Do you guys remember those commercials? The ones where the baby's crying, something's boiling over on the stove, the phone is ringing, etc. and the woman says, "Calgon, take me away!" The next screen cuts to the woman in an enormous bathtub soaking in bubbles and looking like she's had about a box of wine. Well, what I want to know is where exactly did Calgon take her that her crying baby stopped crying, two kids didn't need to pee while she was in the tub and nobody stood right outside the door yelling, "Mom, what are you doing in there? How many minutes until you get out? Mom, he's breathing my air! Mom, Mylie just spilled an entire box of goldfish on the new couch! Mom, I'm hungry..."
Don't get me wrong folks, I am all for the therapeutic value of a long hot bath. In fact, I am so dedicated to their magical powers that I still take them despite the fact that our bathtub is roughly the size of a matchbox and I am roughly not, so I can only soak about 1/2 of my weary bones at a time. We need not even discuss the amount of yoga I have to practice to be able to perform the contortions required to shave my legs in there. But, let's face it, all baths must be taken after the kids are in bed otherwise they are far more frustrating than relaxing.
Luckily for me, I have a new crew-the ESCAPE CREW!!!! The Escape Crew, (actually I don't know that we have a title but whatever,) is a group of women with kids who are newly committed to going out once a month and doing something new and different with grown ups and NO CHILDREN. I am so excited about this group that I cannot stand it and I had a blast at our first meeting. Part of the reason for my excitement is that I am the world's worst person at going out and doing things for myself. Previous to this group, my only regularly scheduled time away from my kids was my weekly lifeteam meetings with women from church. Don't get me wrong, I adore my lifeteam and wouldn't for a second downplay all that it has been to me for years. However, 2 hours of Bible study, prayer and conversation, fantastic as it is, doesn't quite carry the same weight when your children are just downstairs. Now, I do go out occasionally without the kids but it is hard because my parents already help us out so much with required things that I hate asking them for optional ones and my kids have very few people with whom they can stay that doesn't kick off such an extreme set of attachment behaviors (for one of them at least) that I feel like my husband and I are being punished for going out. Part of the magic of the escape crew is that it's all women so my kids can stay home with their dad!!! Thank goodness he is a great dad who is nothing but sweet about me getting this break.
So, it would seem then that this monthly excursion would be fairly simple. I get dressed up, I go out, I come home, easy peasy. Yeah, not so much, have I mentioned that we're not normal? I shall now illustrate this point by explaining what all went into the first escape:
Those of you who read my FB posts already know that I have been sick. Of course I was sick for the first escape but I was dead set on going so what did I do? I quite literally sat on the couch for the majority of the day, not playing with kids or cleaning the house, not washing laundry, not exercising. I fed everyone and allowed more toys in my living room than usual and allowed my children to watch movies all day long and all for the noble pursuit of going out to dinner.
Whenever I am going to leave my kids, even for a couple of hours, I have to prepare them in advance but it is a delicate balance of enough time for them to wrap their heads around me being gone but not early enough for it to become a full fledged panic attack. In this instance, I told them about 10 am. So, from that moment on, I had to tell my children roughly every 4 minutes where I was going, when I was coming back, what I would be doing, who I would be with and that they would be home with their father. By 1:00, I was making them tell me the answers to all of their questions but they kept on asking.
When Brandon came home, I ran out and got Chinese food for all of them as a reward for the fact I was going out. Then, I climbed into the shower, prepared to primp out for girls night. Like a crazy woman, I expected my children to actually eat while I was in there and left the door unlocked as I was certain that someone would need to use the toilet while I showered-clearly I am psychic because they all did. The delightfulness of changing water pressure and temperature was only a prelude to the next way I would pay for my plans. As I am toweling off, a certain blond 4 year old wandered into the bathroom, points at me and begins cracking up. When I asked what she was laughing at she said, "Ha ha ha, you're naked!"
"Aren't you naked when you take a shower? Do I laugh at you?" I asked trying not to let this make me feel like crap.
"You should," she says still giggling and pointing, "naked is funny!" Seriously?!!!
So, I dry my hair just enough that it doesn't stick to my head and not so much that my curls decide to go frizzy and put on make up. The make up is particularly fun because both Conner and Mylie have decided to stand there and ask questions about where I am going, what I am going to do, who I am going to be with and who they are going to stay with while I do it.
With the top part of me presentable, I shoo the children off to play and go to my room to dress. I was so excited to be going out as an actual girl and not a mom that I decided to put on a spanx camisole so that nothing would dare bulge where bulges should not be and I would feel fabulous. For those of you who have never worn spanx, they aren't horrible except for having to put them on. Putting them on is like the opposite of the birthing process. Rather than pushing something out of your too large body in great pain and in the most humiliating possible position, spanx humiliate you by making it incredibly painful to squeeze your too large body into something about the size of a toothpaste tube.
Newly unbirthed, I threw on the rest of my clothes and headed for my cute shoes. CUTE SHOES!!!! The most magical part of going out without my minions is the ability to wear cute shoes. Cute shoes are not generally a possibility for me because I cannot go anywhere with minions in shoes that I cannot run and catch them in should they decide to run off-which occasionally they do. So I painted my toenails gun metal grey to complement the bling on one of my favorite pairs of wedge sandals and slip my feet into their size 7 1/2 perfection only to find that, with my ear infection, I couldn't walk in them without falling. Lovely.
Undaunted, I put on a less awesome pair of sandals and commenced the 15 minute process of hugging all of the children and getting out the door. My children all cleaved to my bosom, whining and promising to miss me as if I were leaving for war and I finally scraped the last one off of me and slipped out. I hopped in my van and pulled out of the driveway waving to their ridiculously sad faces and that of the dog smooshed up against the picture window in the living room.
I arrived at the restaurant only 10 minutes late. When I got to the table, it dawned on me that I had worn my new white blouse to a restaurant that served salsa. Amazingly, I didn't spill a drop of salsa on myself as I had a drink, carried on conversations, and enjoyed the non-minioned. moment. NOT ONE DROP OF SALSA, just one huge dollop of guacamole right on my right boob.
Even guacamole flavored wardrobe malfunctions didn't ruin my time. I met new people, ate terrific food, it was magical. Not one of my dinner mates soiled herself or asked me to run down their agenda for the night. No one put a bite of chewed up food they didn't enjoy on my plate or complained about anyone else at the table. It was absolute PERFECTION.
It was so perfect, in fact, that we extended the evening to Orange Leaf for dessert. Not one person asked for a bite of my yogurt or asked if they could eat every topping. It was profound. It was a truly magical night as I walked to my van. Bliss, I was thinking as I put my keys in the ignition and turned the engine over only to find, dead battery!!! Luckily, my stepfather was able to come and jump the van so I could get home and all was well.
For those of you who have only one child or no child, this may sound like a fairly uneventful evening. Some of you might even wonder if it was all worth it, especially if I tell you that by 8:30 I was so tired that I actually had trouble following conversations. All I can say is you are sooooooo wrong!!! No matter how many questions I answered, how tired I was, what shoes I wore, how green my boob was, how much a new van battery cost or how old I have to admit I am when I could easily fall asleep at a table full of women in a crowded restaurant, I came home feeling like an actual woman. A few hours as an actual woman, capable of conversing in more than 3 word phrases, dressed in clothes that don't look as though I am headed to work out left my heart full and head clear. I am a better mommy for it. It took more than calgon to get there, but man am I glad for the trip.
So, here's to you Escape Crew!!! Can't wait for next month's trip. For now, the minions look bored. I think I'll go to the bathroom and lock the door, that'll give them something to talk about!