Hey, remember last year when Sam started going to karate twice a week and I did a lot of whining about how I was going to have to murder Jack and/or Quinn or that I would have to take a lot of sedatives myself?
Well, I was thinking it. I sometimes dreaded going because both Jack and Quinn were insane there. I tried taking books, dry-erase boards, coloring books, trains, and toy cars and airplanes. All of them worked to one degree or another, but we always caused a scene, and Jack usually took a big swiping “Hello, there!” swing at a stranger on our way out. I often had to chase them around while they tried to evade me, and there was that first day when Sam accidentally locked himself in the changing room from the inside and couldn’t get out.
I mean, I don’t really blame them ’cause they had to kill 45 minutes there twice a week, but, F.U.C.K!
Then Vtech and LeapFrog came along and quite possibly saved my sanity. At the very least, they vastly improved my life. Each of those companies, for which I have life-long devotion, sent me review samples of their hand-held video games.
My karate life changed drastically.
I know there are people out there who disapprove of this type of electronic babysitting, but I couldn’t fucking care less. Prior to those game systems, I was stressed, angry, and a wreck. Afterwards, I was still stressed, angry, and a wreck, but less so.
Today was Sam’s last day at karate. We’re taking a break for a variety of reasons, some financial, some due to Sam’s whining whenever I tried to get him ready for class, and some due to the fact that we have two or three therapy sessions a week for Jack now. I just can’t pack it all in.
Today, which was a graduation day (Sam got his purple striped belt), was busy, loud, and chaotic. But we were all chill. We got there a little early, so got good seats. Sam went to practice. Quinn had fallen asleep in the car and was sleeping happily on my chest. Jack was playing video games. All was well.
And all stayed well. For a while.
The instructors did some speechifying after the belt presentations and Quinn woke up. And he woke up MAD. We had to remove ourselves to the lobby just a few feet away, but let Jack stay in his chair where he was quietly playing, oblivious to the hubbub around him.
The next few minutes are a little blurry, but I do remember a lot of people looking at me. But really, short of going out to the parking lot, there wasn’t a lot I could do. Then Jack got up and went to the bathroom without closing the door, which incidentally is something Sam did after his first or second class.
At some point Quinn was shrieking, Jack was “investigating” the moving parts of the lobby’s decor, and Sam showed up to ask if I’d gotten a group photo, which of course I hadn’t.
But I DID get this awesome shot.
I specialize in tiny, fuzzy, and terrible.
Then Sam couldn’t find his bag, and I almost said forget about it because we’re not coming back anyway, but figured that would be a bad way to leave, with Quinn AND Sam shrieking at me.
So we ventured into the fray, all four of us, because Quinn was sobbing and Jack can’t be trusted to not wander into the parking lot. We generally made a nuisance of ourselves until some friendly mom found the bag under her chair, across the aisle from where Sam had left it.
We said goodbye to the instructors and I started trying to herd the dudes out the door, when Jack gave one of those swipes of greeting I spoke about above. Those swipes I do not believe to be malicious in the slightest, but rather a way of interacting with people. But they always lead to a confused looking child or adult looking at us and wondering why the unprovoked attack, as I frantically try to apologize, get Jack to apologize, and tell Jack not to hit, while explaining proper social interaction all at the same time.
In case you’re wondering, it’s super effective. < /sarcasm>
Then, while hoisting Quinn into my arms because he refused to walk, I ripped his shoe off and dropped it on the floor. All while someone kept trying to foist the studio’s December calendar on me.
By the time I left, I was stressed, angry, and a wreck. And the sentimental feeling I felt watching Sam at his last class? Gone. And it seemed fitting to go out the way we came in a year ago.
I’d like to get him back there someday, but I’m okay with not having to wrangle Jack and Quinn at karate for a while.