What Happens at Mom’s Running Club.

Moms Running ClubA few months ago, I launched a running club for the moms in our church community group. On a given Sunday afternoon, we congregate in a pack of 2-5 moms, where we jog, walk, run, and talk.

The talking part is what we do best.

We discuss our kids, our husbands (all good stuff obviously), homeschooling, other schooling, and ourselves.

And all of our post-childbirth issues – many of which come up because of running.

We discuss the state of our pelvic floor and whether we’re likely to pee ourselves while running or not (we’ve decided that C-Sections have their benefits), we discuss hormonal changes and how The Plights of Womanhood affect our active lives, and we discuss many much more inappropriate topics that really shouldn’t be blogged about.

Because that’s what Mom’s Running Club is for. Conversation so distracting that we don’t realize we’re running.

(Until somebody pees.)

This past Sunday was typical in this way – the talking, not the peeing. We had discussed all the details of many things when we got on the subject of our gynecologists, because I had an appointment the next day. All three of us in attendance on that particular run visit the same practice (it’s like a gynocult), and the cult requires you to see each doctor at least once when you’re pregnant, so we can knowledgeably debate the pros and cons of each doctor.

As I was running my laundry list of preferences and why I didn’t like this doctor and that doctor, I got to…let’s call him…Doctor X.

I had a humiliating experience with Doctor X about nine years ago when I was very early in my pregnancy with Ali, so I’ve never wanted to see him again – in any context. And because this is what Mom’s Running Club is for, I was sharing this particularly horrifying story with my two running partners.

Right when I got to the most embarrassing part, quoting the particularly awkward thing that Doctor X had been forced to say to me, my storytelling voice naturally rose to the tempo of the tale. At which point both of my friends started laughing simultaneously.

Hard.

Then they both twisted their necks to look behind us at the couple who had just passed by.

I immediately assumed that my talking too loudly had amused the poor people out for a casual stroll and that they had given some sort of indication that they’d walked by at just the good part of that story.

But that would have been too pleasant.

Way too pleasant.

Both of my friends breathlessly blurted out at once, “That was him!! That was Doctor X! AND his wife!”

And that’s how my most humiliating moment with Doctor X was replaced. By a brand new moment.

Epilogue: I still had to go to the gynocult the next day. And I’ve never focused on being invisible as hard as I did when I had to pass by Doctor X’s open office door.

Fully Endorsed Anxiety.

These are the things I worry about: stray cats slipping into my car while I’m unloading groceries, my phone becoming sentient and turning on the camera at inopportune times and live-streaming those inopportune times to the world, and the consequences of endorsing my husband’s name on the backs of checks.

Every now and then, he’ll get a random check in the mail – for this or that, or for whatever. The chances that I will remember at night after a full day of parenting to ask my husband to sign the back of the check are smaller than a gnat’s mammary glands, so I typically end up signing his name for him while I’m in the drive-thru line at the bank.

But then I worry. What if the teller had been stretching her neck, looking around the corner at that very moment?

What if she could tell that the half-life of the endorsement signature ink and the deposit slip ink were the same – and very, very fresh?

Fully Endorsed Anxiety

Never mind the fact that I’m depositing the check into a joint account with his name clearly first. I’m aware of the penalties of check fraud – thanks to federal tax refund checks.

We don’t get one every year, but when we do, they’re made out to both of us.

Not Christopher or Rachel – it’s a “Christopher AND Rachel”.

And on the back, it clearly states “If check is made out to more than one party, both must endorse.”

And then after that, “Forgery of endorsements are a federal crime and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Minimum fine 40 billion dollars and life in prison for you and your progeny up to three generations.”

Or something about as ominous as that.

Needless to say, I seriously sweat about getting Chris to sign those checks. Because I can visualize the IRS agent whose job it is to receive the cleared checks and analyze the signature letter formation to see if they had indeed been signed by the authorized recipients.

This year, due to an adjustment on last year’s taxes, we got two refund checks.

The biggest one came first. I was already feeling jumpy about the whole thing because the envelope totally looked like junk mail and had fallen out of the stack and was lying on the kitchen floor perilously close to being kicked down the basement stairs like a discarded Charter Cable ad. I picked it up and my heart raced at the thought of it getting thrown away. Good luck getting the Government to stop payment and cut a new check.

I placed it carefully on the counter so that I could not forget it that night. I WOULD make Chris sign it. I WOULDN’T go to jail on forging my own husband’s name.

And I did. He signed it, I signed it, and we might’ve even used two different colors of ink – just to let them know that it was conclusively signed by two different individuals.

A week later, the second, much smaller check arrived. Times were busy – we were about to go on vacation and all of us were running from place to place trying to make things happen.

I didn’t have time to track down my husband for this task. And I certainly didn’t want to leave checks lying around while we were gone – the cat that had most likely snuck into the car and then into the house while I was unloading groceries would invariably pee on it.

Now I’m CERTAINLY not saying that I signed his name on the back because that would be a federal crime and I’m not a criminal, federal or international.

But if I had, I would have been feeling the laser-sharp glare of the hidden bank cameras as I sat, fidgeting in the car, watching the teller examine my deposit.

And if I had, I would have felt a mini-heart-attack when my teller called over another older, clearly more authoritative teller to look at my deposit.

And if I had, I might have peed a little when the scary new teller held up an ominous looking document and said, “Uh, Miss Callahan? Garble google bloggle blick.”

“I’m sorry? I couldn’t understand you.”

“I said, I have a survey here for you to fill out about your visit today.”

If that had happened, I would’ve sighed with great relief and given my bank all 10s for not questioning the integrity of any endorsements that might or might not have been on that check.

