Thursday, May 27, 2010

falling short...

I make a show of being a good parent: I made a cake shaped like a whale because my son wanted whale at his end-of-school party, and I couldn't find any whale meat to grill. (I could kill the guy who actually made an octopus pasta salad for his kid who wanted octopus at the party) However in the chaos of the party, I abandoned my hungry 20 lb baby girl into the somewhat-willing arms of a very pregnant mom with 2 kids of her own for almost 1/2 hour so I could shove octopus in Jack Peter's mouth and cuddle Steel. Steel wasn't into the festivities; as soon as her dad arrived they went upstairs to the little nap area to sleep. He and I ate lunch and left the party to try and squeeze some work in. Steel was discovered by a worried teacher an hour later all alone on the floor burning up with a fever. Far be it from me to think, "hmmmm......her brother just got over being sick; she's eaten 1 strawberry and a sip of a banana smoothie all day; she's passed out; maybe she's not well."

I make a show of being a functioning pottery business. Today's task was to finally pack and ship an order for a place in Santa Barbara. It's been in a corner, 2 pots shy of complete for 3 months, with a big note on it: "Ship end of May." No one is going to die if a shipment of pottery arrives June 10 instead of May 31, but why the hell do I leave it to last minute and be foiled by a feverish kid?

I try to convince myself that I'm a good wife, too. Of course upon hearing I'd have to turn around and go pick up my kids 4 hours before I'd planned to, I stomped into my husband's office to have him help me get the 3 car seats back in the car. It was 90 degrees out, so that was a truly unpleasant task, but I probably could have done it myself if I weren't wanting to make a point of the fact that I was going to pick up the sick kid.

Tim was in a major meeting with bankers, and the car seats had been removed because he spent yesterday catering to the needs of his Japanese mentor (70 something) and girlfriend (32) and those of every other person who wanted to hang out with the mentor. Tim chose to BBQ even though it was 90 degrees, a
nd our garden is in direct sunlight all afternoon. The professor's English isn't great, and architects are generally abysmal at small talk, so it was a socially lurchy kind of day. Social lurching usually results in way too much alcohol consumption. However, alcohol makes Tim that much more likely to want to really communicate. The night ended with his trying to convince said (jet lagged, exhausted, drunk) professor at midnight that he had taken a huge part in creating the Philly community in which we live because he was such an inspiration to so many budding architects here. Either Yoshida wasn't understanding, or he was culturally offended by Tim's obsessive praise or he was just plain drunk and tired, but Tim wasn't getting the response he'd expected which caused him to rephrase numerous times only to hit the same mute wall. Meanwhile I'm whipping up the whale cake at midnight spraying blue buttercream all over the kitchen walls because I haven't gotten the hang of revving up my Kitchenaid to clean off the beaters the way my mom used to...

I also make a show of being a good daughter. The weekend before my dad was visiting. He lives alone and is 6'1" 160lb. I have a bet with myself when I'm pregnant that I never want to outweigh a McDonald brother, but I outweigh my own dad 5 months into it. He's fun to cook for because he gorges himself and rhapsodizes about it the whole time in his thick Rhode Island accent. We went to a farmers' market, and I picked up some rhubarb to make him a pie. I only bought 3 stalks. I prepared them and gave Toby the ends to gnaw on. There were some leafy bits that I didn't think she'd be able to tear through, but she almost choked; I extricated the leaf from the back of her tongue and gave her something else to gum. I realized I didn't have enough rhubarb for a strictly rhubarb pie, so I went online for a strawberry rhubarb recipe. It started, "Prepare the rhubarb and throw away the leaves; they are poisonous..."

So here I am happily blogging because the kids are home and I can't work. (I think of myself as a pretty dedicated blogger, but I dumped a rye and ginger on my computer. The result is a complete loss of battery power which is making everything a pain. Now I'm even falling short at this...) Sick kids have excused me from another dreaded kid birthday party and going out tonight to not talk with abysmal-at-small-talk architects and non-English speakers at a KOREAN BBQ. ("Hmmmm it's really hot; lets go sit around a fire and cook meat again, but this time we'll do it INSIDE!" Architects are morons...) Normally I'm chasing kids around with broccoli screaming about rescinding their coveted single movie night if they don't do whatever I'm wanting them to, but when they're sick I'm a parenting slacker: I don't need to fight any battles. They get to drink juice, eat chips and watch movies. So 2 out of 3 of my kids are deathly ill, my husband is exhausted, and I feel like I won the lottery.

What kind of mom allows her son to wear the tweety bird one-piece in public? It's out of my control, and it was great to see the Japanese guests' faces when confronted with this....

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