Being a Grown-Up Sucks

Today is my fifth wedding anniversary, and I’m sitting alone on my couch while my dog and child sleep peacefully. And that’s fine. I knew what I was getting into when I married a firefighter/medic. It happens. Many holidays and birthdays and other festivities are missed on account of the life saving work he does in 24- and 48-hour shifts. And like I said, that’s okay. It’s just hard some days. And today is one of those days.

It’s 11:30 on a Friday night, and I’m peppering my PJs with tears for any one or a combination of all of the following:
Watching a fave sitcom on DVR, but of course it happens to be the one terribly profound, sappy, heartbreaking episode;
Even though we visited him briefly for dinner, I miss my husband terribly;
I sweetly changed my profile (and cover!) photos on Facebook to shots from our wedding day and now consequently have to see them every time I get a notification;
I’m due to start THAT time of the month tomorrow (hello hormones);
Big life changes are happening, and they will be good for our family but also feel weird and unsure and scary all at once specifically for me;
The weather today turned to winter in the middle of April, no sunshine, all cold, all miserable and gray and rainy.

I would call and tell him, but he already hates being away from us so much and is working all these hours to support us. Extra guilt, pain, sadness is not something I will put upon him. I would call a BFF, but it’s late, I’m in a stupid emotional frenzy, and overall life is good. So for heaven’s sake, I tell me to pull myself together, but I can’t seem to find peace. Thus, after almost a year of silence here, I purge my heart to the Interwebz. Even if I don’t write for another year, even if no one reads this, the writing clears my head. My pulse slows, the tears dry, breaths become less shallow until… Silence.

Tomorrow is another day. The sun will rise, my husband will come home, and life will go on. Yes, tomorrow will be better.

Impending Doom – or – Mom’s Joy

I fell off the blogging bandwagon. Again. Life happens. I won’t be present again over the weekend for sure because I’ll be in Nashville for a girls’ weekend (sans kiddos)! It’s a really good thing too, because my children, especially the human one, have been hellions for the past two weeks. Absolute monsters, I tell you. He has seemingly had no reason for the foul mood, the screaming and crying, hitting and even biting! I have felt defeated, beat down, exhausted, angry, resentful and just plain terrible as a mother.

Today? Oh today, he was almost an angel. The dog also behaved particularly well. This odd behavior can only lead me to think that they sense my eminent departure. I’ve been threatening to send them both to the Chinese restaurant quite a bit lately, but it seems that maybe, just maybe, all I had to do was threaten to leave them. Who knew? Of course I would never tell my son I’m leaving him to fend for himself, but having an occasional extended mommy timeout now and then is healthy for all of us. Or rather, it’s makes mom happy, and when mom is happy everybody’s happy.

What’s your favorite or ideal mommy timeout activity? How often do you take time out for yourself? (Don’t answer “not often enough” because that’s a universal truth.) I’m off to pack and paint my nails and eventually sleep.

Trauma at the Zoo

Yesterday we got a last minute invite from a friend to go to the zoo. We had plans to go to storytime, but who passes up a free pass to the zoo? I really should stop being so cheap and mooching off other people’s memberships. Then I could stop paying the $8 parking fee each time as well. Anywho, we met them in the morning and found the Cincinnati Zoo in full bloom. It might not be Zoo Blooms time yet, but it must be close. The tulips were gorgeous in every color imaginable, and the purple hyacinth were marvelous among other blooms and blossoms.

We checked out birds, monkeys and bears. The chilly weather had the animals all active and excited making for much more interesting viewing. We stopped for lunch, then more animals and then… the incident. The oldest boy wanted to ride the carousel, and hey, who doesn’t like a good carousel ride? My child, apparently.

It seemed to take several minutes before the ride got moving, and in that time Pumpkin started whining a bit. I thought, “It’s after lunch, he’s tired and impatient, he’ll be fine once we get moving and the fun begins.” Wrong. So wrong. The ride started, the music played, the horse began to rise up and he flipped out. My 16-month old son was screaming bloody murder and crying tears the size of giant raindrops. There was no consoling him. I was right next to him, half holding him, singing, talking, you name it. Then his “girlfriend” (17 months) who is not entirely sure of these things either joined in the meltdown. All us two moms could do was look at each other, shrug, laugh and wait for the ride of terror to stop. Other parents chuckled, and I could hear at least one other kid having their own nervous breakdown. Whaddaya gonna do? It happens.

