Suburban Snapshots

Crazymaking

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tonight a friend emailed asking me for advice on choosing between two day care centers for her kids. When Steve and I set about researching this particular service, we visited a handful of centers in the area, decided one was too dirty, one was too pricey, and settled on the one closest to our house with a good rate and pleasant staff. During the tour we didn't notice anyone bleeding out or duct taped to a wall, so we called it good and waited to hear about an opening. My friend is debating her decision hard, and she said to me via email, "It's weird how hung up on this I am."

But it's not weird. Because no matter how laid-back of a mom you consider yourself to be, we've all got our triggers. There are just those decisions or occasions that turn us from practical, level-headed parents into the type-a Stepford go-getter moms we couldn't imagine being friends with, let alone becoming. It's all part of the Big Crazy that comes with having kids.

My sister had a stroller obsession. She'd pretty much let her 3-year-old babysit her 2-year-old, but the woman spent hours, drove miles, road tested, bought, swapped, and sold dozens of strollers until finding the one that was finally perfect. My own husband once got mad at me when I found a free, used tiger xylophone toy for Anna and returned the exact same toy he'd bought brand new. He wanted the toy to be hers first, fresh out of the box — normally Steve would rather taste-test lighter fluid than spend money unnecessarily.

This week it's my turn. Anna's birthday party is on Saturday. I'd hoped to keep it small this year but over-ordered the invitations I designed using the images from the third-birthday photo shoot I did the day before. See? Two sentences in and The Crazy is in full effect. I planned a pretty simple appetizer menu  so to compensate for not spending four entire days in the kitchen I'm making cake pops, which will ensure I'll cry into batter at least once and have crusty frosting jammed in my wedding rings for weeks. I bought her a special birthday skirt from Etsy; on Friday I'll use my day off frantically looking for a shirt to match.

I'll spare you the details of how long it took me to find her the perfect (used) play kitchen, the way I want to have it all set up when she gets out of bed on Friday — her birthday morning — or how I may have actually researched pony rentals. At least I recognize my problem.

So tell me, what sets off your crazy?

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