Sunday, August 24, 2008

all by myself

I’m admitting defeat and admitting I’m a crappy housewife. Truly terrible. So, now I’ve got this paying gig – a real live job as a real live seamstress – and now I’ve got an excuse for my messy house and unruly children.

Meanwhile, The Man is still on parental leave so he is going to watch the kids while I’m at work. Before I start, though, The Man decided he would enjoy camping by himself for a couple of days before his stint as Mr Mom begins. So, Wednesday, The (still a) Man takes himself off to Nordegg while I stay home to nurture young children and make sure they get to gymnastics on time. I had many plans. I was going to do all the moving furniture, organizing, and hanging pictures that The Man would be against if he was going to be here to know about. Oh, and with The Man gone in the evenings after the children go to bed, I would have plenty of time to catch up on the tutorial blogging and writing the instructions for a pattern I hope to get up on etsy. So many great ideas. It’ll almost be relaxing, I told myself, not tripping over The Man, having to confer over parenting decisions, timekeeping, and meals. Just me and my kids. What could be more fun?

And I’m not a moron. I knew it would be lonely work. I knew Smootch would be able to sense my weariness and nervousness about being on my own and exploit my weakness. I knew the boy was going to sooner or later realize his daddy wasn’t around and start to holler for the kind of tickle one can only deliver with a goatee. But, hey, The Man needs his soul time, I get it. I’m intrepid, sometimes, when the mood takes me. I’m resourceful. I’m their mother and I should be able to care for my own darling beasts for a couple of days, yes? And move heavy furniture? Sure.

Sure.

And I kept a diary, because I have a problem with shutting up about stuff. Here is my two days alone with the 3 yr old and 4 month old, unedited and uncensored. I’m certain you will find it completely riveting.

3:00pm The Man leaves. Only a few sobs, and then a brave face for the children. (Okay, Smootch, bless her, pet my shoulder and said, ‘There, there,’ until I felt better.) I look at the two expectant and perky children while are in my exclusive charge for the next 48 hours. I suddenly feel very tired. Maybe today was not a good day to significantly decrease my usual caffeine intake.
3:30pm Okay, down to business. I draw a picture itinerary for Smootch on the blackboard of the rest of the day’s activities, including a clever illustration of a bookcase with arrows coming from it to indicate the time when we will move furniture.
5:00pm Day’s activities completely derailed due to repeated trips to the drugstore to mail off zines, since I keep getting an order just as I came back from the last one and and I would think, ‘I have time to mail this order before the truck leaves for the day… must mail zine NOW’. Repeat this process 3 times. Birdie loves the walks. Smootch does not have as much love. No time to rearrange the living room before dinner. Will be just enough time to try out a new tofu recipe and steam some broccoli.
6:oopm Aspirations have dropped to the mere desire to survive. Why did I pick a tofu recipe that involves no less than 4 dishes to make and includes a roll in arrowroot starch that now coats my kitchen cupboard like a thin layer of glue?
7:00pm Smootch is fully exploiting my weaknesses. Another episode of He-Man? Sure, why not?
8:45pm Smootch’s bedtime. Oh good!
9:50pm Okay, both kids finally down and asleep. Now it’s time for me to write out these here pattern instructions… or, actually, instead read Davis Sedaris’ new book while I eat peanut butter toast because his cynicism, black humor, and profound distain for himself and the rest of humanity is exactly where I am right now. I love this guy.
10:45pm Time for bed.

8:40am Slept in. Damn, damn, damn.
9:55am Just made the bus to go to gymnastics. Am starting to realize how stupidly unprepared I am for the weather with a baby in only a sleeper and a girl in capris. The rain is just starting. Thank goodness I ducked back in last second to grab an umbrella.
11:55am Standing in the rain waiting for the bus. The baby has his extra sleeper from my purse wrapped around his head in a make shift hat. Smootch is drenched since she doesn’t quite fit under the umbrella I’m holding over the boy. Both kids are smiling – an adventure! – but I still feel like a complete ass for not being prepared for the rain.
2:00pm Feeling better after lunch and hot cocoa. Starting to feel like maybe I’m not the world’s worst parent. Hey, maybe I’ll even make muffins, since that’s what us really got it together moms do, right?
3:30pm Omg, Smootch just ate the ½ cup of sugar that I put into the bowl to make muffins with and then left it alone to go feed Birdie. She’s vibrating. There is flour shrapnel that got in the way of Smootch’s sugar binge that now coats the cupboard like glue. Why do I feel like I’ve been here before?
5:15pm We’ve decided to postpone dinner and watch the first half of Annie. Smootch has already noted that Annie has curly hair like her. Wonder what she’ll think of Annie’s nasty caretaker Miss Hannigan and if she’ll draw any parallels there.
7:10pm Bathtime to wash the muffin out of Smootch’s hair. Don’t ask.
9:12pm Listening to Smootch sing to herself instead of sleeping. Can’t decide whether to get make her stop or get the tape recorder.
10:00pm Reading David Sedaris out loud to the baby.
11:00pm Am so tired I could throw up. ‘Nite all.

8:00am Wake up on time, thank goodness…
Okay, actually, I stopped recording because I was too busy peeking out the window for The Man’s returning car. I’ll summate for you though: I was very, urm, competent. Take my word for it.

But The Man is back now. I can’t say things are any less chaotic. I wish I had a grand lesson to tell here, but as far as I can tell is that it’s hard to take care of kids by yourself and it’s just as hard to take care of them with two parents. Maybe it’s not us, it’s them?

2 comments:

Nixthings said...

I am totally in love with you! your sewing, your children, your honesty.
And how much does your little smootch look like you? it's ridiculous! good luck with the seamstress thing - does this mean we'll see stuff of yours for sale on Etsy??

Melinda said...

I totally get you! I have two myself, almost 9yo "Small Boy" and almost 3yo "Little Bird." Trust me when I say no Mom can ever really have it together, and if they appear to then they're lying or have a personal assistant to help them... Kids=Chaos, no doubt about it, but Chaos can be fun and even rewarding at times. =D