Ruby -vs- Elsa

Photo Credit Photography by Angela Gross

“I need some wipes over here, please!” I yell from the couch covered in explosive diarrhea. “I’m on the ladder hanging the banner.” Corey yells from stairs. “Where is Miranda?” I ask. “I thought she was with you?” He replies. I want to scream, but my newborn-poop-covered-angel has fallen asleep in a milk drunk stupor, so to avoid the cardinal sin of waking a sleeping baby, I slide off the couch and stretch as far as I can to get the wipes that lay just out of reach for me in a pile of toys on the floor. My middle finger, ironically enough, touches the wipes just as I hear a bang from Corey’s direction followed by a screech from the birthday girl. Before I can react, James’ eyes pop open and I watch him realize he is covered in crap as his sweet smile forms into a fully flipped lip with baby tears falling down his face. With two babies under two, Corey and I have developed a man-to-man defensive strategy. It’s more of a survival method because we haven’t scored yet. Epic failure is a daily occurrence. This morning we are simply trying to prepare for Miranda’s 2nd birthday party, while juggling the needs of a newborn. “I didn’t see her behind me climbing on the ladder. She’s like a tiny ninja.” Corey defends himself. Miranda sniffles the snot right out of her nose onto Corey’s Frozen-themed shirt that I ordered for the party. Miranda lifts her sweet head up to reveal a bloody lip with tear-soaked face. “Oh no, sweet girl!” But I can’t get to her because I am currently covered in James’ poop. And so it goes. Fast forward two hours with a house full of people. Children everywhere. Miranda in her Elsa dress casting icy spells on everyone she greets. James in his Sven onesie and antler headband asleep in whoever’s arms will hold him. Me in my Anna shirt and braided pigtails sweat pooling in all the wrong places. And Corey with his bloodstained Kristof shirt which makes him look like he had just buried a body. It is party time! My mother surveys the food laid out in the kitchen, “well, this is fun. Ruby, where’s the wine?” “It’s a two-year-old’s birthday, Mom, there is no wine.” Kate comes up behind me and pulls my braids, “Ain’t we cute! What are you supposed to be?” I turn and squeeze her. “Hey! How are you? I’ve misses you so much! And are you serious? I’m Anna.” Kate looks dumbfounded. “Anna. Elsa’s sister from Frozen.” I prompt. “I have no idea what is happening here. When I walk in the doorAndi is yelling at me to let something go, I’m not sure what. Your baby has antlers. Corey looks like he just left fight club and you are some kind of Swedish school girl? I’m so confused.” “It’s Frozen, Kate.” “What is? Margaritas?” “Don’t mention margaritas to me!” Claire warns as she waddles up six months pregnant. I hug Claire and place my hand on her bulging belly. “Beware Ruby. The belly has been off limits as of this week.” Claire’s husband, Marcus cautions from behind Claire. I slowly remove my hand and brace for her wrath. “You would do well to keep it moving, mister. I’m barely tolerating you at this point.” Claire spits out in Marcus’ direction. “Yes, Ma’am. Is Corey out back, Ruby? I think I’ll hide out there.” Marcus is threading on thin ice and retreats out the back door. “I can’t stand him.” Claire lets out a sigh of frustration. “I’m swollen, starving and can barely move around at this point and three months to go! I’m going to sit down. When are we doing cake?” I’m a little frightened of her at this point. Claire has always been the one not to mess with in our group, even intimidating many men who mistakenly got in her path. “We will do presents in a few minutes then cake. You want anything right now, Claire?” “Do you have pickles and applesauce? I can’t get away from that combo. And a bag of chips would be great.” Claire begins to waddle into the living room. “Sure thing, sweetie.” I yell behind her. “She is miserable. Just miserable. She makes it terrifying to even entertain the thought of being pregnant.” Kate shakes her head whispering as she watches Claire leave the room. “But you forget this part, Kate.” Annalise has arrived with her matching-outfit family of three. I try to hide my involuntary eye-roll and give Annalise’s one-year-old son, Hayden a hug before leaning over to Annalise also. “It’s been too long for us all to be together.” I keep making Claire’s plate to take to her in the living room. “Come on, I got to get this to Claire before she loses it.” The three of wade through the crowd into the living room to find Claire perched up on the couch with Miranda sitting with her. Claire appears happy chatting with my birthday girl and I smile as I approach with her snacks. Miranda is smiling and telling Claire all about Frozen when I hand Claire the plate of pickles with one of Miranda’s applesauce and a bag of BBQ chips. Miranda watches me hand her the plate and looks at me with betrayal in her eyes. “No Mommy!” she yells at me. “Andi, what’s the problem?” Claire asks and I realize Miranda is pissed I gave Claire HER applesauce. “Now Andi, we are going to share our applesauce with Claire. Her baby in her belly wants some too.” I offer in my best negotiator voice. “No Mommy! It’s mine!” Miranda snatches the applesauce with attention being drawn at this point. Since the arrival of her baby brother, Miranda has struggled with adjusting to sharing everything, especially me. James can’t eat her food yet, so she has been holding on to that as “hers”. And now Claire has infiltrated her territory and with another baby nonetheless. It’s been a long day and Miranda was at her breaking point. Apparently so is Claire. “Andi, that’s enough! Give that back to Claire right now!” I announce in full mom-voice. Then with full defiant toddler voice Miranda replies, “No! It’s mine!” Now the entire party is watching this interaction, and if anyone is keeping score it’s Elsa-1, Anna-0. I need to make a statement and flex my mom muscle. My mother is shaking her head full of judgement. Claire looks like she would eat my arm right now. Kate’s eyes are the size of snowballs, looking on in disbelief. Corey is nowhere to be found and I feel as though a spotlight is on me with the clock counting down to see if I can in fact crack the code and make this toddler do as I ask. If not, the floor may fall out from under me because I have epically failed at parenting and will be sent to the land of loser parents. What I want to do is scream YES right back at my two-year-old daughter and stomp my feet until she listens to me. However, I may earn a trip to the psychiatric hospital if I do, which is not looking like a terrible option at this stage of the game. I harness everything I have and call on all the angels within earshot to please let this miniature mutineer bend to my request and give me the damn applesauce. “Andi, it’s time to give me the applesauce right now.” I annunciate each syllable and speak in the most stern and steady voice I can muster up. Miranda assess the seriousness of my tone. The rest of the hostages, or party guests, wait to see her reaction. She knows she has an audience which could play in my favor, but it is unclear what she will do. Then her eyes meet mine and I recognize that defiant gaze. It’s like looking into a mirror. “FINE” she screams and hurdles the applesauce like a wild pitch and a collective gasp is released from the crowd. The applesauce lands in the middle of the Anna’s head on the Frozen cake (of course it did). Miranda immediately bursts into tears. Claire is quick to follow. My mother in typical fashion is of no help, “well, I’ve never seen such out of a two-year-old and on her birthday no doubt.” Corey, aka Johnny-Come-Lately comes running in, “what happen?” “You never disappoint, Ruby.” Kate snickers from behind me. I guess it depends on how you look at this scenario. Miranda did give-up the applesauce. She negotiated. The results weren’t as hoped but all in all I’ll take this as a tie. “Cake anyone?”

Published by

Leave a Reply