Monthly Archives: November 2010

Make It Stop.

In approximately 5 days or so, I am pretty sure that my head is going to explode. To tell you the truth, that may be a relief, so I don’t plan on doing anything about it, really. As long as there is some quiet after my head explodes. I once read an article about a woman who was so tired of all of the noise in the modern world that she packed her shit up, moved into a tiny little cave somewhere and stayed silent for, like, a month. At the time I thought it sounded a little like overkill, since it wasn’t as if she was seeking enlightenment or anything, just something she may have been able to achieve with ear plugs. But now? Now I get it.

About one year ago the following conversation took place between Rowan, then three and a half, and I:

“Mama? What do you have, is it called a penis?”

“No, it’s a vagina.”

“Can I see your vagina?”

“No.”

“Can you Google vagina and show me a picture?”

“Absolutely not.”

“Well, what does it look like?”

(And here was the only thing that I could think of, I shit you not:)

“A flower.”

This of course, led to a few awkward moments at school when Rowan referred to, (in front of the other children) the flowers, in the yard as “vagina flowers.”

So, I suppose it should come as no surprise to me that now, almost one year later, I have two tiny word terrorists living in my house. Believe me when I say that almost every moment of every day someone very, very short is asking me a question. And they aren’t questions like, “Mama, can I have a snack?” They are questions like, “Mama, in what country does quicksand live?” or “What is air?” In other words, they’re hard. Even Luca, a mere 2.10 years old asked me the other day, “Mama? What does dead mean?”

Here is a conversation that happened a few months ago, between Rowan and Luca.

There was a lizard on the wall in the backyard. Luca saw it and said, “Look! A lizard! I’m a dinosaur. RARRRRR!”

After a couple minutes, Luca said, “Where did the lizard go?”

“He camouflaged himself,” said Rowan.

“Camouflaged? What does camouflaged mean?

Camouflaged means blending in. The lizard is blending in!”

And I just sat there. Of course I know what camouflaged means; it’s just that Rowan answered him so succinctly! I would have been stammering “Well, you know how the wall is sand-colored? Well, when a predator comes to eat the lizard, it is important that he blends into the wall. So, his skin changes color! In order to blend in! See?”

I am an overtalker and Rowan is a college professor.

I come from a family of educators—smart people who are seekers of knowledge and are excellent at retaining and sharing that knowledge. If they lived in my house they would be all over this mess, giving succinct and accurate answers. But they don’t—and alas, I do. To me, the endless machine-gun barrage of questions makes me feel like I am being attacked by tiny midgets (yes, even tinier than your average midget) with laser beams for eyes. Like, robot midgets. Recently, while I was working on a client I have known for a long time, she said that a friend reminds her of me. “Really? In what way?”, I asked. And here is where she totally threw me because she actually replied “She is smart. Like you.” I laughed because, I swear to the sweet, invisible, possibly nonexistent Lord that I thought she was kidding. I can be described as many things—adorable, timely, controlling—but never, ever, ever has anyone described me as smart. Ever. Like, never ever, ever. And if I am, Rowan is smarter.

Here is a brief list of questions that Rowan has asked me in the last few days:

Can the moon fly?

What is a victim?

What does a chameleons skin feel like?

What does molting mean?

What lives in space?

Will protein make me stronger?

What molts?

What is invisible?

What lives inside my spit?

What does phantom mean?

At least  1,000,000 times a day I wish that John was the at-home parent, because when he is here and Rowan asks something like “Can a bird eat another bird?” he actually knows the answer. I, on the other hand would have said “let me Google it.” Rowan now believes that the following things are magic:

Tape

Glue

Google

Because Google is where I go, at least 40 times a day in order to answer these questions that I’m getting slayed with. Lately I have even had to say, “Please, Rowan. Please stop asking me questions.” Or like today I actually had to say, “You know what I want to hear? Silence. That’s what I want to hear. I want you to think your thoughts, not say them.”  Because dude! It’s just totally over the top! I can’t even casually say things without it leading to 5 questions. If I say to John, while he is playing the guitar, “you are on fire!” (which, for the record is just a lame example—I would never say something like that) Rowan would immediately ask if it is possible to be on fire. And I can’t lie! I am missing the lie chip! So, I would have to say, yes! Yes, you can be on fire! Never, ever set yourself on fire! You would die! And it would hurt!

