Thursday, July 05, 2007


We stayed busy today running errands and enjoying other establishments' air conditioning {See Footnote 1}.

Aaron had lots to say about where our day went because we were gone so long and did so many things. "Wow, we sure wasted the whole day." "Dad, we had a short day today!" He couldn't quite figure out the right wordage to explain that it was morning, then we had lunch and Scouts at our house, then we were gone, then we came home and the afternoon PBSkids shows were already over and Daddy was already coming home from work.

Under normal circumstances, I would be highly reluctant to venture out with all four children to an appointment, then to get work done on the car (i.e., lots of waiting). However, today I was feeling brave and thought the five of us could get through it without any major meltdowns on any of our parts {See Footnote 2}. As it turned out, the children were WONDERFUL! I got three lovely and sincere compliments from three people this afternoon about how great my kids were behaving. This is not something to be taken for granted! We get compliments here and there on the kids' good behavior. Sometimes it is well-deserved, sometimes it is spoken right before someone starts fighting or whining and the compliment-giver knows he has spoken too soon. We also have had our fair share of dirty looks {See Footnote 3}, looks of pity, rude comments, and heaping helpings of "you've sure got your hands full, don't you?"

So today I was especially pleased with each of the children for being at the top of his/her game. Here's how it all went down:

Dentist -- It's like going to a birthday party! Movies, treehouse, toys, other kids, pictures taken (of their teeth), praise galore, sunglasses, bubblegum flavor, treasure box, goody bag, balloons, stickers, and pencils. The afternoon is off to a good start. {See Footnote 4}

Gas station -- Hot, hot, hot while Mommy pumps the gas, but I more than made up for it by running inside and buying a 64 ouncer of root beer and Sprite mixed together. All the soda they could drink! No one could complain that he didn't get his favorite kind of soda. And then -- ta-da!-- a trip through the car wash. Always fun.

Dealership -- Knowing we were in for a long wait for an oil change, I immediately headed straight for the vending machine and offered each boy his very own treat. No sharing necessary, and a very good investment of $2.25 on my part. Can you match the child to what he chose to eat? Peanut butter crackers! Skittles! Shortbread sandwich cookies with frosting! (What are those called again?) Then, the remaining hour and ten minutes was filled with scrounging the popcorn maker for every last piece of popped popcorn, water from the water cooler, watching Wimbledon on the big tv, lots of trips to the bathroom, coloring pages, nursing on the floor in the bathroom {See Footnote 5}, reading about Simba and Kiara and Kovu and the attempted usurpation of Pride Land, talking to the adoring Polish lady next to us {See Footnote 6}, and playing peek-a-boo with the lady just behind us {See Footnote 7}.

We made it through the long afternoon of errands. And with compliments to boot! Every outing should be this fortuitous.

Footnote 1 -- For the record, 113, 116, whatever the highs are this week--it's hot. However, I stand by my long-held assertion that hotter than hot is not as hellish as colder than cold. The heat does make me grumpy and irrational, yes, but it's doable.
Footnote 2 -- Note: meltdown + Phoenix in July = goes without saying, in a literal sense. I'm talking figuratively here, stay with me.
Footnote 3 -- Many of these dirty looks have been real, but some of them I probably imagined while saucily silently challenging old people in Scottsdale to comment on the obnoxious noises coming from my children so I could indignantly retort about how I'm sure their children never made noises, and what would you have me do, put duct tape over their mouths? I secretly like to get in fights with strangers who might mutter under their breaths about me or my children. Or throw up their hands at me while driving in the car. But I digress.
Footnote 4 -- "If all my patients were as good as your children, my job would be very easy."
Footnote 5 -- Ew.
Footnote 6 -- "Such well-mannered children you have."
Footnote 7 -- "Your boys have been wonderful this whole time."


AmyJune said...

I can't even stand to get my oil changed when I am by myself. Congratulations for making it through the ordeal with 4 kids.

amyegodfrey said...

Congrats! I wish I could have helped out, but then you wouldn't have had all those lovely experiences.

sarah said...

Wow. What a day. You are so brave.

My regrigerator is not working today. I am secretly hoping it cannot be fixed. Just an unrelated sidenote.

Alice said...

Now that's what I call a great day. Good job!

AzĂșcar said...

I don't secretly like to get in fights, I out and out LOVE IT.

That said, it's just wonderful when everyone decides they're going to be pleasant.

Emily said...

Ugh. Today: not so good.

Jami said...

EMILY!! You're my favorite blogger ever! Write a book, I'll buy it, read it, and discuss it in book club. You rock and so do your kids. Lucky girl.

Abby said...

Your bravery + your kids' good behavior = IMPRESSIVE!!!

Neil and Diana said...

I love your stories.

pepper said...

I love that your post had footnotes. Have you read "ibid: a life"?

lys said...

Tag! You're it!

Nancy said...

Oh the life of the mother of four. Sounds like you're handling it well. You and Steve are good for each other, he likes to get in fights with people giving him dirty looks too. We took American Heritage together and he was always noisily eating his lunch (see footnote 1), or reading the paper, and one day he was eating a fruit rollup that I'll admit was very noisy while being opened and the girl in front of us turned and gave him a dirty look and he said, "What? You try and open a fruit rollup without making any noise." Something I obviously wouldn't have said because I can remember it to this day. Funny.
Footnote 1 Steve got an A and I think I barely eeked out a C, He never even bought the book, just borrowed mine from time to time. Dang boy!

pam said...

Occasionally there are blessings that come with motherhood.

lys said...

It doesn't surprise me that you got a lot of compliments on the behavior of your children. I've always thought that they were extremely well-behaved.

Emily said...

Love this post, Em. There's almost nothing I love more than a mellow day of productive errands with Henry -- with some treats and fun mixed in for good measure. You're a cute mom.