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Walk of Shame

on March 6, 2012

Sometimes I get the urge to take my circus for a walk, while my husband is safely tucked away at work.

While these details are specific to our walk yesterday, these shenanigans always happen and I have yet to learn my lesson.

We have a dog.  I will elaborate in another post, most likely to be titled “I voted no” because I voted no on getting a dog.  And I constantly declare “I voted no” as a way of saying “I told you so.”  Anyway, she’s 6 months old.  So she has the 6 month old crazies.  And as Cesar Millan will tell you, she needs about 2 hours of exercise a day.  So that things like this don’t happen:

Our dog has figured out how to turn on the water nozzle. And how to make a muddy mess.

Yesterday, it had been over 2 weeks since she got to go on a walk.  We are so bad.  But I voted no, so, not my problem.  However, yesterday at 3:20pm, I felt guilty and started the ball rolling to get my family on a walk.

The kids were excited: they willingly and joyfully turned off their video game.  There is success in that alone.  Jackets, shoes, and helmets went on no problem.  Then they jumped on their bikes.  And then they started riding up the sidewalk, while I was still in the house, barefoot, trying to decide what was going to happen first: stroller out of the car? but where do I put the baby while I am getting the stroller out of the car?  leash on the dog?  but dog will go CRAZY when she sees the leash.  and where will I put the baby while putting the leash on the dog?  if i get the stroller out of the car and the baby secure in the stroller, do i leave the baby outside in the stroller while i wrestle the dog in the house to get her leash on?  where are the kids?

After a frantic run out front, i wrangled the bikers back to the driveway with the implicit instructions to WAIT FOR ME.  It was now 3:35.

I stood idle for another 2 minutes, with the baby on my hip, calculating, adding, subtracting, measuring, analyzing, trying to figure out HOW I was going to get the baby in the stroller and the dog on a leash without breaking any laws.   My own personal River Test.  (A mom, a dad, 4 kids, a prisoner and a cop need to get across the river, but the prisoner HAS to be with the cop, the mom can’t be alone with one of the sons, only 2 people can cross at once, yada yada yada.)

Baby in the exersaucer.  Mom to the car.  Stroller out of the car.  Check on the kids waiting patiently on the driveway.  “Mom COME ON!”  Check on the baby.  Find the leash.  Go to the backyard.  Wrangle with the dog, ahem, Puppy.  Walk into the house with the Puppy, ahem, CRAZY, on a leash.  Make Crazy sit.  (Yes, she has a name.) Take the baby out of the exersaucer and exit the house.  Shut the front door with Crazy inside.  Put the baby in the stroller.  Walking backwards, with eyes on all 3 kids, open the front door.  Grab the leash.  Grab the keys.  Walk out the front door.  It was now 3:50.

My easy going “yay bike ride” kids?  Starting to argue.  The circus has begun. We huddle up and I give my instructions:  a) it does NOT matter who rides in front.  we are a nice family going on a nice walk. b) when i yell STOP, you better stop.  Or we’ll call Daddy.  c) no fighting.  d) ride your bike SLOWLY so mommy can keep up.  After some glazed over nods and the tightening of a helmet strap, we were off.  Two kids riding their bikes on the sidewalk, side by side, mommy pushing the stroller with a behaving puppy on a leash and a baby who was laughing at his siblings on bikes.

Success!  25 feet later, all hell broke loose.

“Ahh!  He’s in FRONT of me!  STOPPPPP!!!!” Now I suddenly had 2 kids pedaling as fast as their little feet would go, one unfortunately in front of the other, the other caring way too much about her place in the sidewalk parade.  I was trying to catch up.  I really really need a jogging stroller.  This would have helped.  I yelled for them to stop.  Then some random kids show up out of NOWHERE and want to know about our puppy.  Our puppy turned to Crazy.  So I wrangled her, apologized to the mom, all while keeping my eyes on my kids who were heading for the horizon.  Luckily, my kids stopped at the corner to yell at each other.  Once I caught up, we had another family huddle.  I went over my instructions once again.  My middle child?  Tantrum.  On the sidewalk.  Next to a block wall.  The sound echoed into every house within a 10 mile radius.  The puppy started digging up the grass in the parkway.  My oldest kid?  Did what I wanted to do and got out of there.  Started riding away.  Which put the tantrum-er into full blown murder mode.  And she rode her bike after him.   Well, at least we were marching on.  By the time I caught up, the tantrum had escalated and she was standing, crying, demanding that I carry her bike home because she was too tired to ride it.

Right then, a skateboarder rode by.  And the puppy freaked and lunged in front of the stroller, taking me with her, tripping, knocking the stroller, and freaking out the baby.  My oldest kid was by now down the block, off of his bike, hands on his hips, waiting.  A neighbor drove by slowly, and stopped in front of my circus.  “Are you new to the neighborhood?” she asked.

“Nope, just been in hiding” and I gestured to what was happening around me as if to say “this is why, lady.”  I had one kid down the block, stomping his feet.  Another kid screaming her helmet off.  And a puppy now LUNGING at this neighbor in her car.

“Well, your family is just beautiful!  Have a nice walk!”  And she drove off.

I shook my head, and leveled with my screaming child.  “Look, I cannot carry your bike.  I have but 2 hands, one is pushing the stroller and the other is holding the leash.  You may certainly walk home and we’ll leave your bike here and come get it later.”  And I started walking.  And she screamed louder.  My son, bless him, walked back to us, grabbed his sister’s bike, and pulled it alongside him as he rode home.  His sister followed for a while, and eventually jumped back on her bike.  By the time we arrived home, we were mentally exhausted and relieved.  It was 4:11pm.  The kids were happy though and quickly put away their bikes and got out a blanket and made a picnic while they waited for Daddy to get home.  The puppy looked like she could have used another 2 hours of exercise, but she’d have to wait another week or so.

We survived, but I needed time to recover before I took the circus for a walk again.   And yes, I will do this again.  And probably again.


3 responses to “Walk of Shame

  1. Karessa Silvers says:

    Too funny Marissa! Exactly why I haven’t taken my circus for a walk either. 2 kids, a baby and 2 dogs just ain’t gonna happen. Glad you at least attempted! 🙂

  2. Gail Livingston says:

    Enjoyed this almost-familiar tale, Marissa. Happy to see the Livingston sense of humor in story-telling lives on in the genes. Cousin Gail

  3. Carole Wiltfong says:

    Loved your account of your blog! I was laughing so hard I was crying! I could picture in my mind what was happening……too funny!

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