Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Where Did This Child Come From?

Have you noticed that there comes a moment when your child ceases to be part of you and becomes a person? One second they are nursing, squirming stinkbugs (parasites, yes - but cute ones) and the next they are people. With free will. And fresh mouths. Usually these moments happen around age two and half, when their ability to speak English progresses to the point where they can say things that are somewhat surprising, if not downright shocking. This is also the point at which they can narc you out. Like saying "shit" when they spill their juice while at church. And you are forced to say things like "My goodness Pastor Henry! I have no idea where she learned that word."

I was reminded that my children are unique individuals the other day while driving my four year old son to preschool.

Mommy: "Hey Little Dude, could you please buckle up?"
Boy: "Mmmmm.... I don't think so."
Mommy: "You know the rule. We're going to be late. Buckle yourself."
Boy: "I said no, Suckah!"
Mommy: "What did you just call me?"
Boy: (in very manner of fact tone) "SUCKAH."
A look in the rear view mirror reveals one small raised eyebrow and an overall feeling of smug satisfaction.
Mommy: "Excuse me?"
Boy: (slow and loud, as if I am too stupid to understand) "Suh. Kah."
Mommy: "Um... Where did you learn that word?"
Boy: "I can't tell you dat."
Mommy: "I don't want to hear it again. You can stop this 'sucker' business right now."
Boy: "You said it WONG. And never."
Mommy: "Never? And, I did not say it wrong."
Boy: "And, I will never stop saying suckah. Never never never. Because, I love to say suckah."
Said with same calm, pedantic deliberateness that his father uses when trying to explain something ridiculous and useless to me, like what a wide receiver does.
Mommy: "Are you buckled yet?"
Boy: "No."
Mommy: (Insolent. Little. Begger. Try not to laugh. Or yell.) "Son. Buckle your seat belt. We are going to school, not to reenact a scene from "Shaft".
Boy: "What's dat?"
Mommy: sigh... "Never mind. Do you want to spend the morning with Mommy, who's starting to feel mean or with Mrs. Wilson, who is always nice? Because no buckle, no preschool."
Boy: "Oh..."
Mommy: "Are you buckled?"
Boy: "Yes Mama. Can we listen to some music, I want to wock out." Then quietly whispers "Suckah!"

Am I the only one who has these moments? Where it dawns on you that he gets it FROM HIS MOTHER. Where you wonder if its such a good idea that you are the primary influence on little minds? That you and your spouse and all of your embarrassing quirks have now produced multiple small humans that are quite possibly weirder than you are? The whole nature/nurture debate becomes meaningless in our family's case as we are both the biological and custodial parents and we are, kind of, goofy. So, when one of your kids says something funny and you wonder where the hell they come from... The answer is you, Suckah.

Friday, October 23, 2009

"no milk"

For our spouses, their JOB is their job. Our job is everything else that isn't their JOB.

I would NEVER say Lydia doesn't work...she has three - THREE - kids...there is nothing BUT work in her life...plus, she's a New Jersey girl and sometimes she gets all Jersey-ized and I'm a little afraid of her...sister, you work.

OK, so the point of this is I have a job -- a sometimes job. Meaning, every once in a while, I put on real clothes and brush my hair and put on mascara; but really it's that I get to be away from my three kids for like 10 HOURS...in MommyLand, we call that a #$(%&#($ vacation.

So, 9:30 that night, I'm finishing up at work, and an email from the hubby pops up. "no milk"
What? Excuse me?

How is it even possible the refrigerator had not been opened since 6pm...because when I'm at home, that thing cools the whole damn house. Sidebar: Wealthy is the man who invents a clear glass doored refrigerator. WHY do they all just stand there with the door opened? Is the food having sex and making new and different foods?

I felt like I was on a game show.

Door Number 1: Take photo of self flipping him the bird. Hit send.
Door Number 2: Ignore. Feign ignorance later. What e-mail??
Door Number 3: Suggest he learn to lactate...I did. Three times.
Door Number 4: Go. To. The. Grocery. Store.

Let's all keep in mind that collectively, we are, what, two miles from the furthest place that has milk...this is not 1826. We're not hitching up wagons to go get supplies...

Point is, I left the house two hours after he did. There WAS milk when I left. I don't have GPS on dairy products. Let's say for the sake of argument, PEOPLE WERE THIRSTY. How did the hours of 6pm and 9:30pm pass without knowledge of this milk thing? And what was I supposed to do?

When he goes to work, he's a GENIUS...makes decisions that affect millions of people. Saves lives...all that lovely, make-a-difference kind of stuff. Betcha their refrigerators are FULL of milk.

