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A Failure to Plan is a Plan to Fail, Mommy Style

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Guest blogger Dani Klein Modisett: "What would you like to do this afternoon?" I asked my five-year-old after picking him up from Sunday school last week.  Gideon, my toddler, was in his car seat chomping on Goldfish crackers and rocking out to the radio.  Daddy was at work, where he had been for the previous four weekends.  I usually had some kind of play date lined up, but that day I decided to" wing it," "be spontaneous" and "improvise."

mom carrying his crying son

May the good lord hit me with a bolt of lightning between my eyes the next time this parenting approach comes over me.

"Let's go see 'Hotel for Dogs,' Mommy!" Gabriel yelled from the backseat, swiping crackers from his brother.

"Okay," I say, thinking, COOL, two hours in the dark where hopefully Gideon will fall asleep, Gabriel will be entertained, and I can take some deep breaths and binge on popcorn.

"Let's just head to the mall," I said, "check the times, get some lunch, and catch the next showing."

Who did I think I was talking to? A car full of sorority sisters? Did I not appreciate that this proposed series of activities involved, at the very least, walking and sitting in designated areas for more than 10 minutes at a time? 

No, I did not.

"Gabriel, GET OVER HERE!" I snapped in the parking garage after I turned off the ignition and he had leapt out of the car heading for the elevator. Every time he gets out of a car by himself, I instantly flash to him face down on the pavement having been struck by an SUV.  In my mind, he's flattened out like Gumby, and I'm wailing by his side like a Garcia Lorca character.

"Gideon, stop crying," I said to my youngest who was screaming as if someone were rubbing sandpaper on his skin, "I'll get you water as soon as we get inside the mall." I was trying to calm him down long enough to get him in his stroller. 

"Maaamaaaa, NO!!!!!!!!" he blurted through snot and tears, his body flopping like a caught fish as I tried to strap him in. 

"Gabriel, do NOT get in that elevator without us!" I said, without looking up. Then when I did a few seconds later, I couldn't find him.  All I saw was a throng of people leaving the mall heading toward their cars.

"Gabriel? Gabriel!" I yelled. Where the f**k are you?, I muttered under my breath.

"BOO!" he yelled, sneaking up behind me. "HA! I went around back, HA, HA!"

"THAT IS NOT FUNNY." I said, using the "meany-mommy" voice.

"That's the meany mommy voice, I hate it when you use that voice! WAAAAAAAA!" he wailed, and then he started crying, too.

We hadn't even left the parking structure yet. But we did, we got to the movie, found seats and I swear there was about 45 minutes that afternoon when Gideon was asleep, Gabriel was entranced, and I was eating that made the whole ordeal almost worth it. 

Almost.


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