Mabel and I played with PhotoBooth yesterday. Then I spent all this evening wrestling with iPhoto and iMovie to turn the photos into a slideshow I could put here, and to turn off the damn Ken Burns effect. (If you have no idea what this is, you're lucky. I hope you don't have to find out.)
So you can think of this as a whole bunch of mummy mugshots, and it's not even Monday. It's true I'm reluctant to put myself on my blog; not from any sense of anonymity (seriously, if someone I knew in real life happened upon my blog without my sending them there, I'd be more chuffed than miffed; it's very unlikely to happen) but more because I think my kids are cuter than I am.
Still, it's always easier to smile for the camera when you have a prop, and Mabel and a miniature My Little Pony make good props.
In contrast to the past few days, the most exciting thing I did today was to park incredibly badly.
Three o'clock struck in the Chipper household, which meant it was time to swoop out the door with Mabel in the stroller and pick Dash up from school. But no! Mabel ran the wrong way, hopped on the loo, and demanded a game of Who Am I? Which meant she was there for the long haul.
"But Mabel," I pleaded, "we have to get Dash."
"I'm doing a poo."
Five minutes and one very misleading game of Who Am I? later, I realised we would be driving to school. It's only two minutes up the road in the car. Eventually, Mabel was done, hands were washed, shoes were on, baby cheetahs were wrapped up in blankies, and we were on our way. We weren't really late, but it's my only excuse for what was to follow.
Usually, you see, I pride myself on my parallel parking. It's not fabulous, really, because I don't get nearly the amount of practice I used to when I could shoehorn my wafer-thin mint of a car into a space the size of a postage stamp in the middle of Dublin city, and I was never anything like as good as my best friend, who would leave herself with about an inch leeway at both ends in double-quick time, but compared to most Americans, I'm pretty decent.
More importantly, I'm better at it than my husband, usually. I instinctively know which way to turn the steering wheel to maximize the infinitesimal movement of the car backwards and forwards into the spot until I'm right beside the curb. This knowledge is especially helpful when I sit beside him, shaking my head and making useful motions with my hands to show him which way he should be turning the wheel at any given moment in his parking efforts.
Except today, my parking karma deserted me. There was a perfectly good space between two other cars near the school entrance. I reversed in, taking it a mite too tight on the first go, as I am wont to do. I moved forward. I moved backwards. I thought "Isn't it nice the way the front of the car is never quite as far out as I'm afraid it might be from here?" I saw the car in front of me rock. "That's funny," I thought, moving back and twirling the wheel blithely, by instinct rather than design. The next time I moved forward, it rocked again. "Oh shit," I thought but did not say out loud. "I hope there's nobody sitting in that car," I did say out loud. "Why?" asked Mabel.
In some sort of insane stress-fuelled frenzy, I very gently bumped the car in front about twice more before I belatedly concluded that this wasn't going to work. I couldn't get out again forwards, so I gunned it in reverse and felt my back wheel mount the sidewalk, as I had intended. My front wheel came up against the curb. I realised I had lost all sense of which way to turn the wheel at any given moment. There were about ten feet between me and the car behind; ten milimeters the other way.
"Right," I said cheerfully to Mabel. "Let's just leave it like this."
First I checked that the car in front was indeed empty (it was an SUV, so I couldn't see from where I'd been sitting), and that its bumper was totally undamaged. Then I sheepishly remarked to the woman getting out of the next one up that I seemed to be having a bad parking day. Finally, I hustled Mabel out of the car and we moved away from the scene of the idiocy as quickly as I could, hoping that anyone who saw it would assume it was somebody else's pale green Subaru Outback, not mine.
Five minutes later when we returned with Dash, my car and the one in front were the only ones still there. I was afraid I'd angled my front wheel in such a way that it couldn't reverse at all, and that we'd embarrassingly have to sit there until the driver of the car in front returned to liberate us in a forward motion - which could be all afternoon if it happened not to be someone picking up from school at 3.15 - but - jubliation! - my karma returned and I turned the wheel the right way first time without even thinking about it, and we were reversing and then we were away, gliding smoothly as on wings of pure delight (except for that first bump when the back wheel came down off the footpath).
So here is my lesson for you: never parallel park while stressed. That should be easy, right?