Monday, July 26, 2010

Ode to a Crappy Day

What a weird day.

This is one of those days where I want to say it was awful, but I kind of...can't. Because when you compare it to lesser days in lesser phases in my life, or (God forbid) to the days of people with real problems, it was actually a glorious day.

I guess we'll just say that today did not go as planned.

A few months ago, when I was still in school and hating life, I distinctly remember leaving the house once or twice a week and leaving Charlotte with Chris, so that I could go write. Usually, that meant blogging, so I updated this site much more frequently. I really enjoyed my time by myself, slurping my iced coffee, pecking away at my keyboard, and coming home feeling accomplished. I also found that I liked what I wrote better when I did it this way, as opposed to trying to bang out a blog post after a day of toddler-wrangling, when said toddler was finally in bed for the night.

For whatever reason, during the last few months, my laptop and I have not hit the coffee shop scene quite as often as I'd like (or, ever). So, today, due to the slow-down plan, I had no prior engagements, and Chris was ready and willing to take care of Charlotte so I could go out. I was so excited!

Those plans were completely derailed by a certain 16-month-old, who by the end of the day, was being referred to as "The Beast."

It isn't her fault, really. She hasn't been feeling well. Originally we thought a cold, but now we think The Worst Case of Teething Ever, complete with a runny nose and runny poop. She hasn't been sleeping well. In fact, I went to check the fan in her room a few minutes after I had nursed her back to sleep in the middle of the night(Yes, I'm supposed to be weaning. Don't ask.) and she was sitting up in her crib. Just sitting there. In the dark. Being creepy. As soon as she saw me, she was all like "Hi!", along with some baby babbling, and I knew it was going to be a rough morning.

The plan was that after she went down for a nap, Chris would also nap (he had gotten up with her this morning. Another reason, I can't technically *complain*), and I would leave. Well, she never napped. Chris ALWAYS puts her down for naps because he's freakishly good at it and so I don't end up nursing her, and he tried repeatedly throughout the day. She screamed and screamed. In desperation, I offered to nurse her. She declined.

Because of the sleep-deprivation and generally not feeling well, Charlotte was also a huge pain in the ass today. Throwing tantrums because she wanted to put her shoes on herself, but couldn't. Tantrums because I tried to help her put on her shoes (BECAUSE SHE ASKED ME TO!) Tantrums because I blinked or moved or breathed in a way that was obviously offensive to her.

I couldn't leave Chris in the trenches like this for the comforts of a Starbucks with its glorious iced coffee, plentiful wall outlets, and crumbly pastries. Oh, how I wanted to...but, no. That would have been wrong.

So, I stayed, and we toughed it out together. Riding through the storm and enjoying the calms of laughing and book reading, while always anticipating the next torrent of screaming, jerking backwards, and some hitting. Okay, I think I've taken this storm metaphor far enough.

I'm really not complaining, though it may seem like it. Not that I don't have a right to complain. I don't like the idea that because we are more fortunate than others may be, we aren't allowed to bitch and moan once in a while. But, I do believe in keeping things in perspective.

I'm sitting here in my apartment, which I love. So, even though it's trashed right now, I'm happy to be here. There are books and shoes and sand and food crumbs and toys all over the place. The kitchen is a mess, but it's because I was able to cook three nutritious meals for my family, both because my husband is able to provide for us and because he is home during the day to help me with Charlotte so I can cook while they play with the cups and plates on the counter.

I have blankets and pillows all over the floor because Charlotte and I watched some weird Swedish penguin show on T.V. while we rested, and I got to hear her little chuckle every time he did something funny. I feel guilty about the screen time, but tomorrow is a new day.

I didn't get to escape to write, but she's finally asleep, and I'm able to get it done now (though, she did already wake once since I put her to bed). The day didn't go the way I thought it would, and it was frustrating at times, but I won't call it a bad day.

Now, if Charlotte wakes up again, I might have to amend that.


  1. What is with Charlotte and Audrey always being on the same page?

    Audrey screamed from the time I told her not to drop food on the floor at dinner until 45 minutes past bed time. I have no. idea. why.

    I think those two have a secret long distance pact.

    Also, this made me laugh so hard I spit out my hot chocolate: "Tantrums because I blinked or moved or breathed in a way that was obviously offensive to her." HA!

    But I totally agree with your overall point. As much as Audrey pushes me to my limits every day, I do think she is just about the most wonderful thing ever and I am thankful I have her. (Even when she cry's out the name of her day home lady instead of Mommy. I just wasn't cutting it tonight.)

  2. Dude.
    Charlotte and Munchkin have so much in common! I'm sure if we weren't a gazillion miles apart they would totally be BFFs.

  3. You win the Good Mom Award of the week...or maybe the Good Partner Award? We were in a similar situation (I needed to write, E was melting down) and...I left. I should have stayed, I know, because it would have been easier on everyone, but I had already missed a deadline, so. Out the door went the mama.

  4. Kathleen-

    That acreaming for no reason thing is the worst! She is KILLING me lately.

    We need to figure out how these two are communicating and stop them from their evil plotting. :)


    That makes me sad. All of Lotte's friends are moving away or where left behind in our move. I know she's really too young to have "friends", but you know what I mean.

    I know you guys just got their and J has an awesome job and you have an awesome house, but don't you really want to come back to CA? ;)

  5. Perpetua-

    You're writing your dissertation! I'm writing a BLOG. I totally would have left if I were you, too!

    Not that what I do isn't important to me, and I hope to have actual deadlines and people waiting on chapters in the future, but as of right now, I can afford to out it off a day. You couldn't. :)

  6. Oh, Jackson does that sitting in the middle of the crib being creepy thing. Always freaks his daddy out. :-)
    I love the outlook you're sharing here by the way--it can be exhausting to parent the beasts (love that!), but sometimes frustration and bad aren't the same thing.

  7. I need to proofread better. Especially with my comments, apparently.

  8. If it can make you feel better, the screaming for no reason gets much, much less frequent as the mastery of language increases. They still scream, but they (usually) tell you why.

    On the other hand, the stubbornness, the testing and the utter refusal to "obey" increase. So do the need for "time-outs" or "punishment" or whatever parenting trick you believe in (you just cannot let your child hit the neighbors' kid, can you?)... So it's a trade-off. But changing the problem can make it feel better for a short time!

  9. Sophie-

    It's good to hear that an increase in vocabulary might offer a reprieve from the inexplicable screaming. I had always hoped so. Something to look forward to!

    I've been around a lot of kids in my day, and I have to say, I can almost guarantee that Charlotte is going to be as difficult as they come at any given stage. But, she's also mind-blowingly awesome in so many ways. So, I suppose we'll all survive. :)