Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sick Sarge. Poor Me.

I can handle sick. I can handle throwing up, I can handle ruptured ear drums, I can handle breathing treatments. I can handle the flu. I may not like it, but I've got it covered. As long as it's the kids.

But. This week? Sarge got the flu. Down for the count for a week. Four days, then just sorta here for another three.

And, confession time. I was a terrible wife. I hated every minute of it. I threw the box of tissues at him when he needed them, I brought him medicine, but with a scowl. Water? FINE with a hint of overdramatic sigh. I hated it.

Not that I couldn't handle the house or the household duties by myself. I am perfectly capable. I can get the kids off to school, take out the trash and bake a cake, all while standing on one foot and balancing a stack of plates. Under control.

He wasn't so sick that I needed to worry, just pick up your own darn tissues and wash your hands every time you get up and DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING. But. I hated it.

I like this life better with him in it, present. He was there, taking up the whole couch, but he wasn't there. We couldn't debate the newspaper or laugh at the children or roll our eyes at them. We couldn't discuss anything really, because he was just not well enough to even hold his head up, really.

So, if it's any consolation, Sarge, that's why I'm so terrible to you when you're sick. It's not that I'm mad at you or that you're too much work, I just like life better when you're in it, right next to me, forging ahead together. So maybe next time you'll feel a little better when I throw the box of tissues at you.

Monday, January 26, 2009


The youngest child has been under the weather this week, and just started feeling better on Saturday. Good thing, too, because his birthday party was on Sunday.

I made him take a nap on Sunday afternoon before the party, because I know he was still recovering. Nevertheless, he spent the first half of his birthday party bouncing like a maniac and the second half in my arms. That baby didn't even eat cake. Or pizza.

It was seven o'clock and he was ready for bed. B-E-D.

He did perk up when he got the cake topper, Luke and Darth Vader with light up lightsabers. But otherwise he was exhausted.

Later, as I was putting him to bed, I said, "Buddy, I'm so sorry that your party was kind of a bummer."

He looked at me like I'd just told him that Santa wasn't real. "Mommy, my birthday was the funnest EVER."

And there you have it. A fun party where you won't look at your friends for half the party, and the memories are only good. I'm so grateful.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Note To Self

Remember that the children put a fake mouse in the pantry. Somewhere. Please, please, please remember that it's fake.

Thanks, self.

P.S. I bought the children a little prank kit. Fake boogers, a fart whistle, funny glasses. The whole bit. Clearly there was also a fake mouse in there. And the roach I found in my water glass. I'm not sure I would have bought it if I'd a known that I was going to be the victim.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Underwear stories.

I was disappointed today to find that there were no used underwear under the step stool in the bathroom. Because it would have so much more easily explained the smell in there.

This is what my life has come to.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I'm TOO good. Lucky Me.

When I came home late Thursday night, I kissed my sleeping children and went to sleep myself.

Friday, I noticed that something was amiss with the oldest child. He wasn't quite himself. By afternoon, I was pretty sure, and went ahead and made him an appointment with the doctor. Who said it was just a virus and move on with your life already and quit wasting my time. Come back in ten days if he's still sick. It's just a little fever, quit worrying already.

His weekend agenda?

Saturday: He laid on the couch. Took a bath. Put himself to bed.
Sunday: He laid on the couch. Took a bath. Put himself to bed.
Monday: He laid on the couch. Took a bath. Put himself to bed.

On Monday afternoon, I talked with a friend who was recounting her husband's bout with the flu. It was eerily similar to what the oldest child was dealing with. Pretty sure if I'd have waited a day, we would have done a flu test. But I was too early. I looked in my baby's eyes and knew.

I should have asked. I should have thought of it. I should have waited?

Just like tonight, when I looked in my youngest baby's eyes and knew. Tomorrow? I'm totally asking. Because I'm so tired of sick kids.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Stuff is just Stuff without a story

I recently had the opportunity to dig through lots of Stuff that wasn't mine. My parents recently moved, and I offered to help them unpack boxes as a way of pretending to help them, but really to take a break from my children. Ahem. Anyways, I was saying.

So much of what we own and save for the sake of saying really is junk. It's just old junky stuff that we can't bear to part with. BUT. It has memories. It has a story. It has a story that we recall each time we think of it and each time we touch it. The things that we save are the things that make us feel warm and good and loved.

I rescued from my mother's house the following: a thirty year old teddy bear that has a dimple from some scissors that, um, accidentally came in contact with her cheek and a bandaid where she has a hole. A stuffed bunny, a thing that might be called a mouse, but the seventies were a cruel, cruel decade for style and some needlepointed and embroidered pictures. The pictures were done by my mother and they hung in my childhood house as long as I can remember. They say "home" to me. They aren't hip or cool, and I don't know if they'll hang in my house. But each time I think of them or touch them, I will smile.

Now, if when I am old, my children were to come across such treasures from the hippest decade of the twentieth century, they would likely say, as I did to my mother this week more times than I can count, "UGH, MOM, WHY??? Why on earth did you keep this crap?" And I will tell them the story, like my mom did so many times this week. And then maybe, just maybe, they will smile when they see them, too.

I think oftentimes the story is far more valuable than the actual thing. The story is better than the ratty old baby bonnet with only one string. But you need the thing to remind you of the story. And so you should keep your stories.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Paying it forward.

There I was, three children. The airplane was decending and two of them fell asleep. The baby and the middle one. The oldest was just over four years old. I had to make it down the aisle of the plane and the jetbridge until they gave me my stroller back. I had enough stuff to keep three children clean, un-smelly, fed and occupied for four hours. That means I had enough luggage for a normal adult for a month.

Two children were asleep - that was at least fifty pounds. I had at least three bags and a four year old who was unwilling to go far without a hand held. I needed help, plain and simple. The state of humankind? This was the moment where I was going to find out.

And find out I did. I sat. I watched people get off the plane. I was going to wait. I had no idea what I was waiting for, but I knew I couldn't do much of anything at that moment.

While I sat, I had no less than five offers of help. Young men, business men, grandmothers, business women. So many people offered to help. Being the independent soul that I was, I refused at first, then realized that my daughter was not going to wake up, and there was no way I could carry them all, so I relented. A couple, probably on vacation, helped - one carrying a child, the other carrying all my bags. I had a baby and a hand to hold, that was it.

I cried. I was so grateful to them, and to all those who offered. I vowed to myself that when I had the opportunity, that I would do the same for some other overwhelmed mother of young children traveling. So Monday? If you're traveling, I'm ready. I'll be the one with the ipod, the trashy magazine and the giant smile. I'll help you. You just have to be ready to accept the help.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Seven Frivolous Things I Love

Because any other list would have to be all sappy and stuff with my wonderful husband and children, and I'd probably make someone mad because someone else was higher up on the list than the other (which reminds me, the oldest child asked the other day if it was really, really true that parents didn't pick favorites - he asked only at a moment when I was the least exasperated with him, coincidentally)

1. Dr Pepper. Who's list is this not first on?
2. Fancy fringe with beads AND tassles, because one OR the other simply isn't enough.
3. My iphone. My gosh how did I live without it two weeks ago and all the rest of my life???
4. Deal or No Deal. There is no other show in the world that has caused me to be late to pick up my children from school.
5. A fire in the fireplace. And not only because it means the children aren't home. It's just magical.
6. My haircut. Mostly because it's about darn time I have an adorable haircut.
7. My painted rooms. I just keep walking into them and staring with my mouth open and drool hanging out. They just make me so happy.

So there. Seven things that I can absolutely live without, but I just don't wanna.