Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hold My Hand (but only in French)

The Elder had a field trip yesterday, and from her perspective, it was a good day.  I had the Younger in tow, so I dropped her off for attendance and herding purposes before driving to the site and meeting up with them for the day.  This turned out GREAT.

1.  The Younger and I got there a solid 30 minutes before the bus, which gave us time to do some fun things on our own.
2.  I got to take both girls back home with me in my car, which saved me frantic pick-up/drop-off moments since I had class last night.
3.  I got all of the benefits of being a chaperone with none of the duties of being a chaperone.  It was like being the cool aunt at Christmas.
4.  I was able to hang back and watch my kid doing her thing when she wasn't even paying attention to me.
5.  The Younger and I left the class a couple of times to explore places exclusively designed for littler hands. 

The trip didn't start GREAT for the Elder, though.  Once I got to the site, I texted another kid's mom so that she would let me know when the bus arrived and I could meet up with them.  Then she wrote back right away with this:

Other mom:  "Does your kid get carsick?  She's up with the teacher at the front of the bus now.  I held a bag for her.  My daughter was sitting with us in the seat, but she bailed."
Me:  "Ha!  Yeah, she does get carsick sometimes." 

I may have just laughed at her.  Right after my kid just puked in a plastic bag that this other mom was holding. 

I definitely read that first text from her wrong.

So I thought that my kid was a bit motion sicknessy but didn't realize she, you know, actually went full throttle on that.

It also turns out that this other mom is fully on the squeemish side herself.  Lesson learned: Read those texts more carefully before laughing at the other person's plight. 

But this whole scenario also served a purpose other than sending me into flashback mode to my 5th grade field trip to Chicago and my first airplane flight AND my second flight.  And then there was that time on the Tilt-o-Whirl...(fortunately, that one ended A-OK).

So basically, my kid comes by her tender tummy honestly. 

But a change of scenery and a fresh perspective does wonders when we're overwhelmed, doesn't it?  Sometimes, we just need to change our seat, fan our face, take a few deep breaths, and let someone give us a hug while they try their best to distract us from the trouble at hand.  People, we are called to nurse and assist in a number of ways.  When you see someone needing some help (even if there's something yucky happening in the moment...just deal with that later), you have to take that person's hand. 

And on a lighter note, I suggested to the Younger that she practice writing her name on a paper that she was coloring.  But she was having none of that, proclaiming "No Mommy, I want to write it in French."  [scribble scribble scribble]

'Cause, you know, those letters are different in French...?!?

Thursday, April 14, 2016


Hi.  It's been a weird couple of weeks here, which culminated in weepy stress-ville about a job that I don't really even want and a trip to the doctor to help me sleep in my own bed because "bed" is better than "couch." 

And my baseball boys are now a salty 0-fer-the-start-of-the-season, which is basically 10 days of misery right here.  There's already some talk about "growing pains" and "first pick in the draft" and "just trying to keep it fun around here," but we're only 9 games into the season.  And as I'm writing this, I keep thinking about the shiny new bottle of anti-anxiety pills sitting on my counter right now.  FITTING.  And perhaps mildly necessary.

In what was another quasi-bizarre-trip-to-the-doctor (if ever I needed a Prozac, this was it), I was given the 2-minute "Are you really, really sad?" drill a few days ago.  At one point, there was even a clipboard with questions, and anyone who's been through a job interview knows that there is always more than one answer to the question.  So I'm staring at this thing thinking to myself "Do I want her to think that I'm depressed?  Or, do I need to just look stuff up on web.md?"  Because that was about the same thing happening there. 

Let me be clear, I think she was a nice enough doctor, but I wasn't expecting the harsh honesty of the questions, which amounted to the likes of "Are you depressed?" and "Do you want something for anxiety, depression or both?" 

I'm not someone who wants a menu from which to select my drugs when going to a doctor's office.  Someone else just order for me, already.  That's why we're here on this date, isn't it?

But, hoo-ray, the clipboard quiz revealed that I'm not depressed enough to warrant worried looks (and meds).  I did then get tripped up when asked "So what are you anxious about?" and all deer-in-the-headlights, I'm thinking "How much time do you have?" 

I think there's a disconnect between sitting nonchalantly and calmly in the neutral waiting room style chair and replying "Well, what am I not anxious about?  I'm pretty good at it.  Real gold star quality."

-I want someone to make my life decisions for me since they feel suffocatingly overwhelming.
-I can't reason how I'm supposed to take care of my kids but also take care of myself.
-I'm not sure what "taking care of myself" even means.
-I don't know how to plan for the future when it's seemingly impossible to predict.
-And most importantly, I need someone to help me get "Let It Go" out of my head when I'm trying to sleep. 

(Now, I'm a big fan of "Let It Go," and we YouTube it frequently.  But the mind needs a break, friends.  And it seems so ironically cruel when this is my torture-sphere - the witching hour between getting sleepy and getting sleeped.  But that Olaf, he's a riot and so deliciously punny in his little soft-shoe number.)

Perhaps the "How anxious are you?" should have been answered something like this: "Well, I'm pretty sure I've screwed up my whole adulthood, and I don't know how to get out of this mire, which makes me sound and feel pretty ungrateful (am I?), though I try to be patient and put things in perspective (do I?), but it seems like some day I'm going to look back on everything and think about what a bunch of nothing I accomplished (will I?), and I channel my inner-Elsa every night, so please, help me out?" 

