60 minutes

One hour. 60 minutes. 3,600 seconds.

That’s all I want. That’s all I ask. I ply them with brand new Crayola Color Wonder paper and markers. Coloring books. Coloring pages. I used to bring toys, but that proved intolerable. I bribe them with food when I think a mess won’t be made. I glare. I stare. I bare my teeth. I flare my nostrils. I hiss. I growl. I threaten. I promise. I follow through. But do I get those sweet, illusive 60 minutes?


Every Thursday, each and every Thursday since the beginning of time, Violet has had dance. Sarah and John go with me, armed with an assortment of activities to keep them busy. Because I am a good, well prepared mom who knows children need to be kept occupied in enclosed spaces. And then one of two scenario’s takes place.

Scenario one:

My friend, Mary, is not in the lobby (she has something else more important to do. As if.) So I sit with a magazine or my knitting for that hour. Sarah and John color. They do spread out across the floor quite a bit — they tend to think they own the place. They color and talk and wander around. I may or may not read them a book. The End.

Scenario Two:

Mary is waiting for me in the lobby! I set Sarah and John up with the same coloring activities. Mary also has a boy almost the same age as John, who is glad to color. Who enjoys coloring quietly. (little buggar) And then:

So, I tried that knitting pattern, what I don’t understand is


on the fifth row, where it says to purl


anyway, I was at the Swap shop and guess who I saw! Go ahead, you’ll never guess!


*Mommy asked you two for one hour. One hour. Here are your crayons. John, go to that corner. Sarah go that corner. Co.lor.*

OK, So then she turned and totally started making eyes at him! Yes, totally! Can you believe it? No! I didn’t say a word, I was too

*what? No, you may not climb the wall.*

You saw her with him? Wait, the same day? But I thought she was married

*did I say no climbing the wall?*

Your ex said what?? Did you throat punch him? Can I throat punch him? You know I totally will. I mean, I’ll totally think about


I use a steamer on my floor. And vinegar.

*John, if you jump on Mommy’s foot one.more.time I will put you in time out. Outside in the hall. Really.*

No, I’ve tried that, how do you make an apple-pomegranate-pineapple martini? How much liquor is in it?

*John, we’re going to the hall* Cue screaming. Out to the hall we go. Where a young girl, about 11 years old, looks at me, horrified, then at John, who is prostrate on the ground, obviously just been beaten and water boarded, and asks him, HIM, “Are you alright?” OMG. I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry or thank her for making sure my son was safe! I opted for a generic, “He’s angry at me and in a time out. But thank you, Sweetie.”

I took John back inside. Where he was incredibly well behaved and quiet. He colored and read books. For five farking minutes.


At the end of class, Mary pulled out a knitting pattern and I had a question. I sat the kids down and said, “Give me five minutes.” My mistake. I get that. I.get.that. But you guys, I get one hour. One time a week. And really? I don’t even get that. So I wanted more. Oh, how I wanted it. So I reached for it. I stretched out my hand . . .and it slipped through my fingers like the slippery beast that it is. We left in a chours of screams and stomps, my face beat red and me fighting back tears, humiliated.

Because what does this say about my ability to parent? I saw the side eyes, the angry eyes of the other parents in the lobby as my kids lost.their.damn.minds. Had I lost mine? The parents eyes asked me. Obviously.

So, what does it say about my parenting skills? On the days that Mary is not at dance and I am physically looking at my children they are well behaved. The minute I engage in another activity they become howler monkeys. They are four and five. I am not asking for them to sit in a corner and read War and Peace. I am asking for quiet play. Which they do all the time. When I look at them. And this makes sense how?


PS. B and AM? I am so sorry. I sincerely apologize.