When Executive Functioning Takes a Vacation, Part 2

So, I had gotten through Pumpkin Math and reset my mind to Liam's class party. I had volunteered to buy and bring the snacks because I couldn't see myself organizing crafts or games right now and even if I could, I was the only mom at the planning meeting who didn't bring a million printed Halloween Party ideas with me so buying snacks seemed easy and mindless. Money might not be able to buy happiness, but it can certainly get you out of ruining Halloween craft time for 20 first graders!

And if it weren't for the fact that this school has a very specific snack list, one in which you have to get certain brands and not others of the exact same item, or the fact that included in those other moms' lists were decorated snacks like mummified juice boxes and pumpkin faced fruit cups, things I was now on task for, this would have been a total no brainer. But after buying all the snacks at Costco and then having the school nurse turn them down, each and every one, because the brands were not on the "approved snack list" I realized my easy role actually required a little more thought and planning.

So, it was the day after Lily's Pumpkin Math, the day before Liam's party and I had finally gotten all the food and had finished mummifying the juice boxes. (If you have no idea what that means, go to this article in Parents Magazine  to understand why I might hate Parents Magazine and the crafty moms that are behind it…..) My most endearing neighbor had searched high and low for googly eyes and I had just finished gluing them on the juice boxes, telling her that the party was tomorrow and I was totally ahead of the game because I had already finished most of what I had to do, when I sat down to my computer to give myself another Mommy Star and saw this email sent from the class mom's iPhone:

--Karen, is everything ok????…..

It was 2:30 and I was about to go pick up Solomon and his friend from school but wanted to get back to her before I forgot so I wrote back: "Yup. Just finished the Mummy Boxes and will put the faces on the fruit cups tonight. See you tomorrow."

Then horror struck and I wrote again:

"The party IS tomorrow right????" I went to my calendar: the party was scheduled for the following day.


---No, it's today!---

What followed was sheer chaos. I had put the party on my calendar for the wrong day. It had started at 2 and would end at 3 and it was now 2:35 and I HAD THE SNACKS!

"Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh! KURT! The party is today, I have to go, I have to go! You have to go pick up Solomon, Oh my gosh! I can't believe I did this! Oh my gosh! I have to go!!!"

Kurt was so pleased with me.

"Where's my phone? Oh my gosh! I can't believe I did this! Oh my gosh!"

Kurt calmly grabbed his keys as I loaded my arms with two boxes of UNFACED fruit cups, a box of mummified Juice Boxes, three bags of assorted cookies and snacks and "Where's my phone!? Oh my gosh, I can't call you, I will call you, just go, go, go, oh my gosh! WHERE THE HECK IS MY PHONE?!"

I will not say how fast I drove down the curvy back country road, or how many times I honked at other drivers to keep them from pulling out in front of me, but I was in the parking lot by 2:40. I ran inside the school, Mummies falling out behind me, frantically explained to the front office that I hadn't realized the party was today and I had the snacks and for the love of God can someone please help me! She buzzed me through without a question (note to future bad guys, just act like you are supposed to be there, like an hour ago, and they will let you in, easy peasy!) and darted down the hall, bags ripping, people staring….I may have even knocked into a kid dressed up like superman but I am not certain…..without a breath left in me, I reached the classroom and dropped everything on the nearest desk. The entire class looked up in their costumes (except poor Liam who DIDN'T EVEN HAVE A COSTUME YET!) and the other moms rushed to help (I think more to calm me down than to worry about snacks) as I repeatedly apologized for my blunder…..

Once I caught my breath I asked to use one of their phones to call Kurt.

Me: Kurt, you have to pick up Cody too.
Kurt: Ok, who's Cody?
Me: That's our neighbor's kid.
Kurt: Which neighbor? I don't even have car seats. And I am driving around but have no idea where the school is. Where am I going? (I began to suspect a hint of frustration in his voice.)
Me: It is the church across from the gas station (the benefit of a small one-gas station town….) and it's around back. Just stick them in your car and go home. I will come home right now and take Cody.
Kurt: I missed a business call for this. (Yup. Definitely frustration.)
Me: Ugh. I am sorry. I'll be right home.

When I finally got to Liam's table to distribute snacks, Liam grinned up at me and eagerly announced: "Mom! Guess what, Mom?! I'm on Yellow! I'm having a good day today."

Deep exhale.

"Awesome job, little buddy. Keep it up until the end of the day, and I'll see you at home!"

The little girl across the table held up her Mummy Juice: "I'm done," she said, rather defiantly.

"Great. You only get one. Hope you liked it. Now you can play with the mummy," I said.

Another kid told me he didn't like the Twizzlers I was passing out for them to use to make Spider Legs for their Oreos.

"Awesome. Then I don't suggest eating it," I replied, teeth now slightly gritted, though still smiling, kind of.

Apologizing again, I left the classroom and rushed back to the house to find Solly and his buddy playing quietly upstairs. Kurt was tickled pink with the perfection of my mess…at least that's what I'm going with, and he went back down to work as I took Cody home. On the way back, Solly and I stopped by my relaxed-and-totally-on-top-of-things neighbor's house to pick up the tickets Aidan needed for the hockey game that night. As I recounted my day, my neighbor's mom, who was there to celebrate my friend's son's birthday, chuckled delightedly at my tale of woe. I was glad to offer some amusement for their day and then they asked if I might have some birthday candles they could have. Happy to help, I told them I would go get the candles, pick up the kids at the bus stop and be right back. They offered to keep Solomon until I returned since he had already dumped out some toys and was playing quietly. Back to the house to grab the candles and then to the bus stop to grab the kids, I went. As I got close to the bus stop, the kids were already half way up the street so I sent Aidan running up to our friends' house to give them the candles. Apparently Liam had not been very kind to one of the neighbor kids on the bus so I had to speak with the two boys and have Liam apologize for his behavior. By the time we finished the conversation, Aidan was in the car and on home we went.

The babysitter arrived as I was getting the dinner on the table. I proceeded to tell her what her job was that night and when I got to the part where she was going to bathe Solomon, I stopped short: Wait, where's Solomon?

Out the door and back to the car I ran, and back down to the neighbor's house where my dear friend was sitting on the floor playing with Solly.

"You were just waiting to see how long it took me to figure out you still had my kid weren't you."


That's when you know a friend is a keeper.

And that your brain has officially left the building. Let's just say, I plan on giving my Executive Functioning System a raise if it ever comes back. Apparently, it, too, is a keeper.

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