The Playroom: In a pickle


Author: Maraya Steadman '89, '90MBA

Maraya Steadman

The other day, as my husband was clipping my daughter into her car seat, he picked up a pickle slice from the floor of my minivan. I was so busted.

“What’s this?”

“It’s a pickle.”

Oh boy, here we go. He knows it’s a pickle, I know it’s a pickle, but there is a reason I hide the fast food bags in the bottom of the garbage can. My husband doesn’t want me feeding the kids fast food. I don’t want me feeding the kids fast food either, but sometimes fast food happens.

“What is a pickle doing stuck to the floor of your car?”

“It’s your fault.”

“My fault? How is this my fault? I don’t even drive this car.”

“I bought apples.”

“You bought apples. And that is my fault? This is a pickle, not an apple.”

“I bought apples because I know you don’t like it when I buy the kids fast food, so I was trying to be healthy about it so instead of fries I bought apples and your daughter had a fit because she wanted fries and she threw her food all over the car. And if you didn’t give me such a hard time about taking the kids for fast food, then I would never have bought the apples, and if I hadn’t bought the apples then she wouldn’t have had a fit and the pickle wouldn’t be on the floor. So, you see, it’s your fault.”

And this is the part I didn’t say out loud.

And it would be nice if every once in awhile instead of pointing out everything that is wrong around here, like pickles stuck to the floor of the car, you might point out something positive and appreciate what I did accomplish yesterday.

The children are still breathing, all three of them, one of them even ate an entire serving of vegetables. They only watched an hour of television, and it was educational. I was right there when your son stumbled on the stairs so he didn’t take a header and we didn’t have to go to radiology. I spent a considerable amount of time evaluating whether or not we should get rid of all the Fisher Price little people in the playroom that are from when I was a kid because of the potential lead toxins in the paint. And all that started because the baby was chewing on one of them. I ultimately decided that the plastic ones were probably okay but the wooden ones were not. So I had to sort through all the little people and find the few wooden ones we do have left, the ones my dog didn’t chew up in the early 1970s. And then I almost did take the baby into the ER because I was so totally freaked out about lead paint, but I managed to stay calm enough not to. I took the kids to the park and there was just one too many fights in the sandbox over the blue shovel, and then this other kid was completely out of line relative to slide etiquette and so that was another fit, and only the nannies were there and none of my friends showed up because their kids actually take naps and none of the nannies speak English and they only want to talk to each other anyway, so I didn’t get to talk to a single adult person all day other than the lady in the drive thru, so, yeah, I went to McDonald’s.

“Well, do you think next time we could try not to let the pickle actually stay in the car so long that it dries out and adheres itself?”

Yes, I concede that would be fine, and that is a totally reasonable request.

I think a marriage counselor would be pleased with our conflict resolution relative to pickles stuck to the minivan floor.

Maraya Steadman, who lives in a Chicago suburb, is a stay-at-home mother of three children. Her website is Email her at

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