When Ethan-11yr was 3 and under… he was kinda scary. He was a force. His style of interacting with the world LOOKED chaotic and destructive and it was like I had given birth to the cute human version of the tasmanian devil cartoon character. When we went places, it was unsafe to put him down. He would disappear, destroy, climb, pulverize, touch and break everything he could reach and most things he shouldn’t have ever been able to reach except that he could levitate and climb and fly and parasail without any equipment and it was best not to put him down.
It was his way of learning. And Ethan-11yr is passionate about discovering, analyzing, learning. THAT is just what it looked like when he was 3 and under.
Now it looks far more socially acceptable. Now it’s reading and watching and researching and listening and thinking about everything all the time. But it’s the exact same thing. The methods have changed, but that’s all.
It was an extra level of energy and passion and craziness that wasn’t negative in any way (although it looked like it), and it required a LOT more from me. I had to dig deeper to deal with this child. To love him and to let him be who he was, and to somehow get physically strong enough to hold him firmly on a hip in public places because once his feet touched the ground the battle was lost and we were in for a ride and a ‘you broke it, you bought it’ ending to any given story. Sometimes I’m sure I didn’t do a great job. Not at all. But I wish I’d known that was only a season in his life, and it would end and morph into something easier to manage. That would have helped.
I’m reminded of this, because Caden-7yr has suddenly found another level of energy and passion and personality that is particularly challenging for me. It looks obnoxious. It drains me, personally. But like Baby Ethan, it isn’t negative or obnoxious. It’s usually good natured and it’s just the way he’s relating to the world right now. It’s as if his normal personality has been suddenly magnified times 10. And OH MAN, but did we NOT need that?! But no one asked me first.
Dig deeper and find more patience and understanding, because it’s desperately needed. That’s what was needed with Ethan when he was little, and it’s what’s needed now. The problem is I cannot possibly remember how I actually managed that the first time. Prayer, I’m guessing.
Usually it’s that his energy is off the charts (and he has my clumsiness) so he’s bouncing off all the walls and furniture everywhere – even places where this is SERIOUSLY not okay behavior, and he’s bouncing off people and objects and innocent bystanders and I’m looking at him and repenting for any time I ever judged a mother in a mall with a child on a leash.
Sometimes it’s just personality overload in the form of weird or adorable conversations, and we all know I’m such a softie for those. We had a bizarre conversation about cremation (horrifying to him because I included the word ‘vase’ which probably wasn’t right and he has personally broken all the vases in our house so that meant he had 17 questions on what happens to the ashes when the vase breaks), about how he thinks he’s overly hairy for his age (he isn’t), about how maybe he could change a lightbulb and then get a cat, and about what it means for him when his tummy gets scared. (it’s like how his throat feels when he tastes bad milk, but in his tummy and as a result of fear.)
I need to up my game. I have a kid to keep up with and he has left me in the dust. I don’t want to know where to get a kid leash.
I just need access to more patience and extra energy, please.
(That’s a God Request. Fortunately, He has plenty to share.)
*my mother made me cry. did y’all see that? comment on previous post completely undid me. so sweet.
Tonight I was tired. Frazzled. The 3 boys’ energy level was off the charts today. I was looking forward to slinking down in my folding chair at Seth-5yr’s t-ball game and keeping to myself.
My mother arrived and I told her this. “Mom… no one napped and I just have no… reserves, you know?” And oh yes, of course she did. She stopped talking to me. I was glad. I slunk lower in my chair, ready for peace and anonymity and t-ball.
I am most often a Happy Wallflower. I blend in, do not socialize, and do not attract attention in any way because it’s SO MUCH BETTER THAT WAY, RIGHT, OHMYGOSH I MISS OBLIVION AND ANONYMITY SO BAD TONIGHT, BRING IT BAAAAACK?
You canNOT be a Happy Wallflower when you are the mother of a celebrity. And tonight, Seth-5yr is a celebrity. No peace and quiet for A-Rod’s mom, either, I bet.
Seth-5yr had quite a game, despite too-excited-to-nap exhaustion. He almost made 2 double plays (all by himself), in which he just outran everyone by that much.
