A Place of One's Own
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?)