Well, I wouldn’t really take it that far but I would get close. Because I just. Don’t. Know. When. To. Stop. Talking. Maybe I should hire some sort of answer person that just lives in my house until Rowan is like, 10. Because, clearly, I am not equipped. Not only do I never know the right answer but when I think I do, I just sort of vomit it all over him. So either I talk him into a trance, or I lead him to ask me 10 more questions. OH MY GOD! It’s all my fault! Great. More self loathing.

Someday, when Rowan (and Luca, most likely—but let’s face it, he is still all about the penis at this stage) is earning seven figures, it will dawn on me that this has all been worth it. The fact that the vagina issue wasn’t resolved until Rowan saw a little baby’s vagina (to which he declared “Vaginas are AWESOME!” [I actually high-fived him for that one], and then, weeks later, out of the blue, “So, vaginas look a lot like butts, right?” Finally, I just handed him my anatomy coloring book and called it a day.), this means that he is a seeker, which is better than a dumb asshole. I would hate for him to be a dumb asshole. That would just suck. So, I should just chill. And maybe I ought to start studying.

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Pluck it.

You know what I like to do? Nothing. I love to do absolutely nothing. I like to lay down, roll over, move the pillow, keep laying down. Possibly elevate my knees so that my low back can stay relaxed and supple. John and I basically bonded over the fact that we like to lay down. And no, not in that way. Well, actually, yeah . . . either way it isn’t any of your business. Yuck. I feel as if it would be incorrect to describe myself as lazy, per se—I manage to accomplish an incredible amount of crap each day. It’s just that, really, I would much rather be doing nothing. I’m never not doing anything but at the same time, I’m never really getting anything done. It’s a horrible spiral that some people may refer to as “stay at home motherhood.”

There was a time when I had a lot of pluck. If shit needed to get done, I just got the shit done. Now, I sigh heavily, complain, and furrow my now permanently furrowed brow. I see each activity that the children would love as one giant time fuck. I see the mess it will create, the assistance that it will require, the age difference between the two boys looming as an issue. Phrases like, “they are only young once!” and “treasure every moment, they go by so quickly!” are sort of lodged in my head like a tumor I am unable to shake. I’m just not that kind of mother! I’m occasionally sentimental but mostly, the things I think about are all the things I need to get done or should do with the kids in order to be that mom. And I get tired before we, or I, have even begun. I get the shit done, but I can assure you that as I do it, I remain as miserable as humanly possible. I need to reclaim my pluck. Maybe I should start taking meth. They look pretty plucky, meth users. At least until they rot from the inside out. Then they just look creepy and gray. They seriously look like a cancerous lung, from years of smoking. Just grey, wrinkled and hard. You can thank Doctor Oz for that visual.

When I was in my late teens/early twenties I had a car that I still mourn to this day. It was a little white Mazda riddled with the age-appropriate bumper stickers like “Mean People Suck” and “I Love Freaks.” God I loved that car. Once, the windshield wiper motor broke and I had little, possibly no, money. I got an estimate that I remember being under $100 but at the time, it seemed like $1,000,000 to me. I was cleaning hotel rooms at the Red Roof Inn, in Syracuse, NY, making an unlivable wage (which is why I was also working two other jobs at the same time—see? PLUCK.), and to add to the issue, it was winter. Driving in the winter in upstate New York is comparable to being vomited on repeatedly with no time to clean up. It is miserable. I swear to the sweet invisible Lord that if I ever have to live there again, I will need to walk around surrounded by heat fans, fake sunshine, and, like, nice people that actually look at you as if you exist.

