Saturday, May 18, 2013

If I only had a third arm (plus a 'Parkly Deer update)

I realize on my afternoon walks that my crew and are a rather ridiculous sight. 

Snacks -- who still refuses to recognize me as the alpha dog in our pack -- races ahead at the highest speeds he can muster while tethered to 150+ pounds of human and wagon. Jovie in her big floppy sun hat flings toys, sippy cups and apparel out of the wagon whenever I'm not paying attention and Lily -- lately clad in her new Tinkerbell costume -- yells at her "No Jovie!" with the practiced voice of an older sister who is tired of having sippy cup duty foisted upon her afternoon after afternoon. I'm in the middle -- dog leash pulling one hand, wagon dragging the other -- the victim of some sort of modern-day rack (not the kind that gives you rock-hard abs ... the medieval kind that attempts to dismember you by pulling your limbs in opposite directions). 

If it's early in the walk, chances are I'll stop and snap squirrel pictures while the dog practices tackling SUVs; if it's mid-way through the walk, I'll stop periodically to grab Lily's hand to cross streets (she likes to walk now, too, in order to practice hopping, pick up various sticks and talk to the ants); and if it's toward the end of the walk I'll have a bag or two of doggy doo. 

It's no wonder, then, that at least once on every outing someone shouts from their car or declares cheerfully as they're walking by, "Wow! It looks like you've got your hands full."  

In fact, I'm often told this multiple times on a single walk -- especially if it's a really nice day and lots of people are out and about. So, say, I go on three walks a week and I hear it twice a walk ... I'm not great at math but that's, what? Six? Six times a week I hear that I'm overburdened? Six times a week I get helpful reminder that at this point I'm really more of a draft animal than a person? 

I know six is a relatively small number, but it seems exponentially larger when a person with free hands and sanity to spare acts as if they're offering you a really novel piece of information.

"Gee -- you have your hands full!"

I reach deep down into the bowls of my weary soul and extract the sincerest smile I can muster. 

"Yup! I do!" 

So it was a nice change of pace the other day when one of our walk regulars who has a fondness to Snacks saw us and said, "Wow! It looks like you could use an extra arm!" 

"Yes! Yes, I could!" 

Ever since, I've been daydreaming about the possibilities of an extra arm. 

I decided early on that instead of just growing an extra limb nuclear-disaster style, it would be really helpful to have a movable prosthetic. The usefulness of the third arm extends only as far as where it's located on my person. So, for instance, when out on walks, I'd want the extra arm to be on the middle of my back:

What? I never said I was an artist.
In this case, the main purpose of the extra arm would be to pull the wagon so that it would free up an arm to carry bags of doggy do, snap pictures of squirrels (real and stone) or retrieve whatever items Jovie has decided to use in her experiments with gravity.

When it's time to make dinner and the baby is freaking out because she wants to be held, (impossible to do when I'm attempting to chop various items with a large knife or remove super-hot items from the oven) a side arm would be beneficial.

There, there little Jovie.
Just let the creepy animatronic arm
make you feel better so mommy
can slice this tomato
that's bigger than your head.
Then there's the scenario when I have to lug an overflowing basket of laundry and a 20-pound baby down to the basement. I think maybe an upper-back arm to wrap around Jovie half-piggyback style might work (this one I haven't thought out fully ... in fact ... it could end very badly for the baby the more I stare at the picture).

Maybe I should just install a laundry chute.
And, of course, for moments when I'm on the phone and both girls want to be held because they're feeling neglecting and under-loved and in need of undivided (hahahahahahahahahahaha) attention, a shoulder arm to hold the phone would be ideal. 

What did you say? I can't hear you. What was that? 
Since I don't want to have to alter all of my clothes to accommodate a third arm, I'm thinking some sort of vest fitted with various sockets into which you could plug in the arm would be ideal. 

Then again, maybe the extra arm option would be more trouble then it's worth. I don't know about any other moms out there, but I probably already push the boundaries of my multitasking with the two arms I have. I mean, should I really be talking on the phone while doing the dishes, holding a kid who's either pulling my hair or grabbing for the phone, and picking up a dish towel with my toes? Perhaps we were only given two arms because that's the maximum amount of upper-body motor engagement* our brains can handle. 

On a totally unrelated note (and as teased to in the title) the 'Parkly Deer are gone!!! They were out within the past two weeks along with the rest of my neighbors' Christmas decor, but on our last walk they'd disappeared! No more Christmas in May. I wonder what prompted the sudden spring cleaning? I'm kinda sad about it. I was really hoping they'd hold out until ... well ... next Christmas. And just add more decorations. 

*That's right. Upper-Body Motor Engagement. That's a thing I just made up. 

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