Last week, we went with Josh to DC. Beforehand, I was looking around online and saw that the circus was there. I found a discount code for $10 tickets and figured, hey, why not? It's been years since I've taken the girls to the circus (Sasha, never) and who can beat 10 bucks?
So I bought the tickets and told the girls.
First of all I have to say this. For those of you not familiar with DC, "DC" can mean many things. For instance, you may be going to a circus in Sterling VA (aka DC) and you may be staying at the National Harbor (aka DC) but these places are 34 miles apart. Straight across downtown DC. Fortunately, I punched it up on TomTom the night before and planned to allow us plenty of time to get there.
Finally the morning came. I had spent most of the week fighting DC traffic so I was determined to outsmart it. We left at 9:30, 1 ½ hours before the circus was to start. The TomTom said it would take us a half hour to get there. Yes, it was a bit psycho but I thought, what could it hurt?
First off, leaving the harbor, TomTom froze just when I had to decide between 295, 395 and 495. Of course, there was a car behind me and the girls were saying from the backseat, "Mommy can you turn it up? We like this song". So under pressure, I made a choice. 295.
Wrong. I merged onto 295 and immediately realized my mistake. For those who don't know (like me) 295 is the highway that dumps straight into downtown DC. So at 9am on a weekday, the better part of Northern VA and Southern MD are all on 295 going bumper to bumper to get to their important government jobs. TomTom had awoken from it's nap to confirm my suspicions and informed me that now I was 43 miles from the circus. (Thanks for the info)
Ok. I was not worried. That's what I left early for, right? I just be-bopped to the radio and jockeyed in and out of traffic, feeling like an old pro after 3 days of being a big, independent city mom. The girls were happy and there was little fighting. It was fine.
The minutes ticked by. I was still thinking positively but had started to notice that our window was shrinking. We were only going to be about 20 minutes early if this kept up. But that was ok, plenty of time.
As I was merging onto another packed interstate, Sasha announced that her stomach hurt. I asked if she had to go to the bathroom, she said yes, I promised I would look for one.
There was no need. She threw up. Not vomited, Threw up. Her mouth was a fountain spewing curdled pink milk all over the place. Autumn screamed, "GROSS. She's throwing up!!! Disgusting!!" I yelled, "Autumn give her something!" but all she could say was "Give her what? Oh it's so gross! And it's ON ME!!!! Waaaaa!!!!" So I am merging into traffic while at the same time, frantically reaching for something to give Sasha to catch whatever was left. I found a plastic bag, dumped its contents and handed it to her. She told me she was feeling better. By then, she had pretty much covered herself and most of the backseat.
|Something Smells. Bad.|
Of course, now Sasha realizes that she is covered with vomit and starts to cry. Autumn is babbling incoherently but when I ask her to clean Sasha up with my glove compartment napkins she stops long enough to shout. "I will not touch THAT! It is so gross!!" I turned the air on full blast and crack the windows in an effort to keep myself from passing out.
TomTom says that thanks to traffic we will now be 5 minutes late for the circus. I sigh, debating how I am going to fix this mess while driving on a highway with no exits. Finally, right before a drawbridge, I notice a pull off. I jump out of the car and start using my bottle of water and glove compartment napkins to clean Sasha, all the while trying to ignore the fact that most of DC is now staring at my butt on their way to work. In the meantime, Autumn has jumped out of the car, run around to the front of it and is balling with her face heavenward as if asking God why He let this awful tragedy occur.
I manage to get the car seat wiped off and clean Sasha's pants and shoes. I happened to find an extra shirt in the car so I tell her I am going to carefully lift off the yucky one and get her all changed.
She has just turned 5. So the thought of changing her shirt in front of 4 lanes of parked traffic is more than she can handle. I must open both doors and use my body to block any view of her as we change her shirt. This is the only way she will agree.
I had just enough napkins. I put Sasha back in her carseat and get ready to go. Autumn refuses to get back into "Stinky Throw Up Car" and the only way I can get her back in is to threaten to leave her there on the side of the highway. (yes, her therapist will make lots of money off of that later)
Some good samaritan lets me merge back into traffic. I still have the windows down. TomTom now says we are going to be 30 minutes late for the circus. But I keep repeating like a crazy person, "It's Ok. We're fine. Everything's ok. We're going to make it. We're going to have a great day." The girls are skeptical.
We did make it. We were 40 minutes late and had to be ushered to our seats by a surprised staff member. But once I got them seated, I ran out to the concession stand and came back with the go to band-aid of all mothers, M&Ms. (and cotton candy, because really, that's why we were there in the first place)
|I'm hungry now, Mom.|
Autumn made me switch seats with her and then I realized why. I had an extra shirt in the car for Sasha but no pants. She REEKED. But as I watched her little face "ooh" and "ahh" at the jugglers and trapeze artists, my stress faded away. I gave her a hug, squeezed Autumn's knee. Everything else faded away hearing their giggles at the clowns. My kids were seeing a Real Circus, in a Real Circus Tent! How awesome! It was wonderful.
Now I realize that to you moms reading this situation is not unusual or unique. We all know just what it is, A day in the life of a mom.