But the interesting part of the game was the crowd. The crowd was a strong Pro-Seth-5yr crowd. If we’d get our marketing act together, the whole crowd would buy up red shirts that read “SETH” on the back over his assigned number: 7. We could pay for his college with those t-shirts if we really wanted to exploit him for financial gain. Before the first pitch, the crowd spontaneously broke into a bleachers-wide discussion of their favorite Seth-5yr plays from previous games. Not having any idea how to handle this, I turned and politely smiled as they filled me in on the most memorable Seth-5yr moments to date, in our count ‘em, FIVE whole games as a team.
Then the game started and the crowd kept up the Seth-5yr adoration and some of it was directed my way for input.
“Kelsey! What do you FEED this kid? He is FAST!”
The correct, unspoken answer would be: “He likes couscous, pistachios, macadamia nuts, and nachos only if the cheese is not melted from shredded cheese but is more like queso. And I can’t cook.” But I think I might have shrugged and smiled and thought, “oh pleeeease don’t talk to me!”
“KELSEY! Does he have wheels on those shoes? He is FAST!”
I have no idea what to say to this one. I think I said something stupid. Because I was busy thinking, “oh pleeeease don’t talk to me!”
“Kelsey! Did you teach him that?”
Ha. Um. HA! You must be kidding, I cannot throw, catch, or bat.
One little girl behind us said that any kid running to first should just give up and go to the dugout if Seth-5yr has the ball because there’s no way he’ll get there first.
Then one kid running to first base DID see Seth-5yr with the ball coming after him and gave up and quit running and that confused Seth-5yr, but he figured it out and outran him to first base anyway.
One man behind me and to the left said, “WHO is that? That kid can RUN.”
One dad suggested that the players should hand off the ball to Seth-5yr, regardless of position and let him run everyone down for the outs.
Someone was impressed with the way Seth-5yr caught a stray ball from the game behind him, turned and threw it hard to the coach who was coming to retrieve it. He was so impressed he filled his wife in on this Seth-5yr moment in case she missed it. “Did you see that? That ball came over and Seth-5yr scooped it up in his glove, then turned and threw it hard to the coach who was coming for it? Did you see that?”
Um? I saw that, and it seemed fairly pedestrian to me, but hey. Go ahead and make a fuss over my cute baby if you must. He did do that, but that’s KINDA what anyone would have done if they were in his cleats right at that moment.
I’m not making this up. It was THIS over the top. My baby could come tumbling off this Super High Pedestal at any second and I don’t know what to do about it. This is new and weird ground.
Mike missed all of this Strangeness, as he was on the other side with his camera for most of the game. I think he would have probably appreciated it far more than I did, so I’ve told him he should stay put next time. And, obviously, then maybe he could be the one to field some of the attention and that would be nice.
It’s a very weird thing to complain about, I know. And I AM complaining, and it’s obnoxious. I KNOW. But I’m pretty particular about keeping to myself, and it’s never been all that difficult until now. There’s not a thing I can do about it, either, and that is the really strange part. I can’t just ignore everyone and escape into my own little world – I have to be gracious and talk and say thank you and answer unanswerable questions and uncomfortably, involuntarily bask in refracted glory that is way too bright for me. I’m not good at this, and I do not WANT to be good at this. My face literally hurts right now from smiling in contrived, confused ways that were THAT unnatural.
The game ended and Caden-7yr, who had been sitting next to me throughout the Seth-5yr Love Fest 2011 said, “MOM. I THINK I NEED TO PLAY T-BALL. SIGN ME UP. I CAN SOOOO DO THIS.”
“I know you can, baby, but i think you might be too old for t-ball.”
I really hope he’s too old for this. I’m too shy for this kind of t-ball.
I need a disguise.
Seth-5yr is not your typical little t-ball player. The typical t-ball players goof off in the outfield and stomp bugs and look down prairie dog holes and pick their noses and act adorably FIVE and all of that.
