1. An hour before we’re supposed to leave, my son wanders into my room.
“I just remembered I wore my dress pants yesterday,” he announces.
Well, that’s understandable. He was a judge at a Lego competition yesterday. Why wouldn’t he wear his only pair of non-jeans for such an august occasion? Especially when today he’s just going to be playing violin in front of dozens of people — and his performance will be filmed, so make that more like hundreds.
Please note also that even if there were time to muck about with throwing a load of laundry on, we don’t own a washer or a dryer and the building’s laundry room is very busy on weekends. Plus I’ve still got this miserable cold and am barely upright.
“Where are the pants?”
“In the hamper.”
I love how he stares at me so expectantly after saying this, waiting for me to work some kind of magic. No, wait — I don’t love that at all.
“Take. Them. Out.”
Thankfully, they didn’t end up under anything soggy. And they’re corduroy and he actually remembered to turn them inside out.
He’s still looking at me expectantly.
“PUT. THEM. ON.”
2. Sonny again, twenty minutes before he’s supposed to leave: “I really need a pair of dress shoes.”
“Didn’t you just go shoe shopping two months ago with Grandma?”
“And when you got home, didn’t I ask if you’d gotten any dress shoes?”
“And didn’t you say that you didn’t because you only need them once a year so why bother?”
Before my head can explode, my husband interjects that they’d actually looked for dress shoes on that trip, but couldn’t find any that weren’t made of leather, which my son has ethical objections to.
“Okay,” I said. “Fine. But then you do one of two things. You go online or out shopping some more and look for ethical dress shoes and buy them and have dress shoes. Or you don’t buy dress shoes and just fake it on special occasions. But you don’t specifically decide not to buy dress shoes since after all you don’t need them that often and then complain on the morning you do need them that you don’t have any.”
3. Ten minutes before liftoff: “I really need some Chapstick. I keep thinking I have some, but I’m actually out.”
“How many times have we done some kind of shopping this week?”
“I don’t know.”
“At least two. How many times could Dad have stopped by the store on the way home from work?”
“I don’t know.”
“At least four. How many times before this morning when there is NO time to run an extra errand did you mention that you need Chapstick?”
4. Me: “Did you wash your face?”
“Was I supposed to?”
&*$#%. “Are you out of your cleanser?”
“And you were going to mention this when, exactly?”
5. “Mom, will you help me comb my hair?”
“Yes, but you’re supposed to ask me to do that before you put your dress shirt on, so I don’t have to worry about getting water on it. We’ve talked about this.”
“And you really should comb your hair after you wash it, so it doesn’t look so crazy in the morning. You washed your hair last night, and you knew you’d have a special event today.”
After copious quantities of water and product have been worked in to little effect:
“Look, you have to start taking more care of your hair. I’m not that good with hair anyway. I can barely manage my own. I can’t work miracles, here.”
He smiles seraphically. “I’m sure you can.”
“NO. I CAN’T. AND I DON’T NEED THIS KIND OF PRESSURE WHEN I’M STILL SICK AND YOU HAVE TO LEAVE IN FOUR MINUTES.”
6. My son won a small, high-quality video camera a few years ago. He’s very proud of it, especially since it’s the only one we have.
Dad: “Should we bring extra batteries for the video camera?”
Son: “I don’t know. Should we?”
“Did you put in new batteries this morning?”
Expectant silence. My husband is an eternal optimist. Finally:
“So do you think we should bring extra batteries?”
“I don’t know. Should we?”
[sound of me heaving a dramatic sigh as my eyes roll clear into the next room and I collapse into a chair]
Son: “Are you okay?”
“Just get the extra batteries and go. And if you ask me where we keep batteries, I will commit entirely justifiable homicide!”
“Make it quick. If we don’t leave now, we’ll be late.”
That last one was my husband. There’s a reason we’re still married. And I’m sure there’s a reason I’m not a charter member of Childless By Choice. Now that I have a minute to myself, I’ll try to remember it.