On the way home from ballet yesterday afternoon, I stopped by the library. As we left, the older woman in front of me turned, smiling, and said that another woman had said I had left one at home. And then she was gone before I could figure out what she meant.
As I made my way to the van, I realized that Fritz, who was not with me, must have been the "one I left at home" (he was camping).
Which meant that somebody had seen me there before with all six kids. I think I've taken all six there twice in the last four months.
Holy cow, I thought, I can't even keep track of how many kids my acquaintances have, let alone the offspring of a perfect stranger.
Somebody is always watching. And counting.
I finally put something in the car for me to read while sitting and waiting. Mary has gotten past the "hold me constantly" stage which made reading difficult. And she's not yet at the "holy terror" stage which requires a delicate balance of freedom to roam and explore with vigilant supervision and loving restraint to prevent her from destroying property and injuring herself or others. (She's almost there, but not quite.)
Several times in the last few weeks I've been left to amuse myself while Mary happily played with puzzles or books. And I've been reading the various parenting magazines that were in the waiting rooms.
How to encourage manners in your child.
Why you should give your child every vaccination possible.
Healthy things to pack your child for lunch.
I am so beyond these magazines.
I'd like to see articles geared toward life with more than 2.2 children.
Bilocation: how to get four kids to four different activities at once.
Paying for piano: thrifty ideas from thrifty moms.
Orthodonture: does your child really need braces or can he wait until you're done paying for his sister's?
One article I saw was about disciplining other people's children. Years ago, I was uncomfortable stepping in when another parent was lacking. Gee, lady, can't you keep your tot from whacking my son with the sand shovel? Nowadays, I'm not so uncomfortable, I just don't want to. Look, lady, I've got six to watch, you have one. Pick up the slack!
One section in the article was about What to Do if You Lose Your Cool. Situation: mom drops off kid. An hour later, you find her kid and your kid climbing on the roof of the shed. You yell at them to get down. The article suggested that, at pickup time, you tell the other mom that you yelled so that she doesn't just get his side of the story and think you're a bad mom for yelling.
This is a public service announcement. If your kid is doing something dangerous at my house (and I don't care if you're there or not), I'm going to yell. And I won't tell you about it later, because I will have forgotten all about it.