The Consequences of the Baggy Pants

November 17, 2008

Oops, I failed at the whole posting-every-day business.  Life kind of intruded this weekend.  I do regret that I didn’t manage to do it, but it’s pointless in the long run.  At least it got me posting something more regularly again, right?

The most interesting part of the weekend was yesterday when I went to look for clothes for PJ to wear.  We got a pretty strong cold front on Friday, so I finally pulled out our long-sleeved clothes.  PJ has been wearing pants to school every day, even when he could probably do shorts just fine, and yesterday was laundry day.  He had one pair of pants left, and I was pretty sure they were too big.

Sure enough, PJ walked around all day holding up his pants with one hand.  (He kept telling me to “fixa da pants, pants bwoken.”)  I took quick stock of how many long-sleeved shirts he had and all of BabyN’s cool weather clothes and declared we needed to make a trip to Babies R Us (the ABC store, as PJ calls it).

The way the timing worked out, though, BabyN was down for a nap when the rest of us were ready to go.  M and I shrugged, and I loaded up PJ to go with me while M stayed home with BabyN.  Normally if that had happened when we were about to run an errand, I would be the one to stay home while M took care of business, but he’s not so confident about buying clothes for the boys.

So PJ and I had a “date.”  I don’t know that I’ve been out alone with him since before BabyN was born.  It was really fun, and much easier than dealing with both of them at the same time.  He seemed to thrive off the special attention as well and didn’t throw any tantrums until naptime (and that wasn’t because he had to take a nap).  It made the whole day with him go a little easier.  I’m hoping we can find more opportunities for either one of us to spend alone time with him if something that simple can make such a difference.

M seemed to enjoy the quiet time at home, too.  BabyN was still sleeping when we got home, so he had had that whole time to just chill.  He rarely ever gets time at home alone, so I’m glad he got that time too.

And the best part is that now I get to dress the boys in brand new, adorable clothes for the next few days.  Sometimes I wish we were made of money so that they always had new clothes to wear.  Yes, I like the feel of new clothes that much.



November 11, 2008

I’m hoping I’m just sensitive, that maybe it’s hormones.  I’m hoping I’m reading into what was said and that the remarks weren’t meant to be hurtful and cutting.

It was when M came home for lunch.  I joked about how I’d left the clothes in the dryer since Sunday but that I really was going to get to them today.  He said something along the lines about how that was about as likely as finding the toilet paper roll had turned gold, in a teasing tone of voice of course.  What is that saying about there always being a grain of truth in a joke like that?  I already feel sensitive enough about it because I hate when I procrastinate on household chores.  I feel like I’m letting him down as well as myself, and having him point it out, much less make a joke out of it, only makes the guilt worse.

There was another comment during the same half hour that started with, “Now don’t get offended…”  Of course that meant I was going to get offended.  At least this one wasn’t about what I do about the house, but it was a thinly veiled insult.

M isn’t normally like this.  He’s the one who reassures me when I start feeling down on myself, who is my biggest fan.  If he ever makes jokes about me, they’re totally silly and something that I’m in on (like when he would call me fat in front of people while I was pregnant).

That’s why I don’t want to bring it to his attention.  He’d be hurt if he knew he’d hurt me, and it would only be worse if he was forced to admit to himself and me that there was some truth behind the hurtful comments.

And the best-case scenario would be to discover that I am just overly hormonal today and was taking his comments out of context and blowing them out of proportion.

Cookies and Costumes

November 1, 2008

I just realized I owe you guys some follow-ups.  For one, I did make egg-free chocolate chip cookies for PJ’s school party Thursday.  I was planning to make sugar cookies, but when I didn’t get a cookie cutter in time, I went the easy route.  I used a recipe on the blog that Jessica sent me to the other day (thanks bunches, Jessica!) and was surprised at how normal the cookies tasted.  Some didn’t turn out very well, thanks to a sub-par cookie sheet, but the majority of them were perfect.  M claims that he wouldn’t have known they were egg-free if I hadn’t told him.  Now I’m looking forward to trying a normal recipe of them for us to eat since I have all the ingredients already.

PJ ended up going to his party as a tiger.  I think I’d mentioned that our family had a toddler-sized tiger costume that we each wore, and we were planning to use that one.  Unfortunately it never surfaced, so we found one online.  It fit perfectly, and he loved it.  He still asks to wear it every day.

BabyN went as a pumpkin, as I’m pretty sure I’ve told you.  He was a little less thrilled about his costume, but he got used to it after a while.  He was so adorable in it.

We didn’t do any trick-or-treating or anything, thanks to both of them still feeling a bit under the weather.  Besides, the longer I can delay introducing my kids to candy, the better.  I still put them in the costumes just for pictures, though.  They came out pretty well, even if they weren’t as cute as professional pictures would have been.

So it was a good Halloween, just quiet.  M’s home again, and that’s all I really cared about.

