Thursday, December 29, 2011

Motherhood really should be classified as a mental illness

Wikipedia, wealth of completely accurate information that it is, characterizes a "mental illness," in part, as "a psychological or behavioral pattern that is generally associated with distress or disability, and which is not considered part of normal development or a person's culture."  And while that mom certainly seems commonplace nowadays, my madness tonight certainly seems outside of MY normal development or culture.

I'm a pretty rational creature.  In fact, recently, when speaking with the wife of a male client of mine about VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean, for my male readers or those of you moms who have been lucky enough not to have a c-section before your last child or 14 months before you're about to have your second, unexpected although delightful child), he remarked, "I wouldn't have expected you to have an interest in that."  That's right.  I'm like a dude.  I do the stuff that I have to, I try to remain logical and unemotional about things that are outside of my control and I only really admit to being a freak on the internet.  I assume that babies come from storks, or at least that it doesn't hurt nearly as bad as tv depicts labor and delivery and that a c-section is a cake walk.  Okay, that's not the point of this post, but I'm a closet hippie (and apparent emotional basket case), it's not what I lead with, you know?

So I surprised not only my husband, but also myself when I skulked back to my room after Kaia's bedtime in tears.  See, she's been in this phase lately.  Her official language is "I Don't Want To," and most of the natives speak "No."  So, like the circus clown that I am, I make everything a game, give her options and make lots of silly faces to keep her from the doldrums of "No, I don't want to."

We did our usual routine - we got our jammy balls on (yes, I said "jammy balls" - it refers to the jammies with basket/base/foot balls on them that she HAD TO HAVE because baby brother got some....and, for what it's worth, I handed these over a month early as a bribe because she wouldn't get her pajamas on one night), we brushed our teeth singing, counting and letting her play in the water so she'd give us 8 uninterrupted seconds to brush all the cookies we bribed her with earlier off her teeth and we climbed into my bed to watch Caillou and Kipper.  Thankfully she watches reasonably bearable television.

She snatched my iPhone from me, where I was quietly ignoring the cartoons and reading a book, and opened the Dora app.  I let her until Kipper was over, but being that I'm a sleep Nazi, it was time to go night night.  Believe it or not, she did not want to go to night night.  I always remind her we still have to go potty.  No reason to bother trying to rush the master procrastinator.  I offered options, a little circus trick I learned over the last year or so.  I said, "You have two choices to make.  You can either go on the big potty or the little potty AND you can either go with Mommy or Daddy."  I was pretty confident that she'd pick me.  She LOVES me.  "I wanna go all by myself."  Smugly, I said, "Okay, go ahead."  No shit, the kid took herself to the bathroom, turned on the light, managed out of her feety pajamas, went potty only in the toilet, wiped and jammied herself.  WTF.  I was a little flustered by her ability and at how dispensable I suddenly became.  Being that I'm not a completely selfish human and hoping I could win back her favor, I congratulated her and told her how proud I was.  Much more timidly, I asked, "Do you want Mommy or Daddy to take you to bed?"  She said, "I want to walk."  I'd had it.  Tears.  Walk?  She's NEVER not been carried to bed.  Ever.  And unless I'm not in the house, she's only been carried by anyone other than me, like 5 times.  She always picks me and she always lets me carry her.  She hopped off the bed, walked to her room, opened the door (leaving it open for me groveling behind her) and waited by her bedside.  I came back to let Kevin know he could go in and say goodnight and when I went back in, I asked if she wanted her lullaby.  She nodded.  As soon as I started to sing, she said, "No Mommy, I want to sing it."  WHAAAAAT?!  She sang the entire thing.  I cried quietly enough not to be heard and hugged both Kaia little Mikko extra tight because I'm pretty sure they'll be starting college in a few weeks.

I came back sobbing.  I'm not sure if Kevin was more amused or surprised, but he definitely did NOT know what to say.  He reminded me that she still can't make her own lunch, so it was probably no big deal.  But I do, in fact, feel like a crazy person who is developing outside of my normal.  The whole point of raising children is to create independent human beings out of them, right?  So why am I so Spaz about this?  It's because despite how easy things get as they get independent, we're all masochists and want to be our children's circus clowns.  Or something like that.  Perhaps tomorrow I'll show her the trailer for It and tell her a thing or two about circus clowns.  I bet that alone would have her clinging to me for another 5 years.  Okay, maybe not.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Before I was mommy, I was stepmommy

In an uncharacteristically sappy moment, I must share.  My dear, sweet teenage stepdaughter turns 16 years old today.  No seriously, "dear" and "sweet" are not euphemisms for "miserable" and "rotten," nor are they code for "find a way not to let your own child reach his or her teens."  She really is an absolutely wonderful girl.  I had no idea that this (a not miserable female teenager) could exist.

