The Supers

The Supers
Our growing superfamily

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Random Randoms

I went on a field trip with Marcus’s preschool today. After snack the kids were to go get their shoes and coats on, as well as the mandatory fluorescent green institutional shirt, and then line up by holding onto a giant rope. We were just about ready to go, headcount completed, when a little voice said, “Mia’s still wearing her slippers.” She was indeed. Big, fluffy, pink slippers. The teachers hustled her in to go grab her shoes, and after a couple minutes there was another little voice, “Hey, I’m still wearing my slippers too!” That kid went in to change her shoes, and then the teachers started inspecting feet. Four more kids were sent in to get their shoes on. Finally we were all lined up and ready to head out the gate. The head teacher went over the “rope rules”: If you fall, let go of the rope and yell, “STOP!”, if your shoe or your hat falls off—“ “OH! MY HAT!” A little boy dropped the rope, ran around the group, and back into the centre. Brilliant. We thankfully made it to the bus stop in time. One kid lost a shoe on the way, but a teacher scooped it up and put it back on him when we got there. I love the mandate: We don’t stop for fallen shoes! The pack must continue!

Swimming lessons began again last Sunday. It was Marcus’s first time in the big pool, which is several degrees colder than the ones he is used to. He was a real trooper getting in there and doing his thing, but David and I were laughing when the kids all got out. They were huddled together on the pool deck, all in identical stances, teeth chattering, elbows in, hands clasped on chest. David was reminded of the movie Happy Feet, where each of the penguins had to take their turn on the outside of the pack. “We must all take our turn from the cold!”

Skyler is so brave in the pool. I have her in Ducks, which has an age range of 18 months to I think 3 years old, so she’s one of the older kids in there. Many of the parents have never dunked their kidlets before, so they were quite aghast at my behaviour at the pool. We do jumps in the waist-deep water, and Skyler is pretty confident about jumping in, so I tend to not catch her. It’s no big deal, she’s wearing goggles after all. She sinks down to the bottom, I fish around for a second and find an arm or other body part, and then pull her up to the top. She thinks it’s great, but I can tell some of the nearby parents are pretty uncomfortable with it. I can see the concern in their eyes, wondering if maybe they should help that poor kid out, wondering if I plan on getting her. I think next time I go I’ll pretend to not know where she is when she jumps in. “Skyler? Where’d she go?! Anyone seen my kid?”

My son is really into doing prenatal pilates these days. I throw the disc on and we do the exercises together. During our workout today he was mucking around with something, and Skyler went to take it from him, so he pushed her down. When I sent him to timeout I turned the dvd off because I figured they were acting up because they needed some attention. From timeout he starts wailing and screaming, “NOOOOOoooo PILATES!!!! DON’T turn it OFF! I WANT PILATEEEEEEEEEES!!!”

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Phenomenal Cosmic Powers... Itty-Bitty Living Space

I had the amazing good fortune to see Shane Koyczan perform yesterday. Being eight months pregnant, I naturally was openly weeping during several of his poems, and I had some lasting impressions from the performance. What made me weep was a part of a poem that described our determination and inability to go it alone. I’ve been grappling with this idea for a few months now.

When David and I moved here ten years ago, we didn’t have kids. We didn’t own a house. In other words, we had stacks of disposable income and were completely portable. It didn’t really matter then that we didn’t have any family around. If we wanted to see our family, we could just go visit. There was rarely an occasion when we needed help from our families. We were pretty darn self-sufficient.

Now I find it integral to try to build a community around me. After Marcus came along, I had times of loneliness. All of my friends worked full-time, and I missed being around grown-ups. I felt self-conscious trying to make friends at mommy groups. With Skyler, I was way more experienced. If I saw a lady I figured I’d get along with that had kids the same ages, I’d sidle right up to her and start a conversation. It was like dating again. I’d test the waters by asking about her kids, and then I’d casually invite them over for a play. And, just like dating, there were rebuffs. I’ve given my number to a few mommies that never called—totally uncomfortable when you run into them again at the playground. They’re all, “You know, I meant to call,” and then I have to be all, “Well ya, you’ve probably been pretty busy...” and then I’d pretend Marcus was calling and go running over to him. Soooo awkward. I’m not ashamed to say I’ve given my number out to dozens of mommies. I did make one super-good friend from it, and our kids absolutely love each other. They ended up moving back to the mainland but we’re still quite close and see each other every month or so. And even though the mommy-dating was anxiety-provoking, I would and probably will do it all again. We need people around us. We need to share our experiences and joy and sadness. We need to feel like we are part of something bigger than ourselves. We need support.