Harder Than I’d Hoped

October 27, 2008

So M left again yesterday afternoon, this time for a long trip.  He won’t be back until late Thursday night.  It was a lot harder to let him go, probably because he just got back from a trip last Thursday night, and this time he’ll be gone much longer than the one night.

Oh, yeah, and we have two sick kids.  BabyN puked everywhere less than an hour after he left.  I got to take his high chair apart, clean it one piece at a time, and reassemble it during his naptime.  Then he screamed for a good part of that naptime, which made it very difficult to do anything.

The dog’s been insane.  Of course.  She can’t leave me alone, probably because she’s lonely–and probably needs to pee.  She won’t go when I take her outside.  Can grief do that to a dog?  Make them too sad to pee when they get the chance?

Then there’s PJ.  He’s recovering from his cold; mostly just the cough is left.  He feels just bad enough still that he spent his entire breakfast time screaming, his second tantrum of the day.  I can’t even begin to count how many he has had since then.  Do you think the cold is affecting his hearing?  Because he WILL NOT listen to me today and then acts horrified when he ends up in time-out for disobeying.

I should probably have compassion for my sick little boy, but I can’t muster any today.  He keeps forcing himself to cough, which obviously makes him feel worse.  And his forced coughs sound like he’s about to hurl.  It grates on my nerves that he won’t listen to anything I’m telling him to do that will help him feel better.  Surely he does want to feel better, right?

The worst part is that I can’t share any of this with M.  He’s super busy at the conference thing, and I can’t just call him on a whim to vent or even share a good story.  It would be even better if we could split up the responsibility of caring for them like we do on the weekends.  It’s tough meeting all their needs all by myself when they are this needy.

And now I’m done venting.  I just needed to get that out of my system.  Maybe now I can readjust my attitude and the rest of the week will go easier.

I Should Start My Christmas Shopping as Early as I Start My Christmas Stressing

October 24, 2008

Now that Halloween is practically upon us, it’s time to start thinking about the bigger holidays looming in our near future.  And I don’t mean shopping for Christmas presents, although I’m sure I need to get a jump start on that before long too.

Last year after carting two kids and their many, many too-large presents nine hours away and back, we decided we weren’t doing that again.  Then we got a dog who travels with us, and the logistics of traveling for Christmas with the kids, dog, and presents became a bit overwhelming.  We decided it was time for our family to start our own family traditions at home.  I knew I’d miss Christmas with my parents, but it just seemed easier.

Talking with my mom the other day, however, I started getting really nostalgic about it.  My entire family will be there for Christmas this year; my small family will be the only ones left out–to spend Christmas at home by ourselves.  And that’s after spending the past two Christmases with M’s family.  I really wished that I had known that last Christmas with my family that it was going to be the last.  I actually broke into tears when my mom and I were talking about this.

I casually mentioned this conversation with M in the evening, not even asking if we could go this year but suggesting that we reconsider it.  His reaction was a bit stronger than I’d expected.  It was a hands-down refusal.

See, you might remember what happened last year at Thanksgiving.  To summarize, several of my family members were rude to M, saying awful things that were meant to be overheard.  Then there was the alcohol incident with PJ, where someone left their drink where PJ could–and did–get to it.  Then my dad chewed us out for letting PJ get to it and blew it off as a non-event instead of getting upset that someone carelessly let a two-year-old get to alcohol.

Life gets a little stressful with that many people packed into one house, and when there are personality conflicts, everyone suffers.  To make matters worse, M doesn’t act quite like I get to see him around my family–or his own, for that matter.  He’s already trying to impress them and is worried they won’t like him, so he tries extra hard to be likeable.  Naturally, that works against him, and people like my little brother don’t like the personality he presents.  It should be obvious to everyone that the M they see isn’t his real personality, but not everyone gives him credit for trying and instead tease him (sometimes not so innocently as teasing either).

In turn, M catches on that they don’t really like him, so he’s even more unable to be himself the next time he sees them, which only perpetuates the cycle.  I know everyone well enough to know that everyone should get along, if everyone was able to be themselves, but that just can’t happen until M feels like he’s able to relax around my family.

That ends up putting me in an awkward position.  M comes to me to vent about something my brother or dad or someone said to him (or around him), and I immediately look for excuses to explain away how awful it sounds.  Then my defense of the family member hurts M’s feelings; it’s like I’m not validating his feelings by attempting to defend my family.  I don’t want to believe my family could truly be that mean, and I don’t want M’s interpretation of events to turn me against my own family.  On the other hand, however, I need to support my husband, especially in situations where he feels particularly vulnerable.

So in theory, staying home for Christmas this year could be beneficial for M’s relationships to my family as well as our marriage.  When I think through it, I can see why M reacted so strongly to even the suggestion that we repeat what happened last Thanksgiving.

