Day Two

Tuesday, April 19. The year is 2011. The writer is a woman just beginning her battle. She is slowly realizing that the only war she needs to win is the ongoing war within her own brain.

Its 9:20 in the morning and I’m attempting to work in the hours that I’m most creative, but with the distraction of three children at home. Ominous music from level two of Super Mario Brothers pours from the television in the kitchen and mixes with a deeply philosophical conversation about the origins of Mario’s villains. Gwen wonders if the one wearing pink is named Lady Gaga.

In the family room, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse isn’t entertaining enough, so Kate has crumbled bits of Irish soda bread into the sisal rug and the tufting of the leather ottoman. She put the finishing touches on her mess with a series of milk sprinkles and smears across the leather. I know this because she entered the kitchen bearing a proud smile and wet hair…hair washed in milk that caused me to sprint through the house to investigate the damage.


Yesterday morning I felt guilt. Guilt induced by the Facebook statuses of people who are currently enjoying beaches and Disney World with their children. Those people who, as I began to tell myself, were better parents than me. The photographs of their smiling children continuously tell me so. Those people didn’t sacrifice family vacations for stints in graduate school. Those people are no longer saddled with student loan debt from the family’s last stint with graduate school. Those people started their careers as grown-ups in a manner more timely than David and I did.

Yes, I was feeling guilty yesterday morning so I suggested a ride to pick up some new crayons and craft supplies.

I’m a stupid idiot.

On the way, I suggested that maybe we could all get some lunch. Immediately, Gwen assumed that we’d be dining at MacDonald’s. As a parent, I’ve grown to abhor McDonald’s. My overly-dramatic mind has spun the Golden Arches into a den of fat-laden death and Ronald McDonald has come to resemble the clown from Stephen King’s It. Pennywise has nothing on the evil corporate giant backing Ronald McDonald.

They don’t even like the food. It’s the toys they’re after and for some reason, McDonald’s suddenly made me see red yesterday afternoon. I inwardly sighed and said, “You know…there isn’t much that I’d like to eat at McDonald’s, maybe we can try a different restaurant.”

From the rear of the minivan Gwen vehemently shouted, “NO! I WANT McDONALD’S!”

Joe met my gaze in the rear view mirror. “Maybe we could go get pizza, right Mom?”

“That’s a great idea! We all like pizza, right?”


“Gwen, McDonald’s isn’t good for us. Besides you don’t even eat the food…”


My hands gripped the steering wheel a bit tighter and my teeth clenched. “Why don’t we try to agree on food that we all like?”

Joe’s eyes told me that he wanted McDonald’s too, but was struggling with compromise. At six-years-old, he is developing reason and consideration. I love him. “I know, Mom…why don’t you get something that you want first and then we’ll go to McDonald’s and get what we want?”

“That’s really nice of you, Joe…” I am interrupted by Gwen’s screaming voice.


At that moment a woman stepped in front of the car without looking and the wheels of the minivan brushed against the curb as I turned the corner of the crowded mall parking lot to avoid her.

That’s it.

“Gwen, do you care at all that Mommy doesn’t want McDonalds? Do you care at all about anyone but yourself?


I sat at the traffic light, inwardly seething. My eyes shot daggers across the road at the tacky red and yellow building that has placed my children under its nasty spell. I could smell it from there. The cloying grease of those french fries coats the air and, I imagine, leaves film of tacky grease on anything that comes to rest for too long in the vicinity.

I hate you.

I pulled into the parking lot and threw the van into park. When I grabbed my wallet, I saw that my bank card was missing. My thoughts went back to Sunday when I swiped my card to buy expensive gasoline and placed it in my coat pocket – the coat that was now neatly hanging in the closet at home.

Do I need to describe the chaos, crying and yelling that ensued when Gwen and I experienced our dueling meltdowns?

David took a 1/2 day after my psychotic phone call. You know the one. It’s filled with things like “I hate my life” and “selfish kids” and “spoiled brats” and other filthy expletives.

Before I knew that he was coming home, I made the kids egg salad sandwiches. David entered to find those spoiled children polishing off their cupcakes. The ones we baked on Saturday.


  1. thefancyflea says:

    What a day, you poor thing 🙁

  2. Slidecutter says:

    I feel for ya kiddo, honestly I do. Damn, I remember those days and the only solace I have is now enjoying similar tantrums thrown by my Grandkids at my daughters. Payback is a M%$$##@@%*&@R!