Now that we have kids, every once in a while there comes a time when we realize that life would be a lot easier if we had family close by. Every once in a while there is a daycare emergency or an emotional meltdown that knocks us over. We have plenty of friends in Nanaimo, but I’ve started thinking that maybe that’s not quite the same thing.

We don’t ask friends for help. Well, maybe we ask for help moving, or we ask for someone to babysit for a couple of hours, but we don’t ask for help with the stuff that truly matters. The stuff that knocks us on our asses on a Thursday morning and leaves us gasping for breath and sobbing uncontrollably. I don’t ask for help; at least, I didn’t ask for help when I found myself hopelessly overwhelmed at work and unable to function like a normal human being. I didn’t tell my co-workers I was having a really hard time. I didn’t approach my principal and tell him that I felt like I needed some support. I didn’t phone up my best friends for advice or coffee or hugs. I was barely able to explain to my husband when I had reached my lowest point. I don’t know if I was feeling too proud, or too shy, or if I even knew what was happening before it happened, but it occurs to me now that perhaps if I had asked for help I may have received some. And that may have made things feel better. I’ve just now come to the realization that pregnancy is hard! Pregnant women become overwhelmed because it’s hard! And it’s not the outward physical changes that make it so, although those don’t help; it’s the crazy hormonal nonsense that completely alters your personality. It only took me three pregnancies to come to this astounding revelation. Come to think of it, life is hard, pregnant or not. Most of the time, things go along wonderfully, but every once in a while, it floors you. We spend so much time feeling all alone in it, we don’t even think to look around and consider that other people may be, or may have been, wallowing in the same difficulties. Because we don’t ask for help.

At my last appointment my midwife gave me a phone number of a lady that’s been having a really hard time at work. The lady is a new teacher and this is her first pregnancy, and she has been feeling so overwhelmed that she’s been considering giving up on the profession. I found it somewhat ironic that my midwife thought I could give her some advice seeing as I’m on leave right now, but then I realized that I could give her advice. I knew that I had been having a really rough time because I was pregnant, and I also knew that when I eventually return to work, I’ll feel better about it. I’ll be able to cope again, because I’m a very capable person and I’ve never had this problem before. I know with certainty that pregnancy has left me completely vulnerable. I was able to phone this lady and give her what advice I could, but only because she reached out.

We have a tendency to want to do everything for ourselves. We live within our family unit and rarely pause to poke our heads out of our family shell. We cocoon-parent. We isolate ourselves. We pride our independence and capabilities and ability to do it all, all the time. When bad times fall upon us, we feel ashamed if we can’t handle it. We feel that it will inconvenience somebody else if we ask for help. That’s what help is, really, is an inconvenience. Nobody asks you for help when you’re lazing about the house, bored out of your mind and wondering what to do with your day. They phone you on a day when you’re running behind, you need groceries, and the laundry is piled up to your neck. And sometimes our initial reaction to that phone call is our gut reaction—I simply can’t help you because I’m too busy. It’s not selfish--it’s thoughtless; it’s a reaction based on the fact that most people are already operating at maximum capacity. To help somebody else means to sacrifice some very important thing that you were going to take care of. It takes a few minutes, or even hours, to adjust to the idea that plans can change. Maybe it’s best to ask for help on the phone, and then pretend to become disconnected. Give the person time to adjust to the idea and let them save face by not having to answer right at that moment. Of course, that could backfire—it could give them time to think up a skookum excuse.

I’ve had an eye-opening past couple of days. I always thought of myself as a helpful person, but the other day when my friend asked me for help, I had that gut reaction. I can’t possibly help you because I can barely take care of myself right now. My family needs me right now. My kids are my first priority. I’M PREGNANT!!! The more I thought about my excuses, the more I realized that all of those things are true, but that doesn’t change the fact that my friend needs my help. And right now, her problems are a little more immediate than mine. Of course I will help her! That’s what friends do. We help each other when asked or not. We take care of each other. We provide support. You have to have faith in the system for the system to work. That means, you have to be willing to give and ask for help.

