How did this happen to me? I wondered, blowing the dull, tangled hair out of my eyes and wiping the sweat from my grimy neck with a dish towel I wore on my shoulder for spills or baby puke.
During my fifth pregnancy I lost my sense of humor. My feral eyes stared desperately out at the hot and sticky Florida world swirling past me, a poet trapped in the body of a “brood mare”. How did this happen to me?
It was the end of August, the sweltering and sticky armpit of summer in Florida, and all my children were dirty. I’d wash the first kid and then the second. By the time I got to the third the first was dirty and the fourth and fifth were still waiting in line.
My children could get dirty sitting completely still side by side on a white plastic couch in the middle of the living room. I knew this because I tried it on the advice of my next-door neighbor Wanda, the perfect homemaker. Her children were not dirty. She bathed them and put them on the sofa and made them stay there watching TV until their father got home. That’s how you handle it, Penny, she told me.
It was worth a try. But my children knew how to extract …