I also casually mentioned that I don't really like sleeping in the same area as anyone else and, you know, I'm married, so that's been rough lately.  To which she asked me, "How long have you been married?" and I answered "11 years."  Then she blinked at me.  For seconds on end.  And asked, "This hasn't been a problem before?"

I know.  Anxiety-inducing.  I'm a bucket-full of contradictions.  You can imagine the boy's delight when he tries to talk to me logically.

But all was not lost.  I took the nice lady doctor up on her suggestion to give it the old melatonin try, and I'm not singing from the mountain tops yet, but it's been t-w-o nights of sleepin' without mental anguish.  So there's that.  Plus, I got the sweet, gummy kind of pills.  And that's good, too.

But now, I accidentally happened upon an explanation of melatonin from the take-it-as-you-will Wikipedia, which describes it as "a substance found in animals, plants, fungi, and bacteria."  I guess we all need a little help every now and again.  

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Time flies when you're home alone

This past week has been Spring Break for 3 of the 4 members of the house.  (One of these things - ME - is not like the others.)  The boy decided late that what with the influx of relatively unscheduled days, he needed to take the girls somewhere.  Two days later, he had a snazzy little hotel booked and plans in place. 

When he gets a bee in his bonnet, he's on top of things.

This is in comparison with me who takes on the challenge of finding the cutest, breakfastiest, comfiest, all-you-can-drink-coffee-and-afternoon-cookies-iest place to stay and all for the affordable-iest price.  I spend a few hours (e.g. d-a-y-s) on this process in part because I like me some virtual window shopping.  The boy is kind of a get-in-and-get-out kind of person.

For about 30 seconds at the beginning of the "I think I want to go somewhere for a couple of nights over Spring Break" discussion, we flirted with the possibility of all 4 of us going somewhere.  You know, like a normal family.

And then we were both all like "diabetic cat," and that kind of quashed all chances of familial bliss in a Days Inn.  Like that was going to happen anyway.  So, like many a decision that has to be made, color me the sacrificing individual who bore the brunt of shooting the insulin twice a day and, you know, doing some amount of teaching, too.  I was committed to being here anyway, but it seems like I could blame our planning on the cat.  (By the way, I've always appreciated how easy cats are to take care of.  No one ever whispered a word of warning in my ear that sometimes, they're a bit of a bother.)  So the boy did what the boy always talks about doing, which is to call up his siblings and find out if either of them feel like being around us.  Turns out, one of them was game, so the boy found the hotel, packed up the kids (by way of me, obviously, because are we to believe that he did the packing of the sundries while I lazed about with a hot cup of tea and a scone?), and stole my car for a couple of days leaving me an empty house, a crumby kitchen floor, a dependent cat, papers to grade, and almost no gas in his car. 

Actually, he up and left, thereby leaving me with this glorious thing called s-p-a-c-e as well as a fair bit of q-u-i-e-t.

The boy is an all-around keeper.  I've no need of roses, just buy me a quiet house any day.

Admittedly, in hushed tones, I asked him "Are you sure you wanna do this?" and he replied "Yeah, I do.  I'm a dad." and far be it from me to question that. 

Not only did he take on the task of being pack mule and referee, but also he found a hotel room (singular, not a suite) with two queen beds.  This means that our children had to fall asleep in the same room.  THE SAME ROOM.  This has never (ever ever ever) gone well, though we have tried.  But he managed fairly well utilizing a 2-part plan of attack: use an extra sheet and some rope as a room divider and wear them out so they have nothing left to fight with.  Basically, it was like he had them under siege in their castles, holding out until all of their energy supplies were depleted.  'Cause that's a parent-of-the-year approach. 

He found a place with both breakfast (various carb options for the win!) and an indoor pool, and oh the glories, oh the blessings!  You know when you call to chat with your children when they're in this manna-from-Heaven situation that you need to be prepared to talk about how "The water was so warm!" and "I had a doughnut!" and even "I had juice and sausage and a waffle and the hot tub had a little shelf, so I put my feet in and then I had eggs and now my tummy hurts just a little but it's OK because Daddy took us into the deep end of the pool!!!"  And then my kid would ask me what I've been doing, and talk about letting the air out of the balloon cause "I graded!" and "I swept the floor!" and "I bought stamps!" just doesn't have the same flavor.  Her stories were like gumballs and unicorns whereas mine were like dried gum on the underside of a desk and the tired looking work horses standing around placidly chewing hay.  But props to her for showing an honest effort at caring about her out of sight, out of mind mother.  I have high hopes for how our phone conversations will go when she's in college.

But the days went by and the nights went by (in a glorious sort of I-have-the-bed-all-to-myself-and-it-is-fabulous kind of way), and my people returned.  They brought some amount of noise back with them (just for me!) and in exchange took away a good amount of the space that I had been hoarding in their absence. 

But everything was checked off of my to-do list by the time they stumbled in the door, which makes one feel both exhilarated (I was so productive; let's count how many things I checked off [smiley face]!) as well as deflated (I was so blasted productive that all I did was work [sad face].)  So I made up for that spurt of activity and read a magazine in the middle of their chaos because if I can't get around to it when they're gone, then why not when they're home?  Mindless activity also helps to ignore the shrieking.