Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Did I wake up this morning knowing that today I'd be running around my front yard in a bra?

It all started yesterday when I sat in Rollie's room, windows open, watching him throw his toys out of his toybox in search of his new plastic, dragon-slaying sword.  I was telling him to stop emptying his toy box, that his stupid sword probably wasn't even in there, but instead of heeding my instructions, he was going on and on, explaining to me why he thought his sword was indeed inside, hidden beneath the yellow diggers and Little People accessories.  

I should be disciplining him, I thought.  I should get after him about not listening to me.   And when he still refuses to stop tossing his toybox like he's searching for contraband, I should physically force him to do so, lead him by the arm and direct him to stoop and pick up every blessed toy that's gone flying across the room.

Instead I just sat there, listless and detached, thinking about how comfortable his bed looked, and how nice it would be if I could just curl up on it for a few hours and sleep among the stuffed animals and balled-up socks he peels off in the middle of the night.

At first I blamed pollen for my lethargy; a yellow coating of dust covers everything outside now, invading my husband's sinuses and making Rollie's eyes so bloodshot he looks like a mini-stoner.  Surely it could be the cause of my depleted energy.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I am a lazy-ass--the most exercise I get is wiping spilled Ovaltine from the carpet and manhandling Elsa into her carseat (which she is apparently convinced is the electric chair, because she arches her back and screams whenever I try to buckle her in).
Today the weather was gorgeous and the kids were in relatively agreeable moods....we didn't have anywhere to be or anything to do, and I had run out of excuses.  So I broke out the double-jogger that's been serving as a junk-drawer/spider condo in the garage, laced up my shoes, threw some drinks and Dum-Dums into the stroller basket, and we were off.

Things were going fine.  That is to say, I was running with only minimal discomfort.  My knees only slightly ached.  The stitch in my gut was only on the left side.  My lungs burned, but it was a good burn...the kind of burn you get when you know that as soon as you're done exercising, you'll be SO glad you did it (and SO glad it's over).  I was even able to answer Rollie's constant barrage of questions, breathy as Marilyn Monroe, but still, at least I could still speak.

As I entered the home stretch, I noticed a big truck parked in the grass, and some men wandering nearby, armed with long pruning shears.  I slowed so Rollie could check out the activity, using this as an excuse not only to teach him something about the world, but also to slow down before I collapsed and died right there on the sidewalk.

One of the tree-trimming men waved.  Instinctively I said, "Wave, Rollie."  Why I encourage him to say hello to every freaking person on the planet I'll never know.  He's going to grow up to the be the world's Most Eager To Greet You adult.

The man came closer and said, "We cut down a bird nest."

"Oh," I said, unsure why he felt the need to share this information with me.  Until I realized he was clutching something in his hand.  Two things, actually.  Two baby birds.

"Their mother's not gonna come back for them," the man said.  Another man standing nearby nodded solemnly.

"Oh," I said again.

"Can you take them home?" he asked.

"Um...." my mind raced as I thought of a million different reasons why I couldn't possibly take these tiny little disease carriers home.

"I think they're doves," he said.  "They won't hurt anything."

"They'll die out here if we just leave 'em," the other man said, eyeing the little basket beneath my stroller.

Dude, circle of life, I felt like saying.  What were these guys, trying to appeal to my maternal instinct by pleading for me to take on their stupid problem?  They're the ones who cut these poor things out of their nest.  And now they want to transfer their baby-bird guilt onto me, an innocent jogger, trying to get her post-child ass back in shape and regain the energy of her twenties, out here minding her own business?

"Promise they won't hurt anything," the first man said again.  "You can just call animal services and they'll come pick them up."

Then you call them, I felt like saying.  But before I could really do anything, he was already depositing the tiny little birds into the basket and thanking me for being such a big help.

Great.  I started running again, faster this time, trying to hurry home before the scrappy birdies tried to jump out of the basket and I stepped on them or something.  Elsa had fallen asleep in the stroller, and Rollie had grown uncharacteristically quiet.  He probably felt like he'd just won the lottery.  I hope he didn't think we were going to keep the birds.  Maybe he was already imagining feeding them worms and bugs and naming them.  He was planning out life with two pet doves named Lightning McQueen and Wall-E.

As soon as we get home I let Rollie out of the stroller, instructed him to stand guard, and ran inside for a shoebox, which I lined with paper Easter grass and poked big holes in the lid.  Then I ran back out to see Rollie vigilantly staring into the basket, his face full of wonder.

"What are they doing?" he asked.

"They're just sitting there."  I looked at the birds, huddled together beneath the stroller.  How the hell was I gonna get these things into the shoebox?  The man had just been holding them with his bare hands, but as I studied the birds I realized these things weren't the helpless little fuzzy things I'd first thought.  These birds had like, adult feathers.  And pointy little beaks.  And probably parasites.  Nice.

Before I could wimp out, I took a deep breath and reached in for one of the birds.  But instead of being nice and docile and accepting my grab, it sprung to life, leapt from the basket and started scuttling across our driveway, flapping it's little wings in vain.

"Where's it going?" Rollie asked.

"I don't know," I said, hurrying after the bird.  It scurried into our flower bed and crouched at the base of a bush, its beak open and poised for attack.

"Come here, birdie," I said, reaching for it again.  But every time I got close enough to grab it, I freaked out at the last second, afraid I was gonna be pecked or scratched or somehow contract a raging case of Avian flu.

The first bird took off again, heading across my flower bed and into the yard, ignoring my pleas with it to come back.  Rollie offered words of confused encouragement, but I could see this situation quickly getting out of hand.  The last thing I wanted was to be chasing this stupid thing around my front yard all day long.  Elsa was asleep, for crying out loud.  This was supposed to be my golden time to get some work done.  Thanks a lot, stupid tree trimmers!

Screw it, I finally thought, and pulled my sweaty shirt off over my head.  I threw it on top of the bird before it could get away, then scooped it up and placed it inside the shoebox.

"What are you doing, Momma?" Rollie asked.

"I'm catching some birds," I said, turning to the stroller for the other one.  It also hopped out of the basket before I could grab it, and ran for the flower bed on the other side of the driveway.  I chased it around a bit, narrowly missing it with my shirt a few times before I finally got a direct hit and bundled that bird into the shoebox as well.

"You got it, Momma," Rollie cried.

"Yep!" I triumphantly closed the shoebox lid and taped it shut.  Take that, you elusive little ingrates!

I looked around the neighborhood and saw a lady walking her dog a few houses down, headed away from us.  I wondered if she'd seen me running around like a lunatic in my sports bra, throwing my t-shirt around and pawing through the bushes and yelling.  I wondered if she thought motherhood had finally gotten to me, that this was my cry for help, like Britney Spears shaving her head.  But then I figured, if she's a mom, she'd understand.


  1. What a riot! This is the funniest thing I've read since, since... Since I read your Book!!! I love the vivid imagery. I especially liked the reference to Marilyn Monroe (hey, I'm a guy...) and "Circle of life". This is one hilarious post!

  2. HAHAHAHHAHAHAAHA For real... LOLing over here....