Never say never

“I can’t eat this, momma,” Saige holds up the apple from her lunch box and smiles a wide, front-toothless smile.  Exhaust, bone-white in the sub-freezing air, drifts over the back of the Suburban, parked on a small snow bank outside of the elementary school.  Garrett is supposed to be getting his boots from his classroom, but I can see out the back window, through the lazy car smoke, that he’s been waylaid by the game of king of the snow mountain.  My heated seat bakes my buns while our breath freezes on the inside of the windows.

The inside.  Never in my worst nightmares did I ever imagine living where breath freezes to ice on the inside of cars.

It’s shower night and I’m already dreading the effort required and plotting the glass of wine that will see me through the assembly line of soap, rinse, dry, lotion, teeth, nails.  When I had children, I never thought about nails. You don’t think about the maintenance of so many little bodies not your own.  It’s been five days since they last bathed. Yes, five.  Stop judging; we’ve already discussed judging and it’s freezing, so they don’t get dirty. All the dirt is frozen. Our sweat is frozen inside our pores.  I hate shower nights, but I cannot skip it tonight. Butts eventually smell, no matter how frozen. It’s a fact.

I look forward to the start of swimming lessons at the end of the  month because, as far as I’m concerned, that counts as twice weekly bathing.

The radio announcer mentions Martin Luther King Day and Quinn pipes in his high, sweet tones: “I know that gwuy. We leawrned about him in school.  He changed the rules so brown people could go in restauwants.”

“He did. With a lot of other people.  They worked hard to change the rules and give everyone equal rights. And now we have a brown guy for president of the whole country.”

“Yeah. It wasn’t fair. Before that gwuy, Saige couldn’t go in a restauwant.”  Restaurants are very important places in my children’s lives, something like entering a place of worship.  Forget voting rights. You bastards can’t keep people out of restaurants. Where they serve french fries and individual pizzas that are all mine, no sharing, right mom? That’s not fair.

It’s that simple.  My mother went to high school when segregation was the law of the land and her five year old grandson shakes his head, amazed that anyone could conceive of being unfair over brown skin.  It’s astonishing and sad, beautiful and ugly. How we change. How quickly it’s written off as history. I hope my grandchildren shake their heads in dismayed astonishment over the rights denied to gay people. I hope it’s ancient history. I hope some of us gwuys change the rules.

Garrett’s red hair pops into the side window and he fumbles at the handle with his be-mittened hand.  He has his boots. With Garrett, the acquiring of his goal on any given errand is always fifty/fifty. I hear his seat belt buckle snap. It is finally time to go home.  I close my eyes in brief thanksgiving that there is no hockey tonight. There was a time when I mocked parents who threw their tiny toddlers out on the ice in full Wayne Gretzky gear.  When I said things like ice time at 6:00 a.m., you’ve got to be effing kidding me.  A time before Matt had boys.

Never (seriously, never ever) say never.  I give you a brief video of me eating my words, while sitting on the butt-numbingly cold bleachers of the ice rink.  Yum. Pass the salt.

Look how cute our little baby Nate is though?! (He’s three. I need more ketchup, these words are dry.)

28 Responses to Never say never
  1. Mel
    January 17, 2013 | 7:37 am

    Dying from the unbelievable cuteness. Dying.

  2. Robin from Israel
    January 17, 2013 | 7:37 am

    Cutest forward ever.

    Here it’s soccer. Not nearly that cute.

    As for the ice on the inside of the windows, I have no words. Or maybe just this – have you put the house on the market yet?

  3. pamela
    January 17, 2013 | 8:13 am

    we have ice-breath, too, so much that i keep a little mini scraper next to my seat so’s i can also scrape ice inside the vehicle. it’s gross.

  4. Alison
    January 17, 2013 | 10:00 am

    Died of cute.
    I am perpetually sweating, it’s ridiculous. Damn tropical climate with over 90% humidity.
    I really wouldn’t mind a little cold weather. Just a little. Maybe for a couple of days.

  5. Gayle
    January 17, 2013 | 10:28 am

    OMFG!! I kid you not…. at about the 50-second mark the voice in my head says “two hands on the stick” and holy shit at the 56-second mark Matt says it. Run Nate Run!! As fast as you can far, far from the ice. After three boys and ten-odd years of hockey, many of the competitive and tens of thousands of dollars later I can’t even stand the sound of the puck dropping on the ice. All the things we should have done with all those hours… months…years… dollars. Your daughter, after being dragged to the rink night after night will grow up to hate sports. And you. We had three playing and five sitting and watching. What was I thinking?

