Wednesday, May 02, 2007

the minutia, the excrement, and all the driving is going to kill me

It's a rough week to be me, although in the great scheme of things, being me any particular week is not so bad. I live on one of the most beautiful blocks in one of the world's most gorgeous cities; I have more than enough to eat; I get laid on a regular basis. The big picture is lovely, but the small picture is sucky (and smells bad at times).

Monday: one of the working parents was scheduled to drive the frigging softball carpool, but a work issue came up forcing her to cancel. It is the lot, indeed the calling, of the stay-at-home parents of the world to step in and cover for those who have the dual stresses of work and child, so I volunteered to drive the despised softball carpool. So on Monday after driving Lola to her swimming lesson (and just as I was heading out the door, I discovered that one of my foster kittens had taken a giant crap all over Lola's swimming bag, resulting in a rather gross last minute clean-up AND me feeling stressed about getting to swimming on time), I had to make Lola spend an hour in the car for the softball carpool. Lola tried to make conversation with the bigger girls, trying such gambits as "I'm four!" and telling them that she goes to preschool, but they completely ignored her. In retaliation, Lola chose to shriek all the way to softball. Anton, who had completely blown off softball practice all season, had agreed to meet me at practice and relieve me from responsibility for supervising the girls (practice starts over an hour after school lets out, which I personally consider idiotic, but then again our coach is a highly successful hedge fund manager and I but a mere Drunken Housewife). He wanted to make it to at least one of the practices to help out, as the more athletic parents are roped into throwing balls and jogging with the girls and so on. (To date, I have been recruited only to walk girls to the far-away facilities. Evidently when a coach looks at me, he thinks, "She doesn't look like she could throw very good, but damn, I bet she's great at walking to the bathroom"). I was thrilled to see Anton and turn over my carload of first graders, who at that point were gawking lasciviously (children are so advanced these days) at a boy being made to change clothes in a nearby car. However, Lola, already sensitive by being shunned by the big girls, was deeply wounded by the idea that the Sober Husband would be spending time with Iris, not her. So Lola screamed and sobbed all the way home and for the next forty-five minutes, not being distracted by kittens , the prospect of cartoons on television, or even a desperate offer of ice cream. I finally calmed her down by helping her write a letter to Anton about how upset she was, which she illustrated with a picture of a frowning Lola with very big hair.

On Monday night, as on Sunday night, I had hellish insomnia, resulting in me spending much of the night sitting on the couch surfing the internet and reading old Parker novels. Oh, if it were not for Donald Westlake/Richard Stark, my life would be so blighted.

Tuesday: Lola is enrolled in a parent co-op nursery school, which means that a parent (read: me) must work one afternoon for every five afternoons Lola attends. The only day of the week it is difficult for me to fit working at the preschool into my schedule is Tuesday. It's not impossible; it is just highly stressful. I didn't ask for special scheduling accommodations because I know the scheduler has been so over-asked and harangued with accommodation requests that it's very difficult for her to make any schedule at all. Damn, did I regret being so mature and nice when I WAS SCHEDULED TO WORK TUESDAYS EIGHT WEEKS IN A ROW. Eight fucking consecutive weeks. Fuck me sideways. So, as it happens every single fucking Tuesday in a series of eight Tuesdays, I get Lola ready for her preschool gymnastics class, meaning she must hurry through breakfast, get her hair brushed and in a ponytail, and put on a gym suit. I drive her to gymnastics, attempting to arrive on time. Then I'm free to sit in the uncomfortable, filthy bleachers with the other parents, so long as I remember to buy Lola's apple juice and faux fruit snack for after class. This week, a three year-old boy pulled a little girl towards him by the arm and hauled off and bitch-slapped her like a born gangsta (before you condemn your Drunken Housewife as racist, be aware that none of the persons involved were of African American descent). The little girl cried hysterically, and the parents were all abuzz with gossip that the offending child's lesbian parents have adopted an extreme parenting philosophy, believing in home schooling and no discipline whatsoever. Your faithful correspondent tried to insert some compassion in the proceedings, noting that perhaps we, the gossiping parents, were merely lucky to date that we'd given birth to well-behaved little girls, but the other parents were hellbent on finding the little felon's mother to blame (this boy's mother does not choose to mingle with the other parents, instead sitting aside in her oh so cool Asian Film Festival t-shirt and black cargo pants, and hence gets no sympathy from the scorned masses). Also, Lola's beloved gymnastics teacher was out due to a soccer injury, and this caused Lola much concern.

