You know you're in the Mother-Hood when...

You Know You're in the MotherHood When...

You've sniffed a spot on your shirt and been able to determine the origin of said spot with CSI efficiency.

You let someone see you basically naked because he said he was an anesthesiologist.

It's a good day if you actually had time to shower, without interruptions or an audience of any kind.

Your meal plan has consisted of eating whatever mac and cheese is left in the pot after you've served it to the kids.

A drawing of you with a head the size of a watermelon is the prettiest picture you've ever seen.

Everyone but you being asleep counts as "alone time."

You feel a sense of accomplishment if you read an entire article in People magazine in one sitting.

You can name 3 out of 5 Backyardigans - you know you can.

Monday, August 31, 2009

I'll Tackle the Health Care Reform - Right After I Make the Play-Doh

I am a college graduate. In fact, I double majored and got two undergrad degrees in four years.
I distinctly remember two very interesting assignments I tackled in college. In Non-Verbal Communication I decoded the "real" meaning of a president's words just by evaluating his gestures and eye movement (little did I know I could've gotten a job on cable news doing that for a living!) Another assignment had me assume the role of company PR spokesman, writing a press release for my fictitious airline employer in the wake of a horrific crash. Aced those. No sweat.

After college, I bounced around in a couple of short but horrible jobs that I had no prior training in, but managed to think on my feet and get things done. Including a stint as an assistant to a Financial Adviser, and anyone who knows me knows that me working with numbers or money is a dangerous endeavor. Those took me to my education career, which I started by teaching full time, finishing my certification at night and on the weekends AND I was pregnant with my first child at the time.

My reason for this barrage of background information is to grasp what shards of dignity I can manage given my disastrous failure this week.

Being the very willing-to-help stay-at-home-mom that I currently am; I am not only trying to use as many hyphens in one sentence as possible, but I am hoping to make myself as useful as possible to my children's teachers as I always appreciated when parents offered to help me out when I was teaching. Although, that didn't happen too often, as I taught 5th graders and most adults avoid loud, hormonally imbalanced preteens, even their own.

So I have signed up to volunteer in my daughter's class once a week, helping kids with reading and finishing any work they are behind on. I think I qualify for that.
The school's library also has a bit of my attention, as checking in and shelving books in a nice, quiet library is actually quite therapeutic. The job starts, finishes, and when you're done, an entire stack of books has been returned to the shelves. It's kind of the same, temporary high you get after you stand back and gaze upon a freshly cleaned room in your home. The trick is, I leave the library before the next group of kids stampedes through, so I can imagine that the pristine condition I left it in remains (and then I go home and look at the aftermath of my own, personal stampede that my children left for me.)

This leaves the vacant volunteer slots hovering on the sign up sheet at my two year old's nursery school. I resisted the urge fill the void left next to "room mom" as I knew that would be biting off more than I wanted to chew. However, there WAS room to autograph next to "making play-doh." They use a new batch every month that is whatever the color for that month is, and the recipe was right there with just a handful of ingredients necessary so...
How hard could it be? Double major. Fifth grade teacher. Piece of cake.

I should have sensed impending doom when I had to send my husband to the store twice for supplies. The first time was for flour, which I knew I was out of, and Cream of Tartar, which I knew I didn't have. I am assuming this is the secret ingredient of the dough to make it play-worthy as there's not anything real special about flour, salt, water, oil or food coloring. The salt was the second run. I was 1/4 cup short of one batch worth, and I was attempting to make two batches.

I'm no Ace of Cakes, but I've done some recreational baking and I have to say that mixing dry ingredients in one bowl and wet in another was less than challenging, elementary even.
The next step in this process was to combine the ingredients in a large pot over low heat and stir. Got it. So I combined. And I stirred. And stirred. And stirred.
The directions stated that I was to stir until thickened, and then a bit longer.
Remember when President Clinton pointed out that it depended on "what your definition of IS, is?" I felt the same way about "a bit longer." What was a bit longer? Ten minutes, half an hour? I lost track of time and eventually took the pot off the heat to let the blue dough concoction, which looked like the soup Bridget Jones made (you know, the leek soup that turned blue because she used blue yarn to tie the leeks together?) sit and magically become dough.

A bit later, pun totally intended, my husband decided that the dough needed to be kneaded. It was needy dough, but turns out, not real kneadable. He called his mother, who used to make her own all the time, and she assured me that hers was always a bit sticky until it was kneaded. I held out hope that my efforts were not in vain and the aqua blue sludge in the bowl was just in the tadpole stage of development. Yes, it was aqua, because no matter how much food coloring I put in, the albino flour/salt/Tartar mixture lightened it up to aqua. (but these kids are just learning their colors, and I figured it was in the blue family, so good enough, right?)

Several hours later, after lumping the sticky mess into large balls and resting them on parchment paper (hoping that being on actual baking material might encourage them to embrace their inner doughy-ness) I decided that leaving them out overnight would be the essential component in completing this process.

Um, yeah. By morning, a thin, lighter aqua/white crusty edge had developed but no real improvement. Remember when ET, at the end of the movie, gets sick and gets all pale and gross? Yeah, like that, but the color of a 1984 prom dress.

With hopes still high that my son's teacher knew some magic trick to make this stuff usable, I dumped each gooey ball into a ziploc and took it to school. I apologized for the consistency problem and, as sweetly as you can imagine a preschool teacher being, I was thank you'd but no thank you'd - this dough wouldn't work. Maybe if I put it back on the stove for awhile longer? His teacher told me she leaves it on there for a long time, long enough to make it hard to stir it's so thickened. Her "a bit longer" was a lot longer than my "a bit longer." Oops.

So I left school, baggies of aqua blue in hand and headed, after two good friends assured me it didn't make me less of a helpful mom, to WalMart. I was in search of blue Play-Doh. Already made, in the container, not the least bit aqua, blue.
My slow filling ego balloon began to spring a small leak when I stood in the arts and crafts aisle, only to gaze upon everything EXCEPT single containers of Play-doh. Packages of 12 colors, 24 colors, neon colors, but no single containers. Shot down yet again, I was walking out when, at the end of the aisle, I spied a wire rack of, you guessed it, single containers of DOH!
Redemption! Salvation!
Or not.
No blue. No dark blue, no light blue, not even any aqua blue. There were a few containers of yellow, white and black. Apparently, I was not the only person who needed Play-doh this week, I was just the only person who tried to make it at home while everyone else was buying it for eighty-seven cents a pop. Sadly, the cost of my sanity was less than a dollar.

With a glimmer of hope that what I needed was out there in the universe, I steered toward Target and with great confidence strode right towards the toy aisle, maneuvered into arts and crafts and saw, yet again, everything BUT single jars of Play-doh. I would NOT let the "Doh" get the better of me. So I grabbed two generic four packs containing blue, white, red and green. They could use the blue and then they have extras for when those colors and their corresponding months came around.

A bit embarrassed, I picked up my son and dropped off the play doh. I explained that I tried to get single jars, that I went to two stores and I could get more if they needed it. Again, as sweet as you imagine nursery school teachers can be, they thanked me and told me I shouldn't have gone to so much trouble. Honestly, trying to make the stupid stuff was way more trouble than driving to two stores. But I just smiled, told them they were more than welcome.
And then, like the dumb ass I am, I offered to try again later in the year when a different color rolls around.
Better hope Wally world restocks that stuff, because I am buying it in BULK!

1 comment:

Jennifer Bohnart said...

love it!!!! oh I can so feel your pain!!! My sis made home made playduh and all sorts of fun stuff when she had the kids for the 10days we were in Europe. They said why don't you do anything fun like that?!?