I am beginning to wonder if my purpose on my 5k run committees is even valid anymore since I spend most of my meetings chasing my kids around and telling Colin to stop yelling “POOPY!” at inopportune times.
As I’ve mentioned before, one of the ways I’ve kept “in the game” is to continue volunteering my time on committee for a local 5k race that supports the Raue Center for the Arts in Crystal Lake, IL. I started on the committee about over 5 years ago and it has been a wonderful way for me to not only stay active in the community, gain great experience, but I have also met some of some of the best people I know through the group.
As a result of the people I’ve met, I am now joining two of my fellow committee members to create a new race to support several non-profit groups all while having participants run in Santa suits. Of course, while I am excited to be part of yet another worthy cause involving one of my biggest loves, running, it means more time going to meetings. I usually end up bringing my kids to the meetings since in all reality; volunteer work doesn’t pay the bills or babysitters for that matter.
So, I load up a bag of monster trucks, Legos and cars for Colin and Maddie usually brings her own “treasures.” I also make sure that I have electronics for entertainment, either my laptop, portable DVD player and iPhone or any variation thereof. I just wonder what my fellow committee members think when they see my entourage and me walk in. I try to laugh it off and announce, “I brought my sub-committee!” Somehow, despite bringing a virtual Disney World for my kids, they find a way to get bored, fight over toys, escape the meeting room at Panera and start doing sprints around the baked goods. Lucky for me, the people I am working with are very kind and accepting of my three-ring circus--at least that’s what they tell me as they smile and reassure me they are just happy I am able to give my time.
At a recent meeting Colin was shouting, “poopy” like he had turrets and Maddie was struggling with a slow Internet connection. I was trying to concentrate on the budget for the race when Colin made not one, not two, but three attempts to escape the meeting room. He was successful twice until one of the other women on the committee helped out by grabbing him. God love her, she has kids of her own and felt my pain. Finally the kids found a large bag of promotional bracelets for the race and promptly began dumping them out and spreading them across the floor. I tried to have them pick them up but my dear friend and co-committee member told me just to leave them, at least it was keeping them occupied. That was until they started fighting over who had more. Luckily the meeting was coming to a close and we picked every last bracelet up and headed out.
A few days later I had another meeting for the other race and we set up camp in our usual fashion. Colin had a brand new Monster Truck book and wanted me to read it to him. Maddie was watching a movie on my computer that would render her paralyzed if we were at home, but had her bored out of her mind knowing that I needed her to remain occupied. Colin began his escape artist routine and started running through the theatre. He also kept stealing things out of Maddie’s bag-o-tricks she brought which got her chasing after him while yelling, “GIVE IT BACK!” Once I retrieved her belongings she whined that she was bored. Amidst this chaos, there were two little girls whose mom was on the other side of the theatre in a different meeting. They were a few years older than my kids and were sitting politely and quietly keeping themselves busy with homework and video games. Maddie was itching to go play with them, so I finally sent her to work her social magic and introduce herself. Next thing you know, there was a regular romper room going on.
I finally sat down to try to focus on the committee meeting and when the topic of who was providing food for the race came, it occurred to me that I had completely dropped the ball and forgotten to contact the local grocery store I volunteered to call on at the last meeting to ask. Apparently, I had been distracted by Colin banging on the floor with his play hammer and by the time I hauled him out of there, my task flew out of my mind.
Rather than use my iPhone as a source of entertainment for my kids, I figured I would use it for its intended purpose and set myself a reminder. Of course, once the meeting ended, the lobby of the theatre looked like my house on a daily basis-- coloring books, crayons, pens, trucks, airplanes and various other items strewn about. My kids showed their impeccable listening skills and ignored my requests to help clean up and I ended up doing it as fast as I could by myself.
I finally made good on my promise to contact the local grocery store only to find out I had to submit a formal request and the owners would have to approve it. This process takes two weeks leaving me to kick myself for not being more on top of things because had I remembered to do it when I was supposed to, I’d be that much more ahead of the game.
Oh well, after following up with the staff at the theatre, she suggested we contact some other resources just in case the other store didn’t come through. Luckily, I got this email on my phone while the kids were playing at Monkey Joe’s and one of the places we wanted to contact was right next door. I happily responded that I’d take care of it that day and went back to monitoring the bouncing. I knew I also had to go grocery shopping, so with any luck I could make my request and then pick up a few things at that store.
Colin had gone off into the toddler area where there were little games and such and I realized he filled his diaper. When I went to grab a diaper out of my purse, I realized I had used my last one. I was relieved that I had more in the car and tried to round up the troops and got major attitude from my little princess. She was having a ton of fun with a new friend she made so I gave her 5 more minutes. When I finally went back to get her, she continued to stage a protest and informed me that if I made her leave I had to buy her ice cream. Her behavior was awful and certainly not worthy of an ice cream treat. I wanted to get out, get Colin changed, go make my request for a fruit donation and get my shopping done. Maddie said in her most convincing diva performance. “Fine! Then you have to buy me a toy at the STORE!” Here we go with the negotiations. I stood my ground and gathered up all my strength as not to go bat-shit crazy on her right there in the middle of Monkey Joe’s. I gritted my teeth solidifying why my dentist suggested a bite plate based on my apparent teeth grinding and flatly said, “Let’s go.”
I got to the car, reached in to the backpack and NO DIAPER---NO WIPES!!! I tried to put Colin in his car seat and he would have nothing to do with that. I decided to check out the situation in his pants and was hoping for a rock-solid turd I could extract from the diaper enough to make the ride home tolerable, but who was I kidding—he’s on antibiotics and solid poops are not part of the equation. I thought, “OK, he’s got a little bit of control, right? “I hoped he could go without a diaper for the 10 minute ride home. But then I had to figure out how to wipe him without wipes. I was able to wrestle up some tissues I had in the car, wet them down with my water bottle and clean him up. I made light of him not wearing a diaper highlighting the benefits of going commando in hopes it would inspire him to ditch the diaper permanently!
So, out the window went my plan to stop and make my request for donated fruit. Again, my commitment to my committee shot to hell because with my luck if I still tried to still go and make do my deed, Maddie would want me to buy her something and throw a temper tantrum over not getting a toy in front of the store manager while Colin peed his pants. On the other hand, perhaps the store manager would have pity on my and donate the fruit anyway.
I decided to ditch the potential pity party, take my crabby, diaperless children home and come up with an alternate plan to accomplish the rest of my day’s tasks after everyone had a nap. Despite the pungent smell of above mentioned dirty diaper wafting through the minivan, we made it home without any accidents (the diaper kind or car crash kind due to me driving while reaching in the backseat to clobber one of my whining children). After Colin got a proper nap, I finally got my grocery shopping done (although not at the same store I needed to make the request) and arrived back home by 6:00 p.m. to make dinner.
I had thought I could accomplish my requests over the weekend while Tom was home to no avail. Finally on Monday when Tom got home from work, I flew the coop and made it to at least one grocer and scored 2 cases of bananas for race day. I went to make a request at a second store and noticed that someone had scribbled on the top of my request letter. I decided to cut my losses, report back to the committee that I got at least some of the donation request filled and wait until the next day to reprint my letter and head back out again.
At this point, I have finally managed to drop off all the letters I needed to, which also meant buying some minty-chocolates out of the bulk bins at Fresh Market and bribed the kids with lunch so they wouldn’t complain about driving 30 minutes to drop off race flyers. Now that I think of it, I probably could have used those funds towards a babysitter after all.