After gym class, Lola always walks very slowly and is interested only in consuming her snack, but she must be hustled home. We had twenty-five minutes to clean our kittens' enclosure, check the runt of the litter for dehydration (and indeed, I needed to give her some subcutaneous fluids before leaving again), get Lola changed into preschool clothes, make Lola's lunch for preschool, make the Drunken Housewife (who had skipped breakfast) a lunch for preschool, make Lola's circletime snack, and get Lola and all our lunches and crap packed into the car. During this time, a kitten had diarrhea while I was holding her, which got into my hair. I had no time to take a shower and had to quickly rinse the fecally contaminated hair in the sink, disgustingly enough. We drove to school, where we must park and hike in a third of a mile. Lola typically takes half an hour to make this walk, choosing to alternate skipping with dawdling and outright balking, but on a workday, I need to be on time and must nag the child steadily down the trail.

So then, after all that rushing and nagging and stress, it was time to supervise a crowd of small children. I got into it with a five year-old boy who refused to eat his sandwich, but other than that, I did all right, despite the fact that I was so dog-tired from insomnia that I could hardly stand upright.

Seeing some friends of hers playing with a little rubber ball after school, Lola became extremely worried that she herself would become mutilated. Her gymnastics coach's injury may have spawned a soccer phobia.

When we got home, it was time to clean the litterboxes and feed the kittens. The Sober Husband expressed unhappiness that a kitten had pissed all over his favorite blanket (a gold comforter given to me by my friend Jewelz when she was purging possessions due to a bad roommate situation, it possesses the magical property of actively repelling cat hair). "What will I use for a blanket?" he complained, feeling that no other existing blanket was adequate as a substitute. I had almost finished a quilt I'd been working on intermittently over a year and a half, so I spent the evening feverishly sewing until quite late. "A cat peed on my blanket, so you made me a new one!" said the husband admiringly.

Wednesday (today, sigh): I woke up to discover cats had had bowel movements of various consistencies at diverse spots along the stairs. God, cats are such filthy creatures. Iris Uber Alles was remarkably rude to her sister, shouting "What the hell are you talking about!" when Lola expressed her concerns about the fallen gymnastics coach, victim of soccer violence.

Forecast for the rest of the week: extreme stress and outlandish amounts of driving children expected. On Thursday, I have to bake cupcakes for the celebration of Iris's birthday at school. Her actual birthday is in the summer, but her class will celebrate it tomorrow, which is fine for everyone except me, who has to bake the frigging treats and perform superhuman feats of driving: drive Lola to preschool, race home & get cupcakes & other crap, drive to Iris's school, celebrate Iris's birthday, drive across town to Lola's school, get Lola, drive back to Iris's school to pick up Iris. On Friday, it's more of the same: my kittens will be making a guest appearance at kindergarten, visiting the new class of Iris's beloved kindergarten teacher. I'll then need to race home, drop off the kittens, and drive Lola to preschool. Later, Iris has a piano lesson and Lola needs to be picked up and brought home. In between all that driving, I'll have to clean up various amounts of excrement. As long as it doesn't get into my hair, I will hopefully maintain a reasonable level of sanity.


hughman said...

god it must be hard having three children (plus the kittehs) to look after.

god bless you but this is one of my "thank god i'm gay" moments for me. at least when polly shits on the carpet (which she oddly does at least once a week) it's always in the same place and dries quickly.

Unknown said...

Honey, I have those "I wish I were gay" moments, except that if I were a lesbian, I could be in this exact same spot (except that it is my understanding that the typical lesbian is a better cook than my husband).

I love my kittens, who are unbearably cute, but their toilet habits are uncertain at this young age. I also love my children, but damn, they can drive a person crazy.

hughman said...

it's all a control thing. you can't control the kitty poop or the kid's whims. as a fellow control freak, i totally feel for you.

Anonymous said...

I would say the usual "Someday you'll look back at all this and laugh" garbage but the truth is, you just look back and say "Thank God I'm past all that" and knock back another margarita. Texzmissy

Trouble said...

I am a drunken working mom, but I am going to give you a piece of advice that will help a lot with Lola...Let her shriek. She has to learn at some point that life doesn't revolve around her, and when you try to appease it and divert her with special things, you simply make it more likely that she will behave that way in the future.

In general, I try to avoid giving parenting advice, because i hate it when people do it to me, but my daughter behaved in similar ways, and you really don't want to go down that road. Srsly.

the Drunken Housewife said...

Absolutely no offense is taken, Trouble, and working moms are fine by me (I hate the SAHM vs. working mother conflicts; where are the fathers in all that? Why doesn't anyone talk about "working fathers"? Let the guilt trips of all flavors flow in a gender-neutral manner). I did let her shriek for about 45 minutes after we got home, while I watered the garden and fed the foster kittens, and then I felt compelled to pay attention & try to stop her being so upset. Writing the letter and having me talk about her feelings got her calmed down.

As a second child myself, I can relate to her feelings over the older child getting to do something special and getting more attention. I am not going to stop the older child from getting to do her activities because the younger one can't, but I can understand the younger child's perspective. But god, the fussing can kill you, and you are right that it shouldn't be overly catered to.