Still, later that evening I happen to catch M at the computer looking at hotels in the area around my parents’ house for a few days around Christmas.  He caught on just how much it would mean to me to go to Christmas with my family this year and found a reasonable compromise.  We will get to spend as much time as we want with my family, but when we need some time apart, we have somewhere to go.  Maybe the reduced time in that crowded house will keep a little more peace, will keep the clashing personalities a little farther apart.

Of course, we still have the logistics of traveling with two kids, a dog, and all their Christmas presents.  We may still decide it’s not worth it, but I like knowing that we have options now.  I may get that last Christmas with my family after all.

This and That

October 15, 2008

It seems I’m in a mood to do choppy, bulleted posts today.  Sorry.

–I may have found a solution for the costume dilemma I’ve blogged about far too much already.  I presented the problem to my mom, who has since been thinking about circus costumes I could do for PJ.  She remembered a tiger costume that she made many, many years ago that all four of us kids wore at one point or another.  It is still sitting in her attic and should be approximately the right size for PJ.  It’s probably not the cutest costume in the entire world, but it has sentimental value.  If it’s still wearable, he will wear that.  Then when I mentioned the possiblity of dressing like a tiger for Halloween and showed him some pictures online of tiger costumes, he quickly became obsessed with tigers and tiger pictures.  Even if the costume doesn’t fit, I think we’ll find a way for him to go dressed as a tiger.

When I told M about the sentimental value attached to this costume, he told me about a pumpkin costume he wore as a child that he wished his mom hadn’t gotten rid of.  That gave me the idea to dress BabyN as a pumpkin, even if it’s not the same costume, also for the sentimental value.  I ordered the pumpkin costume online last night.  I don’t care of neither costume is the perfect costume as far as cuteness or originality; they are perfect for totally different reasons this year.  That’s good enough for me.

–Funny story: Yesterday morning I was nursing BabyN in bed, our normal morning routine.  When he finishes eating, he usually sits up next to me while I’m still lying down and plays for a minute before we get up for the morning.  Yesterday when he was finished, he sat up and played, then suddenly decided he wasn’t finished eating after all.  I hadn’t closed up shop yet, so he saw the boob, then leaned over where he was sitting and went at it.  The way he was positioned, he was lying on one leg; his foot was literally under his head.  It looked incredibly uncomfortable, but he looked perfectly happy lying there like a contortionist.  I’m starting to believe he has double-jointed hips.  Even for a flexible baby, that was pretty crazy.

–The stupid dog got out of the yard again this morning.  I let her out by herself for just a minute because she was begging to go out and hadn’t peed yet since getting up, and I was busy with taking care of the boys.  I knew the second I heard the knock on our front door that she had gotten out again.  Sure enough, there was our neighbor with her–again.  Unfortunately, it rained most of the day yesterday.  When she dug out, she was digging through mud.  She was covered with it.  I took her straight to the bathroom and gave her a good bath.  Even afterwards, I noticed she was tracking mud all over the house.  And of course the house smells like wet dog now.  I need to go back and do more cleaning today than I’d normally do in a week.  I love her to death, but I’m so irritated with her right now.  Why does she insist on digging out when it’s obvious how happy she is here?

–This is kind of embarrassing.  Without telling the whole story, basically M and I (mostly me) woke up PJ last night from our “adult activity.”  That was a first.  I know I’ll laugh about it later, in that embarrassed laugh, complete with red cheeks, but for now I’m just hoping and praying he doesn’t remember and doesn’t ask any questions.  Thank goodness for his limited language skills.

Not Even Close

October 1, 2008

So what started as a mild allergy attack around lunch yesterday escalated into a full-blown cold by bedtime.  I’m pretty sure it’s the same cold we’ve been fighting for weeks, and my body finally gave up yesterday.

That means today I’m pretty miserable.  I could barely sleep last night for the sneezing and headache.  I wish I could call in sick and ignore my responsibilities for the day.

See, when M had this, he got three days off as well as a whole weekend to start to recover.  Not that he got the good end of the deal, though.  He got the days off because of the silly hurricane.

Usually when one of us is sick, we passively-aggressively play the “I’m sicker than you” game, even when only one of us is legitimately sick.  Okay, so really I do that.  He might to an extent, but it’s just as likely I think he’s doing that because that’s what I would do.  He has a headache?  Suddenly I do too.  And I’m dizzy.  I’m working on this, but it’s hard to just suck it up and let him be sick.

Anyway, sick as I feel now, I’m going to let him win this round.  It sucks to still have to get up and feed two children while holding a tissue to my nose and praying I don’t sneeze for fear of the sharp pain I get in my head every time I do.  But at least I’m not sick during a hurricane.  I don’t have to feel like this for several days without power and air conditioning, unsure of what we’ll eat for our next meal other than another peanut-butter-and-jelly.  I don’t have to make serious decisions about what is best for my family’s protection while fighting the fuzzy-headedness of a cold.

It’s not going to be easy not to complain too much over the next few days, but I need to show at least a little of the composure he did a few weeks ago when he put up with this without complaining during a hurricane.