    Hated McDonald's too when mine were small. My oldest once threw up to me that she once had a weight problem because I constantly drove by MickeyD's when they were small. Somehow, I created a deep psychological food scar that caused over-eating for a period of time in her life.

    Guess that's why I'm a Shoeaholic; my mother drove by shoe stores when I was growing up….

    Hoping the next few days are better for you.


  3. Dwija {House Unseen} says:

    Holy crap. The card in the pocket. I constantly do that and my husband is constantly pointing out how bad of an idea it is, which of course makes HIM the unreasonable one, not me.

    Have you ever tried singing really loudly when one of them is going berserk while you're driving? It doesn't make them shut their pie holes, but it sure does take the edge of ME! Good times 🙂

  4. I'm standing right there behind you, seething at McMuffin pants and their nasty little toys. Evil, thy name is Ronald.
    I love, love, love your writing!

    I invested in a portable DVD player. Once the kids were plugged in I never heard a peep .. just random spouts of laughter from behind … aaahhh. Nothing like letting Disney babysit while I drive in peace.
    & BTW: school, debt, no vacations .. wow. I'm still Soooo there. Sigh.

  5. says:

    That sounds like a rough day. I totally sympathize with you.

    Sometimes it's so hard to balance the needs (and wants) of everyone.

    Hope tomorrow goes better for you guys.

  6. my3littlebirds says:

    I hope you're on your second glass of wine as I write this. I've been to all these places, have all the tshirts. Thank God tomorrow is another day.

  7. Totally on vino numero dos! I'll go ahead and admit that I spent many visits to FL/my dad at Disney World. Portable DVD is genius. I should just suck it up and break ours out, right? Babysitting by Disney is way better than a crying mommy.
    Today was good. We're in our vacation groove. Ahhh.

  8. Oh, the memories!!
    Stupid McDonald toys, ugh

    My kids are grown and despise McDonalds today wondering how I could have ever taken them there.
    What??? How soon they forget they were complete replicas of Gwen,

    The credit card thing is such a "ME TOOOO"
    We put everything on one card (you know, to earn air mileage SO WE CAN FINALLY TAKE TROPICAL VACATIONS) and I never have cash, everyone is cool with the card, much easier.

    At least you knew right away where it was, yup, husband gets furious with me when I lose it.

    They SO don't get us…..

  9. Hey hun…so sorry you had a craptastic day. I hate days like that…the ones where you would give ANYTHING to leave the house all day alone!!! I have those…more than I should lately! BUt I'm still super sorry. Wish I was close enought to help…we could trade crazy kids for a day!! I wanted to apologize for being so absent lately…you're one of my fave reads and I've neglected you so! 26 days and counting to daddy's goodbye…I'll probably be hit and miss more often than I choose.

    I hope tomorrow is better (end tonight with some wine!)…my solace is to always have some quiet time (or my own nap) during my dudes' naptime. Ah! I love naptiem!!

  10. TexaGermaNadian says:

    Holy, you need a glass of wine with those egg salad sandwiches! 🙂 I am sorry it was a craptastic day. But the Lady Gaga/Princess thing had me laughing! I hope your Wednesday is better and there are no McDonald's melt downs 🙂

  11. Oh boo. Sounds like one of those days indeed. Hope you're hanging there and that today is much, much better!

  12. Katie @ Chicken Noodle Gravy says:

    Wow…just wow. Hope today was better than yesterday for sure…and hey, congrats for not having a total meltdown, because I probably would have!

  13. Is it too late to acquire a drug habit to numb the pain?

  14. Midnight Oil Momma says:

    Love the post all except for the picture of It. Clowns are just not the same for me. It makes my body shiver in angst. I hate it that you had 'one of those days'. Those days you just want to pull your hair out and shut yourself up in a room by yourself. But thank God for a hubby who came home early!
    BTW. I want you to know, I admire you for actually going back to school to pursue something you love. So what if you can't go some where right now. Darn it. You will someday. 😉 Or maybe you can write a really amazing story for your kids and pretend that you are going where ever it is you think you should be right now. Save you some money. Okay that was probably a corny idea. I'll shut up now.

  15. I sympathize so much with days like these! I feel guilty, in fact, that I'm never at a museum or taking my kids to the park (because I feel I can't safely control two small boys there – and what is wrong with me?) Additionally, I have these seething meltdowns and am always glad to see that it's not a personal flaw of mine. As for McDonald's, I am so sorry, but I have to give you a link to a piece of mine about McDonald's that was recently posted on a friend's blog. You will see I am in total agreement with you! Hang in there…as we all do.

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