Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Little Perspective

This week has not been the best.

My husband had to go to Korea (or as I like to call it, 'Ko-*#@$-rea') from Sunday to Thursday and then had an event to attend in Palm Springs from Friday to Sunday. Yes, this meant SIX DAYS of husband-free child-rearing, during which my emotional state ranged from mild perturbance to deep crabitude.

ON SUNDAY David was with us for part of the day, so we enjoyed some pre-trip family fun time. And by "pre-trip family fun time" I mean David played with the kids while I clung desperately to his ankles crying repeatedly, "Don't go to Korea! Please!!!"

MONDAY was Day One of rolling fully Dad-free. I wrestled the children into clothes, made breakfast, met up with a friend in Griffith Park, rode the train, had lunch, supervised non-naptime, made dinner, did baths, and got both kids into PJs and beds. SUCCESS!

ON TUESDAY I decided to undertake another round of potty training.

Let's not talk about Tuesday.

ON WEDNESDAY Things continued to go off the rails.By the end of the day I'd completely given up and taken the kids to Baskin Robbins to feed them scoops of ice cream for dinner. Then I brought them home, dumped them unceremoniously into bed, and tucked into the Real Housewives Reunion in lieu of some much-needed beer.

ON THURSDAY We got a brief glimpse of Daddy!
  • The boys piled atop him for gleeful roughhouing!
  • He supervised bathtime and bedtime while I rested!
  • I got him to change the diaper genie before leaving again!
ON FRIDAY Sadness descended again as David left for points East.  Luckily, my sister stepped up and accompanied me and the kids to the Long Beach Aquarium.

The upside of the aquarium is that it is a full-day activity during which the kids delight in staring at the fishies.

The downside of the aquarium is EVERYTHING ELSE ABOUT THE AQUARIUM.  It is dark and crowded, and you spend all your time watching your tiny offspring disappear between the legs of your fellow fish-peepers and hoping you'll find them again before they decide to dive into the stingray enclosure.

Its not exactly....relaxing.

By Friday night I was exhausted. Getting up with the kids in the morning, making it through the day, getting dinner on, getting baths done, and then staying up half the night on vigilant watch for the scary darkness vampires who only seem to menace me when my husband is out of town was beginning to take a toll.

ON SATURDAY I took one final, epic outing.  A friend of mine and I headed North of the city to visit a pumpkin patch for some child-centric fall fun.

The place is massive and we didn't miss a trick. We scampered about the produce! We pulled the kids in a jaunty red wagon! We took tractor rides! We fed livestock! We delighted in emu sightings!

And we became lost in the corn maze.

Well, let me just announce for the record that after my experience on Saturday, I am firmly on TEAM LOST CORN MAZE FAMILY. Because corn mazes are ridiculously terrifying. I entered our farm's corn maze with three children in tow. I was carrying Crinks, and Snood and his friend were walking at my side. 

Within seconds of entering I was down to one child accounted for. Apparently the wondrous sight of corn pathways had triggered the sprint instinct in both toddlers.  I stood frozen, watching their little blond heads disappearing behind the massive walls of corn and tried to decide if I'd rather lose my own child or have to explain to my friend that I'd lost hers.

Fortunately this choice was negated by the realization that my six-month-pregnant self was completely incapable of running down either one of them.

Instead I frantically screamed to my fellow maze-trapped parents:

"Could someone please grab those escaping blond children??" 

I'll tell you, people, the corn maze makes the aquarium look like amateur hour.

45 minutes later we had safely escaped from corn hell and settled down on a nearby hay bale for some much needed snacking.

Next to me was a young woman holding a four-week-old baby. We got to chatting and realized that our kids were almost exactly the same age. I told her I was expecting in the new year and asked her how she was handling the whole "three under four" situation. She sighed and said it was hard. She wasn't sleeping much and on top of it, her husband was away.

I growled in commiseration, 

"Oh, is your husband away? Mine too! Isn't it the worst??"

She agreed. Then she told me her husband was in the military and was on week 10 of a 30-week tour. He'd been away for the birth of his daughter and wouldn't get to hold her for the first time until she was nearly 7-months-old. And while her mother was able to come out and help for a week every month, she was otherwise on her own with her three kids every day. It wasn't easy on a military salary, but she said they were figuring it out day to day.  

ON SUNDAY my husband arrived home and took over. He played with and cared for the boys as I relaxed on the couch watching football and eating take-in food. 

And as I listened to my three fellows laughing together in the yard I looked skyward and said to the universe, 

"OK, I get it. I'm supposed to complain a little less, right?"

All I can tell you is that I'm working on it. I'll let you know how it goes...