But Seth-5yr has been waiting his whole life for this, and there’s just no way he’s going to waste a moment of it by goofing off. He’s there to play, to win, to singlehandedly if necessary get every out. A friend of ours has been coaching Seth-5yr’s brothers for years, in all kinds of sports, and he’s been nice enough to include Seth-5yr in all of their practices. So he’s sort of… overly ready. He gets the game on a level most 5 yr olds don’t. He’s been the little brother tagalong at all those practices, but he worked HARD at all those practices and he knows his stuff.
When the batter is ready to hit, Seth-5yr is leaning forward on the balls of his feet. His glove is on the ground in front of him, waiting. His eyes dart left and right, anticipating this ball just like any professional tennis player waits and reads which way a serve is coming.
It is the strangest thing.
Then, the ball is hit. Mike has told him do NOT run past the pitcher – let the pitcher get it even if the pitcher is taking too long. Let other people play, too. He’s pretty good about this, even though the expression on his face gives away how hard it is for him. But other times he either forgets or has no idea that if you’re playing right field you do not go get the ball that went to left field.
The thing is, he is SO fast… that he can. He can get to any ball wherever it is hit faster than anyone else and THEN he can get back and tag whoever needs to be tagged out every time because he is just THAT fast. And he’s silent. He kicks things into a higher, faster, silent speed that no one else is prepared for. It’s hardly fair. He makes plays no one else sees coming, including the parents and the coaches. At his last game, the umpire moved him farther out into the outfield to try and even it out. He was so fast he was getting everyone out at home plate and she was trying to help the other team against this silent, secret weapon player with dimples. It didn’t work.
At the last game I saw, parents were spontaneously moved to stand and applaud at the sheer athleticism this kid displayed. After, on the way to the car, parents I do not know were running up to him and yelling, “Seth! Seth! Seth! That was amazing! That play where you ran across the field to tag the kid out at 3rd? And then the one where you got him out at 2nd? When we just wanted you to touch the pitcher’s mound and kill the play… but you went for the out? WOW!”
It was like being a bodyguard for a professional athlete after a championship game. He’d smile and duck his head and nod his thanks but not say anything.
As yet, his ego is intact. Well, mostly. Before games, he tends to matter of fact-ly say, “I will beat them. I will beat them like wolves.”
Note 1: No one beats wolves. I don’t know where that came from. We do not endorse the practice of wolf beating, and chalk this up to odd creative license.
Note 2: I’m overlooking it because Caden-7yr’s pre-game stoicism about drove me out of of my mind, and this IS an alternative. (Albeit, with references to animal brutality, but I’m sure that’s not literal.)
He has a game this evening. He can hardly take his sweet little 5 yr old nap, he’s so excited.
There was a crisis in the 2 year old Sunday School classroom this morning. Well, there were 2, really. The first was that all the little girls had taken off their shoes and switched with each other before I arrived so I had no way of knowing whose shoes were really whose and some of the SIX little girls were owning up to the Shoe Swap and some were NOT and it was quite a challenge to get everyone re-shoed correctly. And I might not have. Someone might have gone home with someone else’s shoes. Highly likely, actually. I was trying to match outfits to shoes, shoe sizes to feet sizes, and kids’ facial expressions to shoe truths. But really? It’s shoes. I kinda loved every second of the Little Girl Shoe crisis.
The second crisis came halfway through my time with the 7 cutest 2yr olds you’ve ever seen. One of them announced that there was a spider in our bathroom. OVER one of the potties.
One little blonde with big blue eyes, delicate features, and a huge personality decided that they should all run screaming in circles. Which they did. Delightedly, and with mock fear and a pledge to not potty in there ever again because of this spider.
These kids are only newly potty trained. A spider incident of this magnitude could completely reverse their success and then their parents would be SO pleased, right?
The mass hysteria was fine for awhile, and then when they wore down a little, I called them all over to me and announced a Special Spider Meeting. I managed to sneak the lesson in, complete with so many spider references that it made sense.
Then they brainstormed ideas about what to do about the spider. One kid wanted me to knock down the spiderweb.
