Seriously. It never fails. I am completely and one hundred percent absolutely inept at remembering to send anything along to school that is required of Ethan that is out of the ordinary. If it goes beyond his lunch, his jacket, his weekly show-and-tell item and his weekly "homework" item, you may as well forget it. Oh wait. I do forget it.
Let's take Pajama Day for instance. I saw it listed on his class calendar that he brings home from school every month. I put it in my calendar in my iPhone. I wrote a reminder note which I hung on the bulletin board next to the back door. Off we go, on Pajama Day, Ethan in jeans and I'm sure some sort of Star Wars t-shirt. I get to school, walk him in and see his teacher dressed in jammies and immediately think, "Oh crap." I realize that Ethan notices that Ms. Susan is in her jammies at the same time I do because he looks up at me with the saddest and most forlorn face I've ever seen.
Suddenly Ethan's eyes fill with tears. Ms. Susan sees that there is a bit of a commotion and comes over to us. "What's happened?". I explain how I am the world's worst mother and also a complete idiot and have forgotten all about Pajama Day. "Don't worry," she says. "Ethan D.'s mom went back home for pajamas and Lindsay O.'s mom went to Target. And you're not the worst mother." But pretty darn close.
Normally, running to Target would've been a fine solution except that I had to have Eli at the doctor in 30 minutes which was about 20 minutes away from Ethan's school. I frantically do the math in my head and realize that there is absolutely no way I can get from school, to Target, back to school and then to the doctor's office in 30 minutes. No way. I think about Eli with his mild fever and realize that I really can't cancel his appointment. And I look at Ethan with tiny tears rolling down his cheeks and think I must cancel Eli's appointment. This little tennis match between my first born's needs and my baby's needs continues back and forth in my mind for about a full two minutes.
I finally realize I've got to manage both Target and the doctor. I have no idea how I'm going to do it, but I promise Ethan, "I'll be back in twenty minutes with pajamas." After a quick kiss, I race down the hall, hop in the car and dial my doctor's office. The receptionist must sense my panic because she is so sweet and kind and tells me to "just get there as soon as I can". I race through the parking lot to Target. On one of the freaking coldest and windiest days of the year, I might add. Windy and bitter enough to make Eli bury his snot-covered face into my shoulder. I find three pairs of pajamas and can't decide which Ethan will like better so I buy them both in a effort to refrain from further disappointing him.
Five minutes and $60 later, I race back to school, practically throw the bag of three new pairs of pajamas at Ethan's teacher and race out the door and drive like mad to the doctor's office. I am later than I anticipated and call the receptionist. She's kind and gentle but does explain that I've missed my appointment so we'll have to be worked in. No problem. I understand the necessity of "working things in". That's pretty much how I run my life.
So fast forward to today. One would think I would've learned my lesson from January's debacle. One would think.
We arrive at school after waking up late (story of my life) and I see the director of Ethan's school dressed up as an Egyptian. And there's that familiar sick feeling in my stomach. DAMMIT! Ethan's Seder! I have once again forgotten to bring a costume, this time a costume that portrays a character in the Passover story. I decide that no, Ethan will survive without a costume and leave him in his t-shirt and jeans to fend for himself.
I get in my car and drive about 500 feet before my stomach starts to cramp and tears sting my eyes. Sheepishly, I call his classroom. "Um. This is Jen Slipakoff. The world's worst mother and also a complete idiot. I've forgotten Ethan's costume...." or a similar, sadly familiar refrain. "Does he want me to bring him one?" That last part pops out of my mouth before I have a chance to think it through. WHERE am I going to find a Moses costume at 10:30 on a Thursday morning in East Cobb!? Why did I say that!?
Please say no, Ethan, please say no, Ethan.
"Well there are lots of kids without a costume," says a kindly Ms. Denise.
YES!! Not only am I not the only one who forgot but I also don't have to pull a Moses costume out of thin air! Sweet.
"But Ethan said that he would like a costume."
Oooookaaaaaay. Now what? And here's where the plot thickens. Not only do I have no idea where to start, but I'm in my pajamas. And so is Eli. And he has no shoes on. Or socks.
I see Big Lots looming ahead like the Promised Land and pull into the parking lot. I call my mother and lament to her and ask her to go online and find some pictures so I can have some inspiration. And I say a little prayer that G-d will help me pull this costume together so that Ethan, who has an extremely critical eye and very discerning taste where costumes are concerned, won't be disappointed.
I see some plastic lady bugs. Aha! That's it! A ten plagues costume! The lady bugs can be lice, I think happily! I see a plastic frog. Two out of ten! This is going great! If I can find some cotton balls then I have hail...and if I can find a black marker I can draw cow spots....and some red lipstick can be blood....and then I hit a wall. No, I don't think I can find a representative object for each of the ten plagues in Big Lots. Plus I will need to construct the costume and don't think I want to set up shop in the back of my SUV glueing and attaching things to who-knows-what. Plan B. I find a Snow White crown that might work if I rip out the Snow White picture, but I'm not sure anyone involved in the Passover story wore a crown....I think in my panic I mixed that up with Purim.
Damn. Damn. DAMN.
And then, the land of milk and honey beckons and I fix my eyes upon a brown towel. The perfect Moses-like cloak! And then I spot a man's white undershirt. I grab it and add it to my brown towel. And then I'm off to the races. I quickly dart through the aisles and find a skein of yarn, a pair of flip flops and a green plastic beaded necklace, which really looks nothing like anything a biblical character would wear, but I decide I MUST add it to my purchases.
I am brimming with excitement and when I arrive at school, I have Ethan sent out to the parking lot so I don't have to bring my trashy baby with no shoes and too-big-pajamas into school (who, by the way, was eating a Dunkin' Donuts munchkin for breakfast).
The costume looked even better than I imagined and Ethan and I wore both glowing with pride...me, because I freaking pulled it off and him because he looked like a rockin' Seder attendee.
Ta-daaaa! So in seven minutes, $20, a brown towel, a man's t-shirt, a skein of yarn, a pair of flip-flops and a necklace that really does seem to make the outfit, here we have ourselves a perfect little prophet!