Thursday, April 28, 2005

A Place of One's Own

I hate to admit my shortcomings, but I have to start by saying that I never read Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own. But the title of that book appeals to me as an introvert, as a hermit, as a girl with a messy house because of the slobs kids who live with me. I crave solitude, some days more than others.

Babygirl is suffering from another cold, which means that I am also suffering from her cold. Futhermore, she's insufferable and determined to skip her nap each afternoon. The other day, I gave up and by 5:00 p.m., she was shrieking and kicking in her crib, throwing the Mother of All Fits. Impressive, yet . . . annoying.

I had to outlast her today. I put DaycareKid to bed at 1:00 p.m. Then, at 1:30 p.m., I rocked CuteBaby to sleep. I allowed Babygirl to watch "one more show," until 2:00 p.m., and then I used the remote control and clicked off the television and said in a cheery voice, "Time for night-night!"

"No night-night," she said as she slid off the bed and went to push the power button on the set. I aimed the remote and clicked it off again. I picked her up and deposited her back on the bed. She began to cry.

Ever resolute, she climbed down again and pointed her finger at the power button. I scooped her up and dropped her back into bed.

The soundtrack I like to call "Toddler Mahem" (aka screaming, crying without tears, shrieking) accompanied this dramatic mother-daughter struggle. She hollered, screamed, chanted. At one point, she turned around so she could kick me as I laid with my back to her, feigning sleep. As if I could sleep through the racket. She did not enjoy my immobilizing her ankles.

In the midst of this, I telephoned my husband, just so I could say, "Hey, I wanted to share the joy of motherhood," while holding the phone to my tantrum-throwing girl, but he was at the post office and said, "I'll call you back." Now, what fun is that? When he called back, I let the answering machine pick it up because I was busy ignoring the pitiful cries of my only daughter.

At one point, she begged to go to her brother's bed. I counted on my fingers, silently, one, two, three, four, five, then said aloud, "NO!" I did this about ten times in a row. We had quite a rhythm going for awhile, but it sure added to her fury. So I shut up and drowned out her distressing cries by promising myself grand promises: The second my husband comes home, I'm going to go . . . but I couldn't think of where I would go. Where could I go? I began to fantasize about a place where moms could go, a living room where you could get a Diet Coke with Lime and read a People magazine without anyone interrupting or getting snot on your clothes. A neighborhood Moms Only clubhouse where kids weren't allowed and husband dared not enter. A place where nobody knows your name--"Mom!"

And then it hit me. What I really want is an apartment of my own. Not just a room, but an entire apartment . . . a place where the carpets would stay clean, where the bathroom counters would never be smeared with toothpaste and the toilet rims wouldn't be peppered with pee. I don't need a big apartment, either. A one-bedroom would be fine, as long as the bathroom has a gigantic tub with jacuzzi jets. (Hey, I'm dreaming--I can have a big fancy tub if I want.) I want a place where I don't have to constantly clean up messes I didn't make, a place where the fridge holds premium ice cream and fresh lemons, a place where the remote control doesn't disappear every single day.

After thirty-five minutes, Babygirl stopped screaming. I gingerly stepped out of the room and heard CuteBaby's angry screams. His short nap had ended and he was indignant to find himself alone. Luckily, he's a sweet, easy-to-please baby, so a bottle cured all that ailed him and he happily rolled on the floor while I watched "Dr. Phil."

Soon my three boys returned, one of their friends came over, Babygirl and DaycareKid woke up and the pace picked up. As usual.

But I kept my promise. When my husband arrived home (at 6:30 p.m.)--incidentally, while I was vacuuming--I said, "I'm leaving." I realized I'd been the one to handle bedtimes for a solid week--he's been gone for one reason or another every night--so I grabbed my keys without regard to my frightening hair and make-up-less face and practically sprinted out my front door.

I had premium ice cream (Cold Stone Creamery Rocky Road), wandered the bookstore, picked up sixty-four dollars worth of stuff at Target and returned home in time to watch "Survivor." Only one more day until the weekend comes.

