Sunday, October 24, 2010

You can't make this stuff up

So, today. Today has been, well, much like living inside a sitcom. I keep waiting for the canned laughter, but so far it's just me laughing. And sometimes Silas, though usually at his own expense. Let me start at the beginning...

A couple of weeks ago I had a horrible toothache, and long story short was on Clindamycin for 10 days for an abscessed tooth. I took my last dose Friday. This morning I woke up, stumbled into the bathroom, turned on the light, and realized I was covered head to toe in a rash. Guess I'm allergic to Clindamycin, then. I was going to wear a skirt to church but decided instead on pants and a long sleeved shirt to cover as much as I could.

Our plan was to get to church a bit early, Si and I were supposed to teach Sunday School and we needed to make copies of some coloring sheets. Of course we didn't leave in time to be a 'bit early', we have problems making it to church on time so I don't know why we thought we could get there early. We get out to the garage, strap the kids in the car, and then Si looks at me expectantly. "Do you have the keys?" "No, you said you had them." Does anything good ever follow a conversation like this? I mean, unless someone looks down and realizes they've had them the whole time, but how often does that happen?

Silas swears he had them in his hand, but figures he set them down inside, so he goes back to the basement door to look. We have an electric keyless entry lock on the door down there because we've locked ourselves out of the house...a lot. The problem with this lock is that the door down there is old, and it has to match up perfectly with the hole for the lock or it decides it doesn't want to work. Add to that the fact that it rained last night and the door is swollen. Guess what? It didn't work. It. did. not. work. Si tried. I tried. Several times. Nothing. So, Silas says, "stand back", grabs a brick from the flower garden, and breaks the window. The keys were on the stairs. Finally we're off to church.

When we got to church we told the kids we had to make some copies before we could go and sit down. This is where Alison gives us a speech telling us that hearing the word of God is more important than making copies. Who is this kid? Where did she come from? Because Alison is such a devout Lutheran we let her go into the sanctuary by herself and sit in a pew to listen while the rest of us heathens made copies in the office.

When we were done with the copies we joined Ali in church. Just as I was sitting down the choir started to sing. I'm in choir. I was not singing. I totally forgot. The chances that no one in choir saw me were pretty much nil since I had just walked into church from the front and then walked across the aisle in front of everyone to sit with Alison. Then there is the fact that when they called for the children's sermon Si and I sent the kids up and then got up ourselves to once again walk across church to wait for the Sunday school kids off to the side.

Did I mention before that we weren't completely sure which lesson we were supposed to be teaching? Because we weren't. There was no teaching schedule with our materials and being the procrastinator that I am I didn't even open up the books and look until last night. We made our best guess and felt pretty confident about it, but just in case asked another teacher which lesson she was teaching. Guess what? Not the lesson we had prepared for or made copies for. Why would it be? That would not be in keeping with our morning.

I told Si I would take the kids over to the classroom and he should make new copies and bring them over. Sunday School actually went all right. No kids cried, although no one really talked either. I read them the story, had them color the pictures, but when I asked questions all I got was a bunch of stares back at me or at the table. Except for Oliver...he was the most talkative one. I'm sure it helped that his mom as the teacher. All I kept thinking was "how does anyone teach preschool?" I missed Alison and the first and second graders. I rue the day I volunteered to teach the pre-K and Kindergartners.

After church we had just enough time to make Alison a snack before she had to leave for hockey practice. Silas and Alison were going to leave early so Ali could get all of her gear on, then Oliver and I were going to meet them there once practice actually started. This is only her second practice and so far it's been pretty entertaining to watch. Picture a bunch of little kids all dressed up in hockey pads and helmets. Then put them on skates, on ice, holding hockey sticks. It's awesome.

A couple of minutes after Si and Ali walked out the door I walked out onto the deck to catch them before they left to ask which rink practice was on. I noticed the garage door was only half up. "Could you come out here and help me for a second?" Silas asked. Turns out he had left the hatch of the wagon open when he was transferring her stick from the wagon to the beetle, and on the way up the garage door had caught it and stopped. We began a delicate operation of pushing the button hoping the door would go down so it would unstick the hatch from the door. The problem was, since it sensed an object was in its path it would go up a bit and then stop. Finally it went up enough that it broke the hatch. Not off the car, mind you, but enough so that one of the poles that holds it up broke. We finally managed to unstick the stupid thing, then got the garage door all the way up so they could leave. They had about five minutes to get to practice, nevermind that Alison still needed to get her skates and helmet on.

