A Control Room is Nothing Compared to a Toddler

She broke me. She, being my 22-month-old darling, broke me. Well it was a combo of her and trying to do laundry in Manhattan. But regardless, Sunday marks the first time my child actually made me cry.

Ok – here is the situation…in our building of 6 floors with 8 units on each, there are 5 washing machines and 3 driers…which is rough math on a good day. But Sunday was not a good day. The building is renovating the laundry room – which means its closing for 3 days. When I discovered this little fact I also discovered I was nearly out of underwear and Ellie almost out of socks. So while Ellie was napping, I sorted darks and lights…no separate whites despite my mother’s laundry lessons…we were in crisis mode.

As soon as Ellie woke from her nap, I scooped her up along with 30 pounds of laundry and threw all of the above in the hall…I anticipated a painful wait, so I grabbed her ball too. When I got down to the basement the man using two of the machines informed me he was also waiting for the two others that had 2 minutes remaining.

F**ck You is what I thought. But all he saw was the smile on my face while I bit my tongue.

By the way – Ellie was trying her best to not only escape the basement, but the complex as a whole.

that’s it! I’m moving to the suburbs where they have crazy things like washers in the house!

Finally, after 28 long painful minutes – I threw the clothes in, all while promising Ellie if she got up off the floor and stopped tantruming, I’d take her for a walk outside. By the way, the fact that I agreed to go outside given how I looked (training bra on, red nearly see through t-shirt, and a pair of running pants that were about a size too small) was a testament to my desperation.

As soon as Ellie was out on the sidewalk, she started doing her determined walk toward the park while telling me she needed to see the kids.

“We don’t have time pumpkin. The man will jump in front of us in the line and use the drier and mommy will lose her marbles, so we can play with the ball here.”

Yea – she was having none of it. And then I saw our neighbors walking down the street.

yes! A distraction. This will
Kill at least 12 minutes. Then only 8 to go till I get the dryer.

After about 90 seconds of chatting, they sensed my desperation and invited Ellie over to play while I finished up. I love my neighbors. Have I mentioned I love my neighbors?

So for the next 90 minutes I rushed to finish up the laundry, so we could have a nice tasks free evening ahead of us. While I stared at the dyer, spinning away I beat myself up.

I worked about 65 hours this week, and I didn’t see nearly enough of Ellie. And now I’m spending more time away from her? I need to hurry up.

Once dry, I threw them in the laundry bag without folding and rushed upstairs to see my lovely little girl who surely missed me more than she could ever explain.

I open the door of the neighbors apartment and Ellie spots me and says, “No mommy!!! Go away!!!”

I stood in the middle of their living room, pinching the bridge of my nose. My neighbor asked if I was okay and told me Ellie had just been asking for me three minutes earlier.

I kept standing and pinching. And then the tears came. “I can’t. I just can’t. She can be so mean to me…and I don’t see her enough and she…I just can’t.”

Both my neighbor and her husband reminded me that they too have been at the breaking point and that they had vodka they were more than happy to share.

And all I could think was that I spent years in a morning show control room, being yelled at and to but 6 or 7 people at once, and I never once cried.  I may have locked myself in the bathroom a few times to regain my composure, but I never cried.  In fact, not only have I never cried under that type of pressure, I have been told by one executive producer that I am one of the toughest women he has ever met…which makes the fact that my 22-month-old broke me even more interesting…and okay, fine…let’s face it, mildly entertaining.

I passed on the vodka, my laundry folding skills leave a lot to be desired when stone cold sober, so…I collected my child and by that I mean, I picked her up and removed her from the area in which she was playing and told her we needed to go home and have dinner, and when I got into my apartment and put her down I looked at her and thought, A control room has nothing on you kid.  Nothing.

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