Thursday, May 30, 2013

A good mother takes her children to the library. I desire to be a good mother, so we have regular trips to the library. Something I’ve learned is if you are the mother of five and the checkout process is going smoothly, it means you’ve forgotten a child.

Yes, for the first time as a mother, I forgot a child somewhere. Now before anyone goes all sanctimommy on me, I hadn’t actually left the premises yet, hadn’t even exited the building yet. But I did spend a good five minutes blissfully unaware of X-Man’s presence.

When we exited the car at arrival, I told Baba to watch X-Man since I had Gestated Cinco. It wasn’t an unreasonable burden. I waited until she had selected her books and then she sat down by the train table that is the focus of X-Man’s obsession and I retrieved the books she had on hold. So far so good.  Mac had his Asterix book, Baby had found a couple Ramona books and Baba had her requested books for book club and X-Man had yet to attack another child playing with HIS trains. All the trains. His. As soccer practice began in half an hour, it made sense to leave while I was still batting 1000. And therein lies my mistake. Never, ever assume things are going well. That’s the surest sign disaster is right around the corner.

We gathered ourselves up and I instructed my two ambulatory daughters to “get your brother.” They got Mac. Not so much helpful. But it didn’t register with me as we started to check out. I ended up enmeshed in a conversation about the mysterious Hank the Cowdog book that the girls said they had returned but that the library was not so certain about.  It would have helped resolve the confusion if we had all been talking about the same title. Once that was resolved, I felt the panic of library fines diminishing and headed towards the door. Of course, I did have to lay down the law on bookmarks.  There were to be no bookmarks leaving the premises. I get tired of throwing them away every time I clean out my car. The concept of using a random piece of paper was shocking to them, but they got over it.

We headed into the vestibule and I did a head count. Things were too simple, too quiet, too organized. It took a second. I knew I was missing someone, but it took a minute to register. Baby and Baba ran back to the train table.  No hair had been removed, no eyes gouged and peace reigned at the train table. So that crisis was averted.

I admit the whole thing left me shaken.  Then again, after getting out of the shower today, but only after getting dressed, I realized that I forgot to rinse my hair. So maybe I’m just losing my last grasp on reality. Could be fun. 

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