mondays

Mondays are errand days the McCashew house. Sunday night calls for serious time at the table with the grocery circular in order to execute an organized by grocery department list. (I wish I were making that part up, but without this level of OCD organization I am physically incapable of efficiently shopping with a two- year-old helper in tow and staying on budget.) Steve used to read the circular first, shouting out things that were on sale that he must have expected me to commit to memory? I cannot be sure of his personal motivations, but what else could it be? That was resolved by my request that if he insisted on reading it first, that he please circle things during his initial scan. Later I pour over it myself remarking “chicken nuggets are buy one get one, how did you miss that!?!” Somewhere my mother chuckles; the queen of the on paper correction.

With organized list set on the table where I cannot possibly lose it, we retire for the evening knowing that tomorrow brings a whole new wonderful day. When that day dawns and the toddler has been "toileted" and fed, I set out to convince her that visiting the dinosaur/turtle (a sculpture they have out front that she identifies the store by) is the best idea ever and doesn’t she want to get dressed and come with me. Some Mondays this is easier than others. Two sets of clean teeth, two complete outfits, two pairs of shoes, one lotioned and tinted moisturized mommy, and two freckled noses later we bound down the stairs together where snack making begins. Goldfish, graham crackers, a cup selection. I allow her to drink some juice and read Miss Spider while I fiddle with her hair. “Mommy, you do my hair.” “Mommy, you do my hair.” Two lopsided pigtails bound towards the door. “Mommy, you have your keys? You have your keys Mommy?”

Speed shopping. (That list comes in quite handy.) I tally as I go realizing I am eclipsing the budget for the week eliminating the wild caught haddock. We’ll do another chicken Caesar with the “get one” of the “buy one get one chicken tenders.” Somewhere around condiments the queen requests to be the helper and I release her reluctantly from the safety of the carriage confines with instructions that she must hold onto the carriage at all times. “Look at me, I a big girl. Look at me!”

How is there only one register open? We self-checkout $90 worth of goldfish, rib eyes, and steamfresh veggies.

The library toddler group is on summer hiatus. It is approximately the heat of the sun in our backyard. We organize the groceries, put away the cold stuff and hit the road, IKEA bound. Traffic as always at exit 42. Figures. By the time we get there it is quarter past 11. All my Mom senses say abort, but I have to make this day something for us and watching Peter Pan twice just isn’t sounding very Mom of the Year to me today.

Caroline refuses the carriage until I tell her that she needs to sit down if she wants to play. Positive response immediate. Yum. Swedish Meatballs, potatoes and that berry sauce with a chocolate milk to split. I always forget they don’t have straws. Halfway through meatball number five she spies the kids area of the dining area and eats one more bite proclaiming, “I big girl. I good girl. I go play!” cocking her head just slightly, doe eyes alight and wide. She plays. She waves. She smiles. We retreat when it gets too crazy with the lunch crowd buzzing to the children’s area where she leaps into every.single.toddler bed. A young woman remarks to the man she is with that seeing this chunky furniture makes her want to have a baby. She sees my pigtailed princess and swoons at the cuteness for all of two seconds until the cute blasts right past me and to the next thing 20 feet away that has caught her eye. We make our way through the marketplace maze to the exit. She’s fading fast, asking me to “hold you” and snuggling into my shoulder.

The entire ride home, “I awake.” “I awake.” Sleep will not come. She will not allow it, until I plunk her into her crib, kissing her forehead, thanking God for the central air, whispering twinkle, twinkle.

I use this time to tidy up from the morning, to slice the strawberries, to rinse the grapes, to shower, to check email, to review the 200 twitters since breakfast, to dry my hair, to reapply tinted moisturizer, to ponder that big girl bed move that looms. Quilt? From where? Would a small table fit in the room for tea parties and art projects?

We might not have hit the playground, or the beach, or the library. We may have just ran errands and shopped together with a break for lunch. We may not have done anything spectacular at all. We rarely do on Mondays, but Monday is the day for us to do the things that must be done together. It is for my helper to help, for me to show her how we say “excuse us” to people at the store when we are in their way and “thank you” to the nice butcher, things that she recently has started to say on her own which makes me so proud of the little girl she is becoming. Someday I might even teach her how to write that most efficient grocery list.


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