Benji and I got this day started with a 3am diaper change that required a bath. At 6:30, it happened again, though we skipped the bath for round 2. We managed to get ourselves and the two dogs out the door on time, which was a major win. I rammed the trashcan and recycle bin with my car while backing out of the driveway. No biggie. I threw the car into first and pretended it didn’t happen.
I got the dogs to daycare (don’t judge–Blake is out of town) and went by CFA to enjoy my last free Thursdays in February chicken biscuit. I got a large sweet tea. I needed the caffeine.
At work, Benji and Nova had lovely morning naps. Once Anthony got home, we headed out to get something we needed for a Social Studies project (see? I do use my degree). The babies took turns crying on the way home, which I took to mean they were ready for naps. Once home, they both screamed in their cribs. I held Benji while I worked on dinner and finally got Nova out of baby jail when I was done. Nova’s grandma came and took over for me so I could pick up the dogs. When I left, Nova was screaming. Was she sad because I left? Did she still really need that nap? I didn’t have time to find out.
It may have been nice to leave the screaming behind, but Benji didn’t want me to miss out so he kindly howled for the 20 minute ride to get the dogs. I called Blake on the way just so he could hear the wailing and so I would have a witness to the insanity. After that, I incoherently texted him to ask if he’ll call the daycare. I’m in traffic and certain I won’t make the 6pm deadline to pick up the dogs. We’ll have to pay to board them. Snickers needs special food. They’ll think I abandoned them. He asks why I can’t call. I text back, “Did not hear benji.” “What?” “I have a screaming baby.” That does the trick and I soon get a text that tells me it’s okay if I’m a little late. Of course, Benji fell asleep as I pulled into the parking lot and, of course, resumed his screaming when I took him inside to get the dogs.
The fellow behind the counter decided it was a good idea to get the dogs then get my payment. So there I was. Two dogs. One very unhappy baby. My debit card was rejected. Odd. I know we’re broke, but I swear we have $25 to our name. My credit card was rejected. Ah. The card reader is down. Of course it is. How lucky for all of us–man behind counter, two excited dogs, one screaming baby, and innocent gentleman who had the poor luck to arrive to pick up his dogs at 5:55 this afternoon. That’ll teach him to be almost late.
While holding two leashes and rocking the car seat with my foot, I dig through my purse for the checkbook. Today would be the day that I toss the small and organized purse for a more mom-ly sized one that can hold diapers, baby wipes, a stapler and sewing machine. I dig around. I know I put it in there because Blake told me last night on Skype that he didn’t know what form of payment they preferred. I dig some more. At last I feel the fake leather that characterizes free checkbook case things. I continue holding the leashes and rocking the car seat while writing the check.
The gentleman behind me is no longer innocent given that he decides to remain an observer to my train wreck. I secretly hope that one of my crazies gave his dog a wedgie or something. As I pass the check to the man behind the window, he tells me that one of my dogs jumped through the window and over the counter (about 4 ft off the ground) all day like it was nothing and the other “got in several fights.” On the form this morning I wrote something like “gets along with everyone” or “plays well with others” on her intake form. Nothing like starting off a liar at a new place. Had my tiny human not been screaming, I might have opted to get further details on my two not-very-good-at-giving-first-impressions-mutts. Instead, I mumble an apology, grab the car seat with my “free” hand and stumble out the door. Man behind the counter offers to help at this point. I decline. If I can write a check while trying to keep the carseat moving and my two canine angels from jumping all over the observer in line behind me, I can get to the car. I got this. Observer is kind enough to open the door for me.
I get to the car and weigh my options. Benji is hungry. Judging by his screams, I am certain he is nearing starvation. I have the dogs with me. If I nurse him in the car, I will have to deal with strangers staring at me and two dogs trying to “help” me feed him. I consider calling my sister. I’m not too far from her in-laws. Maybe I can go there to feed him. “Too far,” I think. When a mile is too far, you know things are desperate. I settle, then, on going to my hairdresser who is in the same business strip. I shut the dogs in the car–praying, of course, that some do-gooder like me doesn’t call the animal police on my irresponsibility. I don’t even bother to lock the doors. My brain is in survival mode.
When I walk in, Julie looks surprised to see me. I say something about my screaming child, car dogs, chair to feed. I’m certain that’s how my request for a place to feed Benji came out. Or maybe it was less coherent. Either way, I’m sure the look on my face said it all. She very kindly showed me to the back, where I sat down to feed Benji.
He was too the point of not caring that I was offering him food. The offense of ignoring him for too long was not easily overlooked. I apologize. I tell him it’s not really my fault. Traffic, dinner, dogs… they’re the real culprit here. He doesn’t care. It feels like he’s punishing me at this point.
Another hair dresser is in the back, reading a magazine (or at least trying to). She makes small talk. I try to answer, but Benji yells louder when I speak. He can sense the frustration of the afternoon and it just makes him madder.
Then she asks. She asks the question I hear just about every time I’m out in public with my son.
“Is he your first?”
I tell her that I have another redheaded son in heaven (though in the moment, I can never say it so eloquently). She says she’s sorry. I thank her. I turned back to Benji. A year ago I would have given everything I had to have an awful day like this one.