On the way home from an adventure-filled morning that included stops at two fire stations, the botanical gardens, a bookstore and California Pizza Kitchen, K-Man decided it was a good time to take off his Crocs. “Daddy, I take my Crocs on,” he proclaimed proudly. (The whole “on vs. off” thing really confounds the little guy.) This was almost immediately followed by, “I want my Crocs!” I explained that I was driving and, since we were almost home, I’d get his shoes for him very soon. This wasn’t a satisfactory answer.
“I want my Crocs! I want my Crocs! Myyyyyyyyyyy Croooooooccccsssssssss!” In one fell swoop, and with my eyes remaining on the road, I managed to not only reach behind the passenger seat to find his Crocs, but also put them back on his feet. This may have been one of my more impressive contortionist moves – among the many that I’ve had to make in the name of avoiding a crushing meltdown.
How many times have we managed to “easily” carry more than we had assumed was possible – maybe a diaper bag, groceries and the kid? How many times have we been driving and somehow figured out how to find his bottle in the diaper bag (behind the driver’s seat) and hand it to the kid (behind the passenger seat)? And, of course, there’s the simultaneous diaper change and phone call while cooking dinner. (I know...diaper change and food. Not so good. But, our standards get lowered in trying times.)
The point is that, as parents, we are constantly finding ourselves in situations that not only require quick thinking, but an amazing ability to twist our bodies into unsightly positions. I’m the least flexible person on the planet (my one shot at a yoga class ended quickly, embarrassingly and painfully), but if it means avoiding some kind of screaming – I’ll not only manage to find my way into the lotus position, there’s a good chance I might be able to do a handstand, or even wrap my ankles around the back of my head. And, I could probably drive at the same time.
I’ve seen moms and dads carrying two kids while walking a dog and pushing the stroller. (G-d knows, the kids wouldn’t want to sit in the stroller – the dog might have, though…given the option.) I’ve seen parents holding on to a kid with one arm, while reaching down with the other to pick up whatever they’ve dropped. This might not seem like such a feat, but I should also mention that the parents were also eating, feeding the kid and drawing a picture to keep the kid occupied. At the same time. Yes, it’s part multitasking, but the skill level and contortionist creativity needed to pull it off is always impressive.
It never fails that during a road trip, G will be forced to climb out of the passenger seat – her back now to the front of the car – and find some obscure item that K-Man MUST HAVE at that exact moment. Never mind that we thought we had plotted, planned and anticipated his every whim. Nope. Now G has one leg in the front seat, one in the back, one arm on K-Man and another reaching over the backseat and into the “back-back” of the car. Somehow, she’ll manage to find what she needs, or rather what K-Man wants.
Screw “Survivor” or the array of other reality shows. You want real entertainment? One of the networks should offer up “Parent Contortionists”! Yeah, Cirque du Soleil is impressive and the Bearded Lady is a fun sideshow at the circus, but you want to see something REALLY amazing and even scary? That’s right – Parenting Contortionists.
I have a friend with four kids (when his daughter was 15 months, his wife became preggers with triplets – naturally). I can’t even imagine what he’s capable of. Or probably more impressive is what his wife can do. Two kids in each arm while shopping, rifling through a purse and unloading groceries into the car? No problem. Perhaps not even a challenge.
“Ladies and gentlemen…step right up and see the amazing Mom of Four who twists her body into positions previously not known to humanity…” As parents, we’d all nod in appreciation and buy that ticket.