gearing up for Halloweiner

This morning I awoke amidst the three others in my family, burrowed under blankets on a large mattress Pangaea on the floor of my kids’ room. These measures are necessary because we are currently having our house interior painted and sleeping in a freshly-painted room is, well, kind of gross and scary. That’s OK because I am secretly (or not-so-secretly) a big fan of family-sleeping. So last night I was only too thrilled to move a TV into the kids’ room and watch a movie (a “conventional but entertaining sports flick” indeed – I’m coming to believe the Disney sports films – The Rookie, Invincible, etc. – are my version of other women’s romantic comedies – which I don’t watch – perhaps because they are always well-crafted, contain a good period soundtrack, and are comforting, formulaic, and only mildly emotionally moving), a late-night snack, and all-night family snuggle.

This morning I disentangle myself from the litter and start coffee; Ralph and Nels soon follow in waking up and while I shower Nels lays on the floor whinging as Ralph washes breakfast dishes (apparently being hungry for ten minutes in the morning is an existential nightmare for our son). After getting dressed I snuggle next to my daughter’s sweet body and we lie in bed quietly for a while. Then she starts talking, whispering to me of a purple dragon, a dragon “that saves people”. She sits up cross-legged and holds her hands in front of her, meshes the fingers to cup someone gently, and tells me the creature has long claws to hold people, as she talks she is gazing off, remembering. “The dragon had a very friendly face,” she breathes, her smile beatific.

Today has been a near-madhouse of activity, mostly including family events – playschool responsibilities, Halloween costumes, trick-or-treating – and significantly hampered by having the house torn apart for painting. But yes, I got all my Halloween sewing done, easy. And don’t think I’m not thrilled that I have had emails asking me to post photos! And you would think I’d get to breathe a breath of relaxation now the Halloween sewing is done. My last day of my sewing workshops is tomorrow, however – so I have to prepare for that. Zippers. Funsies.


Nocturnal animals in my car, from the other night’s late-night grocery run. Which I and the kids enjoy. Note Nels’ many layers of scarf, which he wore all night without even toppling over.

but seriously, there is no passive-aggressive anger in this meatball sandwich i just made you

Well, I just snapped at a perfectly decent human being. And I think it was a pregnant one, carrying a gift for someone else. Yeah, I’m an asshole. See, I was dropping off a gift at a baby shower because I wasn’t able to attend and this nice-looking young woman who was dressed lovely and smelled like flowers asked me to park somewhere else, and I fixed her with the dead-eye and said, “I’m not staying”, practically hissing like some cretinous Gorgon sister. It wasn’t her or what she said; she caught me at a bad time. Then she proceeded to back down on the parking thing, she introduced herself, and then said, “It’s nice to meet you.” I felt about two inches tall and hideous.

Yes, today is one of those days you don’t want to cross me. Or don’t even want to try to say anything to me unless it’s something like, “Hey, can I help you carry that?” or “You look nice today.” That’s right, I’m being a bitch. Now I know I joke about being a bitch all the time but I never mean it, because anyone who knows me knows I’m not really. I guess I should stop saying it because it cheapens days like today where I’ve just about had enough and I extend my regrets to anyone who’s going to run across me and I really, really want people to give me a break and not annoy me. But they keep doing it.

Part of my problem may be a slightly heightened sense of schedule and responsibility. My brother is visiting. This is a good thing, except that it’s hard for me to have company. I mentally “hover” over the person(s), especially if they’re not someone I can trust to help me care for my kids. And it’s really a mental holdover of my own, not a reflection of the capabilities or willingness of my guest(s), who are always happy to help I’m sure. Whatever it is, it sucks.

Once in my life I have actually taken a “time out” from my visitor: I basically said, “You need to entertain yourself for a while. I’m going to sew.” In that case my friend was probably relieved to have a break. But it’s hard for me to do. As I type this now my brother and son are upstairs playing on the computer and I feel guilty. Not guilty for neglecting my son, which I do regularly, but guilty for not providing 100% appropriate entertainment for my guest. This is dumb because this guest, like most, does not need this from me.

An IM from my husband: he is going to be home late. He doesn’t know when. Yay! More good news.

"… without adding, ‘you’re making a scene.’"

