Yesterday started with a Steel McDonald fashion meltdown. She ended up in jeans for a child 6 months younger, a purple shirt for a child 2 years older, socks from her infant sister, and shoes from the "next summer" box. During the night she had attempted getting into our bed 8 times from 3-5 am, so none of us had slept enough. "I want to DRUG her!" Tim grunted in desperation.
The coffee I'd put on top of the car fell over as I hit a pothole enroute to school and streamed down the windows. I stopped in the middle of the road risking the lives of 3 children to rescue the cup-absurd in any case but more so considering I have an unlimited supply of cups. "Heidi Hybrid NEEDS A CARWASH!" serenaded me the rest of the trip. There was an attempted mutiny: refusal to get out of their seats until Heidi was clean. Steel's "skinny jeans" were met with skeptical applause at school. Hard-to-remove pants are not ideal for a newly potty-trained toddler. I believe the word was "ambitious."
I reversed to get out of my parking place, looked into the side mirror, attempted to dart into the traffic, forgot to put Heidi into drive and nearly rear ended the car behind me. I arrived at my crack-ghetto pottery studio with my now-screaming infant in time to see a pick-up truck filled with stained, torn mattresses and box springs systematically dumping them one-at-a-time onto people's trash piles, mine included. When I'm making my film about life in Philly, I'll splice that little snippet next to the one of me, 9 months pregnant with 2 children in the enormous double stroller, on my way to my ob/gyn appointment, sprint-waddling across the street to catch the always-smelling-like-piss handicapped elevator to the subway. 2 able-bodied people cut me off, jumped into the elevator and looked down at their feet as they let the doors shut. At the appointment Steel chewed out the nurse practitioner for not listening to the baby in HER belly. Why go to those ob/gyn appointments anyway? I was often told something stressful that turned out to be wrong. Toby was "too small and going to come late;" she's enormous and came 6 days early.
I stuffed a chicken last night. Because of a 2-second conversation with someone who knew someone who watched something in which some sort of infra-red imaging showed the salmonella traces all over the place after stuffing a chicken, I'm a wreck. I use my elbows throughout the process to turn the water on and off. After the chicken is safely in the oven I do a preliminary clean using a cloth that goes immediately into the laundry, and I finish the job with a Lysol wipe. Finally I wash my hands for the requisite 20 seconds and debate whether or not to pitch the remaining onion as my mom just sent an e-mail about how left-over onion will kill me because they absorb bacteria.
This onion thing is coming from the woman who would grab the little me running through the kitchen, cradle the back of my head in one hand an use the other to mash a sponge across my mouth and nose. She wouldn't replace that kitchen sponge until she accidentally put it down the garbage disposal, so it was usually 8 months old, a nondescript grayish color with a mucus-like film on it. She wouldn't think twice about wiping up chicken blood with that same sponge.
I'm still here.
I know clay dust is toxic; I know heavy metals aren’t good, but how crazy do I have to be about it? Should I wear a respirator every day? Am I a terrible parent because I have a baby in a clay studio all day? Are the fumes from the kilns going to kill me? I’m hoping that stressing about it is the worse thing. I’ll just carry on happily, try to be as clean as possible and think about my chain-smoking, in-her-late-70’s pottery teacher who was a slob and never once wore a respirator and is still going strong.
I'm keeping those jeans for Steel until she's 20. We ended the day at an art opening. The venue was an urban mosaic "garden" consisting of shards of glass, ceramic, mirror and other sharp found objects. The kids were running wild, narrowly avoiding serious injury with every turn. I didn't think it could get more stressful until Steel announced she wanted to be naked. She couldn't get those pants off for the life of her...