2. Sometimes, especially when sick or pregnant, I feel like energy is a measurable, quantifiable thing; like fuel in the tank of a car. There is no "digging deep" and "grinning and bearing it" when you're sick or pregnant - when you run out of energy, you're out. So if the kids are extra obnoxious and you have to expel extra energy to keep them from killing themselves? Sucks to be the dishes. If you were merely sleep deprived, had merely worked a 24-hour shift, you could suck it up, crank it out, git-r-done, but there is nothing like the complete and total exhaustion of being sick or pregnant to ensure that your husband comes home to a disaster of a house with children who haven't left their pajamas all day.
3. At first being stuck at home with the flu wasn't so bad - Matt was home and it was that cozy "misery loves company" feeling, when everyone goes to bed early together, we nap when the kids nap, and justify special treats at the grocery store when we venture out to make medicine-vitamin C-tea-Kleenex runs. But after a week of slumming it in pajamas, having eggs for dinner so we don't really have to cook, and watching wwwaaayyy to many movies, it goes from fun to depressing. Matt got over the flu the fastest, so as soon as I was okay enough, he went back to work, and which means I had to go back to work. But you know how working sick is: nothing gets your full attention, nothing gets your best effort. The house is a mess, no one is getting a bath or taking a shower, I can't remember if I even brushed my hair that morning, and I don't have the energy to fold laundry, let alone take a walk in the brisk air outside. I started feeling frustrated and depressed and I reverted back to my maladaptive habit of eating when I felt stressed. Combined with the complete lack of exercise, I gained a few pounds - and I was only a few pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight, which was even more depressing! At
4. I'm feeling better enough that I decided to actually get dressed today (meaning jeans instead of sweat pants), opted to put on a little mascara so I might feel pretty, and we're going to take at least a brief stroll outside. Just long enough for me to get fresh air and Abigail to burn a little energy. The local middle school in our community opens its doors in the evening for people to walk laps, so Matt and I are going to take the stroller and the kids and do a little leg-stretching after dinner. Staying active when you're:
1. A stay-at-home mom
2. Of really young kids (as in, the oldest is three)
3. During winter in the midwest
4. When your husband takes the only car to work everyday
is really, really, really hard.
This weekend I'm going to make a list of things I can do to stay active despite all the above qualifiers so that I can reference it throughout the cold, lonely winter and hopefully stave off depression.
5. A few weeks ago, Abigail went to a birthday party for a friend from school. I was ridiculously excited about it. It was a Frozen themed party, and although it ran directly over nap time, I thought Abigail would have a ball. She got the invitation well before the party, and when I met the to-be birthday girl at the school Halloween party, I felt my excitement noticeably diminish. (Don't worry, no one from school knows me or knows that I have a blog). Abigail is a very energetic, touchy-feely kind of playmate and this girl? Well, she struck me as the quintessential only-child princess type. I don't even know how to feel about how the party went down. It had its good moments and it had its bad moments. There were four kids (including Abigail) from preschool and the birthday girl and one of the other kids have no obvious reason for being in a special education classroom. Whatever their special need, it isn't socially observable.
For starters, I did discover where Abigail learned to shove other kids to engage in play. Two boys from school would pretend to have been shot, stabbed, or otherwise killed and dramatically fall over to the ground in an extended death scene when Abigail pushed them. Abigail finds this reaction hilarious, and continues to shove them and everyone around her, even when the boys get tired of the game. And so here we have a throng of mostly typically developing kids all sugared up on cookies and cake running around a church basement to the sound track of Frozen. And in the middle is little Abigail, still the shortest and skinniest one of the bunch, pushing the other kids as they near her and laughing hysterically about it. Some kids didn't notice her or didn't care, but inevitably some of the kids did notice and didn't like it and proceeded to shout above the noise of music and yelling kids to demand justice. And so every 60-90 seconds, I'm darting in and out of the mess, making Abigail apologize, pulling her to the side to de-stimulate her a bit, and yanking the party favors, party games, cake - all of which are on a table at kid height! - out of her hands and restore them to their proper place. My second-favorite moment is when Abigail hit "stop" on the radio (who leaves a radio on the floor at a party for a four-year-old?!) and the entire party froze like a giant game of "red light, green light" and looked around to see why the music stopped. I stood up in front of a crowd of complete strangers (I didn't know anyone at the party), walked to the front, pulled Abigail aside, and hit the "play" button.
