Monday, August 1, 2011

I want ice cream!

I couldn't help myself when I was packing and shipping this bowl out...

Yesterday it was apparent, early on, that 2/3 of my "to do" list wasn't going to happen. I was grumpy. Responding to an e-mail from a woman asking me the dimensions of a bowl on my pottery blog, I wrote, It's a little warped, so the diameter in one direction is 7" and in another is 7.25. She wrote back, Does it look round? I laughed for about 10 minutes. "Square candies that look round" are one of Willie Wonka's best inventions. They are square candies with little faces on them that look around. I've accepted the incessant children's books on CD as a part of my life, as they sometimes render my children speechless. This was the first collateral benefit I have reaped from the tedium.

Part of my grumpiness could be sleep-deprivation. We went on "vacation" to California August 3-10. The amount of head space the logistics of such a trip occupy 2 weeks prior puts my already-handicapped mind at a near standstill. This mental ineptitude coincides with my feeling I need to get a lot of work done to justify the "vacation," so I'm in a constant state of self-loathing irritation. I chose to start this "vacation" by taking 3 kids on a red-eye flight across the country. The flight could have been worse, but there were moments Toby reminded me of the little girl in The Exorcist, and Tim reminded me of Jack Nicholson in The Shining. She spent the first 3 hours of the flight refusing to stay in her seat or sleep-choosing instead to poke anyone who was asleep and scream, "HE'S SLEEPING!" Tim finally pinned her to the seat for 20 minutes while she gurgled with rage until she succumbed to slumber. A client told me I should be cannonized for taking 3 kids on a plane across the country. Most of the flight was thinking crucified.

In general Toby has become a handful. She's out of the bullying phase and into the "NO!" phase. Julie (sa-nanny-ty) said she was walking through Target with a tyrannical Toby saying every aisle, loud enough for people to hear, "SHE'S NOT MINE!" Where the hell does that leave me?????? Toby is no longer willing to share Julie on Wednesdays. The big kids look forward to "Julie Day" all week; they don't go to daycare, and Julie does something fabulous with all 3. Toby has taken to stomping around all day on Julie day shrieking, "MY JULIE!!"

One of my parenting pet peeves is pigeon-hole-ing kids. Parents create negative expectations and manifest their kids' living down to these expectations. Sadly, I've started doing it. "Steel is overly dramatic" so she gets yelled at whether she's been wronged or not which makes her feel wronged and dramatic. "Jack Peter dawdles", so he gets hell for any time-related hold-up which causes him to have a fit-holding us up that much longer. "Toby is possessive," so she gets ignored.

We were coming home from the Y right before the vacation. The kids were hungry and tired. It had just started to downpour. Steel complained that she was getting wet. I thought I was being super-efficient mommy as I miraculously pushed the right button to close her window that last centimeter; it's the one and only time I've gotten the right button on the first try. She was sticking her fingers out the window, so they got crushed. She wrestled them out but was shrieking in pain. I was trying to drive while reaching back to cuddle her and shouting, "Bend and straighten! Shake them out! Keep moving them! Chicks are TOUGH!!!" If I could see her frantically moving them, then I didn't need to go straight to the hospital. Amidst all of this, Toby starts up. Steel was actually hurt enough this time to warrant her insane screams. I ignored Toby and comforted Steel assuming that Toby was just trying to steal the show. Toby was even repeating what Steel had said initially to get attention, "MOM I'M GETTING WET!"

We pulled into the driveway. Steel's sobs had subsided. Toby was quietly moaning to herself with her hands covering her face. Toby's window had been all the way down the entire ride home; she was drenched.

Not only have I been a crappy mom, I've been an annoying friend, as well. I got into a dumb argument with my best friend since I was 3 months old. I was such a pill that her 12-year-old son, my godson, told me off. My other friend, Heather was talking about this cookbook that helps moms disguise vegetables. It recommends squash in pancakes and spinach in brownies. I actually went into a monologue about how my parenting food philosophy is based on helping my kids like vegetables and not hiding them. I was being that annoying person while wolfing down 5 of her delicious spinach brownies.

Come to think of it, I've been a crappy wife, too. I bet Tim an hour-long massage that I knew the names of his cousins who had just come to visit and he didn't. Usually names are my domain, but I lost. I've been too lazy to give him the massage, so I finally scheduled one for him. I left the address on his computer bag an left work to have pizza in the park with Heather and her posse. One of Tim's pet peeves is that I don't answer my phone. I expected to come home to a relaxed, massaged husband. I came home to an irritated husband who had gotten locked out of the office so he couldn't find the massage place, get his car keys or his computer. In the time he was frantically calling me, he had to field a call from my mom who was also calling me to tell me that my Aunt had suddenly passed away.

I'm going to miss you, Aunt Dutch.

With a rack like that, I guess he's willing to put up with some crap...

Jack Peter's written protests are his solution to our unjust parenting. "Dada is u payn!" narrates a graphic picture of Tim snatching a toy away from a weeping Jack Peter. The sign below greeted us at dinner because we'd rushed him out in the morning without letting him pick a book to take to school. In general, he revels in language; he always has. One of his first sentences took me 2 weeks to figure out. He would say it as we walked up our bright yellow stairs together. It was "How many many many feet you meet!" from Dr. Seuss. His world was a lot of feet back then; he was really little. Steel and I were arguing about whether her bathing suit was a bikini or a tankini. (Yes, we argue about such things) Jack Peter screamed, "It's a zucchini!"

To Mama and Dada, I am sad because you didn't let me bring a book (to school)
From Jack Peter

We can't be all that bad. How many parents let their kids run around a glitter-filled apartment in San Francisco with fake boobs on screaming for ice cream????
(Sweet and Danny, thank you for putting up with us. We love you!)

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