Whine: I just finished my yearly summer gig (It pays! Can you believe it??). Which means that the two weeks I spent waking the kids up and shipping them off to various babysitters was just enough to train their little bodies to be up and at ‘em right at 6:15am. I like money as much as the next gal, but I’m not sure it was worth if they keep this up.
Cheese: You get a whole lot done when you start your day before Matt Lauer has even had his coffee.
Did you ever see the episode of [insert name of favorite sitcom] where [insert name of male character] had two dates in one night? Somehow this lovable goofball [I'm imagining Kirk Cameron as a young Mike Seaver here, although my extensive archival research did not produce evidence of said Growing Pains episode] had managed to get himself in quite a pickle, with one lovely girl waiting for him at the table of the Italian restaurant and the other standing by the punch table at the school dance. The camera cuts to Mike Seaver [or whoever] changing his tie and pocket square as he runs back and forth between venues, trying to call the right girl by the right name, often with the assistance of [insert name of awkward yet loyal best friend].
I always hated the two-dates-in-one-night episode. First, because I really hate tension. And what’s more tense than two angry girls in 80s shoulder pad dresses sparring over the adorable yet slightly-chagrined leading man? But I also hated those episodes because they were just. so. unrealistic. Nobody pulls off being in two places at once. Ever. Not even for the thirty (twenty-two without commercials) minutes of a sitcom. But apparently the live studio audience always bought it hook, line and sinker because they laughed with every close call and pratfall.
I live my life now trapped in a sitcom cliche.
Except for instead of two dates in one night, I’ve got three kids and one me. I run back and forth from room to room, putting out fires. Some are figurative. Big Sis is in my bed in timeout for dishing out some unauthorized Swift Justice on Lil’ Sis. I turn on World Cup Soccer just to make the consequences that much more severe. I call it punishment by vuvuzela*. Lil’ Sis is sitting in the empty bathtub waiting for me to finish cleaning up the “oops I forgot I don’t wear diapers anymore” spot from the hall rug and come hose her down. All the while, Brother Bear lays screaming in his bed as if his toenails are being ripped off by a hungry troll. Which is only partly true; I fed the troll this morning.
Scenes like this litter the sitcom of my life. Running back and forth, trying to remember whose name is whose and where exactly I was going in the first place and why there’s a bag of cheese under the pile of unopened mail. Except there’s no laugh track. And all the time I spend cleaning up bodily fluids in real life would be conveniently edited into a thirty-second montage complete with quirky background music. Good grief what I wouldn’t give for some quirky background music. The laugh track I can live without because cleaning up pee is never as funny in the moment.
But give it a couple of hours (days if it’s a really bad one) and I have edited the whole thing in my head down to what it really was, just a sliver of time in my twenty-two minute episode (I get NO commercial breaks around here) where I lost the numbers game (Kids 3, Mom 0) , sandwiched between the ubiquitous moments of character building and requisite sappy ending. Then I bring it you, my live studio audience, and we can all have a good laugh. I hope.
*Vuvuzela, in case your household calendar does not orbit the local/international sports schedule as mine does, is the sound of thousands of atonal horns being blown without skill like the droning of a stadium filled with tone-deaf bees. Also known as the South African fans at the World Cup. Trust me, it’s torture.