Just so you all know, I’m good right now. I don’t need anything. But I do have a baby coming in a couple of months, and if you’re not busy, and if you have some extra time, and if your own life is looking pretty easy, or perhaps if you’re just lazing about the house, maybe you could drop by and lend a hand... I may need some support. I might not be able to ask for it.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Is This the Beginning of the Pregnancy-Related Sleepless Nights?

Oh dear. Awake at 12:30am. Peanut butter cookie, I blame you. I know it doesn’t sound terribly late, but I am a lady that likes her sleep, and mornings are coming earlier and earlier these days. Which brings me to an undeniable truth. Marcus seems to have outgrown his naps. I knew this was going to happen sooner or later, but I was hoping it would happen when he’d grown up and gone off to college. I am a spoiled woman. My two kids nap for a solid two hours at the same time every day. Unfortunately, while the naps are still happening, Marcus’s nighttime sleeps are getting shorter on both ends, and I realize that I have a choice to make. Forgo the two hour sanity break during the day, or be prepared to start my day at 5am. Sadness.

Marcus is such funny kid. Lately he has a penchant for leaving the house in costume. His latest preference is to be Spiderman. He won’t do pyjama day at school, but give him the opportunity to be a superhero, he’s going to take it. Home Depot, the grocery store, the library, all in disguise as a mysterious crime-fighting superhero. So today we went to one of our favourite parks in Nanaimo, and he was, of course, dressed up. I had an extra kidlet with me so I let him out of the van and sent him onto the playground while I collected the little ladies from the van. I could hear him singing his theme song from the top of the climbing web. He knows the entire classic Spiderman theme. But something was different. I could hear a chorus that sounded familiar... “nananananananana BATMAAAAAAAN.” There, at the top of the web, Marcus had met his kindred spirit. Spiderman had somehow met up with a fully-costumed Batman, right down to the black boots and cape. The two superheroes had a great time playing together. I don’t think they ever asked each other’s real names—they spent the entire time calling each other Spiderman and Batman. Marcus was in heaven. That happy coincidence is going to reaffirm his love for that park for all time. I was just glad to not be the only parent that lets my kid be in costume wherever he goes. It's not so bad now that his costumes all fit him, but I sure got some looks last summer when I brought him to the ball field to watch Daddy play ball and he was dressed in a threadbare jack-o-lantern costume that was at least two sizes too small.

Skyler is thankfully not yet leaving the house in costume, although it’s a big issue if I want her to put anything on her feet besides crocs. Although I tend to let my kids wear whatever clothes they choose, I insist on venue-appropriate footwear. Running shoes at the park, no negotiations. Bark mulch in the crocs is never a good thing. I saw a side of her tonight that I hadn’t yet seen. We were watching the Neverending Story. The kids watched it last night and were completely fine, but tonight when it started, she was really paying attention. There’s a part right at the beginning where some bullies toss the protagonist into a garbage dumpster. She was watching intently, and as the boy got tossed in, she started saying, “no, no, no, NO, NOOOO,” and she burst into tears. Super upset. At first I thought it must be something else, maybe she was hurt or something as she seemed really panicked, but I calmed her down a bit and she said, “That’s not nice,” with her little lip curled out. I teared up. I was so touched with her empathy for the character, but even more so, I identified with her. Because my little girl was sharing in an emotion that often guides my life: righteous indignation. That deeply ingrained sense of the need for fairness. And she was pissed off at the bad guys. AND she was saying it out loud, expressing it, not just bottling it up or passively accepting it. Those boys were NOT NICE and she wanted badly to tell them about it. That’s my girl.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Free Guilt! No, Wait, Guilt-Free!

I had an interesting conversation with my mom the other day. We were contemplating why it is that we harbour and hang onto guilt our entire lives. I laughed it off and told her that I, fortunately, was born without the guilt gene and didn’t have a clue what that would feel like. The more I thought about the issue, the more I realized that guilt is a shadow that we all wear, just in varying degrees. We can choose to be paralyzed by it, or we can choose to rise above it. It can be a mild inconvenience or it can be completely crippling—a nagging thought in the back of your mind, or a brick wall you slam your head against nightly. Guilt is a spectrum disorder.