Years before I had children of my own to push around, I found myself meandering through a situation that even the most centered of actual adults struggle to handle.  Yet somehow, between a rocky beginning (because how could it be anything else?) and my internet declaration of joy at her reaching such a milestone, we have forged what I dare say is a pretty incredible bond.

I remember K completely ignoring me the first time I saw her.  She knew who I was and she knew why I was there, but I don't think she was ready yet.  She walked right past me, skipped up the stairs and she was gone.  Just like that.  It was hours before she sat me down and schooled me in Sudoku.  I have been learning from this child ever since.  Two years later, when I married her dad, I promised some things that I wish I could remember and she wishes she had understood through my crying, but I meant every word of it, I'm sure.  A year after that my first child was born and while it was a HUGE adjustment for all of us, it has done the most amazing thing for K and I.  It has brought us closer and changed us in ways I couldn't have expected and wouldn't have dared hope for.  If my daughter follows in her big sister's footsteps, I will be one proud mama bear.

K, you are, without a doubt, the most wonderful 16 year old I have ever known (and when I was 16, I knew a lot of 16 year olds).  You have brought a depth to my life that I can't imagine living without.  No matter where life leads us both, I know that we will always share something that is special and reserved only for us.  I look forward to sharing all of your milestones with you - graduation, college, wedding and marriage, and someday your own children, perhaps.  I hope you have a magical year and a magical life.  I can't wait to be there with you.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I blame it on sleep deprivation

I do.  I blame all of my problems on sleep deprivation, which I suffer from depending on the day (and the blunder).  Plus, claiming sleep deprivation is the only thing that makes this must-be-told-in-blog-because-it's-hilarious story there's that.

I've had a busy work week.  I was out of the office and playing stay-at-home mommy last week because my sitters were all out of town.  Enjoying themselves.  While I panicked about spending 7 uninterrupted days with my own children.

This makes coming back to the office with 20 voice mails, 100 emails, and who knows how many annoyed sighs at calls that didn't result in voicemails, not to mention the response to my "out of office" email auto-reply, rather less than pleasant.  I trudged through Monday in preparation for 3 hearings between Tuesday and Wednesday.  To a non-lawyer, this may not seem overwhelming.  To a lawyer, 3 hearings a week is a good clip to work at, not 3 hearings in two days.  Perhaps look at it this way - I have 7 hearings all month and 3 of  those were in 24 hours.  I'm really busy and important, dammit!

Monday night, I woke up after a terrible nightmare.  In my dream, I was sleeping in the middle of the day for some reason (sleep deprivation, probably) and woke up.  I started getting ready to go to my first of these three hearings and realized that it was 5:00!  The hearing was scheduled at 3:15 (in my dream) and I was late!  I turned to Kevin, "Shit!  I missed it!  I missed the hearing!  I'm not even late, like I completely missed it!  What the [bleep] am I going to do?  Should I call the court and just lie?"  (Disclaimer:  I would NEVER lie to a court official, just in case anyone comes across this and questions my impeccable, although sleep deprived, character.)  I woke up heart racing and in a cold sweat at 4:00 a.m.  Not an awesome way to start a day I'm already anxious about.  See part of the issue was that I had papers to prepare before both hearings that I needed to prepare before the first hearing (8:15) because I wasn't sure I'd have time in between to get prepped for the second hearing, which was in another county and only 2.5 hours later.

So, I'm all frantic all morning.  I get what I need to get done and I get on the road worried I'm going to arrive to court late.  I arrive to court late.  :/  Thankfully, so did everyone else party to the matter, so that was a win. I started to feel good.  I had 5 minutes to sit and breathe before anyone else wanted to even talk to me!  My client arrives, meeting goes well, we head into court.  Commissioner was in a great mood, cracking jokes, enjoying his morning.  Parties were actually working together, instead of against one another which is the norm in this business.  It was a glorious first appearance of the three!  I'm feeling good.  We part ways.  I step onto the elevator.

What happens next has already become legend, you know, to me.  So, I was in a hurry because while my first hearing went more smoothly and therefore more quickly than expected, I could really have used some extra time going through the file for the next case.  No one can ever be too prepared for court.  I'm waiting patiently as the elevator crawls from the 7th floor to the 1st.  I distract myself by playing peek-a-boo with the little girl next to me.  Sadly, she got off on the 1st floor and I've got to get through the Ground Floor to the Basement where my car awaits me.  The door opens and I start to step through.  In anticipation of a speedy exit and return to my office, I pull my keys out of my briefcase.  I bobbled them ever so slightly and they slipped out of my hands.  RIGHT. DOWN. THE. ELEVATOR. SHAFT.

