Monday, March 20, 2006

Fun weekend, bad Monday

Toby squeezed so much activity into the weekend that he had dark circles around his eyes this morning when we went back to Alexandria. Still, his demand all weekend long was "more time!" I was able to keep up with his boundless energy despite being awakened at 3 a.m. on Saturday; it amazes me that I can still run with those guys, despite being in such terrible shape.

Today was a big fat disaster. We started from Slidell at 7 a.m., and had a nice stop at the Baton Rouge Super Target. Toby got such excellent swag there that he was totally uninterested in seeing my mother and sister (also in B.R.). Always the diplomat, Toby looked at them and said "bye-bye" after using my mom's bathroom. Hee!

Disaster no. 1 occurred as I pulled off of I-49 for the obligatory stop at the Opelousas WalMart. I had my second-ever surprise! sneeze, which dislodged some of the contents of my colon into my boxers. My gentle readers may remember that my first surprise! sneeze happened at the Alexandria, Louisiana, Target on a shopping trip with Adam. Something about shopping . . . Do y'all think that if I shit my pants in the middle of Best Buy it might reduce my propensity to buy videos? Probably not. Anyway, back to the story--I managed to clean up my mess reasonably well, but I purchased a pair of athletic shorts and some new boxers just to be hygeinic. That purchase led indirectly to disaster no. 2, which I'll get to shortly.

We left WalMart and went to the McDonald's down the street, where I nervously ate some chicken pieces that didn't taste so bad at the time. Toby, too, chowed down, which led directly to disaster no. 3, but not until we were much further down the road.

So we drove on up I-49, and Toby said "up!" (his word for "exit," based on the little arrows on the signs) at the exit for a rest area. I asked "potty?" and he responded, "potty," even though he had gone at WalMart. He also said "the water!" but I thought he meant the funky sink in the mens' room at that rest stop. I took my WalMart shorts and boxers into the restroom, thinking I might as well take advantage of the opportunity to change clothes. Well, wouldn't you know, Toby wanted to put on my athletic shorts. I put them on instead, and he screamed and kicked, and wouldn't let me put his own shorts or underpants back on him. He also shouted, "the water!" I thought, "well, okay, I'll let him go fiddle with the sink and calm down." Nope. No doing. He wanted to swim in the lake behind the rest area, and he thought I was buying a swimsuit at WalMart. How the hell he made that connection is way above my pay grade, I assure you. On second thought, he pulled out a couple of swimsuits yesterday, as if to say, "let's go to the beach!" but I redirected him. The nearest beach sadly is in ruins (the damage in Mississippi is shocking), and the nearest functioning one is all the way in Alabama. So Toby ran out of the rest area building with no pants on, screaming and crying. A couple of truckers walked up to make sure nothing untoward was going on. Fortunately, they sized up the situation very quickly, and offered to help. I didn't take them up on the offer, for fear that Toby might hurt them. I ended up plopping a butt-naked Toby into the car, and driving for several miles before I pulled off and forced his pants back on him.

He watched Blue's Clues quietly for 15 or 20 minutes, then began throwing up his lunch. There was French fry/McNugget barf all over the back seat of the car. By that point, I didn't mind so much that I forgot to load Adam's car seat; with all that mess back there, it would have been pointless to think about taking him anywhere today. There were a couple of last-minute bolts from beyond--we saw a train on the highway to St. Mary's, and the school's occupational therapist happened to be there when we arrived. Toby took her hand, and she helped up get settled back in the dorm.

I felt pretty damn depressed driving away from there. I listened to some bluesy music as I barrelled down I-49 (kicked off by Janis Joplin), and that helped. Still, I berated myself all the way back home for putting my kids in circumstances that make them cry and otherwise get so upset. I don't think I'm a particularly bad person, or even a bad father, but it just sucks out loud.

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