Fifteen minutes later Oliver and I are driving down 66th street toward the hockey arena and I notice a green beetle driving in the other direction. Out of habit I look at the license plate. It was a critical habitat one with a loon on it, just like the one on our beetle. Our green beetle, the car Si and Ali had left in 15 minutes before. Suddenly I realize that I had turned all of the sounds off on my phone during church. I fumbled through my purse and found my phone. I hadn't missed any calls or text messages. I thought that was a bit weird, but I figured it was just a coincidence and kept driving. When we got to the rink, though, the beetle was no where in sight. I called Si's phone but he didn't answer. I figured he must've left his phone at home, but I really didn't want to take Oliver out of his car seat just to have to put him back in to go home. I started to go through all of the scenarios in my head: they were late for practice and it was just getting over when they got there, they forgot some important piece of equipment and Si was rushing home to get it while Alison cried in the lobby...that last one got me out of the car. Just as Oliver and I were about to open the door to the rink my phone rang. It was Silas. Practice was at 1:15, not 11:45. Because they're pretty close, right? Oliver and I drove home. The kids ate some Mac and Cheese, then we all get back into the car and drove to practice again. ALL TOGETHER.

When we got home from practice and were walking from the garage to the house I noticed a burning smell. Silas turned around, looked at me and said "Do you smell that? Our house is burning down." He thought he was being funny, but I did not. "Shut up, it probably really is, hurry up and open the door!", I replied, pushing the kids out of my way and running to the back door. Then I realized that the neighbors were burning something in their firepit.

Now I'm just sitting here waiting for one of the embers to land on our roof and set our house on fire. It could totally happen.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Today is the day Alison had the day off of school.

Today is the day Oliver pooped on the bathroom floor while peeing "but he was just trying to toot."

Today is the day Oliver tried to get Alison to touch his poop while I was cleaning it up.

Today is the day Alison scootered all the way to the park, out for coffee, and back home again.

Today is the day the kids played school and Oliver got to be the teacher.

Today is the day we played freeze tag and hide and go seek at the park.

Today is the day the kids rolled down the big hill we sled down in the winter over and over again until I had to tell them it was time to go home.

Today is the day Alison hugged her brother and told him how much fun she was having on her day off.

Today is the day Alison begged me to let Oliver skip his nap.

Today is the day Oliver told Alison they should have a play date, Alison pointed at him and said "you got it", and they sang their made-up play date song all the way home.

Today is the day Oliver made Alison laugh so hard she almost choked on her hot chocolate.

Today is the type of day mothers dream about.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Girl, a Guy, and Two Kids

This is the one where I explain to everyone why we have two children. No, I don't feel like I owe anyone an explanation, but it took me a very long time to go from thinking I wanted X amount of children, to actually having some children, to realizing I may not want X amount of children, to being sad I wouldn't have X amount of children, to realizing why the amount of children I have right now is right for us. That, right there, was a run-on sentence, in case you were wondering.

I grew up in a family of 4-a mom, a dad, a sister, and a brother. It seemed perfect to me, most likely because that is all that I knew. My mom's sister had 5 children. I remember going to visit them and being overwhelmed at times with what seemed, to me, to be overwhelming chaos. I realize as I look back on it that that's not what it was at all, that my aunt and uncle knew how to pick their battles, and that a house with five children in it is going to have to be louder and crazier than a house with two children in it, and they liked it that way, and that is why they had five children.

Si and I got married and we knew eventually we'd have kids. And, after being married four years, we had Alison. We always thought we wanted three kids, sometimes I entertained the thought of four, but three seemed more realistic. It seemed like a big family to me, but not huge. Two years and four months after Alison was born, Oliver came long. I was so ready for another baby, I couldn't wait for him to be born and have more than one child. Oliver grew from a tiny, helpless infant into a bouncing baby boy and I couldn't have had more fun. I had my chatty, adorable little toddler and my chubby, happy baby boy, and life seemed pretty perfect. Really, it was. I remember talking to my mom on the phone one day, Alison sitting in her booster seat eating lunch, Oliver on my hip as I walked around the kitchen doing this and that, and telling mom that I was afraid I'd be one of those women who never knew when to stop having children because I loved having a baby in the house so much.