So I began to think about what affects our guilt-o-meters. Why do I largely get to escape the nightly head slamming, while Mom gets to relive unfortunate situations for the rest of her life? And if I really truly examine the issue, I have to say, I think it’s because I’m shallow. Like, wading pool shallow. But more importantly, I think shallow is a good place to be. I believe that my little family unit, with myself as the nucleus, is the most important thing in the world. I also believe that it is my inherent duty to put myself and my family before any other concern. That’s right: before global warming, before world peace, and before all of those other people that are populating my planet. This means, I am okay with taking care of myself, and I realize that to do so properly means to abandon guilt. Relentlessly. Okay, I do recycle, compost, and rarely bomb other countries, but it’s not because of guilt. There are other motivators behind those life choices.

So let’s think about this as a parenting issue. There is a plethora of guilt out there for us, if we’re willing to open up and take it. It starts in pregnancy—people telling you how you should behave as a pregnant woman, what you should eat, how much physical activity you should get, etc. And if you don’t do these things verbatim, god forbid, you are already a bad parent. Shame on you. So you manage to somehow make it through the pregnancy without killing your infant. Are you breastfeeding? Are you breastfeeding on demand? Are you covering up in public places? Why? Are you ashamed of breastfeeding? Because, mommies, even if you think you’ve got it right, there is somebody out there who will tell you that you’ve got it all wrong. The biggest victims of this angst-pit are the new mommies who haven’t yet realized that the rest of the world should just shush. Yes, there is a lot of information out there, and you should definitely do your research and figure out what’s best for you. The thing is, what is best for you is not necessarily THE WAY TO DO THINGS. THE WAY TO DO THINGS does not exist.

The key for me in guilt-free parenting has been to avoid victim-speak. Victim-speak is that little voice inside your head that says, “Geez, this is hard. I can’t do this. I’m a sucky parent,” or, “Why do I always do that?” or even, “I bet she never loses her temper when she’s parenting.” If you let that little voice speak up, you are opening the door to guilt. The worst kind of guilt: sucky-parent guilt. I squash that voice. I take it out back and whoop it good. I put its guilty little head on the curb and stomp on it with my sensible shoes. Then I look at the situation that let that little voice speak up, and I say, “MAN that sucked. But it’s kind of funny. So now what can I do to stop it from happening again?” Then, like the SuperReaders from SuperWhy, I look in a book. Or on the internet. Sometimes I find some really useful suggestions (although never once have I found THE WAY TO DO THINGS), and other times I find a bunch of crap that doesn’t help at all, but the key is, now I’m actively thinking about solutions to my problem. I have to stop blaming myself to do this. You cannot simultaneously be solving a problem and blaming yourself.

I have to admit, I have a little more than my fair share of self-efficacy. I have an undeniable belief that I know how to do things. That’s why I’m such a bossy wife. Self-efficacy feels fabulous! I walk around thinking that I am an awesome mom. I know that my kids are happy and that I am doing the very best job that I can. Even with my faith in my own ability, I know I’m not a perfect parent. I lose my temper. I have moments of parenting that when I look back I know were not my shining moments. If I had been caught on hidden camera, people may be questioning my ability to parent at all. But I also know that EVERYBODY has those moments. And if we let those moments define who we are as parents, we will only suffer and never learn. The best part of guilt-free parenting is that it lets you free up valuable head space that normally is occupied by self-loathing and self-doubt. It lets you go outside with your kids and play at the park all morning while your breakfast dishes get crusty in the sink. It lets you enjoy every moment of your life because when you truly examine your list of priorities, housekeeping sits near the absolute bottom of the list of things that are important to you. If external influences are telling you that you should be putting more time and energy into your housekeeping, curb-stomp them (unless it’s family—you should never curb-stomp family. But you can feel free to invite them to clean whatever it is that does not meet their approval).

My mantra is this: “I know what I’m doing. And if I truly don’t know what I’m doing, I’m not afraid to find out.” I’m open to the advice from the universe, I hear it and evaluate it for what it is, but when it comes down to it, I trust that truly capable mama voice deep inside of me. She knows what she’s doing.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I'm Not Asking To Be Coddled, But Could You Please Coddle Me A Bit?

