by Mary Becelia
I realize as I sit down to write my monthly "Chatter" that I've become way too sentimental in the last few columns: a "love letter" to a public institution, an ode to a mother-to-be, a rhapsody about my little boy. While I meant every word I said in each essay, I've been wondering about my formerly (in my mind anyway) rapier sharp wit and sarcastic perspective...has it all gone to mush? Have I become nothing but a living Hallmark card?
Well...I am relieved to report that this is not true. All I needed was a little preview of summer, in the shape of my son's first week off from preschool, to get me good and cranky, and hopefully a little bit witty. Gone are the three mornings a week when I could drop the little darling off and race off for a couple of hours to hit the gym, or do a few errands, blessedly alone. My part time work schedule is also suspended for the summer, which is great in terms of not having to seek out summer daycare, but no so great in terms of the yawning chasm which now exists in our weekly schedule. Whereas during the school year I had to fill up two or three partial days, now I have (gasp!) five full days to fill.
So after we see big sister Katherine on the bus, and Robert looks at me expectantly and asks (for about the 20th time that morning), "What are we doing today, Mommy?", I have to groan, just a little bit.
Fortunately I'm a planner by nature, so most days I have something up my sleeve, not anything terribly exciting, but Robert is generally satisfied with a trip to the library, lunch at the soda fountain of Goolrick's or a trip to Kenmore park. Best of all are the days when I can find a play date because my kid is the ultimate extrovert and a happy day is a day playing with friends.
So I scramble around...who have we not played with recently? Who might be at loose ends today? If no one is available, I run through the mommy & me options. Already been to the library, Goolrick's and Kenmore this week? Then it's time to hit the YMCA. Robert is not too keen on the kids' gym...at least not in the abstract. I am inevitably treated to a whining session once I announce this plan. "But I don't WANNA go to the kids' gym! I don't LIKE the kids' gym! It is BORING! We went there yesterday!" Finally my patience is worn out and I start with the ultimatiums, "If you don't start cooperating, mister, you won't get to watch a show this afternoon!" That usually quells him...and so I drag a sulky child out into the blasting furnace that represents a Virginia summer, and head for the Y.
Afterwards, he is usually good and hungry from all the running around he's done and I am usually exhausted (and hungry) from my work out, so it is a race to see if I can get him fed before my plummeting blood sugar leads me to lose patience again.
Feeding myself is secondary, of course, as I can't possibly dream of sitting down and enjoying my lunch while Robert laps me, doing his impersonation of Max (as in "Max and Ruby") shouting, "Hungry! Hungry! Hungry!" Once his mouth is occupied, and nicely gummed up with PBJ, I grab a bagel or a few crackers with peanut butter and start (not to put too fine a point on it) shoveling in myself.
Ah, the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer... here we come!