Unfortunately, my husband has an obligation all day Saturday and Sunday is church meeting day. But one day, I'll have a place of my own. (I wonder if they'll allow pets in the nursing home?)

14 Comments:

Blogger Catharine said...

We'll find you a place that takes pets... and cleans up after them. And changes your sheets every day, and does your laundry, and brings your meals to your room so you can watch t.v. while you eat (and you and you alone control the remote), and the rest of the time, they leave you alone. So you can read. Might I recommend Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own? :)

~CA~

12:28 AM  
Blogger Trish said...

Oh, I've had those apartment of my own fantasies, too! Mine would have a comfy couch, all my favorite DVDs & CDs, a laptop, a soft, warm blanket and no telephone.

The no spouse/no kids part would be a given.

3:49 AM  
Blogger WordsRock said...

I'd chime in here, Mel, but you already know what I'd say. :)

Nice dream, though.
Nice post, too.

Suzanne

4:53 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Aaaahhh.... you've sent me to dreamland too :-)

7:33 AM  
Blogger Crankenpants said...

You remind me of my mom with the all the kid craziness. :) I'll second the no telephone I hate answering it.

8:37 AM  
Blogger Judy said...

I have all that.

I'm still not happy.

Now I have to admit to the simple fact that the mess in my cozy little loft over the garage is mine. There is no one to blame.

That's what I need to find...someone to blame...

8:42 AM  
Blogger mrsd said...

No, cause in the resthome, your semi private room will be shared with a slob who throws her Kleenex on your side of the room... ;)

9:25 AM  
Blogger Jan said...

I also am a hermitic introvert and so relate to your need for time to regroup. I have 5 sons, 4 still at home, ranging in age from 8-17. Oy vey! The noise, the mess-yes, the toilet seat and surrounding area covered with pee, the fighting, the drama. I'm there with ya babe. Don't forget to breathe.

1:55 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Yes, I can well imagine that an apartment for one might look appealing at times. It might happen some day, and, of course, you will look back with fondness to these, the good old days. Me? I'm rather enjoying the quiet life, at least when the house isn't, well, isn't all over the house due to renovations and renovators.

Days pass, seasons unfold, April's winds give ways to the halcyon days of May.

11:16 PM  
Blogger Angi said...

YOu're remote disappears daily? Ours does it every hour! lol.

If the freezer in your "get away" has an unending supply of ice cream, can I buy into the timeshare with you? Ocean front would be nice too, with no worries of hurricanes or rain...ohh, and books, lots and lots of books...

6:45 AM  
Blogger Christi said...

If only you lived nearby! We could split an apartment! I have a couch and some furniture in storage that I don't need right now. My husband works nights, so I can't leave when you can. I'd go in the mornings, you at night. It would be simply delightful! One day, perhaps....

9:15 AM  
Blogger Thia said...

I have a mental room. Seriously, it is at the top of the house, one wall of windows, comfy places to nap or read...a hot plate to make tea....etc etc. Sometimes I go there when I am drifting off to sleep. It actually came about when I was planning for labor, but labor was too short for it. (no problems with that), but I have been unable to let the dream go. Sigh.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Cara said...

Geez, can I ever relate to you! Even though my kids are ages 9 and 12 there is always a daily drama around here with either one or both of the kids. When the kids were young like Babygirl, I can totally remember waiting at the door with keys in my hand and bolting as soon as hubby walked in! Then, I'd call him from my cell phone to fill him in on anything that he may need to know! LOL Those were the days!

11:52 AM  
Blogger Tracy said...

Mel, I'll split a timeshare with you!!! LOL. As for the remote...do what I do...I have my own..an all-in-one...it's hidden. I am the only one who knows where that thing is :-) It makes it hard for them to change the channel when I am watching Trading Spaces and I have to get up for a moment to take care of disaster #53498346978 of the day.

10:28 PM  

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