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Location: Northern California

Read all about the adventures of the Tsao Family during the summer of 2012

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


A day in the life of a mutha

This morning I was all set to squirrel myself away in my office and work on query letters and other important writing-for-money type things when I got the dreaded phone call from our nanny; she couldn't come today. Sigh. Her kids started school yesterday and she needed to meet with teachers and do other important stuff that I know nothing about because I'm gleefully ignorant of what my life will be like when my kids are in school. I know there's an acronym called the PTA that I will either love or hate, and that's about it. Ignorance is bliss, I know.

After I hung up the phone, the real truth of today's situation hit me hard. It was 9:00 AM; the grocery shopping was done, the house was clean, the kids were dressed, and we had no plans. A day without a plan is great if you're single and a special someone calls you to see what you are doing and since you have no plans, you say, "I have no plans..." And then he hurries over on his motorcycle, and the two of you share a bottle of wine, make love all afternoon, and live happily ever after.

But once you have kids, a day without a plan is like a horror movie run in slow motion; it's scary stuff and it goes on and on and on. It does not involve motorcycles or making love, and 9:00 AM is a long way off from even this mommy's approved cocktail hour. Telling myself to take deep breaths, I wondered what the heck we were going to do today. I could feel my stress levels rising.

I checked the entertainment guide in our local daily paper--nothing. I scanned the calendar provided by our local parenting magazine--nothing. I racked my brain to see if there was something in there, anything at all--nothing. Then I check my calendar--score! Pottery Barn Kids in Stanford Shopping Center was having a kids' storytime at 10 AM.

I crunched the numbers; it was 9:15 and we had to leave by 9:30 in order to make it there by 10:00. Could I pull it off? On the minus side I hadn't showered, my hair was pulled up in a pony tail, and my teeth felt fuzzy. On the plus side I had eaten breakfast and had my coffee. And not just any coffee but a Grande Nonfat Latte. This could happen!

I quickly washed my face; traded in my t-shirt for a tank top and my running shoes for sandals; and decided that since my sweats were Gap from a season in the past decade, I was OK wearing them to Stanford Shopping Center, which around here is the creme de la creme of shopping malls. Not that I care what other people think, but you never know who you'll run into at Pottery Barn Kids. Some mom you’re trying to impress, I guess.

The gods must have been smiling upon me because I managed to get myself, the kids, and the diaper bag ready, and the whole lot of us out of the house by 9:35. I even had a small assortment of snacks, a sippy cup for Emily, and a bottle of water for Thomas. Actually, the sippy cup and bottle were still half full from yesterday's excursion to the park but I figured water doesn't go bad. Not in one day, at least. Right?

We made it to the mall in record time. PBK wasn't very crowded so we were able to get seats in front. Emily could have cared less about pretty ladies reading books, but Thomas seemed interested. Good boy. On the way out I got Emily a new book A Potty for Me! by Karen Katz. [Yes, we are about to GO THERE with her. Soon. Sometime this year. And I'm really looking forward to it. Not.]

After the PBK adventure it was still only 10:50. I decided that we would go on a Parisian-inspired adventure, Palo Alto style. We stocked up on French bread items from La Baguette Boulangerie Patisserie (one of those ham and cheese and butter sandwiches for me, brioches for the kiddies) and headed out of the safety of the shopping mall. What lay beyond these concrete walkways? This fearless trio would soon find out.

We ambled down Arboretum Drive and hung a right on Palm. I knew we were headed toward the Stanford campus and I figured there had to be something there that was either interesting or entertaining, or that would help to pass some time. About half a mile down the road we came upon it, the Rodin Sculpture Garden! How French! We sat in the shade of a large tree and enjoyed our fattening lunchables. After lunch we checked out the sculptures and took pictures of ourselves. It actually was a pretty swell place for the kids. I'm glad we ventured out of the pop culture zone of the mall and ambled upon some real culture. I gave myself a mental pat on the back. Good job, mom!

Back at the mall, err, shopping center, we enjoyed a post-lunch fruit and water snack before getting into our mammoth SUV and heading home. By the time we got home, Thomas was ready for a nap and Emily was ready to have her head filled with educational TV, giving me some time to write this blog entry and fiddle with the day's pics. Ahhh, a perfect ending to a perfect day.

Hey, I just realized it's after 4! Time for this happy mutha to break out the Two-Buck Chuck. Cheers!