Moms at the Playground with Three or More Children

Prompt: Describe a subculture of which you belong.

Regina Donahue
Subculture, Assignment 2

Moms at the park with three children or more

I park close to grass, and far away from cars both moving and still. I examine new wrinkles and pimples, wondering how they can exist at the same time. I’m thankful rearview mirrors are small enough to conceal the mix of yogurt and avocado spread generously on my shirt. I’m in need of confidence, and last night’s mascara doesn’t look all that bad. I turn to offer a vigorous time-table warning, reminding also of what to do in a parking lot, and Toddler Codes of Ethics. I call on Pavlov, promising suckers in exchange for good behavior, knowing full well rules will be broken, with giggles and smiles, from both them and me. Each of them, still, in their three carseats across, will enjoy a sucker as we travel back home, because my sleeping children don’t transfer, and today’s nap time is booked, and maybe its me that needs to be conditioned.

I step out of the car, cell-phone in back pocket, keys in left hand, right hand ready to unbuckle and balance with the help of my left hip and thigh. We make a train and he holds on to my purse, and the sound of “Choo choooooo” doesn’t at all embarrass. I wish their outfits were matching, because its cute and maybe impressive, but, I’m thankful they have clothes on at all, even if they wore it yesterday and probably will again tomorrow.

I peak into my purse, wondering why I chose to check my face rather than its contents in that silly little mirror. Twenty-Seven snacks should be fine, 6 diapers should suffice, but I am low on baby-wipes, so “Nobody poop!”

It takes roughly twelve minutes to walk those twenty steps, with 6 tiny legs, and shoes on the wrong feet. I see ladies running, childless and free, in Lululemon and spandex. I envy their use of babysitters remembering to make time for squats.

I greet the ones I know, counting heads between the periods and exclamations, thankful for the ellipsis, and sometimes forgetting punctuation altogether. I hope they understand the scatter in my brain, the stains, and the grease. Its just that catching kids on slides, pushing swings, creating barricades near ponds, serving juice boxes and goldfish while breaking up fist fights, and conversing with attention, or any comprehension, is sort of a lofty ambition on three hours of sleep and a baby on my breast.

“Im, sorry. What?”

We chat and share strategies of discipline and sanity, and I think I offer very little, as I watch him push and smack.

“I think its time for naps,” I scurry, but not too quickly because she’s cutting teeth and not quite finished eating, and the third baby is really asked a lot.

I warn, and punish, and pinch a little too. It takes about an hour, to make it to the car.

“Who wants a sucker?” I say, before I put it in reverse.

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