    Ummmm…. coming from the lady who had to ask her husband to fill in and coach her first basketball practice with Lucas tomorrow night (yes, I’m coaching) so she could go watch her high schooler play ball. And soccer starts in 3 weeks. And…. LOL

    It’s 1:30am… Nate was cute. You are crazy. I’ll say it now… I told you so.

    And where is his Chief’s jersey???

  6. andy
    January 17, 2013 | 11:19 am

    He’s adorable!!

  7. Erin
    January 17, 2013 | 1:26 pm

    Not sure how one short video could contain that much cuteness, but it did!

  8. MommyTime
    January 17, 2013 | 2:08 pm

    My favorite bit is where the puck ends up halfway between his feet and the end of the stick, and he can’t figure out how to back up his feet or to make the stick short enough to reach the puck that is too close. It’s like he’s trapped in a small, invisible box. :)

    I have a sports-obsessed son. However, since his father grew up in California, hockey is not in the vocabulary. I simply have to contend with requests to play soccer, baseball, football, and basketball. In overlapping seasons. But nothing is worse than 6am ice time.

    PS Also? Swimming = bathing. Everyone knows that. In fact, the Victorians didn’t even HAVE the word “swimming.” They called it: BATHING! I rest my case.

  9. Arnebya
    January 17, 2013 | 2:39 pm

    Butts do eventually stink, but I have to admit, we’ve gone some days upon days upon wait, when was the last time you had a shower? It’s winter and our house is cold. No one wants to be bothered with blaming someone else over not bleeding the radiators or you! You moved the extension cord so now we can’t use the damn space heater in the bathroom; we’ll shower tomorrow. Here’s a wash cloth; hit your important parts at the sink. (And yup, I’m sometimes saying this to myself, not the kids. What?)

    The nails. Man. My issue is the toenails. I’m too girly to let their nails be unkempt (even the boy) and the girls are too girly and polish-obsessed to not remain perfectly trimmed, but what gets me is is there a sloth in this house WHAT THE HELL, WHY DO YOU SOUND LIKE THAT ON THE HARDWOOD? FIND THE CLIPPERS!

    And I force my kids to swim so that we aren’t perpetuating the black people don’t swim stereotype. Also, I can’t swim. (Giving you the blankest stare ever.)

  10. Mama D
    January 17, 2013 | 2:46 pm

    My dad always says that ‘never’ is a long time! Instead of using that word, he’ll say “I cannot envision the scenario in which…” ;)

  11. Louise
    January 17, 2013 | 2:59 pm

    Thank you for addressing the fact that we overwash ourselves and there is absolutely no need to perpetuate that problem. And my wish is for some gwuys change the rules about a lot of intolerance. In the meantime, the best I can do is teach it at home. (Also, the restaurant as a holy place – YES, YES! My kids worship the straws with paper jackets and the individual pizzas, too!)

  12. Amy
    January 17, 2013 | 3:21 pm

    I’m picturing stinking butts w/ heated seats….not pretty. ;)

  13. Issa
    January 17, 2013 | 4:10 pm

    Wee Nate on skates! Love it so much. Especially because it’s not my kid. Heh. What? I spent my entire childhood in an ice rink watching a sport I didn’t play. Every day I am thankful that my sons obsession is baseball, something only played in summer here.

    But still it is cute! Boys man, gotta love em.

  14. Sharon
    January 17, 2013 | 4:56 pm

    Oh my lord how cute is that!
    I considered hockey for my boys briefly. Very briefly. My husband has zero athletic ability and I have zero desire for 6am ice time. They are content with soccer and baseball for now…
    But holy cute, it’s about worth it for a video such as that!

  15. tracy@sellabitmum
    January 17, 2013 | 5:14 pm

    My kids are weird in that they ask and do shower daily. I will always love that the most about them. :)

    Love you. xo

  16. Jenng
    January 17, 2013 | 5:41 pm

    Oh I’m glad I’m not the only one who dreads bath night! Haha! My son went from last Wednesday until Monday (we didn’t have school Monday) until I finally made him take one so his teacher wouldn’t think I was being neglectful. The bad thing is, here…we are having a heat wave in SC – it got up to 81 over the weekend, so my son was stinky from playing outside! However, we didn’t go anywhere, so I let him stink! Thank goodness my daughter is old enough now to handle her own baths, and she likes to have them regularly. I no longer have to wash her hair, her body, or dry her off. :) Once they get to the independent bathing stage, it gets MUCH better.

