Five years ago, any semblance of control I had over my life was lost. Actually, it was more than five years ago, because my (drink) pregnancy with the twins was a bitch. I was so huge I could barely walk. James called me Moby.
Fifth birthdays are a significant milestone as a parent. According to something I read years ago, kids don't remember much before the age of five. So when that magical birthday rolls around, I grieve the years I could massively screw up, but find comfort in knowing they wouldn't be scarred for life. Now, (drink) any slip-up could materialize years later in therapy sessions. "When I was five, my mom got so angry that I wouldn't eat all my broccoli that I felt like I would never be good enough." Great. Now (drink) I have no more kids left to screw up on. Every disciplinary action I take from here on has potential to inflict deep emotional wounds. Maybe I'm (drink) inadvertently raising hoarders. Or social recluses (actually this pandemic may be taking care of that). Or a son with mommy issues.
But my own personal hang-ups with fifth birthdays aside, this is a proud day for my daughters. Five is the age Cynthia has vowed to stop sucking her finger and Eleanor has affirmed she will stop picking her nose. It is the age you get to ride a school bus and go to kindergarten. Sadly, the recent announcement that schools are now closed through the end of June means they will likely not return to their preschool. But that didn't stop preschool from coming to us. Much to the twin's delight, a car parade of teachers surprised them this morning. There were signs, pom poms, confetti, and even a gift. They declared it was their best birthday ever.
The fun didn't end there, though. Well, it did for James and me. We piled all the kids in the car for Dairy Queen lunch and blizzards. It is a ten minute drive, but let me tell you, it felt like ten hours. We hadn't all been in the car (drink) together in weeks, and the seating is tight. They are already kind of edgy with each other because - well obviously - but the extra close quarters took them over the edge.
"She's looking at me."
"No I'm nooot!"
"Ew Eleanor is picking her nose."
"Someone has poop breath."
"This car smells. I'm getting car sick."
"Someone open a window." Window opens. "I'm cold."
"Close the window!"
"Noooo! It smells in here."
Me: "I'm freezing. Close the windows." Followed by James closing all the windows from the driver's seat and locking their controls.
"I have a headache."
"Are we there yet?"
"Why is it so far?"
"Stop looking at me!"
The drive through line was loooong. I guess DQ has proved they are essential. The bickering and moaning continued until James and I tag teamed on the yelling guilt trip. You know the drill - you say things like, "if this (drink) is the way you're going to behave, we will no longer take you out for treats like this," and "the next person who talks doesn't get their blizzard." Crap - day one of their sixth year and I failed the perfect disciplinarian test. We all know we're not withholding blizzards. Why did I say that? Scarred for life.
Once we FINALLY got the food and distributed it to the masses, the moaning subsided for a little while at least.
But then, Cynthia finished her hot dog and wanted to move onto her blizzard. We were five minutes from home and I told her we needed to wait until we got home to eat it because it is very messy. Well. That (drink) did not go over well. Cynthia (drink) is super dramatic, so there was a lot of, "I can't live without my blizzard now," and "I'm trying to tell my brain to wait, but my body won't listen."
We got behind an overly polite driver who let everyone at the light go, causing us to miss the green and have to wait for the light to change. Do you know how long it takes for a light to change when you have five kids in the car going stir crazy? Five hundred minutes. And THEN, Kaleb managed to lose his glasses.
When the light finally changed, we were stuck behind the slowest car EVER. I suppose people don't really have anywhere to go, so I get that they're not going heavy on the accelerator. But I was on the verge of a meltdown. No one wants to melt down on their kids' (drink) birthday. I should also mention that the car now smelled like french fries, not poop breath. I was salivating, but trying to abstain and have a freaking salad when I got home. Hangry, fry-deprived Jill was not a helpful addition to the situation. A meltdown was imminent. "On my fifth birthday, my mom jumped out of the car while my dad was driving," they would tell their therapist, "I haven't been able to get in a car since."
We made it home, though, without jumping ship. Blizzards were distributed before I even took my jacket off. And all was well in the (drink) world again. I mean, in our house. Not the world. In any case, happy birthday little ones. I hope I don't do too much permanent damage.