And then I would have gone home and resumed my anxiety attack, thinking constantly about that green-visored IRS agent in his dark, lonely office with only the company of his microscope, his expert training in signature analysis, and his stack of cleared checks.

Why I Quit Bathing My Kids.

My friends of the Daily Child Bather Variety (which thankfully are rare) cannot understand people like me.

They’re still in denial that the facts prove that most people are indeed like me but since I’m open and vocal about my anti-bathing stance, I must take the brunt of their shock.

But here’s a little story to illustrate why, exactly, I only bathe my children twice a week.

Maybe this kind of thing doesn’t happen to the daily bathers. And if so, they should count their blessings and shut up.

But they do happen to me.

It was a Thursday afternoon, perhaps yesterday, directly before naptime.

The timing is important, because all mothers know that “directly before naptime” means “I seriously cannot wait to have you in bed so that I can have a moment to reclaim my thoughts without anyone saying ‘heymommyheymommyheymommyheymommy’ while I’m simply trying to think one tiny sentence fragment of my own.”

(Cherish every moment, sweetheart. They go by so fast.)

But thanks to a frantic week, we were off schedule, and I was aware that my children stanketh more than usual.

(“Bath Nights” are Saturday nights and Tuesday nights. You do the math.)

So I had no choice. Pre-naptime baths absolutely had to happen.

I began running the bath and called the children from their blissful play.

“Everybody get naked and go tee-tee!”

Noah was first to whiningly reach me. As he was hopping off the toilet, he was still saying “I gotta go potty!”

“Do you need to poop?”

“No, silly! I just tee teed!”

“Then get in the tub.”

The washing began – along with the shock and awe over the fact that this bath, like all baths, requires me to spray your head, scrub your head, and rinse your head.

(WHY is that always such a surprise?? I will never understand.)

I finished Noah’s head and relegated him to the back of the tub. Then I began detangling Ali’s hair.

It’s unreal, her hair. At least ten feet long, thick, fine, and prone to extreme knots worthy of their own TLC freak show.

(I took her to a random salon at her birthday and requested that they put a deep conditioning detangling treatment on it. The salon manager didn’t believe me that she needed it, but agreed to it anyway. The treatment itself created a matted knot so big that it took her and another stylist over thirty minutes to get it out, all while the she shot me dirty, accusing looks while repeating that she’d never seen anything like it, clearly implicating me in a conspiracy to torture her.)

(Needless to say the treatment has not been any sort of long-term help.)

Back to the bath.

I was two and a half days into removing her tangles when Noah screamed, “I neeeeed to poooooop!”

Of course you do. Because you only poop once a week and of course it would be during this small window of rare bathing that your urges urgently interrupt.

But hey – it’s better than the alternative.

“Get out of the tub and poop, then.”

<Splash> <Splosh> <SHplop> <SHplop>

He tracked his giant pond-sized footprints across the bathroom floor.

He sat behind us, straining and turning purple, filling the room with the most unclean sound effects and aromas.

I considered the air particles for a second – should I just give up this bathing process all together?

“I’m doooone!!! I NEEEED YOU TO WIIIIIIPE MEEEE!”

I’m right here dude. No need to broadcast.

So I rinsed the masses of conditioner off my hands and headed over to wipe a butt.

Mommy's Hands

He leaned over, holding my legs as I sent a piece of unlucky toilet paper journeying through his buttcheeks.

“My hands are all wet from my bath – not from the potty.”, he told me.

“I’m aware of that fact. But thanks for the reassurances.”

I wiped him extra thoroughly since he was headed back into a liquid germ-sharing situation with his sister, then flushed and returned to my detangling of the lion’s mane.

I didn’t notice the fact that his once-a-week poo was so massive that it had clogged the toilet. Or that the commode innards had also gotten stuck in the air and the water was continuing the run.

(One would assume such fortune could only happen once in a lifetime. But here it was, happening again, in the very same bathroom that was now brand new because of the last time it happened.)

I was unaware. Until I heard the sound of Victoria Falls rushing from the toilet.

I jumped up, splattering conditioner onto every surface, all while screaming “NONONONONO STOPSTOPSTOPSTOP!!!!”, sloshed through the quickly forming lake, and began frantically turning the knob on the back of the toilet.

The falls kept falling until the very last quarter turn. By then, the River of PooWater was nearing Ali’s bedroom.

I snatched up their towels and started mopping, while children, who are the ultimate Captain Obviouses, began saying things like,

“There’s water in the floor, Mommy!”

and,

“The toilet is overflowing!”

and,

“It’s comin’ over this way!”

I am not a yeller.

But in a moment of extreme PTSD – complete with flashbacks of living with the last toilet flood damage for 184 days – I yelled.

“Be quiet! Everyone – be quiet!”

Because apparently sopping up water demands silence. At least for Mommies who cannot tune out children.

It took both of their towels and a third fresh one from the linen closet to soak up all the PooWater, leaving me with extraordinarily unclean-feeling feet.

But it’s not like I could wash them off in the bathtub. Or track across my bedroom carpet to the other bathtub.

So I just went back, once more, to my job of detangling.

Mommy's Feet

After everyone was [as clean as they could get in that room] and deposited in their respective bedrooms wearing fresh towels, I carried the sadly abused towels downstairs, using as few fingers as possible and praying that they weren’t wet enough to drip. I opened up the washing machine, ready to fling them in from afar…only to discover that I’d completely forgotten about the last load of laundry the day before.

And this,

All of This,

is why my children are, as of today, required to become hipsters.

I took a few pictures of the perpetrator so that I could remember what cleanliness looks like. To cherish the moment.

Noah Clean

Because he will be allowed bathe again when he’s twenty-one.