Nobody finds the third pregnancy spectacular. There is no fanfare, no barely contained excitement from the grandparents-to-be, no doting looks from the husband you have gifted with this spectacular miracle. Nobody even acts surprised when you tell them you’re pregnant. The most common response is, “Again?!” Even the check-out girl at the supermarket glances at your two toddlers and raises an eyebrow at your tummy. “Really? A third?”

And I’m not saying that I need all that. I don’t need to be doted on and spoiled. I don’t need (or even want) baby showers for subsequent babies. I am not, and have never been, a delicate flower. That being said, I am a pregnant woman. I have an enormous midriff that I can barely bend over to get my socks on. I am carrying an extra twenty pounds on my abdomen everywhere I go (and let's not even mention the ladies that are riding right above that abdomen!). Is it too much to ask to have this extra burden acknowledged on occasion? Wait, not the ladies. The other thing. The cumbersome lump in the midriff.

Now, I’m wary of turning this blog into the incoherent ramblings of a desperate housewife. I don’t want to get on here and rant about my husband, especially because I know how good I’ve got it. That being said, some incidences (like dental surgery) lend themselves to humour, and I believe it would be an enormous oversight to neglect to share these occurrences. So...

We went to the pool last weekend (a couple days after the surgery). I had this moment on the way in when I realized that this pregnancy just does not count. As we were pulling the kids and the swim bag from the van, David grabbed four-year-old Marcus and carried him in without waiting for the other half of his family, while I grappled with an over-stuffed swim bag and a two-year-old that was pleading, “UP, mommy, UP!”. David, put the four-year-old down. Seriously. The twenty pounds of toddler plus the twenty pound belly plus the swim bag adds up to one pissed-off pregnant woman. I’m going to blame that one on the T3s honey, but this isn’t the first infraction. When I caught up to him in the foyer of the pool I silently dropped the swim bag at his feet and stomped off ahead. I’m pretty sure he didn’t even notice.

There are certain things that are common knowledge about pregnant women, and they still count, even if this is the third one. Here is a non-exhaustive list of things that people (like husbands) should already know:

1. Pregnant women should not be lifting and carrying heavy things. Like swim bags and toddlers at the same time. We should not have to retrieve the vacuum from downstairs when it is supposed to be kept upstairs. If you see a pregnant woman carrying a large, cumbersome package, help a mother out.

2. Pregnant women should not be unnecessarily exposed to stress. Do not bring up finances unless it is to say that our finances are coming along swimmingly. Unless there is some sort of dire situation that I need to immediately address, or if there is a plan I need to follow, or something that I can do besides stress out, don’t tell me! I’d rather be spared. You got that? Spare the pregnant woman!!! Don’t give me the old, “Honey, I’ve got some bad news,” unless you have some verifiable bad news and not just a series of ‘this could’ and ‘we might’ and ‘I’m not sure if’s. If it’s still in the maybe stages, it is not yet time to alarm the pregnant woman. Do your research first. And whatever you do, don’t drink red wine around a pregnant woman. That completely unavailable form of stress control is too much for us to observe and not partake in. I don’t mind the near-beer, but the de-alcoholized wine is really just grape juice.

3. Pregnant women like to be treated like delicate flowers. I know, this goes against everything you all know about me. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am not a delicate flower. But for now, let’s just pretend I am. If you see a pregnant woman coming up to a closed door, open it. If you know and love a pregnant woman, buy her flowers. Tulips are very inexpensive this time of year. Try to ignore those moments of pregnancy rage that turn the delicate flower into a raging case of stinging nettle. And just because she’s burping and farting a lot in this trimester, she’s still a flower. A beautiful, delicate, gassy and stinky flower.

I don’t want any special privileges here. I just want to occasionally glimpse the feeling I had when I was pregnant with my first. Like I was some special life-giving being, not just a huffing and puffing slacker that is no longer keeping up with the housework.