Let me digress for a moment. my husband is amazing. Tall, dark and handsome. Kind and generous and indulges me every time I want sushi. Refers to himself as McLovin. And WILLINGLY abdicated the throne of Bachelorhood at 47 to become husband, dad and stepdad. It's like when King Hummidyhum gave up all of England for Wallis Simpson, but mine gave it up to be one of the Clampetts, but no oil. The President may have been handed the Nobel Prize, but my husband EARNED it. Ahhh, digression over. Commence bitching.

When he was King of Single Men, and there was no milk, who did he write? I'd like to forward my "no milk" emails to that person. They probably miss him.

Anyhow, I took Door Number 5. Wrote back, suggested a reasonable solution, or said I was happy to HURRY home and procure said milk on my way. And, to his credit, he responded with what I needed to hear. "Situation resolved. Kids sleeping. Don't leave."

At that moment, I thought, he never needs to buy me flowers ever again.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Need A Drink. So.... Maybe Next Year?

Let's discuss the subject of autonomy. Or more specifically, the fact that I have none. Part one of the discussion centers on the fact that I am never alone. I am not alone in the car. At the store. While bathing. And certainly not while trying to make a phone call. Oddly, my phone calls always seem to result in the small people around me unintelligibly shrieking. The only place I remember being alone recently is in my basement moving wet clothes from the washer to the dryer. Actually... No. Usually someone is hollering for me because they sense there is a slight chance I may be alone with my thoughts for 30 seconds and that must not be allowed to happen.

I know that I harp on the fact that occasionally my husband stops off and has a drink with a colleague on his way home. Given how often people in his line of work do business over happy hour, I should probably be grateful that this happens as infrequently as it does. But I am not gracious and understanding. No no no. I am a grouchy, humorless shrew. I am a Shrewish American Princess. (Yes, a SAP. I went there.) And I want to go have a damn drink.

Perhaps if I were allowed to sleep for more than ninety consecutive minutes I might be able to dig deep into my peaceful, loving, wifey heart and be happy that he gets the chance to unwind and have a beer with friends. You know what? Sleep be damned, he works hard - he deserves some fun and some down time. But guess what, hotshots, so does Mommy. And the more I think about it the more my shrivelled-up little shrew's heart grows angry.

Here's a list of bullshit reasons why I never get to go out anywhere alone:
1. Daddy works crazy long hours so I can't make plans without hiring a babysitter and good ones are hard to find. Not to mention $12/hour when you have three little terror suspects that need supervision.
2. My littlest is still a booby-feeder. Sidebar: Though, I am adamantly in favor of breastfeeding, my sisters in boobage have to admit that it enables Daddy to claim complete incompetence when it comes to settling down a fussy one. Less for them to deal with. More for you. Super.
3. Every time the stars align (plans made, sitter booked) someone gets sick.
4. I get annoyed instead of enjoying myself because someone likes to suck the fun out of every outing by texting me that the baby is crying and won't stop or repeatedly calling me to find out how long my meeting will take, and always letting me know (without actually saying the words) that no matter how soon I'm planning on coming home it is NOT SOON ENOUGH.
5. Apparently, there is an unwritten law about this; a quota of times Mommy is allowed to leave the house unaccompanied. Mommy may use these trips to go to Walmart or put gas in the car, to attend parent-teacher conferences, meetings for Girl Scouts, or her part-time job, or (if she is feeling extremely selfish) to have a drink with friends. But Mommy, please don't think you can get your hair cut this week. You went to the Post Office alone on Wednesday. That was it. Your haircut needs to wait until next week. Its the law.

Sometimes all of these laws converge to demonstrate the overwhelming certainty that the Universe wants my ass at home with the kids. Does the Universe want my husband at home? I don't think the Universe gives a fig about that. Why? Because of the GUILT. I go out. I come home. I see that my adorably quiet, happy, creamy pink baby has morphed into a blotchy, mottled, screaming tomato that after one minute in my arms collapses into a exhausted, mucus-smeared heap. At about this time my husband is pouring himself a scotch in the same clammy, slightly shaky manner as an air traffic controller who has finished a shift at LaGuardia during an ice storm. And someone else has developed a cough. And every body's schedule is completely thrown. And my living room...

And it is such a thoroughly unpleasant situation that next time, I don't even bother. I just say no thanks and resign myself to another night of macaroni and making sure every one's teeth are brushed. Maybe I'll meet you out when the baby is older. Maybe when Daddy is not so busy at work. Maybe next year... It is this tacit acceptance of my loss of autonomy that saddens me. And it is how I know the little terrorists have won.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

On the Subject of Husbands

Let me get one thing very clear - this is not a blog to discuss how mommies are clever and snarky and awesome (though we are) and how husbands are clueless and idiotic. No. No no no. This is about "the GIG" - namely, motherhood and all that comes with it. Now, motherhood is amazing, an enriching and awe-inspiring experience but it can also be a soul-crushing blackness of despair and misery.