Cincinnati Zoo- April 12th, 2007

The sad part was the one mom in front of us who kept looking back and glaring at me and Pumpkin. I’m not one for starting drama with random strangers and had my hands full anyway, but after the fact it irritated me. I’m so glad your six/seven/eight? year-old is perfect and adept at riding the carousel, but clearly my son is small and scared. There’s a first time for everything, and how could I anticipate that such a tame, sweet, little ride could traumatize my son in this way? As made clear by my terrible singing, I’m trying to soothe him, but it’s proving pointless. All we can do is laugh and get through another 60 seconds of this, so give me a break. Unless they have a little angel, every parent has had to suffer through some kind of public meltdown or tantrum. I’m not expecting anyone to come to my rescue or stop the carousel, but the dirty looks were just crude and unnecessary.

For those of you who have a kid who’s new to carousels, let this serve as your warning. They may love it, or you may be in for 90-180 seconds of pure hell. What has been the biggest public trauma you’ve experienced with your child and how did you handle it?

Counting Down / Blaaargh.

Ever get deep into composing a post, leave it to deal with life, come back later and find that…you failed to save? All gone. The curious details of my long, trying day vanished. Maybe the world is trying to tell me not to moan and groan so much when I’m so blessed in the grand scheme of things.

I barely even remember the day I started this post now. I know it was bad, and long, but we both survived another shift while dad was gone. The countdown was the amount of time left until bath and bed time. It just couldn’t get here fast enough on Saturday. Not every day is puppy dogs, rainbows and gumdrops. C’est la vie.

A Good Day

You know you when you feel like you’re in a string of cranky, bad, but not so absolutely terrible days and you keep thinking, “What is up with this and when is it going to end?” That’s rather been the state of our house this week. Then… today happened.

When I woke up, I kept trying to think of what specific tasks I needed to get done or what errands we should run. Besides vacuuming? I came up with nothing. So we took it easy this morning. Well, until my two cups of coffee kicked in, and I decided the downstairs should be vacuumed again – after having done it on Tuesday. Call me crazy, but I like a freshly vacuumed carpet. Then came the steps. I had to put the gate up, and the scene was like a ASPCA commercial. My kid looked like a sad animal behind bars with his face smushed up against the baby gate the whole time I was moving up the stairwell. All I needed was for Sarah McLachlan to start crooning. Hilarious.

We moved on to the upstairs. Have I mentioned that my kid loves the vacuum? It’s an all love, no fear kind of obsession. He’ll stand in its path until I say, “Beep beep!” or virtually pull him out of the way by an arm. So that was all kinds of fun, and boom! We were running late for lunch, but no complaints from the preoccupied-rarely-concerned-with-food munchkin.

Lunch was leftovers of this baked ziti I tried out for the first time last night, but I omitted the whole garlic bread/fresh basil leaf/tomato combo on top and just stuck to the main mix. During dinner, Clark said it had too much sausage and not enough pasta. I thought the ratio was alright. Turns out when I dumped the mix into the casserole dish, it wasn’t exactly all distributed evenly. Today’s lunch for the Pumpkin and I looked like someone made cheesy ziti and a stray piece of sausage jumped in when no one was looking. Note to self: Make sure the dish isn’t lopsided next time I make it. And yes, there will be a next time because the husband, kid and MIL all gave it a thumbs up! Winning!

After a filling lunch, Pumpkin was worn out. This kid must be in a growth spurt because he slept 3.5 hours! Even when he got up, it was a dazed haze. After a snack on the go (I stand/sit somewhere and he takes a piece of [insert random food here], makes a lap around the house and gets another). At least he’s eating and actually excited about food (ham and blueberries this time). But wait – it gets better.

I bundled us all up with a bit of daylight left to take a quick stroll. And I mean quick. It was 47 degrees out, and a suddenly chilling wind could not be outdone by the sun’s warmth. It was a half-lake loop kinda day. We got back, and everyone was happy and energized. I set about finding something for us to eat. This is always interesting when the hubs is working. I eat an assortment of snacks/protein/whatever and feed the kid something more reasonable and balanced (also more malleable since someone still only has five teeth). Tonight I was hungry though, so I threw two potatoes cubed with butter and garlic powder/salt/pepper in the microwave while some frozen peas warmed up on the stove. Our track record lately with veggies is not the best, so I was only hoping but not really expecting it to go all that well.