Uh? No. Sorry. You must be kidding me. I’m the adult here, but I am not doing THAT. Maybe your normal teacher would, but I am not her.
After much discussion they agreed that we should sing the spider a “spider song” so it would go to sleep, turn off the bathroom light so we wouldn’t wake it up, and close the door just in case. Then there was more discussion about spider songs, and they all agreed that the only correct choice here was “Itsy Bitsy Spider” although no one thought the spider was itsy bitsy at all.
And so they sang. And turned off the light. And shut the door. And then after that, they shhhed each other if anyone got too loud because no one should wake up the spider.
They didn’t need me at all. These kids could take on any problem and creatively solve it. Next week they should tackle something a bit more challenging, like world peace.
These kids have all the answers. And each other’s shoes.
Today I’m going away for 1 1/2 days and 1 night and I’ve had a really bad attitude about it.
Oh, I’m looking forward to it. But in a WOO HOOO BLOWIN’ THIS JOINT, SEE YA, YOU ARE ON! YOUR! OWN! sort of way that is causing a small amount of marital consternation. Not that I actually SAY things like that. But it does sort of seep out, accidentally.
Like a minute ago when I noticed there was only one roll of toilet paper in the bathroom and I was all, “NOT MY PROBLEM!” although, um, yes it is. It’s one roll of toilet paper in a house of males, and it’s a very short trip.
Last night at football practice, Mike wanted to discuss the kids’ schedules for when I’m gone. He’s had this conversation with me several times already, and I’d had it and I cut him off. ”You have access to their game schedules. Look at them, plan, see where you need help, and ask my mother for help if you need her because she’s SO nice about it and that is what I do every single time you’re away for so much longer than one stinkin’ night. I think you can MANAGE.”
Or something much shorter than that and not nearly as nasty, actually, but THAT is what I was really saying and it all came across loud and clear with just the power of my eyes because they’re special like that.
(Don’t you feel like the BEST wife ever right now? You are. You’re welcome.)
He understandably did not take that well, and walked off to a nearby park. I sat with a friend and said, “you know… all of that is true, but it is kinda a rough time to be gone. I mean, the kids DO have 7 games, and 1 practice in 3 sports at 4 different places* in the day and a half that I’m gone. That IS kinda a lot.”
“What? But this is his chance to see what it’s like when I’m gone and have to figure it all out! No one talks me through how to do it.”
“Go apologize. Make him a detailed schedule.” She looked at me like she meant business.
“No one makes me a schedule!”
“I’m reading this book. It’s REALLY good. It has a title that you’d hate and it would really make you cringe — something like ‘Being the Wife Your Husband Wants’ or something.”
I cringed. I do hate that title. (I have no idea what the real title is.)
“The book you’re reading is so good I’m going to go apologize for something I don’t even think is wrong?”
“YES! Because it doesn’t matter. Go be kind.”
And suddenly it did make a little sense. I wouldn’t dream of leaving those 3 kids with anyone else and not leaving a well discussed schedule and my abundant, sincere thanks. And enough toilet paper.
Attitude Check successful. Thank you, dear friend, for reading the horrifically titled book and making me go apologize.
I’m still not quite forgiven though – I can tell. This morning he asked me WHEN exactly it occurred to me that I should apologize. That was a bit of a tipoff that I have done some damage. So did I learn from last night and remember to be kind about this? No. “Uh? I guess AFTER I said all that to you and BEFORE I went over to you and apologized, which was kinda like a VERY SMALL FIVE MINUTE WINDOW OF TIME?”
Because it’s easy to act all indignant. And defensive. The truth is harder.
The honest answer that I REALLY did not want to say would have been, “As soon as a dear friend stared me down and MADE me realize I needed to apologize and totally gave me NO choice in the matter whatsoever. That? THAT is probably when I realized that I needed to apologize and if she hadn’t been at practice I STILL WOULDN’T HAVE APOLOGIZED, nor would toilet paper be on my shopping list right now and you’d be wondering why I didn’t care with what towels or who knows what people would be wiping bottoms in my absence.”