Let's be honest, weakness is not a characteristic consistent with making it in the field of motherhood. Anyone who's had Norovirus run through their house can back me up on that. Toughness is a prerequisite. With my first child, I went FOURTEEN MONTHS without sleeping more than two hours in a row. Let's just say that this lack of sleep did not do good things for my personality. Upon hearing protesters defend the rights of Gitmo detainees (siting that AC/DC was played all night to disturb their rest), I honestly remember thinking: "That doesn't sound bad. They need to man up and quit whining."

Through the lack of sleep, three kids, week-long stretches of vomiting and diarrhea, and pregnancy-induced psychotic episodes of crying and binge eating thai spring rolls, my husband has pretty much been a model of love, support and manliness. Now, does he make a significant contribution to the unending cluster that my life has become? Come on.

Truly, he is better than I deserve on most days. He is tall, handsome, brilliant, totally engaged with our kids, and uproariously funny. He comes up with ridiculous terms (like calling our children "the little terror suspects" or naming our cars after 90210 characters). He can impersonate anyone from Arlen Specter to Andre the Giant with scathing perfection. He's fun to hang out with, generous and kind, and most of my family prefers his company to mine.

All that being said, I wonder how its possible that the same man who becomes so engrossed in his own work that forgets to eat (or call his wife) for twelve hours feels its necessary to text me four times in one meeting to tell me that the baby is crying.

Let me tell you a little story. One evening my husband came home from work and you know what the first thing he said was? It was this: "Have you kids been watching tv all day long?"

We all know this is not a neutral question. So my thought process goes like this: "He thinks I'm a bad parent because the kids watch too much tv. Well he has no idea what goes on here all day. How DARE he criticize my parenting skills? He was the one who was like - 'our kids need you at home, Lydia, why are we going broke paying for someone else to raise our family'. I gave up my job for this?! I had a career. I did not go to grad school to wipe asses and make sure his dress shirts don't have any creases in them. Where the hell is the corkscrew??!"

Here's his thought process: "Left house at 6:45am. Said goodbye to kids in jammies on couch watching Phinneas and Ferb. Returned 7:45pm. Said hello to kids in jammies on couch watching Phinneas and Ferb. Hence, question."

So, who's the asshole? That would be M-O-I. Because just maybe my response to his question included the F-word. And some hand gestures. And this was not reasonable.

If he were to blog on our life together (please God, don't ever let that happen), it would be filled with excruciatingly objective statements that would point out how often I am close to becoming completely unhinged. "Wife screeched at three year old today, in the manner of a meth-fueled harpy. Something to do with feces wiped on wall and carpet. We are not successful at potty training." Or "Lydia wore shirt inside out until 11am. Did not notice until I pointed it out. Did not see humor in the situation."

So, while this blog will be unapologetic in pointing out idiocy on the part of the daddies of the world, we are not haters. We fully realize that we are also idiots. And that the little terror suspects are going to need lots of therapy.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Is This the Right Blog For You?

Do any the following statements describe your life?
  • My husband does half of the housework.
  • I have complete autonomy over how I spend my time.
  • My husband can tell you our children's shoe sizes.
  • I look in the mirror and I feel GREAT.
  • My children are consistantly obedient and well-behaved.
  • I can go out for an evening with my friends any time I want to.
  • I can go to the bathroom, make a phone call, or check my email without interruption.
  • I have never accidently spoken to my husband in the same tone I use to remind the children to keep their shoes OFF of the couch. NOW.
  • My husband always acknowledges that his work and his time are just as important as mine.
  • I have never yelled at my children.
  • I enjoy spending my down-time folding laundry and watching endless innings of baseball.
  • I have never felt like an unpaid servant in my own home because my husband and children make a point to acknowledge all that I do for them every single day.
If the above is a pretty accurate description of your life and marriage, please do the following:
  • Thank your lucky stars.
  • Serve up a daily scoop of sweet, sweet loving because your husband is one in a million.
  • Bad news though - he might be a robot.
  • Also, you should probably find another blog.
If however, you experience the (completely understandable) urge to commit homicide when your husband stops off to have drink on his way home, while you attempt to cook over the din of screaming children, unload the dishwasher for the third time, and wipe off other people's bodily fluids - stay put. We like you already.

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