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January 21, 2010

Mom vs. Wild

Mountain climb I don't watch a lot of television, but when I do, it tends to be of the reality variety.  Not of the "Bachelorette" oeuvre, exactly, but more in the TLC/Discovery/National Geographic vein.  Crab fishermen, in general, do not pique my interest, but cut and splice the most dangerous parts, put them to dramatic music and title it "Deadliest Catch," and, well, you've got some compelling television programming.

One of my very favorite reality shows is "Man vs. Wild."  And if you know me, you know that's a head scratcher.  I like my creature comforts; to me, "roughing it" is a hotel without room service.  Bear Grylls?  He eats bugs and drinks his own pee.  For me, the allure of the show is experiencing the very things I don't have to endure.  I like my comfortable, albeit mundane, life.  Yeah, it can get a little boring sometimes, but when I stop to think about it, perhaps life as a mom is more like a wilderness survival adventure than I realized.

Take, for example, the entrapment trauma I endured last week.  Heading out to a playdate, I loaded three-year-old Pumpkin into the backseat.  As she climbed into her car seat, I attempted to stick baby Croc's infant seat into the base.  Just then, my hand slipped, and one of my fingers got wedged in between the seat and the base, just as it all snapped together.  My hand was totally stuck, and the pain was extreme.  I tried not to freak Pumpkin out, but holy hell, it was excruciating, and the hand I needed to extricate myself was trapped.  What would Bear do, I wondered?  The solution came to me like a flash, and I decided to gnaw my own hand off to save myself.  Ok, I didn't, but I COULD have if I needed to.  I'm a wilderness survivalist!

Another adventure realization: Costco.  I've likened this place to Dante's ninth circle of hell, and it never fails to disappoint.  From the minute I swerve my SUV into the entrance, it's every man, woman, and bargain hunter for him or herself.  People are fighting for spots, narrowly avoiding mowing down pedestrians, and this is all before I've actually entered the store.  Once inside, it gets worse: mesmerized by the prospect of rock-bottom prices on cases of toothpaste and five-gallon jars of mayonnaise, people seemingly lose their minds, running fellow shoppers down with tractor-sized shopping carts.  And when free samples are on display?  The image of vultures picking over a wildebeast carcass comes to mind.  I've learned to adopt a "take no prisoners" mindset when I find myself in Costco, and people do tend to give me a wide berth when I have a look of insanity in my eyes.  I suppose this is one adventure that really could be avoided, but what can I say?  I get a small thrill out of buying toilet paper in bulk.

Even Pumpkin has her own wilderness adventures.  On a car trip running errands one recent afternoon, she piped up from the backseat requesting snacks.  I had forgotten to bring any, so I asked her to hang tight until we got to our next destination, where we'd get a snack.  She continued to whine, but then I realized she was quiet (a quiet three-year-old is almost never a good sign).  I checked the rearview mirror and saw that she was chewing something.  Clearly, she had been foraging in her carseat.  "Pumpkin, what are you eating?" I asked.  "I don't know, Mom.  What was that?" came the bewildered reply.

Oh, honey.  I know you'll survive in the event of an emergency.  I just hope that you weren't ingesting your own pee.

An original DC Metro Moms post.  Diana blogs about adventures great and small at Caffeinated.   

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