Oliver continued to grow, he (finally) learned how to walk, started talking a little, and before we knew it, it was time to start thinking about trying for number three. We wanted them all to be two to two and a half years apart. The problem was, neither Si nor I wanted to start trying for another baby. We seemed to have things pretty good. It was getting easier to take them places, we were done with bottles and nursing, and we were enjoying things just the way they were. We had a talk and decided that maybe we just weren't ready YET, that this last one would be spaced out a bit more than the other two. So we gave ourselves a deadline, because I need a plan. Without one I feel adrift, and I hate that feeling. So, our deadline came and we had a very tearful (on my part, anyway) talk, and decided that we did not want another child. And for a little while, although I was sad I would never be pregnant again or nurse another baby or go through that magical baby phase, I felt a bit of relief. We had made a decision, and it seemed right. Until two weeks later when we were standing in church and I suddenly got a feeling that I HAD to have another baby.

We had another talk and decided to start trying. So we did. This time it was different, though. [Warning: this part may be TMI for some people, read at your own risk. The three people who still read, that is.] The first two times we made the decision to start trying I couldn't get pregnant fast enough. I felt like it was my job to get pregnant, so basically, I treated Si like a piece of meat until I achieved my goal. It worked, it took two months to get pregnant with Alison and with Oliver, well, I can't tell you because I think as soon as we made the decision to have another baby I was immediately pregnant. This time, though, I was much more casual. For the first two months we used the whole "well, we're not trying to prevent it" plan rather than the trying plan. To be honest, since it had been so easy to get pregnant before, I wouldn't have been surprised if it would've happened right away again. After two months still no baby, so we decided to actually 'try'. And still, my heart wasn't in the same place it was the first two times.

After four months of trying I still wasn't pregnant, and I wasn't all that sad about it. I tossed and turned at night thinking that I wanted to be done. Trying wasn't fun anymore, it felt more like a job I hated, not like the fun job the first two times around. A job I hoped wouldn't be successful. I was disappointed in myself for feeling this way, and sad that I may not have another baby, but I didn't know why, because I didn't think I really WANTED another baby. After talking it through again and again roughly eleventy million times, we decided we were done trying. That was it. We were going to be a family of four.

So, I made my appointment and went back to the doctor to begin birth control. My doctor, and let me preface this by saying that I like my doctor, laughed, asked me if I was sure, gave me some friendly gentle ribbing. She couldn't have had any idea how it was tearing me up inside. Because while I knew that I was sure, I was still so sad about it.

That was nearly two years ago now. We're still a family of four. My baby is going to turn four in a couple of weeks. In a few short years both of my children will be in school full-time, and I still know we made the right decision for our family. Now I can finally tell you all of the reasons why I know it was the right decision, and I'm not sad about it anymore.

Having two children for me has nothing to do with the fact that it's easier than having more. That children cost lots of money. That I would have to be pregnant for another nine months. The fact is, I wouldn't mind being pregnant again. I liked being pregnant for the most part. I also wish I was the type of person who could have a large family, maybe three or four kids, or maybe more! The truth of the matter is that I'm not that kind of a person. I can't stand chaos, at all. I'm not saying that every person with three children has a chaotic household. I'm saying if I had three children I'd have a chaotic household. I'm also the neurotic mother who is constantly afraid I'm not giving enough of myself to my children. I mean, in my head I know I am. I'm giving them a lot. I work part-time for the purpose of staying home with them as much as I can. I go on field trips with Alison's class and make dinner almost every night. I play with them. I have fun with them. I read books. I play cars. I pretend to be a doggy. But still, in the back of my head, I think "is this enough?" Because I could stay home full-time. We could cut back here and there and make it work. Am I selfish for working at all? I ask myself this all of the time. I have been asking myself this question for six years, even though I realize that working part-time really makes me a better mother. Silas can tell me I'm crazy 40 times a day and I will still wonder, it doesn't matter.

I also am constantly worried that I'm not giving them enough individual attention. While Alison is doing homework I feel guilty for telling Oliver he needs to play quietly by himself while I help her. Then I start feeling guilty that I'm trying to make dinner at the same time as I'm helping Alison. See what it's like inside my head? It's not easy. I'm crazy. I understand that. If I had the added pressure of another child I would go completely insane. As it is now I'm just barely containing my crazy enough to be out in polite company.

So, although I wish I was the kind of person to have a large family, I realize I'm not. I have finally realized that two children is perfect for me...for us. We are active, we love going places together and doing fun things, and I love that the kids are at ages now where they are like little people. Every year we say "this year will be great, the kids are at perfect ages", and every year it seems like we're right. It just keeps getting better. I'm happy we went through everything we did to come to our decision, because if we hadn't, I think I'd always wonder. Going back and forth and back and forth again and again made me really dig deep and question myself, and I am finally at peace with it.

It does take a long time to be at peace with being crazy.