So, we attempted to take Christmas card pictures this past weekend. Aren't I so together and ahead of schedule, I bragged to myself, as I spent all Sunday afternoon getting ready for the pictures. Corrie's napped was perfectly timed so she'd be cheerful at 4 pm. I ironed the kids' clothes. Everyone was showered with blow-dried hair, thankyouverymuch. Yes, we were all quite ready for an afternoon of collecting photographic evidence of what a happy and clean-cut family we are.
We planned to take the pictures at a local office park that has beautiful landscaping, a big pond with a fountain, and geese. But I forgot something: where there are geese, there is goose poop.
We had been out of the car exactly 7 seconds when Stephen reported that he had stepped in goose poop. No problem, I told him, just watch where you're going and we'll clean your shoes when we're done. Then Adam stepped in it. I'm gritting my teeth at this point, but I'm keeping my patience. Barely.
We got the kids set up for the first picture. Hubs set Corrie down, and she took off across the grass chasing the geese. The geese, of course, seeing a chubby two year old running toward them shouting, flew away quickly. Corrie was devastated, and she began crying.
And then wailing.
We tried every trick in our parenting repertoire to calm her. All she could do was point at the geese watching from a safe distance and scream as if the geese were tearing off her limbs, not merely running from her.
We moved to a different section of the grounds, toward the water, hoping the change in scenery would distract our hysterical girl. All three boys stepped in more goose poop. Joseph managed to get goose pop ON TOP OF his shoe, a feat I don't even want to understand.
We carefully moved to the edge of the pond. Corrie wanted to throw sticks in the water, and I decided to work with this. I barked at the boys to stand next to their sister and throw sticks in the water, while I snapped candid shots of what I hoped would appear to be a lovely group of siblings having a nature moment together, NOT three boys with poop-covered shoes and their tear-stained little sister.
I managed a couple of semi-acceptable shots before Corrie reached down to pick up another stick to throw, and brought her hand up FULL OF STEAMING FRESH GOOSE POOP. Hubs and I, with visions of bird flu dancing in our heads, grabbed the screaming Corrie and sprinted back to the car (and the antibacterial hand gel), leaving the boys to chase geese to their hearts' content. While we cleaned her up, they worked themselves into an absolutely frenzy--running and sweating and yelling and un-tucking shirts and stepping in enough goose poop to fertilize my front yard.
Corrie, who realized she was now missing out on all the goosey fun, turned the decibel level of her meltdown up even further. I wrestled her into the carseat, while Hubs corraled the now-dirty goose-chasers and scraped their shoes before letting them into the van.
Weary, wind-blown and a bundle of nerves, Hubs and I collapsed into the front seat, while Corrie continued her hysteria and the boys shouted geese honks. Hubs looked at me. "What we should have done," he said, "is to have video-taped the last 45 minutes. Instead of Christmas cards, we could upload it to YouTube, and send all our friends the link with the tag-line, Merry Friggin' Christmas."
And we laughed until we could hardly breathe.
This is why I love that man.