He’ll probably read this at some point and it will not be good. He’ll probably read this at some point and then ask that friend what the exact title is of that cringe-worthy book and it’ll appear on my nightstand with a big red bow and a package of Charmin. And that would be reasonable.
Truth be told, if I could reschedule this trip, I WOULD. I’m definitely looking forward to it. But there are two of those 7 games that it’s kinda killing me to miss.
But I’ll come back having seen 4 dear relatives and having gotten my hair straightened out in such a way that can’t be done here. (I’ve tried.) There’s just no one in this town who does a Brazilian Blowout like this one person that HolyCousin knows. BB is for the frizzy, unfortunately textured haired folks like myself.
And I’ve read the reports and DO realize the Brazilian Blowout is a bit controversial. There is the whole “is there formaldehyde or is there not?” debate and I can totally tell you, “OH YEAH, there is.” FDA, you can just stop wondering because I can assure you that there IS, and praise God FOR it because the result is glorious silky smooth tresses that last for months if done right. My eyes water and burn and in one poorly ventilated place I tried (where I will never return) I thought we would all pass out before we got through. And i only cared because then I’d have half straightened, half frizzy hair.
YES, there’s formaldehyde. I don’t mind offering more money and asking, “Could you give me some more formaldehyde, please? Make mine a double. And is it more effective if I gargle it first? Because I’m open to that.”
It’s not easy having a wallflower personality and Chaka Khan hair. I rectify this conflict a few times a year and am glad to do so.
But I should really go pack. It drives Mike completely nuts when I do not pack until the last second and I seem to be making his face do this weird twitch thing already.
*no, we don’t overschedule the kids into too many activities, I swear. it’s just the one week where one season is ending and another begins, that’s all.
If you go for the date look called, “lemme rock your world, honey” you are probably far more likely to get a lawnmower than if you go for the date look that is called, “take me someplace with outdoor dining options and then maybe we can go to home depot for a riding lawnmower, honey.”
In hindsight, this seems glaringly obvious.
There was not a lawnmower, nor was there a trip to Home Depot. In fact, he came home and said, “you look cute, and we’re not getting a riding lawnmower right now.”
It’s for ME, the riding lawnmower we’re not getting. In case I wasn’t clear. I have no expectation of him ever using it since he has a rare combination allergy of grass + allergy of yardwork that is really not healthy for anyone. But I like all that stuff and think it would be far better for us to not pay ME to do a bad job on the lawn than to pay someone ELSE to do a bad job on the lawn. Right? Right.
Some women like diamonds. I just want to mow the lawn. (It’s too big for the push-kind mower, or I’d already gladly be doing that.)
Anyway. Apart from that, the date was a success.
We ate outside. I was starving by the time we got there and ate too much of a really weird, salty icky salmon dip thing that was drowning in capers and red onions. Dehydration was not a problem, as I had four diet cokes and a bloody mary with my sea bass. Mike had ribs, iced tea, and he fought his way through the icky salmon dip, too. From where I was sitting, I could see a large man repeatedly bellyflopping off the diving board into a nearby gym swimming pool. Entertaining.
Mike had suggested the movie, Midnight in Paris. Actually, the night before, he’d suggested he see a movie on his own after we have dinner together. I laughed and said no. (we aren’t really good at the ‘date’ concept. do you get that yet?) I said I didn’t like Woody Allen, ever, and would rather see Green Lantern. Not that I’d ever heard anything or seen previews or done any research into this suggestion. I just thought it was better than anything Woody Allen and sounded like something Mike would like.
Woody Allen is not so bad, really. I can’t even remember specifically what I don’t like about him. Because it’s not like he takes a film crew straight to hell and then produces realistic footage of Seriously Scary Demons and Other Such Crap that is now stuck in my head forever.
Just so we’re all clear on the rating system now, PG-13 can and WILL include footage actually shot on-location in hell. GOOD TO KNOW.
At one point something Sudden and Scary and Awful happened and I was not expecting it and the freakout that ensued had me kick the seat in front of me so hard that I jammed ALL FIVE TOES ON MY LEFT FOOT. Numb, throbbing, ow, ow, ow, for the rest of the movie. It was a real good time to have just had my Annual Drink.
