Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It Could Always Be Worse

Last time I wrote I was nervous --nay, I believe I said terrified-- of the long days alone at home with the kids that I was about to experience. Well, as it turns out, I didn't have to worry about that. This last week has turned out a little different than I expected.

Anyone remember the Yiddish folktale It Could Always Be Worse? This guy visits his rabbi to complain about his crazy, overcrowded house and the rabbi tells him to move all his farm animals in with him one by one. In the end he kicks out all the animals and the same house he complained about at the start of the story suddenly seems calm, quiet and peaceful.

If weeks came with titles, I'd be plagiarizing a fable for mine.

My sister came to town to help with the kids, so I thought it would be nice for all of us to swing by my job and check in. They're working on our mid-year program report and I had planned to stop in at the end of the month and assist with reflections on our data anyway. I figured my son could play in the toddler classroom with my sister while I held the baby, glanced over what they'd done so far, and banged out a few e-mails.

Instead, it became very clear how loved and appreciated I am by my coworkers when I was overrun with a million immediate requests for assistance. And as much as I didn't particularly want to put in the time to help rightatthisparticularmomentthankyouverymuch, it's a small program with a lot of new staff and there is no one else who can help them. And they were doing their very best with some very challenging tasks. Upon which our continued funding depends. And I love them all dearly. So. I spent a couple days stopping in at work to help out, toting one or both kids, caring for my children and my colleagues simultaneously, which was sometimes fun, and other times manageable, and still others one very small step shy of feeling as if my brain was about to burst into bits and explode all over the walls from the constant and contradictory needs approaching me from every direction and at every. single. moment.

Then I spent an early morning googling projectile spit-up in infants and urinary tract infections in toddlers. And a midmorning --in just above single digit temperatures-- pulling the windshield wiper blade off the passenger side of my car, where the windshield wiper doesn't work, and putting it onto the driver's side, which works, but the wiper blade decided to do a kamikaze leap from the car to the road last time I drove. And these kids need to get to the doctor and it's snowing. And an early afternoon dragging both children down a snowy street in a stroller not designed for blizzard treks on unshoveled sidewalks where I forgot to even ask the doctor about the projectile spitter-upper because holding a screaming toddler while he is catheterized after failing to pee in a cup on command is far too traumatic an experience to leave room in the brain for projectile vomiting. And a late afternoon waiting for the drive thru pharmacy to finish my son's goddamn prescription already, please, and we'd better go ahead and fill that one for the blocked tear duct that I've been carrying around in my purse while we're at it, because suddenly it looks like my daughter's eye is getting worse after all. I see this through my own tears because we're both sobbing but she's shedding more slime than tears from one eye. (She cries when the car sits still too long; I cry when my children have medical procedures that seem more like torture than treatment, and although it was necessary, it was quite possibly the worst thing I've ever experienced, and I say that without any hint of hyperbole. It really fucking was.)

And then my husband was home for the weekend, and my sister had to leave town, and groceries were purchased, and weekly menus planned, and weekend chores tended to, and my mom drove into town, and --look!-- it's the end of the month already and now it's that time I was originally planning to go into work to help write the reflections for that report, so I was back at work, baby at my breast while typing one handed at my desk, and holding meetings where she's passed around the conference table to give my sore upper back a break and my hands a quick chance to jot down the million and one things I don't want to forget. And I'm still not entirely done with this seemingly ever-expanding task I agreed to, but I'm hoping my husband can download the program I need to access our database from home to finish up, because my mom leaves tomorrow and suddenly:

The life I feared would overwhelm me a week ago? The long days alone at home with my two kids? How calm, quiet, and peaceful it sounds now. If I could manage all this chaos with the help of my (admittedly very helpful) sister and mother, I think I'll be able to manage the three of us at home with nothing to do and nowhere to go.

I will finish that report late at night when the rest of the house is asleep. It's due at the end of the month. My children will be finished with their various prescriptions by that time. I can't tell you how glad I'll be when the last of these damn farm animals is gone.


  1. I don't know where the moniker LazyBones comes from, but you sound far from lazy! I'm awed just by the fact that are you are able to write the posts you have in the first month. Then I'm awed that you are able to care for two at once (which I'm still struggling with) and do household projects (which I'd love to do, but don't have the hands available). And then work too? Wow.

  2. Normally I am pretty lazy, but I seem to be quite manic lately. And I have had a lot of help. Until just the other day, I haven't been alone at all since the baby was born. My husband was home for a month, then my sister came to town for a week, and then my mom came to town. My mom was also here 2 other times and brought another sister once, so I've had people cooking for us and helping with laundry and both kids. But I am surprising myself with my get up and go lately, especially for someone who is usually a couch potato!