I tried to be a good mom today, one of those TV moms with the sparkly house and healthy food. Despite the fact that my daughter left her lovingly packed, healthy lunch on the counter and ended up eating chicken nuggets and chocolate milk at school, I’d make sure dinner was good. In the interest of saving money and staying healthy, I was making an old-school bean soup. The kind where you have to wash the and soak the beans and it takes forever. So I started working on it around lunchtime, priding myself on how thrifty and awesome I was.
When M came home, the kitchen smelled delicious. In the evening, I was trying to clean and get M to pick up her room. M came out and said, “Cleaning my room is so boring.”
“Well, if you don’t want to do that, you could scrub toilets,” I replied, expecting a disgusted face.
Instead, M said cheerfully, “Sure, that sounds good. Show me how.”
O…kay. I demonstrated for M how to do it, and she cleaned not only the toilet but scrubbed her entire bathroom, sink, counter, cabinets, and even got on her hands and knees to clean the floor. As I was standing there, both stunned and pleased that she had done that, suddenly, M said, “Hey…what smells funny? Is something on fire?”
We ran downstairs to see my husband grab the soup kettle, run our to the patio, and douse it in water. Hours of work smoking in the back yard. Miserably, I stood over the blackened remains of the food. “Well…” A said at last. “Should be go out?”
There wasn’t much choice; the girls were hungry and that was the last meal I’d planned for the week. We went out for dinner, and though it was crowded, the girls were cheerful and we laughed a lot. Afterwards, we went to the grocery store. It was getting late, so the store was not crowded. We didn’t need much, but as we wandered the store, the kids got progressively sillier and more giggly. When we saw a can of wasabi peas, M attempted to read it. “Wah-zee peas. Yay, I LOVE wah-zee peas! Don’t YOU?” She took the can and struck a dramatic pose with it, causing a man behind us to double over laughing.
Later, A asked if we needed something, and M whispered, “No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die.” and mimed stroking a cat. (She has never seen James Bond, but I told her about it once when she was sitting in a swivel chair petting a plastic lizard in a Goldfinger-esque way. I guess it stuck.) A blinked a couple of times, then started laughing so hard he had to stop walking. That got me laughing, and then little A. We stood there in the frozen food aisle giggling like fools and hugging each other.
“I don’t think most people have this much fun at the grocery,” A commented.
On the way home, the girls sang in the backseat. M said, “This was the best day ever. I had a good dinner and a shiny bathroom. I’m sorry you burned the soup but I’m kind of glad, too.”
Yeah, me too!