Mommie Cleanest

Published Date: September 8th, 2008
Category: Weekly Thought


Did I decide to wash my hair and put on make-up today?




And why not? Because we were going to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum on a rainy day. Who would we run into and even so, did it really matter?


We were having a nice quiet time. The museum was totally empty, G was able to press all the buttons, play all the computer games, go up and down on the slide as many times as he wanted. Since it was not crowded, we were able to actually READ the exhibit notes and feel the difference between a toad’s skin (bumpy) and a frog’s skin (smooth). I even was able to get over my ridiculous snake phobia and let him go within five inches of their cases so he could look at them.


All was good. Until the approach of Shane the Producer.


As we exited the play area a nicely, groomed, non-bearded or mustached man (always a surprise to see at a museum during the week) walked down the stairs and smiled at me and said,


“I’ve got a proposition for you. Interested?”


In a proposition? On a rainy Monday morning at a museum? Why can’t I be like all the other harried, unwashed mothers of small children and politely smile, and say no, giving nap-time or lunch-time or any other small-child excuse and walk away?


Because I am a lover of life and have too much curiosity for my own good. Because I went from being a young, free-spirited woman who said “no” to pretty much nothing to a tired mother who barely is given a chance to say “no” to anything since I don’t do anything exciting anymore.


Which is why G and I ended up sitting through a live Podcast on how to prepare “Green School Lunches” that will probably be broadcast on Chicago Tonight this Wednesday on WTTW, Channel 11.


That’s right. A television show appearance with no make-up and unwashed hair. Nice.


To back it up, when Shane the Producer sold me on the situation, he said it was just going to be a Podcast. I mentally attempted to define “Podcast, Podcast,” and realized it meant “to be LISTENED to on iPods.”


Great! No problem. So what that I had on three-day and going strong jeans, a tight, white t-shirt that I got for free at a street fair promoting the Morse Theater, and a slick (aka greasy) high ponytail? There would be no cameras, just microphones! And he even sold skeptical G (the non-lover of new adventures) by telling him there would be TREATS.


But then all of a sudden we walked into the little taping room and I saw a camera man with a “WTTW11” sticker on the side of his camera and I knew today was the day my mother always warned me about.


To this DAY, my mother will not leave the house unless she has applied her make-up and has done her hair. And if her hair does not look big and fabulous, she will then put on a big and fabulous hat to hide her unfabulous hair.


Growing up, I always thought, “who cares? what does it matter? there is a time and place for physical perfection and sometimes you just want to make a quick trip to the grocery store (or museum).” And my mother would always say,


“You should always look your best.”


And at the old and wily age of 35, I finally realized that much to my dismay, she is right.


But I had already agreed to do this, G was already onto his second round of treats, and everyone in the room (did I mention he was the ONLY child in there?) was so happy to have a 3-year old diversion who happened to be wearing his “Obama-Bama, Bo-Bama, Banana-Fama-Fo-Fama, Fe-Fi-Mo-Mama, OBAMA!” t-shirt, that I did not have the heart to flee the room.


Instead, I reached into my bag, pulled out my lip gloss, and calmly applied it. I slicked back my already slick hair with my hands, reached around and untied my black hoodie from my waist and zipped it on, the mantra of “black is slimming, black is slimming” going through my mind. I slowly took off my glasses and put them in my bag. And then I reached for the best last-minute accessory of all—my son.


And as I crammed him onto my lap as he shoved ONE more granola bar into his mouth, I hoped for the best.


Or, at least good lighting.


This entry was posted on Monday, September 8th, 2008 at 2:05 pm and is filed under Weekly Thought. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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