Thursday, May 22, 2008

Annoying List II

At long last, here are a few items from my annoying list, embellished with current examples.

10. When Clarissa won't go potty and it's "time," like before we go out the door (especially somewhere I don't know how I will manage to take her to the potty if she doesn't go now, e.g. with Charlie and a cart full of groceries), or before her nap. Now, I cannot relate with her at all, because after babies, I can go even when I don't want to. Also, I am running around sometimes very uptight and I realize I have had to go the bathroom for an hour and haven't had a chance. Don't you know how lucky you are, little girlie, to have someone TELL you to go and MULTIPLE chances to do it? I even make Charlie leave you alone so you can poop in peace. But then suddenly during naptime she is so preoccupied with going that she is in there three different times and just has no time to sleep (it's the only thing she's allowed to get out of bed for so she is taking full advantage, and also wasting lots of TP--that's a whole other story).

9. When Clare asks the same thing 10 times even AFTER I've answered. "Mom, who's coming today? Nana?" "No, that's Tuesday." "What's today? Who's coming today?" "No one, it's just us. Our family together." "Why?" Then I want to blow up emotionally and say, "Aren't I enough for you? Don't you appreciate me for who I am? Don't you like to be with mommy?" And she'd say, "Mom, you're being codependent again," and we would hug. Wait, that's in 15 years. Do I need a string on my back that she can pull repeatedly, with a series of random answers? Or maybe one she can program to give the RIGHT ONES, like "Yes, of course you can have a sucker. They are so good for you! And a half an hour after you eat them you are so cheerful and obedient! In fact, let's go to the bank right now so you can pick your favorite color." (Actually, the bank has cut costs and is no longer giving suckers. It's OK because I have many stored away, getting meltier and messier each day, from various outings where they say, "Can she have a sucker? Here, take two." Yeah, that's just what I'm going to give my 3-year-old when we're out in public--two doses of that fickle drug which is sugar, that which makes one so happy for fifteen minutes and so crabby for hours.

8. When I have to say to another request for yet another thing to satisfy Clare's deepest lunchtime desires, "You must wait! Have patience. Mommy has not gotten to eat yet. Have you noticed that you are not tipping very well for this kind of non-stop service from the dining room to the kitchen and back again? Do you think I am a goat who enjoys making a goatpath? Even a goat gets to eat!"

7. When Charlie is so interested in the vacuum he spreads around everything I'm trying to vacuum. When the kids steal the dusters and the swiffer and I have no other choice but to sit on the couch and eat bon bons. Wait, that's not very annoying. I just wish they could reach above the windowsills to the cobwebs in each intersection of the room. Doing any kind of productive cleaning with kids around just makes me stressed, so we "play clean" a lot. Although some people would call my productive cleaning kind of 3-year-old-ish. Like somebody tried to make the bed, but just got tired of it.

6. Trying to explain concepts to Clarissa like whining, testing me, making excuses, lying, yelling "I want my mommy" if a grown up wants her to come with them--I stutter and talk in circles as I attempt to explain things I wish she didn't even have to know about.

5. Calling for babysitters. This is getting better, but I constantly feel like I am asking a HUGE favor. Like if *I* had any extra time, these days I would probably rather work at McD's than watch kids, so wow, you must really like kids! So I *try* to pay as good as McD's because my kids are more important than hamburgers. I definitely let the dread of babysitter calls (and the fear of paying babysitters as good as McDonald's--I think they are a multimillion dollar business are they not? How can I compete?) keep me from making an appointment or planning a date that we desperately need to have. But I have some girls I can call more easily now. Lately it's just the more infrequently-called sitters, the ones when my regulars can't do it, where I start to get insecure.

4. Trying to wipe hands and faces while Charlie is still actively reaching for the goopy mess. Or when Clarissa shoves both hands in the washcloth and starts madly wiggling them around, like it's a magical carwash or something. Today I discovered the two-handed numchuck washcloth move, where I wash the table while clamping the washcloth over a mouth, then flip if not too gross and grab both hands at once and yell "Hee yah! I have mastered the art of kung pao kid goop! Bow to your sinsay" but they never bow, they only rip off their bib and say "May I get down now?" This ninja move is similar to the blocking/chopping move I make to keep Charlie from throwing stuff in the toilet while I'm trying to pull my pants up with the other hand. I've developed a kind of running move that allows me to do this one-handed and get Charlie to follow me out of the bathroom, away from the great many temptations that it holds within its tiled walls. As long as I remember to zip before we leave the house.

3. No back up for when I'm sick. Who takes care of the mommy? How do I help people get off the sick train when I've been run over by it? And how do I get off the train when I haven't really let myself be on it? (I have asked Robert, "When do I get to be sick?" He usually literally lies in bed all day when he has a tummy thing or something--what luxury! Give me a tummy thing! I had that daily for 5 months of my pregnancies--I can take it if I can get my meals brought to me! Even if I can't eat them, I can admire them and feel the LOVE.)