I digress.

Since I didn’t have money, yet I had a job that I needed to drive to in the middle of winter, I just got some twine, tied a string to the wiper, thread it through my car window (which was always cracked so I could chain-smoke—an upstate New York requirement for that age, ask anyone) and pulled the string every 15 seconds or more. I even managed to smoke, pull, drive, blinker, smoke, pull, drive, merge without once killing anyone. Because I am awesome. Also, plucky.

Years later, that same vehicle suffered a great loss when the stereo died. So I went to the store, bought a radio/tape player (this was before CD’s, which seems so completely odd to me, as if I have traveled from Uranus to write that) for about $10, bought some Velcro adhesive and Velcroed that mo-fo to my dashboard. Genius! And, let’s say it together now! Plucky. Of course, being new to Tucson I didn’t realize that putting anything on the dashboard of a car was idiotic. Within days it warped in the bright desert sunshine, and it required a quick jab of the fist to get it to work. And then, one day, some stupid fucker stole the $10, warped tape player out of my car, leaving some Velcro dangling from the dashboard.

Probably a meth user.

For some reason, when I think of the time I don’t have any more, I think of this car. Maybe because things happened in this car. I got shit done! I went dumpster diving and shoved wall to wall carpeting in this car! I drove it back and forth across the country numerous times. I shoved everything I owned into this car at least 15 times and moved, over and over again. In one move I even managed to strap my bed to the roof, my bike on the back, and all my possessions inside so that I could move to Tucson. I slept in the trunk, got lost in the ghetto in Iowa—which I was shocked to discover actually had a ghetto—I even fell in love in that car. Sigh. RIP Mazda.

I don’t need much. Well, other than coffee twice a day, peas in the pod every day when they are in season, and a massage at least once a month, I really don’t need much. I’m quite easy to please, in fact! Most people need like, 8 pillows to sleep with, sheets at a certain thread count, a nice, reliable vehicle . . . really some people are downright obnoxious with their needs. Like my husband, for example. Every night (he will argue this) he has a cup of chocolate milk. It has to be Quik, and I know for a fact that he prefers to drink it out of his Quik bunny cup, where the handle is the ear of the bunny. He will be  40 in December.

40.

Go to his Facebook page and mock him, please. Oh! And he also likes to eat Cocoa Crispies or Count Chocula cereal as a “healthy treat” at night, after the boys are asleep. When the kids catch on to that, they are going to be pissed. I suppose he doesn’t require those things, but it sure seems like he’s all settled into a nice routine for life. But like I said, I don’t need much, but I do need to reach some sort of vague laying-down quota. Not that all I’m about is laying down. I am one deep broad, actually. If I could just start with the lying down, that would be great.

I’m not sure why I am even telling you this. It just seems as if I have so much time that it almost looms in front of me, each day. Yet, nothing that I do inspires me and the time that I actually do have is just long enough to write a list of all the things I would like to do but not enough to actually do any of it. Poor me. I’m like a Catholic, but not. Every time I speak, write, or even think these thoughts, the guilt just about pokes my eyeballs out. I realize that I am fortunate to have two healthy, bright children and a loving husband. My life is fantastic, really. It’s just that it seems as if something that once was has passed, and I am, in my brief moments of free time, trying to recapture it. It’s as if I wasn’t even present for the first half of my life, and now I would like to, please and thank you, go back and do it again. I’m sure I am not the only mother or caregiver in the world who thinks, “but, there is so much more to me than this!” and longs for the day when they can prove that to themselves. I long for it at least, and I am pretty sure that I matter.

Well, that was depressing. I need to end on a lighter note. So, um . . . monkey balls. Yeah. That was certainly lighter. And now, I must go retrieve my children from the bathtub, where I have made them stay for the last hour so I could write this and continue to wait for my husband to return home from work so I can finally lay down.

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