Okay, so earlier this week I’m just standing at the bathroom counter putting on my make-up, getting ready for the day, trying not to be bitter that I’m heading back to work (for 2 weeks) in the middle of my I-just-wanna-go-to-the-pool summer, when GMA comes on with this shocking headline:
“Prime Minister Leaves Kid at Restaurant for Fifteen Minutes”
And everyone is outraged. And everyone is appalled. And everyone is trying to reach him for comment. And I’m trying to work up some of those same feelings. But instead, I’m like…
I mean, the girl was washing dishes and stuff, which to me is just sooo impressive.
Now, let me make this clear: I am not for leaving kids at restaurants. I am not for leaving kids anywhere, for that matter. But…
I left my kid in Sunday school once.
Yep. My oldest daughter. When she was not quite a year old. There we were, having a pretty good day. Finally made it to church, listened to a great sermon, spent some time talking to friends afterward. Then we climbed in the car, headed for the exit, and as soon as we pulled out onto the main road I flipped around in my seat and said,
Let’s just say that tires squealed and people glared as we gunned it back toward the church. And in my nonchalant, devil-may-care way that sometimes kicks in when I’m especially freaked out, I wandered back inside, strolled up to the nursery door, and casually asked for my daughter. Like I totally meant to do that. Which is what they believed.
Until I did it again the following year.
(Let me pause here to say that I LOVE my daughter. I love all my kids. I would die for each one of them. I would hope said death would be painless, but I would still do it. Just thought I should make that clear before continuing with this story).
Anyway, so at this point my daughter was enrolled in a Mom’s Day Out program at the same church. With the same teachers. And to make things easier, I carpooled with a friend whose child also attended. One week she took, the next week I took, and so on.
Mom’s Day Out ended at 2:00 back then. And at 2:45, Lilly still wasn’t home. So I called my friend and said, “What’s up? Almost here?” To which she replied, “Uh… (FYI—sentences that start with “uh” are never a good thing). Anyway, she said, “Uh…I thought it was your turn to pick up.” To which I looked around my house—at the ceiling, at my dusty bookcase, at the sock on the living room floor, at anything that might give me a freakin’ answer—and said, “WHAT?!?!? Was it my turn??”
And then she said, “I don’t know, was it my turn?”
And I said, “No, probably it was mine!”
And she said, “No, probably it was mine!”
And this same conversation went on for a few more seconds. But then we decided that it didn’t matter whose turn it was because she was in the middle of a haircut and I was just sitting around doing nothing.
So I ran out the door.
And so while my friend called the church to explain the situation, I drove two towns over. And let’s just say Jeff Gordon couldn’t have beaten me in a race that day. Thank God no police were out to witness me breaking every driving law ever made.
Anyway, I showed up to the church, ran inside, plunked down an extra forty-five dollars that they charged me for being so stinkin’ late (sooo not fair!), gave the kids a hug and walked with them outside, feeling the hot stares of “What-kind-of-mothers-forget-their-kids?” aimed at my head the whole way.
This kind, apparently.
The kind that, back then, was still suffering from twokiditis. Not sure if this is actually a disease, but I’m calling it one. Because keeping track of one child was hard enough. Two was next to impossible! And now I have four, and this sort of behavior rarely happens now. Only once a week or so.
So I think everyone should stop freaking out. I mean, the Minister-guy’s daughter was washing dishes, for heaven’s sake. If the fact that she knows how to do this at eight-years-old isn’t top-notch parenting, I don’t know what is.
Anyway, I gotta run. My five-year-old is standing at the sink waiting for me…with a sponge in her hand and a crusty lasagna pan ready to be scrubbed. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from this story, it’s this: If I ever make the mistake of leaving her at a restaurant, people are gonna be impressed.
**this post is brought to you by Amy’s sarcasm, humiliation, and workday boredom.