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Mommy Olympics

All eyes are on Beijing right now, as the finest and fastest and strongest seek to dazzle an entire world with their exploits. There is pageantry, there is history, there is peace on earth, good will to men.

It is a beautiful sight to behold.

But I would submit that there is an equally challenging Olympics of sorts, being played out in minivans all over this great nation. In our family, it's an event my husband has always called "The Mommy Olympics." He came up with this name when he noticed the amazing rigor and stealth that was required by moms on car trips with the kids.

For example, in a moving mini-van, somebody dropped all his crayons on the floor and cries, “someone please come help me?” So Momma unbelts her seat, twists and climbs to the back, managing to barely miss the carefully arranged pile of juice boxes in the floor. The crayons get retrieved, but not before a team member in the back row chufes up his McDonald's Happy Meal. Momma, with lightning speed, manages to catch the yuck in only two wet wipes. She soothes the crying barfer for a moment, and then she begins the obstacle relay back to her seat in the front. But Middle Child points out that his headphone batteries are dead and wonders, “Mom, could you please change them?” Which, of course, Mom does, but not with a screwdriver (because there isn’t one), but with the back of her earring. Problem solved.

But wait! There’s a turn up ahead, and mom is un-belted, roaming the backseat in all her athletic prowess. It’s coming…it’s coming…and the turn throws her entirely off balance. Our powerful athlete STICKS the landing hard, but she sticks it right on top of the juice boxes, sending tropical kiwi lime spraying across the floor of the back seat. Our champion emits an exclamation that is not, perhaps, in the finest spirit of the Olympiad. This wakes the sleeping baby, so our champion reaches down to check, and she realizes the child is hungry. She contorts her body into an inhuman shape so that she can nurse the baby while he’s still buckled in. Her muscles tremble as she carefully holds her balance over the car seat, and her sharp eyes are peeled on the lookout for passing motorists who attempt a peaky-peak.

The baby fed, she finally heads back to her front seat, only to find that her husband has spread out the atlas in the way. And so, with breast milk still staining the front of her shirt, her left hand still full of Happy Meal barf, and her ear minus one earring, she leaps over the maps to slide perfectly into her front seat spot. She notices that her husband is humming the Olympic theme song, and she raises her eyebrow.

“Nine point seven,” he says, nodding his approval.

She looks straight ahead. “Stick THAT on your Wheaties box.”

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