Even the other attorney in the elevator exclaimed, "NO WAY!" like a 15 year old boy watching a friend perform Jackass-style stunts in a living room.  I would have thought that dropping ones keys down the elevator shaft, you know down that little crack between the moving box and solid ground, would be nearly impossible.  Apparently not.  Or I'm just oh so awesome that it could only happen to me.  As they were falling from my hands I thought, "Wow, it looks like those could fall right down that little crack between this moving box and solid ground."  Then I thought, "Holy &*!%sing shit!"  Then I thought, "I'm never going to be able to get home again because my car keys and my office keys and my house keys and my Mickey Mouse keychain were on there."  Then I thought, "No, seriously, how the hell am I going to get home."  Then I thought, "How the HELL am I going to get to my next court appearance."  This all lasted about 8 seconds.

I calmly walked over to the bailiff doing security checks and said, "Um, I just dropped my keys down the elevator shaft."  Dude just puts down his beepy wand and looks at me.  "Like you dropped them and they fell into the crack between the moving box and solid ground?"  Okay, he didn't say exactly that, but you get my WAS pretty unbelievable.  "Yes."  "Well, that's not going to be easy to fix."  Little did he know that Mike, the maintenance guy, is actually a super hero and had them in my hands in less than 10 minutes.  So Mike?  Here's a shout out to you, wherever you are.  THANK YOU!  You proved both beepy wand bailiff and all unionized-county-worker-haters wrong when you ever so promptly returned my lost keys.  (Thanks for that Joey.)

If dropping your keys down the elevator shaft is akin to seeing 666, Mike was definitely the image of the Virgin Mary on my grilled cheese sandwich.  I'm pleased to say that while Tuesday did NOT get better, today has been glorious, thus I've taken the time out of my day to ignore my work and update my blog.  Oh, and I was really tired when this happened, which is probably because I have two kids, which causes sleep deprivation, which is why this story is appropriate for my mommy-blog.  Whatevs.  I'm done defending.  It's just a priceless story that deserves to be shared as many times as someone can stand to hear it and laugh at me.

Monday, December 5, 2011

An ode to the stay-at-home mom

Like most mothers, I love my children with a fierce devotion that borders on psychosis.  I can imagine myself into crying spells over possible some day tragedies like my daughter being cut from the dance team or my son being teased for his love of shoes.  I actually have panic attacks when my son cries when I put him down for bed.  I kiss my daughter a thousand times a day and tell her I love her...

I, however, freely admit that I could never be a stay-at-home mom.  I think I'm able to adore my children so much because my time with them is limited.  I work full-time and there's nothing better than coming home to squeals of glee from my littlest loves, but those squeals quickly sound like screams when you're stuck inside with two under three all day.  So, when I learned that both my daytime care givers were going to be out of town the same week, I did what every loving mom would do.  I freaking panicked.  I don't "do" crafts.  I have limited patience with Dora, and while I am a master fort-builder, my 18 month old doesn't get not to pull the blankets down.

I have some ideas.  We're going to bake Christmas cookies one day, and I have resigned myself to cleaning during the two hour nap time to follow.  We're going to go for a freezing winter hike one day.  I'm sure that will waste all of 30 minutes.  It's too cold to spend hours at the zoo and Kaia has decided that she's deathly afraid of the museum.  She reminds me every day.  Today we did some shopping, just to get out of the house.

And this is why I could never be a stay-at-home mom.  We stopped at three stores.  The grocery store let them each take a balloon home.  Sure glad we stopped there first because you can imagine two children in car seats with helium balloons in and out of the car five times.  Oy.  I avoided all but three aisles at Target because I wasn't willing to have the "Santa's coming in a few weeks, so we're not getting anything" conversation today.  We got our groceries at the store, but I forgot two things I really wanted.  We enjoyed the pet store (and the cats are enjoying their catnip), but Kaia did not enjoy when we left twenty minutes after picking up said catnip.

So we got home, I threw some lunch on the stove and I sneaked off to the bathroom while the kids watched some Dora.  It was then that I realized that I was wearing a shirt with a hole in it, my underwear inside out and I had managed to leave my zipper undone.  Classy.  Thank goodness they're too little to be embarrassed by me.