Tuesday, September 24, 2013

How You Doin', Mr. President?

On Friday, our last full day in Washington, I awoke in a foul mood. This was due in part to our sleeping arrangements. With two double beds and a sleeper sofa in the common area, we had to get creative with the sleeping partner combinations. Somehow I ended up with the Girl for two nights and it was not the angelic mother-daughter sleeping experience I had envisioned. We did not, for example, wear flowing white embroidered peignoirs (out of flannel or something conservative, naturally), and braid each other's hair while watching HGTV. Instead, we both collapsed into bed exhausted and cranky and slept fitfully: She, because she was apparently dreaming about playing tennis and me because she seemed to think I was a tennis ball.

This tender moment has to be a lie. Whenever I sleep
in a bed with one of the kids, I end up getting
kicked, hit, or drooled on.  
I hadn't really planned anything for the beginning of our day on Friday because we had such big plans for the afternoon. We had the amazing opportunity to go to the White House! I know! So, I had thoughts that we'd spend the morning visiting a museum close to the hotel and then ironing outfits, taking showers, and braiding hair (while watching HGTV, naturally). Just like our sleeping arrangement, this vision was quickly replaced with real life.

On Friday when we didn't have an immediate plans, the fact that two out of three of my children were not healthy finally became a pressing issue in my mind. Yes, this probably should have been a pressing issue several days earlier, but I was honestly hoping they would get better because of immune systems and miracles. It was probably not the most realistic approach (sorry, Christian Scientists), nor one that will earn me a mother of the year award. What can I say? Earlier in the week, getting us organized and on a plane surpassed in importance the nagging childhood ailments.

We debated taking the Girl to the D.C. Children's Hospital for an X-Ray of her foot, but decided that she seemed to be coping fairly well and that getting her checked out could wait until we got home. The Boy, on the other hand, was now complaining about a sore neck and his glands were the size of golf balls. I decided to take him to an urgent care that wasn't too far from the hotel. Because the K had to go to work, the kids and I all took a field trip to the doctor.

Now, you all know how I feel about urgent care. These places are misnamed because no one acts with the least bit of urgency and neither does anyone seem to care. We walked over to the office, with me feeling guilty about the Girl's foot the whole time, even though it wasn't that far. There were only a couple of other patients in the waiting room, which gave me some hope that he'd be seen pretty quickly. The children brought their Kindles and iPads and they were really good as gold while we waited. I was glad that they were distracted because the television in the waiting room was tuned to The Wendy Williams Show, which is the kind of trashy television I love, but isn't appropriate for children. How you doin'?

For Wendy at her best, check out her interview with Vivica A. Fox. 

Wendy's "interview" with Kelly Rowland (mostly they discussed breast implants and the virtues of dating older men) was interrupted by the very loud telephone conversation between the urgent care receptionist and a patient: "I'm calling for Anita. Yes, I was wondering why you didn't get your tuberculosis test yesterday. Okay, well you know you need that test for your immigration papers. Well did you get the chest X-Ray? Oh, so you have active TB, then? Oh, okay." I looked around to see if there were any face masks available. No dice.

Eventually, they called the Boy in and a "doctor" "examined" him and prescribed some antibiotics in no small part, I believe, in order to get rid of us. Done! The last time I'd wanted to leave a place so badly was when I was at a former professor's apartment and he was telling me that he was getting divorced because his wife was allergic to him. We hightailed it back to Dupont Circle and decided to stop at Pizzeria Paradiso  for lunch. The pizza was delicious and playing 20 questions with the kids at lunch was much better than eavesdropping on conversations about infectious diseases. After we picked up the Boy's prescription at the full-service CVS at Dupont Circle, we headed back to the hotel so that I could iron our outfits for our presidential meeting.

I agonized over the children's outfits, which I wanted to suggest refined elegance, as opposed to their everyday outfits which sometimes suggest cut-rate clown school. The girls were pretty easy because there are always some cute dress options, but the Boy was not thrilled about the K's ultimatum that he wear a blazer. To be honest, I wasn't really either because it seemed like something he would wear one time and it would sit in his closet until it was three sizes too small and then I'd hand it down to one of our neighbors. Luckily for me, one of my friends had to get blazers for her sons to wear to a wedding. She was uber-generous and let us borrow the smaller of the two for the picture. My friend Maureen over at Bluemopheads (check out her Banner Butter giveaway) gave me some hand-me-down khakis that fit perfectly, so all I had to do was get the Boy some shoes (consignment store), a belt (thank you, Target), and a shirt (Vineyard Vines, my one splurge).

I picked out the Girl's dress from Crewcuts because it was very plain (per her request) and had pockets. Her shoes were the cheapest pair of pewter-colored flats available on Amazon. They're Kenneth Cole. The Baby selected her dress (with some assistance from me), also from Crewcuts, and her Stride Rite shoes which she loves. I think I'm in trouble. I wore a Boden dress and Joan & David shoes and Tarjay came through again in the belt department. Here is how we all looked:

Shockingly, the Baby needed to be carried.
I'm not sure what the Boy is doing.

Here's a view of the whole family in front of the West Wing entrance.
Here are a couple more pictures:

The Baby with some swag.

The Girl with the Boy doing his best Richard Nixon. Let's hope the similarities end there.

I wish I could recount our meeting with the President in detail, but it all happened so fast, there's not much to tell. Honestly, what made the greatest impression on me was that the area outside the Oval Office had a couple of chairs, and a side table displaying an array of magazines for guests to peruse while waiting to see the President. I was surprised to see that the magazine on the top of the pile was not The Economist or London Review of Books, but instead a celebrity gossip magazine the cover story of which was about a certain reality star whose marriage to an NBA player is in turmoil. Yes, the Oval Office antechamber is just like your dentist's waiting room! (Don't say you never learned anything here!)

Saturday would be our last morning in the Washington area and we were picking up a new addition to the family:

Can you believe this all happened in four days? No wonder I'm still exhausted!


  1. Seriously, y'all look like you should be the family IN the White House!! No one is going to believe you are a motley crew ever again!! :) (love that dress, too!)

  2. Thanks for the shout out. I love Pizzeria Paradiso. You all looked great! Love your dress and baby's shoes!