I stand in front of our van with two boys in winter coats and a girl in a snowsuit on my hip. I debate about which door to open first. I decide on the big sliding side door- passenger side. I instruct Joey to climb in and over Ellie’s car seat to get to his. He does this every day. Maybe a few times a day.
“I can’t.” He says. (He can’t today). I tell him to try. (He can’t try he says) I tell him to crawl under on the floor. I tell Guy to climb in his car seat in the back. I pick Guy up to swing him in. He’s in. No he’s out. He needs something. A toy under the seat. He thinks there is a toy under the seat. I tell Joey to sit down in his seat. (He can’t he says). Guy- sit down in your seat. He needs a toy. I put Elena in her seat. She listens. I buckle her and tell Guy to sit down in his seat. I go around to the other side and open the other door and tell Joey to sit down in his seat. (He can’t he says) I say why and he’s not sure. I put him in his seat. I buckle him. I go back around to the other door to buckle Guy. (I curse vans with bench seats).
I buckle Guy. Joey cries he wants a toy. Ellie cries because Joey cries. Guy kicks off his shoe. I remember my bag is lying down in front of the car I go get it and put it in the passenger seat. I close the doors and go around the car and get in my seat. I buckle myself. (At least someone can buckle themselves). Two are crying. No. Three are crying. Guy needs his shoe. No. I don’t understand. He neeeeeedddddddddssss his shoe. I unbuckle. I walk around. I open door I find a shoe. I put on his shoe. He also would like to get out now. And the mitten he sees. And the other toy. I shut the door. Go back around. Open other door. Give Joey the straw that he saw on the ground and wanted to hold. I get in my side. I buckle. I give Ellie a blanket. I try to find my keys. I worry I’m locked out. I remember I’m sitting in the car. I find my keys. I start the car.
“I’m tired!” I announce.
“You’re TIGER!?!” Guy yells from the back.
“No. TIRED!” I yell.
“Guy’s not a tiger” He yells to clarify. “Guy’s a monkey.”
“okay MONKEY.” I yell.
“NO. Not Mommy.MONKEY” he yells.
“OKAY MONKEY” I yell.
“OKAY TIGER!!” yells Guy.