In exchange for these kindnesses, I will do my best to be the warm, nurturing life-bearer that I'm supposed to be right now. I will bake marvelous goodies at all sorts of random times. I will clean things I'd never thought of cleaning before while neglecting the daily chores. I will nest like the best--preparing the nursery, scrubbing the old baby supplies, and packing away toddler clothes. I will somehow get all the big totes out of storage and rummage through them, although I will not put them away after. Most of all, I will GROW A BABY INSIDE ME, and that is a pretty important job too.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Are You Sure That's Good for the Baby?

Who taught my four-year-old to say this? How is it that at thirty weeks pregnant as I was sitting down to munch on a bowl of frozen blueberries, my son looked at me with (genuine? mock?) concern and said, “Mommy, are you sure that’s good for the baby?” Huh? Geez son, usually when people ask me that I tear their heads off with my teeth, spit them on the ground and stomp on them, but for you I think I’ll have to make an exception. Of course I’m sure! I’ve done this before! But where did you come up with the idea to ask?

Did you go to preschool one day and tell your teachers that Mommy’s favourite drink is beer? It’s de-alcoholized, but you don’t know the difference. Did the teachers gently suggest that it may not be good for the baby? Or is it because this is baby number three, and all of the careful precautions and preparations I took the first time around have gone out the window. Maybe you can sense that at least one of us should be looking out for this little lamb. Did Daddy put you up to this?

My outlook with this pregnancy is so much different than with the priors. For one thing, I’m actually trying to keep a handle on my rampant eating. Trying, not succeeding. For example, last night, the baby DEMANDED crunchy cheesies. I was powerless to resist. I had spent the day throwing out the leftover Easter candy, and then baby sent Daddy to the store for cheesies. I felt shame this morning, and resolved once again to try to fill myself with nutritious things so I won’t get desperate cravings at eight o’clock at night. I’m trying hard to keep fit this time around. Maybe it’s because I had three months of bed rest with Skyler and the recovery from that was brutal. Or maybe it’s because twice now I have spent an entire year trying to get back to a body that will probably never return. This is my pre-emptive strike.

Part of my effort to keep fit includes swimming laps at the pool. I am beginning to realize that I never see other pregnant women swimming laps. Did I not get the memo? I wonder what I must look like, chugging away in the medium lane—not willing to put myself in the slow lane, but in touch enough with reality to keep out of the fast lane. From the shoulders up I look all business: goggles, swim cap, waterproof mp3 player. Then the swimming. The only thing I can think of is the song we sing in Mother Goose: Roly Polyyyyyy, Roly Polyyyyy... I’m not exactly motoring. I’ve noticed several times through my peripheral vision the lifeguard keeping pace with me on deck. Thanks guy. Real confidence-builder.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dental Surgery is NOT a Man Cold

I saw this clip on Dr Phil from some British show of a man “suffering” from a “man-cold”, in which he phoned an ambulance because his wife didn’t hear his plaintive cries for help. When the paramedics came, they coddled the man and shamed the wife for being so insensitive to what was clearly a very serious “man-cold”. They supplied the man with a bell and told the woman if he should ring the bell, she would need to come and rub his forehead and console him.

So anyways, my husband David had to get a tooth extracted yesterday. I was his ride home and caregiver assigned the very serious responsibility of caring for him while he emerged from sedation. Now, I’d like to point out that Fridays are somewhat busy days for our family right now, in that Marcus has a gymnastics class that carries well into nap time, so the kids are pretty tired by the time we get out of there. Also, I’d like to mention that David had to fast since the night before, and was not particularly helpful up until that point. Gymnastics ended without incident, save for the fact that both kids were pretty tired and cranky by the time we left. Marcus burst into tears as soon as his class was over, but he seems to do that for the first few of any lesson-set in which he’s enrolled. He can’t quite handle the emotional rush of new situations. I managed to herd everybody into the van, and we went to drop David off at the oral surgeon’s. Somewhat frazzled but still coping.

By the time we got home, it was one hour into our regular scheduled nap. When I told the kids that it was naptime, Skyler snored, but Marcus started wailing. I finally got him into bed and asleep at around 2:10 pm. Finally. A rest for Mommy. Ahhhh. Turned the kettle on, did some writing, caught the tail-end of Dr. Phil... then the phone rang. At 3 pm. It was the oral surgeon’s office, asking me to please come get David now. But wait, you don’t understand—my kids nap for TWO HOURS!!! And that two hours is MOMMY TIME!!! And I had been putting out fires all morning and was finally ready to do some dishes and fold some laundry, and this crazy woman on the phone wanted me to WAKE MY SLEEPING BABIES and pick up my husband, whom she advised would be quite dependent on being taken care of.


