Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My Olympic Event: The Mommathalon (Part II)

I was in the running for a medal, I really was. I had a freshly diapered, properly clothed toddler on my hands. But every competitor knows the make-or-break event is the finale: getting to the ferry on time. Could I endure?

I looked at the kitchen clock: 2:11pm. The bus for the ferry came at 2:30pm, a full 15 minute walk away. I gave my son a hopeful sideways glance.

Somehow in the 1.3 seconds that it took for me to look away and then look back at him again, Noah managed to glue a raisin to his hair and brew an evil grin across his face.

"ACK! We're late! Grab your coat, we gotta hurry!" I said to Noah and the Raisin and the Evil Grin. I ran to his bedroom to pack the extra diapers NO Olympic mother can compete without, and returned to the race.

In blinding speed, I rescued my ballet flats from certain death inside the washing machine. I found my car keys tucked inside the toybox. I wrestled Noah into the jogging stroller, tied my little sister's birthday present to the handlebar and headed out onto the course.

There was no one cheering me on. I was an isolated Olympian. No one waved the Canadian flag, rang a cow bell, or belted out O Canada as I hustled up to the highway. I was the lone runner, until a little voice called out "FASTER mommy!" from the stroller below. That solitary cheer was good enough to keep me going.

Approaching the highway crossing, I had to execute my next move perfectly: cross the road without falling flat on my face or sending the stroller careening into a ditch. 

Could I do it? Did I have what it took to catch the bus, and medal with the world's best mommas? 

Alas, tragedy struck. The birthday present, which had been rattling back and forth as I sprinted towards the bus stop, suddenly dropped from the handlebars and crashed to the pavement below.

The gift - a variety of goth-inspired nail enamels, bounced off my right foot and shattered on the road below. I thought I could feel glass in my foot and looked down in horror to see my ankle covered in sticky liquid.

Thankfully, the liquid was glittery and black (nail polish, of course), and the pain was only my shattered ego. To add insult to injury, I looked up to see the bus drive by across the road. It left us in the dust and debris of shattered nail polish and broken Olympic dreams.

I looked at the pooling varnish on the roadside and the raisin glistening in my son's hair. "Babe, we missed the bus, honey!"

"Dat's okay mommy. Maybe next time." Noah said. Thanks for the cheer, little buddy. In the end, we called a cab and we STILL made it to the ferry on time. But no one was waiting with flowers and national anthems at the terminal.

Although I didn't collect an Olympic medal that day, I did enjoy a little bit of sunshine with my world class little one. And that's reason enough to celebrate for his Momma.

Monday, February 22, 2010

My Olympic Event - The Mommathalon (Part One)

Proudly representing Canada, I competed in the world's most revered athletic competition: the Mommathalon. 

Although not an official Olympic competition (the IOC is still arguing over its season: should the Mommathalon qualify as a winter or summer sport?), this multi-disciplinary athletic competition is not for the weak-hearted. 

It started out on a brilliant Saturday morning. Conditions were perfect for the Mommathalon. The sun glinted off the (little bits of) snow on the local mountains, and my lungs were filled with fresh air. I could taste victory on my tongue. Climbing into my unofficial team Canada uniform (lululemon pants, a ragged t-shirt, and my $10 HBC red mittens, I headed off to the gym for the qualifying round.)

After busting my lungs on the treadmill for 10km -- with several breaks for sheer exhaustion, and for a severe wardrobe malfuntion -- (an untied shoelace!) I made it home alive and thus qualified for the first event: the toddler bath. 

Olympic rules for this event are simple: the aim is to bathe your toddler in as short a time as possible, with the least amount of bath water on the floor/splattered on the mirror. 

Disqualifications include: throwing the baby out with the bath water, complaints from the downstairs neighbours that water leaked through their ceiling, and the mommy-guilt disqualifer: accidentally washing baby's hair with Nair. 

It was a dicey event, as Noah was also in a competitive mood. Word in the Olympic village was that the US sponsors of Sesame Street had planted a special on whales into that morning's episode. It was an obvious threat to the TV audience, particularly Canadian competitors. 

Noah decided he was a whale, and that included filling his cheeks with soapy bath water and spouting the contents directly at his mother. This quick-thinking mother used her core defense (the shower curtain) to avoid a catastrophe. In the end, I had two demerits (one for neglecting to clean my son's left foot, the other for a fully drenched left sleeve), but we moved on quickly to the second event.

"The diaper and dress" competition is a timed event; the faster, the better. The only rules were: diaper must be in the usual place (taped around toddler's head is not sufficient) and clothing must be on the appropriate body part. (No socks on the hands or t shirts hanging from toes.) Mothers know this event can make or break their chances. If Mom loses her grip on a half-naked toddler, her hopes for a medal are quickly dashed.

It was a dicey competition. Already at a disadvantage from an overactive bathtime, I took hold of my son's uncleaned (and therefore less slippery) left foot and held on for dear life. Although not technically illegal, the use of threats or bribes is frowned upon in this event. But this mother was not holding back.

"Want to go to Grammy's? Want a chocolate chip? Want to have everything left to you in my will?" 

That got his attention. I had him diapered, dressed, and hands folded in a spectacular 93 seconds. Which was fantastic, except that he looked at me, smiled and annouced "I went poo." 

I doubled up on the bribes "want a pound of chocolate? Want to run free at the park for seven hours?  Want a pony?" and we had him re-diapered and dressed in a respectable (but no longer record-breaking) 2 minutes, 11.45 seconds.

So how did we fare? Would I represent Canada on the Modium (momma podium) or slip up in the third and final event? Stay tuned for Part Two of the Mommathalon, including the back-breaking finale, "Get to the Ferry Terminal on Time".