It’s Not All Easy, Gwyneth
It’s 5:30 am, the morning after Thanksgiving. I just got down to the kitchen, three of my four kids trailing behind me, and saw Gwyneth’s cookbook on the counter, her calm, smiling face and perfectly straight hair mocking me.
“It’s All Easy.”
Really? Here’s a snippet from my day yesterday.
After we got home from Thanksgiving dinner at my dad’s, during which I’d held my breath for hours waiting for an imminent disaster which miraculously never occurred, it was bedtime. I got everyone into their jammies except for my older tween daughter who was training to be an acrobat by swinging from the doorframes.
I was about to climb onto my younger daughter’s bed to read her and my 2-year-old son a few books before turning out the lights. I could taste the sweet smell of victory of a Thanksgiving gone off without a hitch as I bent down to grab “Ferdinand” from the bookshelf.
Then: “My penis hurts!” my 2-year-old called out. “And I got my dress wet!”
Turns out, he had peed all over his sister’s bed, through the Ariel costume he wears constantly, and on his own clothes.
“My penis!” he cried again.
At this point, my tween came in.
“Mom, can you turn on my shower?”
“Honey, no, you can figure it out,” I said.
I whisked my son off the bed, stripped him down in the bathroom, gave him a tub of moisturizer to put on his penis which looked fine to me but what did I know, and ran down the hall to grab new sheets. My younger daughter, still looking at books in the corner of her room, somehow hadn’t noticed that her brother had destroyed her bed so I was rushing to change the sheets before she looked up.
I stripped the bed and spread out like a deranged squirrel, arms and legs outstretched, sweating, trying to fit the bottom sheet on the mattress that was obviously too small. I knew intellectually that it would never fit, but I kept hoping that if I just pulled a little harder, I could alter reality. The sheet demon shot me down.
Right then, my tween rushed back in holding the shower handle.
“Mom! It fell off! And the water is freezing!”
My younger daughter then looked up.
“My sheets!!!” She wailed. “What happened to my bed?”
My son, who I’d quickly gotten dressed in his last set of clean pjs, was trying to put on a Minnie Mouse dress.
“And I can’t get this on!” he said.
It’s all friggin’ easy, Gywneth?
I got a new bottom sheet, asked my daughter to find my husband to fix the shower, told my son it was too late in the night to be another female Disney character and started on the top sheets.
Then my older son, who is almost as tall as me, shuffled in and bent down to whisper in my ear: “Mom, the Giants game is on at 8:30 pm. Can I stay up to watch?”
“No!” I said. “Just got to bed, honey.”
“Mom, it’s 7:00 pm!”
I finally got on the freshly made bed to read to the little ones and in walked my tween girl fresh from her mangled shower with her hair in a towel on her head.
“Mom, where’s your hair dryer?”
Bless his heart, my husband blow-dried my daughter’s hair for her. Step-dad of the year award.
I got the littles to sleep (yes!), got the tween in bed with her flashlight and book, told my son he could watch 30 minutes of the Giants game but that I was going to sleep, and headed into my room to wash up.
I was brushing my teeth when my son’s feet came thudding down the hallway. He rushed in, blood pouring from his mouth.
“Mom! My tooth fell out!”
I swear, he must have used a wrench from the toolkit because that thing wasn’t even loose.
“I know the Tooth Fairy isn’t real, Mom,” my son said, having finally stopped the bleeding. “So, can you just give me ten bucks?”
At long last, I passed out. Before my son. It was 8:05 pm.
I next woke up today at 4:45 am to find my younger daughter in my bed, snuggling on my right side and a pair of feet kicking my boobs. My 2-year-old was also in bed, upside down. Sometimes he varied it and kicked my face. I finally roused myself enough to get them both back in their beds. At which point the tween came in.
“Mom, can I watch You Tube?”
You know what, Gwyneth, just tell it like it is. You’re a mom, too. Don’t make us all feel inferior thinking everyone else walks around chipper with a fresh basket of kale. It’s not all easy. It’s messy and wonderful and amazing and hard and exhausting and rewarding and grueling and heart-warming and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. But it’s not easy.
Meanwhile, my son’s tower just fell over (“my tow-ah broke!”) and my tween is trying to pull out her tooth on the couch next to me having just read the news about her brother. My younger daughter thinks today is Hannukah. Time to attack Black Friday.