Today is a special kind of a day. I feel quite accomplished and my heart is puffed with humble self-praise. I took both my kids out for the first time and survived! J is 2 years and three months while E is 2 months and a few days. The extent of my solo adventures with my kids so far have been to J’s daycare when I would go to pick him up with E in her carseat. I would carry the carseat to the daycare, get J, prop them both in the backseat of the car and then drive home. This bit of adventure happened maybe a total of 3 times given J’s twice a week schedule and if someone was at home at pick-up time, I just left E with her or him. Since we stopped daycare in May, I haven’t had those mini-adventures.
Because my plants needed some serious TLC, I decided to go to Lowe’s and buy a few more for my garden, as well as some potting soil, pots, and some greens for the bushes after I uprooted some dead ones last evening. Normally, I would have left Baby E with my babysitter-cook-masseuse-cleaner or my all-in-one helper or as I will address her in posts that mention her, B-aunty (more about her in future posts). This only works if E is napping. However, because today E decided to wake up just as J and I were about to leave, I first fed E and then decided to take them both along. After all, once B-aunty’s services conclude next week, I am going to have to do these things on my own anyway. Why not get a headstart now!?
After strapping both the kids to their respective car seats, away I went on my way to Lowe’s. I had been there once before and thought I might need the assistance of the nav system but didn’t have time to input all the info so just decided to wing it from memory. What was going through my mind at the time? Nothing much, honestly. I know I wrote about all that puffed pride and all but to tell you the truth, I wasn’t feeling anything. Nothing. I was taking everything in stride as if this was the most natural thing to do. Like I have always done it and in so many ways, I have. I have been mentally prepared for this for a while. We, B-aunty and I, have driven around town with the kids but she was always there to stroll Baby E in her carseat in her stroller while I attended to J. The only difference today was that I had to manage my kids alone. Because E is an infant, she does not really need managing but had she started crying or was inconsolable, I would have had a problem on my hands.
Managing two or even more kids by themselves is not completely unusual for a lot of parents, especially mothers in the United States. Things might be different in India. I am sure, had I been in India, that I would have left one of the kids with my parents or in-laws or even a trusting neighbor. Those are not my options here. SO…off I drove…melodious noise playing on the radio, J skimming through the pages of a Thomas the Train Mountain Mystery book, and E wandering sweetly into the wonderful world of a much deserved nap inspired by the hum and buzz of a drive. Mostly, when I drive, my thought is this, “Get out of my way people, I have kids in the car!”. Patience has never been a virtue. Controlled road rage is always by my side, ready to answer the call at the slightest provocation. Today was no different. It is never different. I always think that thought when I drive with my kids. Okay, whom am I kidding? Those are my thoughts even when the kids are not in the car (minus the ‘kids in the car’ part), which never really happens but did happen three Saturdays in a row when I had to go to a dentist for a root canal. Anyway, once we got to Lowe’s, it was time to find parking.
In my previous visit with J, I had parked in the first row of cars and walking up the Garden Center, pulled a cart from the stand by the building. I had to think differently today. I parked one spot away from a cart return stand and then I just sat there inside the car looking at the one lone cart in the stand. It was SMALL!!! Damn..did I need to return home? There was no way I could fit both kids into the cart or was there!? It didn’t look good. If I put E’s carseat in, J wouldn’t be able to sit in the front so then he would need to walk. J walking into a store where things are easily accessible at his level meant throwing a tennis ball to a pack of dogs in a very playful mood except in reverse. In his case, J would be the tennis ball extremely interested in playing with every dog – so he would be all over the plants and rakes and brooms and flowers and what have you. Did I just call my son a dog?! No, I called him a tennis ball. It’s almost the end of the week. Give me a break!
I decided to survey my options and leaving the kids in the car, walked to the cart. Hm…it looked like it could fit a carseat and who knows, maybe even J. I was going to try. I first got E out and placed the carseat inside the cart. It fit!! Perfectly! Like it was meant to carry that exact carseat inside of it all its functional life. Then, I nervously pulled out the upper child carrying basket out and what do you know! it pulled without hitting the carseat. I went on and put J into it. I was all set except now there was no room to put any of the pots and plants I might buy. Oh well..problem for the future 2 minutes away. For now, I was going to appreciate the fact that I got both kids into one cart without either of them losing it. E was asleep at the time and J went about this newness like he had done it all his life.
Once inside the Garden Center, I just placed the items I was to purchase under the cart. (Ended up buying more than I planned – Mint, Thai Basil which looks more like the Indian Tulsi, Red Peppers, and Roma Tomatoes plants) Thank goodness for that extra space! It all worked out. I am so glad I did this. This is going to be my normal soon enough but for today, it was a new experience as a new two-kids’ mommy and I was pleased at my having done whatever I needed to get done today.
After we returned from Lowe’s, we picked up B-aunty and off we went to the library for storytime. This time, I only had to “manage” one kid.