I woke up Wednesday with a crazy thought in my head: why not take one more week of maternity leave? I mean, I can take up to 12. Sure, I’ve had crazy days with the kids, and I’ve bitched and moaned about not being able to go to the bathroom or shower. But it’s getting easier. I mean, some days are easier. Yes, I’m stir crazy by the end of the week and often pine for adult conversation, but that passes once I get a fix of either freedom or another grown up. There are also other good reasons not to rush back, so from a practical standpoint it makes sense. It’s less stress on Stella’s nanny in that it’s less time she has to juggle both of my kids. It’s money saved on childcare. It’s more time for Will to knock out projects. It’s more time with my kids (double-edged sword, that one). And selfishly, it’s more sleep for me. When I can get our collective butts settled and organized, I can nap with the kids. Also, Stella is typically not up until 6:00 or 6:15 nowadays. When I go back to work I’ll have to be at the office by 6:30 two days a week. That’s on top of nursing and whatever other sleep-depriving stuff is going on around here.
So I started mulling. First I sounded things out with Crispi. (No offense, Crispi) She was worthless (hadn’t had coffee when I called). Then I tried Will. He was distracted and grumpy at work. I was all tapped out. No other sounding boards available. No matter. I could figure this out myself. I mainly just felt like an ass for even voicing this idea since I had just spent 10+ weeks, including a couple of weeks before Felix was born, grousing about being on maternity leave.
All of this happened by 9:00 AM. That left plenty of daylight.
Felix is normally my quiet, peaceful child. Not Wednesday. He hadn’t pooped in 24 hours, which for him is an eternity. I think he was just surly from being backed up. Whatever the case was, he spent much of the day crying. After getting Stella breakfasted, she asked to color with her “mahkers.” For some reason, markers must all originate in Boston and must be pronounced as such. She normally colors quietly for a good while and there’s minimal mess – nothing that I can’t quickly wipe up with a damp paper towel from the kid and the formica. After installing her in the kitchen to color, I sat on the couch with my back to the kitchen counter to nurse Felix and try to quiet him.
I was involved with reading something on my iPhone when I realized I hadn’t heard Stella in a while. You know, silence: the universal parental signal that something is going wrong. Sure enough, Stella had done this to herself.
In reality, that was funny. It was washable Crayola stuff. Most of it did, in fact, wipe off pretty easily. Only her belly button stayed a stubborn shade of green, as she really filled it in thoroughly. At least it wasn’t Sharpie pens. This was just a typical toddler moment. The worst part was Felix. He was just dozing off when I had to put him down to wipe “mahker” off of everything in the kitchen and try to clean up Stella. He got agitated again and resumed his crying. Poor guy.
I checked my email. The trampoline delivery had been delayed due to bad weather out west. I had had visions of Stella jumping next week while I took my last extra week of leave, returning inside the house each night happy and worn out. We wouldn’t be getting it for the coming weekend after all.
I spent the next couple of hours trying to get Felix quiet and keep Stella somewhat occupied. Finally, I tried to herd her into the bedroom for nap. She was responding appropriately to all cues and seemed on the verge of napping. Felix just wouldn’t stop fussing. Stella got agitated that he was agitated. After an hour, I gave up and we just went back out front. I figured maybe I could settle us on the couch for a quick catnap. Nope. So be it. I moved forward into lunch.
After lunch, Stella deemed it time to get naked. I finally relented, figuring she had recently whizzed and had had her morning poo; odds were, it was “safe.” Once again, I had finally settled Felix, who had pretty much been awake and grumpy all the livelong day, when the inevitable happened: poop on the floor. Once again, I had to wake Felix and put him down to contend with Stella. I tried to make this a “teachable” moment. You know, make lemonade and all. I scooped the solid turd up in a wipe and put it in her potty. I used the wipe as a barrier against filth (3 wipes, actually), but figured if she saw the poop in the potty she’d get a better idea. Instead she grabbed the edge of the wipe and flung the poo back out on the floor, offended that I had defiled her potty that way. I had to clean up the same poop again.
At this point, I start thinking that maybe there IS a god, and he has a gnarly sense of humor. The marker. The non-nap. My usual “good” child hollering all day. The trampoline. And now the poop. Twice.
Then there was a knock at the door. A while back I blogged about our neighbors (It’s kind of funny, I think: https://larva225.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/the-hood-the-bad-and-the-ugly/ ) and how we really didn’t like them. The snooty ones across the way, which I nick-named Todd and Margot à la National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation have been particularly annoying. Well, Margot was at my door. This woman is tiny and always made up and dressed to the nines. By contrast, I’m a bloated lummox 8 weeks out from having my second baby in under 3 years. Further, I had been in the house all day, so why not wear awful shorts, a stained shirt (milk, yeah), and minimum makeup?
Understand we don’t talk to these people. But here’s Margot in my cluttered house, briefly asking me about how old the baby is, before beginning a fast-paced monologue on her newest discovery: these great products that have cured everything from her soap scum to her kids’ ADD. It was a fucking pyramid scheme. This snooty bitch that normally won’t even wave hello was trying to get me to buy into it. My day had gone from bad to weird. Stella just ran circles around her, shouting about her Richard Scarry counting book and intermittently dragging Margot around the living room by her fingers. Too bad there wasn’t a stray turd left behind. That would cure any sales pitch, I’m sure.
So, I don’t know what I’ll end up doing. The good news is that I really don’t have to make a decision until Monday morning if I don’t want to. I have been clever and not scheduled any meetings or anything until May. I’ll let y’all know what I decide.