And yet it DID. He loved it. I fed him a forkful, he took his spork, played with it for a second and then dove in. The picky eater was shoveling peas and potatoes into his mouth so fast I was giddy. I HAD to take a pic and send it to his father because it was so unreal.

That’s a serious face focused on getting every bit of that food into his mouth. He cleaned the plate, I had to get him seconds and voila! Happy kid. We finished up the night with him running naked up and down the hall while I died laughing trying to convince him it was bath time followed by a wet T-shirt contest I was unaware I’d been entered into thanks to one overly enthusiastic splasher. It was pretty much fantastic. I’d usually complain about getting soaked, but after a day like this… eh. It’s just water, right?

It’s Not the End of the World

During these past few days of domestic drama, I’ve been hitting repeat on a single tune I recently discovered. Check it out:

This is the stuff that’s been getting to me lately – whining kids (fur and human alike), whirlwind pigsty condition of my house, crazy weather, forgetting to do something in specified time frame even after reminding myself (SMH), the “What’s for dinner?” roundabout convo that gets nowhere except a frozen pizza in the oven. It’s taken me 15 months to realize this SAHM gig is not the end of my existence, nor will it be the death of me. At least, I’m pretty sure about that second part. Moreover, I’m selfish! And self-centered and a bit dramatic at times. I blame my Jekyll/Hyde complex on the fact that I’m a Gemini, but it can only excuse my behavior to a certain extent. We are so incredibly blessed, and I’m obnoxious in overlooking that huge fact to only see my current plague of the week.

Best line of the song – “In the middle of my little mess, I forget how big I’m blessed.” Am I still snarky and sarcastic about piddly things and inconsequential drama? Yup. But I’m trying. I’m making a conscious effort to recognize all the good in my everyday life and share the wealth.

What little mess has made you forget how big you’re blessed lately?

P.S. Look at me all posting before 10 p.m. How ’bout that? I know; I shock myself too sometimes.

Gone to the Chinese Restaurant

For anyone who actually reads this stuff, you might be thinking I fell off the face of the planet or more likely that I decided to quit the blog. Or hey, if you picked up on the fact that I live in northern Kentucky, maybe you thought I got tossed by a tornado. Thankfully we did not sustain any damage from the latter event even though a large area just five miles from our home was demolished. Volunteering with a 15-month old boy in tow would prove difficult, but I was at least able to gather some clothing and toys to donate here locally. Cleanup efforts continue, so maybe I can help out more in the coming days. It’s heartbreaking to see the devastation and hear accounts of families who were spared or lost everything and are trying to rebuild.

Needless to say, I failed to complete February’s edition of NaBloPoMo. I would be disappointed in my efforts, but I’ve moved on. My house has been a barrel of fun these past few days. And by fun I mean whining, barking, crying, growling, pouting, non-eating, attacking the vacuum, food-throwing, banging heads repeatedly into walls, up too early, moaning, groaning pure awesomeness.

In response to all that fun, I’ve been threatening both kids (fur and human) that I would send them to the Chinese restaurant. Let me back up. About seven years ago, I moved in with the woman I would live with until I married Mr. Clark Griswold. (Sidenote: National Lampoon’s Vacation is totally on right now! “Because getting there is half the fun!”) She had a lovely dog, but anytime Sammy did something bad we jokingly threatened to send her to the Chinese restaurant. Ever since then I’ve threatened our spastic schnauzer with the same fate in response to bad behavior.

Now we have another can-be obnoxious little being. I love the Pumpkin dearly of course, but I find myself threatening him with the same trip. Only after trying to explain this to one of my bestest girls (also a mom to a 2-year old boy) while she’s busting up laughing on the phone does it occur to me that it wouldn’t work out the same. The dog? Gets cooked and served up with fried rice of course. But the kid? What do they do with the kid? My thought is they’ll put him to work. Hard labor. Yup. Stereotypes at their finest.

One other option offered by another mom friend was to “sell him to the gypsies.” I thought I’d keep it on file for future use, but then I immediately thought, “What kid wouldn’t think it sounds like total fun to go roaming around with gypsies doing whatever they please?” So ixnay on the ypsiesgay. I’m sticking with the Chinese restaurant… even though it’s completely ineffective given the fact that neither child could possibly understand their impending doom. All they know is mommy is talking in that “low, threatening, about-to-lose-my-cool-and-strangle-someone” tone of voice. Does it work? Eh, I’d say the odds are about 50/50.