Friday, March 22, 2013

Get Dressed

Sometimes it’s important to force yourself to get dressed. Say, if you are going to the bank or the grocery store which, O Brave New World, we can do in one place in America. But what I really mean is, if you are mothering full-time, it can be all-too-easy to stay braless in your PJs the entire day while you lurch around your house, feeling schlumpier and lazier as the day goes by.

Today, for instance.

I just got dressed.

It’s 11:00 a.m.

I spent the morning working on things for daddywhumpus’ band, and once I finished, I was feeling disorganized and fractured. I realized that I needed to exert whatever control I could over my immediate environment to restore order. The best place to start is with the immediate environment of Me, which means change out of my extra large Jameson tee shirt and yoga pants and put on actual clothes. Sure, they are yesterday’s clothes, but I didn’t toss fish or frack for oil yesterday, so I figure it’s fine if the people at the post office see me in yesterday’s ensemble. They will never have to know.

The next environment, which is much less within my control, is babywhumpus. Time to get him dressed, which involves containing the whirlwind and focusing. The easiest thing to do when I am feeling frazzled is to get distracted from one task while I am trying to accomplish another, and this is when I wind up talking to myself. daddywhumpus does it the more often, but he tends to do it when other people are around, so I hear muttering and say, “What?” when it was really meant for his brain only. For me, the monologue is usually internal:

"OK, go get clothes for Finn. Oh, look, there are a couple of dirty socks. I should put them into the laundry and I have not made his bed yet so I should do that, too. No, wait, you ridiculous bitch, just get the clothes and get him dressed. That’s what you are doing. Those other things can wait. All right, I have the clothes, I’ll just take these dirty clothes over to the laundry basket; it will only take a minute. FINE! Go ahead! You never listen to me."

And here I am. He’s still not dressed.

But I’m working a new approach where I don’t do every little thing for him. He pretty much treats me like a servant, handing me his trash and ordering me around. This isn’t Downton Abbey, you little fucker, so take your trash to the bin yourself. I try to handle it a little more diplomatically, of course, saying, “You know where the trash is, you can take it there yourself.”

Consequently, I brought out his clothes and laid them at his feet with a, “Can you get dressed, please, honey?”

“First I have to do this thing with the keys.” (There’s always something First.)

He did the thing with his keys, and started on something with a ball and Hot Wheels track before I even noticed. I gave him a gentle nudge, told him he did the thing with the keys, so now it’s time to get dressed. He stopped, put the track down, got his clothes, and went into the kitchen, I presume to get dressed.

“Hey mama, you forgot to put the apricot and peaches in the basement.”

“I didn’t forget, I just didn’t do it.”

“Yeah, but you forgot.”

Just get dressed, Junior.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

How Rock Starts

Not with a bang, but in the kitchen.


I told him he couldn't watch "Casper the Friendly Ghost" while I was packing lunch, he could only watch it while I cleaned the catbox. He stomped to his room from whence came the sounds of crying. Within minutes, this:

That's it, boy. Pour all your despair, pain, and disappointment into your craft. It will serve you well.


February, 2013

Our house is small. 840 square feet. And this is one reason we never had a baby monitor. We served as living, breathing baby monitors, and our son is not an independent sleeper.

In all likelihood, he is a monster of our own creation, assembled from the criminal wreckage of our psyches, but in the end it doesn't matter how we arrived here. We are here, and we are awake. And likely to remain so for quite some time.

Oh, it's definitely improved. Sometimes he makes it until 6 a.m. Every once and a while he makes it even farther: I awaken before he does and assume he has suffered late-onset SIDS. But mostly, it's between 12:30 and 3:30 a.m. when we hear the bed creak. Those bare feet hit the floor, and he climbs into bed with us.

Tonight, I was in the kitchen, resisting all attempts to post snark and vague allusions to my mental state on Facebook*, when I heard babywhumpus crying in his room at the farthest corner of the house (see above: 840 square feet). That’s usually “bad dream” territory and is not common when considered in the panoply of his awakenings, so I went to him. As I am by myself while daddywhumpus is out of town tending to his Big Fat Life, I picked up my sweaty, sad boy and placed him directly into my bed, moving my base of operations there for the night. He went back to sleep easily. Indeed, I doubt he will remember it in the morning; and I found myself wondering what he dreamed about.

What are the scary dreams of children? Monsters, abandonment, darkness? Are they much different, in essence, than the scary dreams of grown-ups? He never can tell us, neither at the time nor in the morning. Though in the cold light of day, he will often make something up, using bits from his surroundings and videos he has seen. Aliens, zombies, brains...

I am guessing the themes are the same, as I don’t believe he is a sociopath, and his worries are universal human ones. The main difference being that as adults we have accumulated experiences that make our nightmares more vivid. Our brain hones the ability to target itself at its most vulnerable and goes in for the kill. We have the details to really, super scare ourselves.

When we wake up in a sweat, and in our unconscious, our partner has left us, we remember the scathing words, the recrimination, the self doubt, the smell of toast in the room, and we tell our partner, who has not left, all about it as they sit in front of us buttering toast and wondering if he or she should feel bad that they dream-left us. We know that it’s all crazy, but we still need them to say, “Oh, honey, I would never do that,” and pat us on the shoulder as they hand us our coffee.

*Thank Hades there was no social media when I was in my twenties. Or early thirties.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


I told him not to do it, and I told him that if he did do it, he had to clean it all up afterwards, and it was going to make a big mess. So he did it, a few times, and then he wanted to move on to something else. I told him that first, he had to clean up all the stuff he did, and he commenced whining. I explained that I had warned him of the consequences prior to his actions, he said, "I know," and did it anyway, so now he had to deal with the mess. He grudgingly started picking it up. Eventually, he complained that it was taking too long. I repeated my small speech on the consequences of his actions and agreed to help him. Soon, he said, "This is making me tired." I told him that if he was tired, he could go and take a nap. He stomped off to his bed. After a few minutes, he came out into the hallway and looked at the floor, where the mess remained. He looked at me. I said that he still had to clean up his mess, I wasn't going to do it for him. He whined and flopped onto the wall. I said he should just go and lay down if he wanted to act that way. He is now in his room where he is fake crying with brief bursts of quiet to see if I have relented and am approaching his room.

This is the first time I have had to write in weeks.

And I will still have to clean up most of the mess.