You know, that NEVER happens when you’re watching The Notebook. Right?
There were small children in front of us, but not in the seat that I almost kicked out of the theatre. I wanted to beat their dad over the back of the head for taking them to see that. Or blindfold them. Or distract them, and me, from the onscreen scariness.
Mike said I left fingernail dents in his arm. WHATEVER. Perspective, man, they coulda been somewhere else.
So, yes. Date was a total success by our shockingly low standards, simply because we had a nice time. We did not end up at Home Depot, Mike did not see a movie alone (although that could have been an improvement), and we did not end up fighting in a World Market over how he was sending me to Florida, by myself, as a surprise, like at the end of our previous date in August 2010. *
My mother rocked the babysitting thing and had the kids play flag football with the flags being strips of clean toilet paper hanging out of the waistbands of their shorts. Adorable.
*no, I didn’t go to Florida by myself. I had a fit for reasons that still make sense to me and probably would never make sense to anyone else and I made him cancel it.**
**he never asked me out again.***
***but that’s okay, because after 10 months I asked him out and it was really nice even with scenes from hell.****
****and THAT has to be quite the accomplishment, actually. Maybe we really ARE good at this whole Date Concept.
I’m not going for “lemme rock your world, honey.”
I’m going more for, “let’s eat somewhere with outdoor dining options so I don’t freeze and then maybe go to Home Depot and you can buy me a riding lawnmower, honey.”
THAT’S the look I’m going for. It’s not really that romantic, I know. It’s far more nuanced and difficult than the first option.
Duke would approve of anything. He was no help. He’s just glad we’re going away and my mom is coming over because she sits on the floor and talks to him in that very special just-for-him voice and she never takes photos of him in the messy closet on her phone and then puts them on the internet.
YEAH. I’m so over this project, lady.
*totally made possible by chance finding of appropriate cord-y thing.
it’s a list.
of the things that i can and will say, when the list of things that i cannot and will not say is so much longer and filling my every thought and prayer.
* today i did 3 classes at 2 gyms, took the boys swimming, and hosted a play date in which 5 boys defied all odds and got along perfectly and 2 moms could talk, undisturbed. also? no one was injured today. totally successful in several ways, this day.
* although one of my children did spit into the water cup of another one of my children, just to be obnoxious. but not on my watch.
* the child whose cup had been spat in waited awhile and then calmly said, “could you please wash out my cup, since you spit in it?” (I admire such restraint and show of manners in a wronged 7 yr old. I really do.)
* seth-5yr likes to look despairingly at one of his brothers and say, “don’t be noxious. you do NOT have to be so noxious.”
* no need to sniff-test, he means ‘obnoxious.’
* seth-5yr came in today and proudly told the housekeeper that he and his brothers were all wearing “their buh-kay-nays.”
* they were wearing swim shorts.
* Caden-7yr almost fainted of embarrassment.
* someone should really explain the meaning and the pronunciation of that particular word to Seth-5yr, but it’s just too entertaining not to.
* the other day Ethan-11yr casually and correctly used the words “auspiciously” and “piscivorous” in conversation. well, in two separate conversations.
* so perhaps he should be the one to explain the word ‘bikini’ to his little brother.
* i had a near catastrophe at the gym pool today with one of those that I’d prefer not to explain to anyone.
* stupid clasp at the back sure looked like it was fastened
* i have a date with Mike on Wednesday. It’s probably been a year or more since we had a date that wasn’t also a social/charitable function mandatory sort of thing. i’ll try for pretty and try harder not to freak out every time he cuts someone off on the freeway. i asked him out, so i suppose now I have to plan what we’ll do and I’m not sure on that one.
* but we won’t ride horses. i like horses, and so we went riding on our first couple of dates. Mike didn’t tell me he was deathly allergic to them. but he is. he just didn’t want to tell me that. (communication was always an issue with us, right from the beginning.) so, no horses.
* i wish we could take surfing lessons. On Wednesday night. but that’s not terribly realistic for West Texas.
