Thursday, January 27, 2011

Terrible, no-good, very bad day

Yesterday was a not-so-good day.  A really not-so-good day, that actually started the day before yesterday when my almost 7-month-old Lucy soaked me in throw up down to the skin not once, but twice.  She was not happy, and neither was I.  By the way--I promise this blog is not going to devolve into a bodily fluid theme despite recent posts... .

Instead of turning my frown upside down, I was pretty determined to keep a bad mood going.  Needless to say, frowny-faced moms are not usually nice.  They tend toward the cranky, barky way of interacting.  At least this frowny-faced mom does.

Oh, I had my reasons for crankiness.  A cranky sick baby meant that I got nothing done.  My mental to-do lists, both the realistic/fundamental one (laundry! cooking! tidying! helping kids!) and the in-my-dreams/frippery one (decorate my bare mantel! make something fun with my fabric stash! buy a new sofa!)lay there, undone and pouting at my neglect.

Interestingly, I normally think I get nothing done, but today I realized that compared to a day like yesterday when I had a baby who wanted to be fed or rocked every minute, I normally accomplish a surprising amount.      Once I made that realization, I was ready for this learning experience to be over.  And it wasn't, so I got even more grumpy.

After that, I was looking for reasons to be grumpy, and I sure found them.  Lukas, 6, stayed home from school because he was too sick, but he seemed well enough to tease his younger brother (funny how that works).  An early release day brought everyone home to tear through the kitchen like hungry locusts, leaving a trail of peanut butter smears, crumbs and dirty dishes in their wake and on to scrap over TV and computer time.  I only had time for the shower part of getting ready, so let's just say that I've had better dressed and groomed days in my life.  I ate the rest of a bag of m&m's intended to help/bribe Sawyer to be potty-trained.  The house was a disaster, I didn't have the foggiest what to make for dinner and my husband accidentally left his keys at the office, so he needed me to pick him up at the park'n'ride at the last minute.

By the time I got in the car, my mind was filled with more existential questions: What am I doing with six children when I can't even seem to keep myself together? Will ever be able to finish a worthwhile project again? Can I maintain a sense of self if I don't do the things that make me, me?  Are my kids going to grow up to become self-centered slobs who plague their spouses or become criminals and everyone will blame me for all of it?

Me, overdramatic?

Maybe a little.

But you know what?

My problems may overwhelm me some days, but most of them aren't permanent or life-shattering.  I know so many people whose challenges are much more acute (and whose attitudes are much better than mine, to be honest).  I have people that love me who want to help if I ask for it before I get so cranky that I am barking at them.  Even more, I have a God who wants to help and soothe me if I lay down my pride and ask Him.

On that note, I read a great quote today by Carl Bloch, a 19th Century Danish painter.  He is most famous for his depictions of Christ.  He said: "When things are at their worst they then become their absolute best.  Grey skies and rain splashing are a part of (life)--one must be washed off thoroughly before one goes in to God."

The joy and the hardship are a part of life.  I guess the trick is to learn to play in the rain.  I'm still working on that...

P.S.  Here is a reason to be happy, albeit a shallow one: I love bum flaps on baby PJ's.  Here is a picture of Lucy's Petit Bateau (thrift store bought) PJ's that I took last night when I had shaken off my bad mood.  Sigh.  How can life be bad when there's a bum like that hanging around :)?

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Friday, January 21, 2011

Be very afraid

Warning: the following post contains subtle references/innuendo about excrement, so if you are squeamish or live in a fairy world where you don't have to deal with such realities, you may want to pass on this one.

This morning, I was was wasting time on the computer doing housework, when I noticed this pile of orange peels:

They were fresh, and they were all eaten by one person:

That is a heckuva lot of oranges for a three year old's system.  Especially one whose mom is still changing his diapers.   

