sitting at the lunch table watching their friends open their lunch boxes while they sat there with nothing. not sad. smiling and asking what their friends had for lunch. it was as if they knew i’d come through for them. i would probably be late, but i’d come through. as soon as i picked them up from school that day they ran up to me hugged me and said “thank you mommy for bringing us we lunches!”
when i finally had them all dressed in their pajamas (an hour late and 2 sizes too small), just before they went running back into class shouting “look at me spongebob bejamas” jett kissed my cheek and colt said to me (with a playful smile as if he knew i was in the midst of a breakdown) “you weally late mom.” then he threw his arms around my neck and whispered into my ear “thank you mama” and then he was gone. running off with his brother to their next exciting moment in toddlerhood.
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so while it’d be helpful if the mommy named Me opened a school one day to prevent all the mommies like her from being total failures, maybe she doesn’t really need to…..
for any of you hoping to find a man to have children with, let me give you the most important advice you will ever get. stop wasting time with the bullshit questions i asked when auditioning potential mates: “what do you do for a living” “are you a batterer” “do you have any STDs” “do you have a criminal record” “what is your parenting philosophy” “how many kids do you want” “your place or mine”?
none of that matters. there is only one question that you need to bother asking when seeking the father of your children, it’s the ONLY one that matters: “How old were you when you started sleeping through the night?”
my husband hid this critical information from me date after date, year after year. it wasn’t until the twins had three full months of terrorizing me from 9pm till 6a under their belt that i called my mother in law near tears from the exhaustion. it was then that she revealed the source of all that was evil.
“Oh yeah, don’t I know it. Gil was four years old before he slept through the night.”
FOUR YEARS old!!!! i bred with a man who didn’t fall asleep and stay asleep for more than two or three consecutive hours until he was FOUR YEARS OLD! i honestly would rather her have told me his real name isn’t even gil and he has another family living in argentina no one knows about. if i had learned this information when i delivered the twins i would have left them at the hospital.
now let me say that looking back there were signs. red flags, if you will. since i started having slumber parties with him i quickly learned he only required three hours of sleep a night to be an energized, fully functional human being. i must have been blinded by love to not think this was anything to be concerned about. to miss all the signs. i figured as long as he wasn’t waking me up what did i care?
since this betrayal my eyes have been much more open. i would have thought since he was always up all night anyway, that when the twins arrived he would welcome having nighttime companions and readily take over the night shifts. however, i’m finding it suspicious that since the twins were born he suddenly requires a full 8 hour stay in dreamland in order to carry out his work day. how did he manipulate me, someone who should be tested for chronic fatigue syndrome, into doing the night shift every freaking night (minus a few that he took over when i’d gotten to the raging-bitch-making-everyone-miserable point) while he snores away in the guest room? i’ll tell you how. because i’m the mom and apparently that means a night-shift time card came with my c-section scar.
it’s just as well because when gil has one bad night with the twins he becomes the walking dead for a week. he then starts to spew venom at me for not doing “my job” so that now he’s too tired to do his. when he refers to raising our children as MY job i know it’s only a matter of time before i’m starring in my very own episode of “snapped”.
and this brings me to now. nine months of nightly torture. one baby wakes and decides he wants to tell me all about his short dream in gibberish for 30 minutes before he falls back asleep. 45 minutes later another baby wakes screaming, about what i don’t know. gas drops, tylenol, and a pacifier later and he’s back down. 45 minutes after that baby 1 wakes again crying for food, when i refuse to feed him in the middle of the night he continues to cry waking baby 2 up and they have a beautiful duet for the next several hours that would make your skin crawl. finally i feed the little
bastards babies around 4 while giving them the same bleary eyed lecture about how they are 9 months old, in the 92nd percentile, and eat more during the day than a football team so they don’t need food at night! they laugh at me. finish their bottles and fall asleep. until 5:30. then they are up jumping in their cribs, giggling, ready to start our day. “and so it goes and so it goes and i’m the only one who knows”.
i’ve listened to mothers, i’ve read the books, i’ve tried EV UH RE THING. this is who they are. they are freakishly happy, healthy, and energetic on 5 minutes of sleep so i’ve accepted this is what our life will be like. it is in their dna so i don’t fault them. i fault their father. they can blame him when they are never invited to sleepovers because no one’s mother is going to want a creepy little boy up all night cooking in her kitchen.
during the 30 seconds of sleep i get each night i have a reoccurring dream. i dream of a better day when i have a narcoleptic little girl just like mommy…..
so to wrap up, when you’re in a beautiful restaurant looking across the table into the eyes of a man you are falling in love with and ask him The Question, unless he says anything under 6 weeks (in which case verify with his mother) RUN. and stick him with the check for wasting your time.
for those of you future mothers who, like me, failed to see this bigger picture and already married a freak of the night, there is only one way to save yourself. adopt.
god be with you.