* tomorrow it will be much cooler than the 105+ days we’ve been having. have you noticed I haven’t complained about that? it’s because I don’t mind AT ALL. I’ve watched baseball games and football games and countless practices in 105-109 degree weather, and it’s just not that bad. The hot Texas wind swirls around you and bakes you to a deeper shade of brown, as if you’re a delicious sugar cookie baking in a convection oven.
* so tomorrow, when it’s cooler, i’ll mow my mom’s grass. an activity that is consistently entertaining and humbling. The last time I mowed her grass, I inadvertently left half of one of her side yards uncut. I noticed it a few days later and asked her about it. She shrugged and said she didn’t want to mention it since I’m free – and besides, she never really uses that yard. (I fixed it.) You’d think that after all this time, i’d be better at it. But no. Good thing I’m free and she’s impossible to displease in this regard.
* there are birds that live just outside our bedroom window. these birds talk to one another about WHO KNOWS WHAT all night long. these birds have enviable communication skills. they keep me up. a LOT, they keep me awake.
* my mother suggested I move their nest. I gasped. could NOT believe she’d even suggest that, of COURSE i’d never do that. DISTURB? A? BIRD’S? NEST? I mean, that’s unheard of. That’s just not done. She laughed. Then later pointed out that birds do not talk all night, and therefore something is wrong with this scenario. So we discussed what could be done to meet the Bird Needs that might stop their nonstop, friendly conversing. But then I didn’t do any of those things we named, and I went to sleep only to realize at 3 am that I should have tried harder and Met The Bird Needs.
* what could they POSSIBLY be talking about all night? They are BIRDS. What could they really need to say?
* Anyway. Goodnight. I need to go to sleep before they start talking.
You might not think it sounds like a big deal to ruthlessly slay and murder thousands of fleas… but you’d be wrong. It requires vacuuming your whole house TWICE and supervising your pets outside for 2 hours minimum and doing a ton of laundry and cleaning everything, but without the satisfaction of feeling like you’ve actually accomplished cleanliness. The deadness of the fleas means you’ve won – but it’s not the sort of win that feels like a triumph.
Regardless, I’d like to take a moment to thank the people who made this important victory possible:
Mainly, my mother, who came and took the kids so that the battle could be waged properly with chemicals and some measure of efficiency. I canNOT imagine yesterday without her help. Thank GOD she doesn’t live in another country, still.
and my sister, who sent encouraging texts and advice filled emails and she praised my flea slaying prowess and that matters.
They are DEAD, those fleas.
Inside, outside, animals, garage, and oh yes – the CAR (gag, gag, gag) when I realized last night at baseball practice that fleas were hopping all over me as I sat next to a prairie dog hole and that might have been the source of The Whole Stupid Problem in the first place. One last fogger in the garage to make sure the car wasn’t infested and I think we’re all good now. (And if we’re not, I swear I’ll change my non-accessorizing ways and start wearing a flea collar and so will the kids. The kids wear weird things anyway, it’ll hardly be noticeable.)
The necessary 7000 loads of laundry is ongoing. But that’s all right.
That was the Battle of Yesterday, and today is a new and glorious flea-free day. Today I focused on baking cookies with the little guys. Today I ran smack into an automatic door at the grocery store that didn’t open for some reason, and…? No big deal. (It’s not that I’m small. It’s that I lack presence, I think. Automatic doors have always dissed me in this way.) Today there is a baseball game I will be thrilled to attend, regardless of heat because I think I like the kids’ games even more than they do. Today Mike sent a text saying the weather is pretty in Canada, and hello? I did not find fault with that. I am not conflicted with this. I’m GLAD for Mike and the Canadians and their pretty weather because that is as it should be. I have matured greatly since yesterday.