I am afraid to see what the next day will bring, if you know what I mean... 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Decorators and Marriage Therapists afterthought

This bit from Jim Gaffigan's King Baby (transcript below) is hilarious:


I have a nice bed.
00:21:56I don't believe in making the bed though.
00:21:58My wife is always like, "why don't you ever make the bed? " For the same reason I don't tie my shoes after I take them off.
00:22:05It doesn't make sense.
00:22:08You know?
00:22:08We're not putting this thing in storage.
00:22:13I'm hoping to come back in a couple of hours and I would like it open, 'cause when our bed is made it's covered in 40 pillows like we're stockpiling ammo for the global pillow fight.
00:22:28I ask my wife, I'm like, "what's the deal with all the pillows?" " how often are you giving a tour of our bedroom?"
00:22:36And has anyone ever been impressed by pillows?
00:22:39Like someone's gonna leave your bedroom, "i didn't know they were doing that well.
00:22:46They got like 40, 50 pillows on that bed."

Perhaps my husband is right. I need a pillow intervention :)...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I dressed myself today...

This is a day when my three-year-old insisted on dressing himself.  

I would have probably been more concerned about it if I hadn't been at the DMV waiting for my 15 and 1/2-year-old to take his exam to get his driver's permit.  Eeek.  

Pretty soon three-year-olds will learn to put their velcro shoes on the right feet, and then they will outgrow velcro altogether.  

Then they will be getting their driver's permit and reminding you by their much taller-than-you presence that they are going to be leaving and making their own way in the world sooner than you would like to think.  

Of course, I want my children to grow up and become independent and I can't wait to hear about their adventures, but I already miss them just thinking about it.  

  So the truth is, I find badly fastened toggle coats and shoes on the wrong feet oddly comforting.  At least with my three-year-old, I have a few years left...  

Friday, January 7, 2011

Decorators and Marriage Therapists

"True love is not so much a matter of romance as it is a matter of anxious concern for the well-being of one's companion." 

I have done something for my marriage lately that I am actually proud of.  I don't know about you, but I find that marriage is sometimes equal parts connection/love/peace/fun and dismal realization of your own imperfections.  I don't like the second half of that equation.

Anyway, I have been amassing pillows for about a year at the Goodwill and Deseret Industries in order to make my master bed a thing of wonder and beauty.  As all good decorators would tell me, pillows are an inexpensive way to bring color and texture to your bed.  Finally, I had a glorious concoction of pillows that would have pleased most decorators, even the most spendthrift (the accent pillows in front cost a total of $8--less than $2 a piece at thrift stores).  My heart would leap with pride and satisfaction whenever I walked in and saw my beautiful, thrifty bed.

Isn't she lovely.  Ah, yes.

However, about a month ago, my husband said something that caught my attention.  He said: "I hate having all these pillows on the bed."  In all fairness, he had said this before, but I had not really paid him much attention. I had sort of listened the way you listen to a two-year-old's temper tantrum "Yes, I know you want an ice cream cone for breakfast, sweetie..."  Anyway, for some reason, that day was a day I actually listened to him and asked some probing questions.  Does he hate having to throw them on the floor at night?  Hate having to feel like he has to make the bed with them in the morning?  Hate having them in his way when he wants to take an after-work catnap (don't worry, his catnaps aren't as frequent as Will Ferrell's George Bush).  Hate the way they look?  It boiled down to the fact that they get in his way and that his heart does not give the same sort of leap when he sees them.  In fact, in sounded more like his heart would sink when he thought of dealing with the unwanted pillows every day.

Now, the selfish part of me thought, "Eee gads man, get some taste.  Of course the pillows stay."  But then I realized that he wasn't asking me to give up the pillows on my side of the bed.  He just didn't want to have to deal with something that didn't bring him joy or satisfaction.  Really, that seems pretty fair and reasonable.

So, this is what our bed looks like now:

You know, I really thought it would bother me every time I walked in my room to see my hideous Two-Face bed.  But surprise of surprises--it doesn't bother me a bit.  My heart leaps when I see my pretty pillows, and when I see my husband's plain, ascetic side, my heart leaps when I think of him :).  

I am sure that we are not going to win any decorator's awards, but not having to go to a marriage therapy because of $8 worth of pillows: priceless.