We walked out of the clinic into the bright sunlight. By “walked”, I mean, Avery and Alice ran like maniacs while I power walked behind them with my mom-ly muffin top jiggling, yelling things like “Red light!” or “slow down” or “don’t let a car squish you!”
All of a sudden, the girls came to a halt. I knew it couldn’t be that they were actually listening to my pleads from behind, so I looked ahead.
There it was, the golf cart. You see, in Florida, not only do we have PLENTY of parking, which is a stark contrast to my Minneapolis upbringing, but Florida is gloriously set up for old people. And so, despite the fact that we only parked about 20 steps from the clinic doors, they have a golf cart shuttle that brings you from the front door to your car.
Yes, I know. It’s fantastic. The potential for laziness here is incredible. It’s why I have a muffin top.
The girls always insist we take a golf cart ride to our car, so we push all the old people with walkers and wheelchairs out of the way, and climb aboard.
Just kidding, we don’t do that. I mean, we don’t do the pushing the old people part. We do ride the golf cart though.
The golf cart is always driven by a 60+ year old, typically wearing a golf shirt and visor. I’m not sure if you needed to know this, but I’m just sharing the deets.
This particular ride was a good one. It wasn’t your typical boring ride. It started with the golf cart guy leaning back and whispering to the girls, “it’s my first day on the job, sorry if the ride is crazy.” He preceded to swerve through the parking lot while the girls giggled up a storm.
Was it an act? Or was it truly his first day, and had he indulged in a few cocktails prior? I will never know. Either way, it was brilliant of him.
As he screeched to a stop in front of our car approximately 15 seconds later, the girls hopped out and thanked him after I reminded them to say thank you. (I’ve noticed that 85% of my sentences as a parent are, “Say thank you!”, with forced cheeriness.)
As I mentally prepared for the arduous task of buckling two kids into car seats (car seats are the worst), golf cart man drove off, turning back to yell, “You’re doing good, mom!” And my heart melted.
I truly believe these are some of the kindest and best words a parent can hear, even better if they come from a total stranger. Best, if they are spoken after a totally ordinary moment, not when I’m being a show-off parent and drilling my kid on the ABC’s in the grocery store line.
We were at the doctor because I was pretty sure Alice had an ear infection. Sure enough, she did. And for bonus points, she also had the flu.
The flu was a surprising diagnosis because she wasn’t really acting sick enough to have the flu. The resilience of kids is mind boggling. When I have the flu, I am on deaths door.
Being the good citizen that I am, I cancelled all of our plans for the next few days and quarantined the kids.
But quarantine is boring and we were recently stuck inside after Avery’s ear surgery, so the thought of spending all my time inside with the kids was daunting.
In one of my brightest moments of all parenting time, I made the decision to combine flu quarantine with potty training for Alice. Might as well kill two birds with one stone, right?
The method of potty training we chose is called “The Naked Method”: you let your kid run around naked from waist down and pray for the best. I like to call it the “Naked and Afraid Method” .
Golf cart man’s kind words echoed in my head as I cleaned up pee off the floor the first two times and I nodded. “Yes, I am doing good,” I agreed, pleased with myself.
The third time I was cleaning pee off the floor, his words once again echoed in my head, and I thought to myself, “I really am a good mom, look at me, not losing it after cleaning pee up all day!”
After this thought crossed my brain, a child who shall not be named knocked a bowl of soggy wheaties off the table, then got up and tracked the soggy wheaties across our entire living space.
It was then that I lost it and decided that I must not be a good mom after all. It’s funny how things can turn so quickly.
The great news is that after peeing on the floor 6 times in one day, Alice woke up the next morning and was basically potty trained. By “basically” I mean, she hasn’t had any accidents except for the one time she peed while she was in the shower, but some people do that on purpose, so… I cannot judge her intentions. Maybe it wasn’t an accident.
In other news, we celebrated my father-in-law’s birthday on 2/17.
Approximately 2 days after I mailed out Christmas cards this year, I received a call from my father-in-law, Doug at 9pm. He wanted to discuss the Christmas card I had sent out.
Yes, he liked the pictures, but he was distraught that I hadn’t included in our note on that back of the card that we are able to spend endless time with Doug and Nancy given that our FL home is 7 minutes from their Florida home.
And so, given that this is his Birthday Month, I’d like to spell out my gratitude for Doug Onstot, especially now that we live so close to each other.
When I first met Doug, I was a nervous girlfriend, trying my best to impress Chad’s parents. I was a city girl, through and through.
Doug, being Doug, decided to welcome me to Iowa (and the family) by taking Chad and I for a ride in his new ranger.
As he whipped up and down ditches and across empty cornfields, I saw my life flash before my eyes. I was sandwiched between Doug and Chad and there wasn’t a whole lot of room.
Doug was clearly pleased with his new ranger and his driving abilities, as he calmly smiled and kept glancing over at Chad and I, probably enjoying the look of pure terror in our eyes. My terror was rooted in my hate for speed, Chad’s terror was likely rooted in the fact that he knew exactly what his father was capable of (and didn’t want to lose such a catch of a girlfriend).
On first impression, I gathered that Doug liked going fast, he was loud and the life of the party, and everyone in Indianola, Iowa knew him.
After 5 years of marriage into the Onstot family, I can attest that all of the above first impressions are true. But I will also say that over time, my understanding of Doug has evolved.
When Avery was born, I got to experience the Papa in him. I watched as this loud man with big hands held my sweet girls when they were babies, rocking them to sleep in his recliner.
Doug watches Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with the girls on Saturday mornings. He teaches them about combines and tractors, but has also acquired a knowledge of Disney Princesses and the Paw Patrol.
What I’m trying to say here is that underneath his tough facade, he has the sweetest soft spot for his grandkids.
The other thing I like about Doug? I never have to guess what he’s thinking. He is filter free, generally speaking… and in this politically correct culture that shies away from offending anybody, I find it refreshing.
“Remember how big your ass got when you were pregnant?” Yes, Doug, I remember.
I think I will end my post on those words. Sending love to all back home,