My favorite moment? My top "best moment of the night"? So all the kids are getting in a big circle to play a party game, the adults are trying to shush everyone so they can explain the rules, and Abigail, little Abigail in her polka dot skirt with pink hair bow, walks right up to the birthday girl and pulls her hair.
I'm not justifying the pull - it was mean and inappropriate. But the birthday girl, in true princess form, started screaming and sobbing like pulling the hair set off the fire alarm. I saw the whole thing go down, I instantly yanked Abigail away, made her apologize, apologized myself, smoothed the girl's hair back down, and we slunk away to sit quietly in the circle. Holy shit, people. If you ever want to feel like the tiniest person in the world, just try explaining to the birthday girl's grandparents that your daughter made their precious, special, vulnerable little birthday girl cry. And of course, it's not like I can just explain it once and try to forget it. No, the humiliation continues as the mom, dad, aunt, random other adult, comes over one-at-a-time, everyone clamoring for an answer and no one listening.
"Wait, who's crying?"
I'm sorry, Abigail pulled [her] hair.
"Why is someone crying?"
I'm so sorry, Abigail pulled her hair.
"Oh my gosh, it's the birthday girl!"
I'm really sorry, Abigail pulled her hair.
"Why is the birthday girl crying?!"
I'm really very sorry, Abigail pulled her hair.
"Who made the birthday girl cry?!"ABIGAIL PULLED HER HAIR. I'M VERY, TERRIBLY SORRY.
And then there is this awkwardness as everyone tries to transition back to the party. Should I make Abigail sit the game out? I mean, she pulled her hair, she didn't kill her kitten, it's not like we should have to leave the party. Everyone is staring at us, but looking away when I make eye-contact. We all know it wasn't a big deal, but come on, my kid made the birthday girl cry. It's like they wanted some kind of justice on behalf of the little princess who was still wiping away tears and shooting Abigail evil glares.
In the end, I let Abigail play the game - musical chairs, but with snowflakes - and she went out after the first round. Justice served.
6. I found a bottle of hot pink hair dye at Meijer on clearance for $2 (washes out in 2-3 showers), so I bought it because I always wanted to dye my hair hot pink.
And I decided I would dye Abigail's and my hair and I would do it over Thanksgiving. Why? So that when we walked into a party, the biggest thing that made Abigail different from everyone else was her hair color. So there.
Word to the wise? If you wait to dye your hair hot pink and paint your nails black sparkly until there are grandchildren involved, your uber-conservative in-laws can't reject you.
7. I am a huge fan of year-round schooling and I long ago decided that even if our kids go to public or private school, I will be homeschooling them during the summer. We can work on subjects with which they struggled during the year, subjects the school doesn't offer (especially religion classes if they go to public school), and, of course, English lit (because no matter how awesome the books they read, I promise it won't be good enough for this English lit major). I'd love to start with Abigail this summer. Mostly because she loves school and loves learning, but also because it'll give us something to keep us busy during the long summer days. I know it's way early and she's still going to learn a ton by the summer, but I was peaking in the preschool workbooks they sell at bookstores and grocery stores and getting myself all excited. I also envision buying or putting together some sort of religious lessons, at least get her to say or sign "Jesus" and "Church," something along those lines.
I think a little preschool summer school will also be a good way for me to test the waters a bit to see if I think I'm capable of doing Abigail justice if we go the homeschool route for Kindergarten.
Bonus 8. As I'm writing this, I hear Abigail dump a box of crackers in the kitchen. Then I overhear: "Oh no...it's okay. Let it go."
She's come so far, eating yogurt (her favorite food) so nicely with a spoon.
You can tell this picture is a few weeks old because I don't wear children when I have the flu.
You can never have too many hair bows when you have two girls with epic hair.