2. When both kids are crying and "want up." Now, let's think about this. It makes sense that mommy, especially mommy with a temperamental back, can't pick up both very well, or for very long. So she plops down on the floor and tries to gather both into her lap, one on each leg, share the love kind of mother-hen-gathering-her-chicks-under-her-wings thing. But for some reason, the CHILD PLANE is not acceptable for an upset child. That does not qualify as UP. What if I invested in a couple of "kid perches" and put them up on those? Or strapped them to the wall somehow? Could that be just as satisfying? If not, then it must be SOMETHING about me that they want--but just not while I'm sitting on the floor. Kids are mysterious beings who deserve careful study by others who still have the time to do it.

1. Getting the three of us out the door. The time when kids have such trouble doing things when you want them to, and irrationaly you start talking about "being late." A kid has no concept of "late" because everything revolves around them, and "When I get there, then I am there." Very zen. You might as well start talking about being "tired," because, our kids anyway, are always urged to get as much rest as they possibly can (Vhat ees dees "tired" verd)? Having to find socks in the basement and princess underwear on the 2nd floor and then rounding up the two kids for the sad, cruel, complicated task of getting dressed. Then the gobs of fine blonde hair for both to be tamed, then matching shoes, sippy cup, snacks of equal and equivalent purpose, value, crunchability and nutrition (and eat-ability by Charlie), snack for mommy, waterbottle, perhaps completely dressing the mommy (Oh, forget the shower-- too hit or miss with kid happiness and we'll never get out the door), diaper and wipes if we're lucky, all things piled into mommy's gargantuan, lining-ripped-from-filling it-to-bursting purse she's not supposed to carry on her shoulder but can't carry Charlie, the purse and hold Clarissa's hand across the street. Sometimes it takes two go-arounds if there are milk jars or other trip-pertaining items. By the time we get in the van I am too tired to think, and don't remember what was so important that I considered setting foot outside the house. As Clarissa would say, "Silly me."

Life Turned Upside Down

OK, so I thought I knew what having a boy was like. But each day I find that Charlie lives in a completely different world than me. When I catch a glimpse of Clarissa in a pink garden party hat, with a tulle dance skirt and multi-colored necklaces scooting by pushing her baby in a bassinet, I understand that. I wish I had a camera around my neck for all those moments, because by the time I get it, the hat is off and she is reading on the couch. Reading and dress up I understand.

But when I see Charlie dive headfirst into the tub while it's filling up (and I am otherwise occupied but still in the bathroom--it's just a given that everyone needs you immediately while you're in "the office"), I don't understand that (he wasn't hurt, just scared and sopping wet in his PJs from his head to his chest). When he won't even be held for 5 minutes because he wants to run independently in circles, I don't understand that either. I've heard that kids "get into everything," but Clarissa just didn't. So he scatters buttons around I didn't know were in the sewing desk, pulls nasty garbage out of the kitchen can, pulls clothes that took a week to put away out of Clarissa's dresser, and screams when the stereo blasts Baby Einstein because HE decided (without mommy's knowledge or approval, obviously) it needed to be adjusted while it was off. He wants his coat and shoes on, and brings them to me regularly to go "side." And today, our most recent example of doing things I don't understand, was an acrobatic move that I did not see but heard the "boom and scream." Now a boom is OK, you just listen for a couple seconds to see if there will be a scream. This time there was a scream, so I booked it downstairs (went up to get dressed and check e-mail while the kids were eating--I know, it's TERRIBLE! JUDGE ME NOW!). Hahaha. I used to be a lot more afraid of getting judged as a mom; now I'm mostly working on not judging myself. Anyway, Mr. Crazy had opened his highchair tray and catapulted himself out into space, maybe hitting his head on the nearest chair, definitely upsetting some not-so-delicate internal balance of his. WHAT WAS THE PLAN HERE? If I can just get FREE, if I can just FLY forward, then everything will be...what? So much happier and better! I guess in the magical world of Boyland, daring acts and courageous lack-of-a-plan equal FUN. Anything fast and furious, or at least that leaves mommy furious--now THAT'S a worthwhile activity there.

I think he is (paradox warning) innocently trying to get my goat in brand new ways everyday. After the highchair incident, I was concerned, and properly guilty for not strapping him in, and comforted him, but mostly was thinking, "Who is this creature? Does he come with a two-year warranty? Are we going to make it that far?" I think the Y chromosome stands for mommies saying "WHY did you DO that?" Even afterward, when I transferred him to his sister's booster seat, which is not an antique and has real straps instead of a makeshift belt (thinking, hmmm, he could still push back on the table and fall backward--are we going to have to bolt his seat to the floor?), he proceeded to SPLASH his yogurt/turkey/prunes mixture WILDLY ABOUT (I know, I shouldn't have left again, but was desperate to finish my e-mail I was in the middle of) and quickly propel himself to bath status, which is done by causing anything to be caked in the hair or somehow up the sleeves of PJs or in deep creases of the neck blocked by double chinness. Goopy mess on the table, splatters of his "great idea" all over the floor. And sister just watching and egging him on with her "wild cat" impression each time he did it. Honestly--this boy is giving me a run for my money. Sometimes it's more like, "Go on, take the money and run!" (Except there is no money and nowhere to run--I need to write me a new mommy blues)