3/10/09

The Case of The Sock Monster and The Missing Turtle

My last trip to the dentist began with a carsick toddler reading too much Madeline At The Zoo and decorating the back half of my car in regurgitated breakfast. I can't recall too much of the actual appointment beside the fact that I arrived after a bout of roadside crying and I was very late.
This time I was determined to be on time, despite the cards stacked against me: #1. Daylight Savings Time makes it impossible to wake up early enough to get out the door in time for an 8:30 appointment. #2. Shelby had to be at preschool BEFORE I had to be at the dentist. #3. Shelby had to be at preschool BEFORE I had to be at the dentist...lunch, share, socks, shoes.
Miraculously, we were in the final phases of departure (and nearly on time) when Shelby met THE SOCK MONSTER. If you're not familiar with THE SOCK MONSTER, he's the one who comes along right when you think you've gained control on your morning routine and he hides matching socks, twists them into uncomfortable positions on your feet and essentially F&%$s with your toddler's sock comfort until she freaks out. On this particular morning, Shelby had successfully circumvented THE SOCK MONSTER as she arrived in our living room with her new silver shoes and two striped socks, one pink, one blue. That'll teach him, kiddo. Go get 'em tiger.
With one sock already on, I stepped in to speed things along and began sliding her second sock onto her foot. The first one was all twisted. "IT'S ALL TWISTED Ggggggrrrrr UPPPPPP!! AUUGGHHHH!!! MOMMMYY IT'S ALL WRONG!! AUuuugghhhhh!"
(Damn that SOCK MONSTER) And then, I realized I'd been sabotaged. "MOMMY, LET ME DO IT MYSELF!!!" And she ripped both socks off, waved her wild hair out of her reddened face, and began again with intense determination.
I couldn't watch. So I swept up the last items for the day, grabbed the baby and made my first trip out to the car. I knew that if we left RIGHT NOW, I could still make it five minutes late to the dentist with some sanity left. When I returned to the house, I heard the screaming before I could see her. "Shelby, can we do this in the car?"
A few minutes of coaxing and I had both girls strapped into their carseats, one eye on the clock and the keys in my hand (a miracle). "MOMMY! I forgot my share!!!!" yelled Shelby. Now, any preschool parent knows that a child's share is the epitome of all happiness. I knew too well that leaving here without her share was more torture than anything the dentist could offer.
"Okay," I said, jumping out of the car and striking a track start pose, "Where is it? I'll go get it." Because we know that unbuckling her would merit another hour of waiting. "It's in the house! It's my turtle!" Oh, yeah, that turtle.
Shelby had spent the better half of the morning showing me the different phases of her make believe turtle cage. Which, when complete was a plastic salad dressing container from last night's pizza, where her make believe turtle-a polished white rock-swam in a Tablespoon of water with a piece of floating dental floss inside. A perfect share, if I don't say so myself.
But for all the sprinting, pacing, and searching I did around the house, I could not for the life of me find that G$* D&%$ed turtle!!
Flustered and extremely late, I hardened my own shell and raced back to the car, "I can't find it anywhere, sweatheart," I offered as I turned the key in the ignition, "I'm really sorry." And I shoved her entire Hello Kitty Make Up bag onto her lap, "Maybe you can find something in here to share." Knowing full well this was a shoddy substitution, I wasn't surprised when the wailing began from the back seat. I gritted my teeth and eyed the clock, 8:29. Perfect.
I left Shelby in the arms of her teacher, wailing and share-less. She refused all substitutions. Boy, this was the perfect start to a perfect day. Only 20 minutes late to the dentist, two cavities and a guilt laden heart for sending my preschooler to school without her share. Where the hell did that turtle go?

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