Yesterday Mike sent a brief email that ended with the words “I love Mike” and I about went through the roof. He meant, “I love you, FROM Mike” or something like that, but the small error seemed like an accidental, freudian leak of a sad truth about priorities and THAT is what standing next to a flea fogger for too long can do to you. Even if you’re just reading the label one last time to be sure you’re doing it right, dummy, do that BEFORE you set it off. I wrote back something kind and understanding like “SELF LOVE IS IMPORTANT.” Right. And then I wondered all day if ‘self love’ isn’t a literal euphemism for something else entirely that I did not really intend to insert into that email at all… and wow, THAT’S lovely and strange of me… but whatever.
At 11 pm last night someone rang the doorbell and ran off. This happens. Kids are particularly obnoxious in this neighborhood. But I’d had a DAY, and I’d killed the fleas and I was high on the win of the war and don’t MESS with the Flea Slayer, nuh UH. I threw on clothes as fast as I could and flew out the door to patrol and catch and intimidate some kids with my five feet four inches of flea fogger perfumed essence. I couldn’t find them, and they are SO lucky. We have a loud doorbell. I protect my 3 babies’ sleep like it is every bit as precious as it is and they have NO idea how lucky they were that I did not find them and march them home. Do not MESS with a tired-but-still-feisty flea killer.
Today… all is good. I’m excited about my pest-free home, the cookies in the kitchen, the kids taking naps, the baseball game later, and the hot sun because for once I am not cold.
Mike sent a text saying he’d call soon and that’s good. Because I love Mike. We both love Mike, actually. We have this in common, and isn’t that all that matters? Today is good.
I want Mike to do things that he enjoys. Sometimes it seems like all he ever does is work. I’ve told him over and over to go hunting or go do something fun… and he hardly ever does. So now. Now the man is in Alaska and he’s doing EXACTLY that, right? He NEEDS a vacation.
He called me last night as I’m on my way to t-ball practice, and he sounds relaxed but excited. Like a man who is on vacation. Like a man who is not working. Who is thrilled with iceberg watching and whale watching, ziplining adventures, and helicopter rides.
With breathless excitement for life, he asks, “So? Did anything spectacular happen today for you?”
Spectacular. I am not even making that up.
In that moment, I did not remember that I have told him to go relax. I did not remember how this is exactly what he needs, and I did not remember that he is long overdue on some vacation time. I did not remember the importance of the fact that he sounds really good.
I kinda forgot ALL of that when he said the word ‘spectacular.’
I gritted my teeth. I said something about needing to get off the phone right then because i had to parallel park, and we’d talk later because that was SO much better than the alternative.
The alternative could have included any of the following:
*it appears the house is infested with FLEAS, honey, and i need to figure out how to eradicate the animals, house, all linens, carpets, children immediately and still allow for the fact that this involves having everyone including pets outside for 2 hours minimum and it’s 104 today. maybe i’ll pencil that in for 3 am when it’ll be cooler.
*there are 3 sporting events tonight in 2 different places and i have no idea how to make that happen
*i burned the inside of Caden-7yr’s mouth by reading the directions wrong on a “this is how you mold a mouthguard” project. OH MAN. He’s the one child who will just sit there and let his eyes fill up with tears and not spit out the too-hot thing because he doesn’t want to mess it up. i swear he’s sweet like that just to break my heart.
*he’s also the one sweet child who will dramatically and sincerely claim that it is probably his fault our house has fleas. he had noticed one outside and it probably came in with him, and, sigh, he’s very sorry. (try telling your 7 yr old he’s not the host animal for fleas with a straight face. it’s difficult. yes, same kid who thought he had leprosy a couple months back.)
*i was overcompensating for something the other day (already forgot what) and i made a really great white sauce that everyone hated and told me the alfredo sauce from a jar was better. (but? it wasn’t! my sauce was gorgeous and unappreciated.)
*there was a trash bag malfunction that coincided with my cleaning the cat box and the result was a large mess. on my feet. and there was almost a larger mess when i almost got sick about the first mess. on my feet.
My life is wonderful and I am thrilled to be living it in exactly this way, with these kids, and these animals and all their fleas and messes and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. But even in this happiness, I’m kinda overwhelmed with the little things right now and if you ask me if my life is particularly spectacular right now – I might need to politely hang up on you.
And I’m real sorry about that.
(Oh, nevermind. No, I’m not.)