It’s 3:45 PM and I’m at a little celebratory ice cream social at a sweet li’l uptown shop that is celebrating a successful first leg of business. I’m here by personal invitation (which I’m very touched about). The owner of the store is giving a small, tactful speech thanking each person there. Everyone is smiling. Then.

My son. Is the one. Writhing on his back, thumping his head against the flooring, and squalling. Brandishing two markers threateningly. The room is mostly adults who are probably alternating between pretending I don’t exist and wishing I didn’t. Of course, three other toddlers are there (one, my lovely daughter who is behaving herself very well), but they are pulling it together for the five minutes needed. But it’s my kid. Right now. That is the problem.

Today Michelle said, “You must be pretty worn out by the end of the day.”

Yeah.

it’s funny because it’s TRUE

Sometimes my standards are pretty low. Like, this morning at about 10:25 AM. My standard of life was: keep fecal matter off of clothes and face (hands were out of the picture since I was changing a diaper and unfortunately you still have to use your hands for that). Five seconds later, as I tried to steady the boy and pull his pants up, even my modest boundary had to go. In case you, dear reader, are wondering how I could retain human feces on my hands or clothes let me just say that changing a shitty diaper on the shitty floor of a shitty rec center without a fucking changing table – on a 18-month old child who thrashes like a wolverine and screams like a torture victim whenver I lay him flat – is one of the worst things you get to do as a parent (so far, in my four years). If anyone needs a diagram or further exposition, email me and I’ll fill you in.

But you know, I had to keep going with my day. What would I like to have done? I would like to leave my children, go home, strip down, take a hot shower, dress in PJs, crawl into bed, and cry. God, I don’t even know what I’d like. It’s been a while since I had it, whatever it is.

This afternoon my husband doesn’t bother calling to let me know he’s going to be an hour late. He calls about fifteen minutes before he’s due home. While I’m cleaning Horrendous Fecal Event #3 of the day (the first being abovementioned incident; event Number Two was a delightful Hey-Why-Don’t-I-Shit-In-The-Tub incident from this afternoon – by the way, shitting in a tub which was also full of newly-sanitized bath toys) – as I said, while I’m cleaning up shit just to maintain a safe household – my son finds a full pound of rice and dumps it on the floor.

But then I realize this is perfect. My husband was supposed to be home five minutes before the rice got dumped. So, I’m not going to clean it. In fact, I’m not going to go in the room at all. This wasn’t the plan. Right now, I should be in the kitchen making dinner as The Boy and Babydaddy are tidying up the living room. Yeah. I’m not cleaning it up. In fact, I’m not leaving this room unless I hear breaking glass or my husband’s voice when he gets here. And then I’m not speaking to him for a while, either.

Some days are just like that.

where the weekend takes you

Dear Readers.

So much to tell, and no idea where to start. The family drama. The impromptu, packed-up-in-twenty-minutes roadtrip whereby I loaded up my oldest child in our truck and headed down to visit my brother for the weekend. The two days away from Husband and The Boy where my daughter and I were thick as thieves, staying up to 2 AM then sleeping in together, limbs wrapped around one another and hands tangled in one another’s hair. The sheer comedy of my daughter’s unconditional and expressive love toward my brother, who can be understated as standoffish (until you get to know him, anyway). At 11:30 PM on Saturday night, the two of them head into a local pizza parlour. She: peaches-and-cream complexion, blonde wispy hair, white sweater and kitten hat, and frilly skirt. Holding the hand of her Uncle Billy: sunglasses, long dark hair and beard, slight glower to his walk, and in his perennial thick dark wool peacoat (which he wears even on the hottest of summer days). They spent many an hour curled up on the couch (watching Nightmare Before Christmas and – Ralph was so pissed to hear this – Jurrassic Park). I think he’s still trying to resist her charms a little, but it isn’t really working.

I learned that it’s possible to have a vacation with a child. Of course, we’ve had the kids on vacation before. But I mean a vacation in the sense of: totally relaxing, responsibility-free, fun every single minute of the day. No back-breaking lifting of an 18-month-old squirming fiend. Caring for a child 100% potty-trained who also washes her own hands when she’s supposed to and can occasionally find her own food. No goddamn breastfeeding! [sigh!] Bliss for a couple days.

Unfortunately, The Boy is making up for his lost time without Mama. He seems to have grown an inch and converted yet more of his precious babyfat to sturdy muscle. He also can climb higher, scream louder, and eat more.

Three more weekdays to survive.