  17. Brigid Keely
    January 17, 2013 | 9:15 pm

    Bah, there’s no real reason to bathe kids more often than once a week unless they’re really dirty or smelly. Over bathing strips protective oils from the skin and hair and can (and often does!) lead to dry skin and scalps, rashes, etc.

    • Anymommy
      January 17, 2013 | 10:00 pm

      I’m hitting the imaginary like button on this comment ;-)

  18. Jenny
    January 17, 2013 | 10:17 pm

    Oh, you must live near ME. If you haven’t already, you’ll have to watch Jimmy Kimmel’s recent montage of TV reporters in Cali losing their sanity over their “Arctic” spell of late. It’s hilarious to we the people whose breath freezes even inside their heated cars. But I digress. I just wanted to say that when I read you hadn’t bathed your kids in THAT many days, that sweat freezes, that swimming lessons count for baths, I did not judge. I nodded my head in solidarity. Amen, sister. Amen.

  19. Leah
    January 18, 2013 | 1:42 am

    My car doors were froze shut this morning, the frost never left the tree’s it was sooo cold and foggy.
    5 days, I think we can go longer then that, it’s winter, they are clean, snow is clean, I only have to give in so I can put heavy duty conditioner in Maya’s hair so I can brush it, the spry in stuff doesn’t work.

  20. Mom of A and a
    January 18, 2013 | 6:05 am

    So very cute!!!
    There’s really no need to have a bath more frequently during the winter. As you point out, you can’t get dirty and ultimately what you’re doing is drying our your skin!

  21. Korinthia Klein
    January 18, 2013 | 3:59 pm

    In the winter (unless there are special circumstances) we only make our kids bathe once a week, so yeah, no judging from me!

  22. deb
    January 18, 2013 | 7:37 pm

    i envy your frozen breath. i know – the grass is always greener – but we can’t get anything to freeze here in VA. there is something cleansing about the cold – the bugs, the mold – everything freezes and starts fresh in the spring. this is our 2nd warm winter in a row. sigh.

    as for weekly baths – i’m with your other commenters. daily bathing is bad for the skin. i’m so impressed you even have a designated weekly shower night. we just waited for them to look and smell really grungy. Now, my teen and tween insist on showering every day. while it’s bad for the skin, i have to admit i see the need. a 15 year old boy can really pack a punch!

  23. deb
    January 18, 2013 | 7:44 pm

    i think my comment got lost. will try again. i was saying, I envy your frozen breath on the ice. we can’t get anything to freeze here in VA. I miss the cleansing of the cold – it shuts down things like bugs and mold, so it feels like we’re starting fresh in the spring. this is our 2nd warm winter in a row. sigh.

    as for weekly showers, i agree with everyone else – once a week is perfectly adequate, and better for their skin. now that mine are teens they insist on showering everyday, but i still think it isn’t good for them (although it’s true, a 15 year old boy can really pack a punch after a 2 hour basketball practice!).

  24. Lady Jennie
    January 20, 2013 | 7:25 pm

    I’m glad I’m not in such a cold place, although it is cold today. I just talked to my kids about MLK too. Such precious history.

    And I can totally relate about the lack of bathing, although eventually those little butts do smell.

  25. Karina
    January 21, 2013 | 10:29 am

    That video is freaking adorable, but I’m so glad my kids aren’t into skating. I can’t deal with being that cold that early in the morning!

    I’m happy to see that so many other people are as lax about bathing their kids as I am. It’s once a week if they’re lucky! My excuse is that Jack has eczema so any more than that would be bad for his skin ;-)

  26. Melissa
    January 21, 2013 | 10:34 pm

    Almost cried watching Nate. He is too cute in his hockey gear and it made me think of my little four year old nephew half way across the world whom I skyped today. Little ones just have a way to break your heart and mend it all at once – I’m going to be a mess in motherhood.

    And by the way, swimming in the pool absolutely counts as a bath.

  27. Jamie
    January 28, 2013 | 6:12 pm

    I love this video. My 6 year old was in disbelief and kept saying “wow he is so so good. I can’t believe he isn’t falling”. My 3 year old followed it up with “Yeah, I want to learn how to play golf too”. Ok so we might need to work on our sports knowledge in this house!

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