“Do you need me to get him right now?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, both kids are sleeping... how long can you keep him there?”

“Well... ahh...we’re going to need the beds in recovery...”

“Isn’t there a waiting room where he could hang out for a while?”

“It would really be better if you could pick him up now.”

She didn’t seem to get it. SLEEPING BABIES!!! Everybody knows that you never voluntarily wake a sleeping baby. That is insanity! Her tone had definitely changed with me. She had begun to address me as Someone Who Did Not Understand the Seriousness of the Situation. “You know, he’s going to need to be taken care of as he comes out of sedation. He’s just had surgery.”

That’s my point! What a pain in the ass he is going to be! Why would I want him here? I relented and carried the kids, one at a time, shoeless, coatless, into the van, hoping they would at least get a few more minutes of sleep and not be cranky monsters all evening. I then drove to the surgeon’s to discover that the kids (those shoeless, coatless kids) and I would have to go inside to retrieve said pain in the ass. So, I pick up the kids, balancing Skyler on my big pregnant belly, with Marcus riding my hip, and stagger into the waiting room to get him. My prize. My dopey husband-prize.

Did I mention that I'm often crabby in pregnancy? I feel like somewhere in here I should say, “Poor David.” And I should tell you that I did take care of him—I went to the drug store and got his medications, I made him scrambled eggs, and I set him up on the couch downstairs so the kids wouldn’t bother him. I should probably go check on him at some point.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Battling a Gruesome Milk Addiction

My daughter has a problem. Her problem is affecting the entire family. Well, mostly just me, but everyone knows that if mama is not happy, nobody's happy. I wake up in the morning and stumble, bleary-eyed, into the kitchen to fumble with the coffee maker (yes I am pregnant and still drinking coffee... gasp!), and then I hear it. The pad-pad-pad of little feet shuffling down the hall. The sweetest, tiniest voice making its first daily appearance, but then the dreaded phrase... "Mine want milk, Mommy."
I try to focus on her little person and acknowledge the request, but all I can think is... coffeeeeeeeeee. Then she repeats, a little more emphatic, "Mine want MILK, Mommy."
I realize that we have a situation here, so I quickly turn to the sippy cup drawer and desperately root around, trying to find a lid that matches a cup... NO MATCH, NO MATCH, NO MATCH. I'm starting to panic, and then again, "MINE WANT MILK, MOMMY!"
The clock is ticking. The toddler-time-bomb. I finally find a match and dash to the fridge to appease the tiny tyrant. I fill the cup and hand it to her, but alas. I have done something wrong. There has been a fatal error. She screams, drops the cup, and runs crying from the room, "NO NO NO NO NOOOOOOOO." I retrace my steps and think, "What happened? How could I have messed that up?!" I can't fathom my mistake, and yet, I know I must have made one, for why else would a toddler go from happily demanding, "Mine want milk, Mommy," to a screaming fit behind the drapes?
I know at this point that asking her is useless, and will only serve to further enrage her, so I let her have her moment. After a minute or two she emerges, teary-eyed but calm(er). And she utters, so calmly, so sweetly, the source of her displeasure. "Mine do lid, Mommy." Oh. SHE wanted to do the lid. Well of course! Why didn't I foresee that terrible disaster?! But now, I'm in another precarious predicament: if I let her do the lid after the tantrum, she gets her way, but if I DON'T... if I DON'T... oh goodness me, I don't even want to contemplate the ramifications of that.
Think, think, think. This is a delicate situation, and I don't want to make a false move here.
"Skyler, if you want to do the lid, you have to ask nicely. You can't just scream and run away."
"Okay Mommy. Sorry Mommy."
The face of rationality. Completely reasonable. The last fifteen minutes of drama did not even occur. I still haven't made my coffee. I'm willing to forfeit this one. I pass her the cup, sans lid, and help her screw the lid on. She smiles sweetly and pads off to the living room, looking for the next disaster.