|Tales from the Mommy Track is a weekly column about the daily life of a part-time working mom. Risa Green is a critically acclaimed author who lives in Los Angeles. Her previous adult novels, Notes from the Underbelly and Tales from the Crib were made into a television series. Her latest novel, The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball, is a Young Adult book that will be released in September, 2010.|
My daughter’s preschool class just did a month-long unit on the ocean, culminating in a field trip to the aquarium last week. As a “present,” lovely male teacher gave each child an early lesson in death, oops, I mean a goldfish. My daughter, ever the enthusiast, was thrilled by her new pet. She named the thing Seashell and made a birth certificate for it and everything. Now, to lovely male teacher’s credit, he did give us typed instructions on how to take care of a goldfish, as well as an envelope full of fish food.
My daughter is a notoriously picky eater. If it doesn’t involve cheese or plain pasta, she’s generally not interested. I went through a period where it really stressed me out, and I would make her try new foods, but she usually cried for twenty minutes first, and then would take a bite so small that it was barely visible to the naked eye, at which point she would gag uncontrollably and, occasionally, barf all over the rest of her plate, thus precluding a second bite. So I gave up, and decided that one day she would outgrow it. I hoped.
When I was in college, I took one of those life-changing classes that completely altered the way I thought about the world. It was called America in the 1950’s, but the discussions were really more about how American society had changed since that time, and the various movements that brought those changes about. One of the major topics in the class was about whether one can really change an institution from within, or whether change has to be effected by outside forces.
My kids were off from school this entire week because of a little known Jewish holiday called Shavuot, which roughly translates into “a three-day weekend isn’t enough; let’s just take off the whole week before Memorial Day instead.” Which is great if you’re an old rabbi, but less great if you’re a working mom. I resigned myself to the fact that I would get nothing done this week, and then I scheduled the hell out of my kids. On Wednesday, I even got my husband to take off from work and go to Disneyland with us and two other families from my daughter’s preschool class.
Technically, the tv show based on Notes From the Underbelly is a comedy, but you would never know it from the drama that’s going on behind the scenes. Here’s what happened this week: Tuesday afternoon, I’m minding my own business, picking my daughter up from preschool, when a dad of one of her classmates stops me in the hallway. He looks grim. He asks me if I’ve heard the news. I’m thinking someone died. Maybe one of the kids got hurt. My heart starts to beat a little faster as I shake my head no.
I know, I know, it’s been a while. I think the last time we talked, I was looking for some help getting my period, like that Margaret girl (and btw, thanks for nothing). Anyway, in case you don’t remember me, I’m the one who doesn’t really like people all that much. I mean, not all people, of course – I like my friends, and some of my family – I just don’t like the really annoying people with whom You seemed to populate most of the world (and dude, what is up with that??). I think You know who I’m talking about.