So, as it seems I always begin these posts, I apologize to all of you for my hiatus. More BULLSHIT excuses, nothing more. I am (and seem like I have always been) bad at time management, and now, juggling three kids, working, mama working, it is just a matter of trying to survive. Anyways, it’s not something most of you don’t have working in your own lives, just mentioning it probably to make myself feel better. As I keep saying, I will try to get better.
Before I begin with this installment, I have to give a few shout outs to some of the readers of this blog. I have gotten a great response from those of you who read along here, and I just want to thank you. It is gratifying knowing that you enjoy reading and sharing some of these stories, and it is good because you hold me accountable to keep writing. From my Philly friend who gave me a perfect “jagoff” at the softball field, to my buddies back in Pittsburgh who shared in the weekly kindergarten card game, to some of my coworkers who help with material, and everyone else who gives me feedback and makes suggestions on what to write about next. Thank you all.
One topic this week that did not make the cut but was almost a Seinfeld episode type of discussion was the weather here in Las Vegas. A bunch of us were discussing how it was heating up a bit and whether or not you were turning on the air conditioning at the house. Everybody had an opinion, and it was comical. At what point is it too hot to just keep a fan on or just keep the windows open? The air conditioning bill is by far one of the biggest household expenses that we encounter living in the desert, and everyone does it different. In our house, we accept the fact that Mama is hot all the time and keeps the temperature low. We wear sweatshirts and beanies in the house if we have to, we lay under blankets even when it’s 110 outside because it’s cold in the house. If Mama is hot, it’s no good for anybody so she controls the temperature in the ocean of estrogen. Whatever the price.
Another take on it was from some friends of ours. The husband proudly declared that “Nope, we haven’t turned on the air yet. Even with a wife going through menopause. Nope, just sweat it out.” And this was with his wife sitting right NEXT to him. She countered back that “I sleep with a gigantic fan blowing right on me”, but he said he wasn’t giving in yet. But, as the mercury climbed over 90 this week, I am happy to say that he finally gave in and turned on the air. I am sure these conversations are going on in households all over.
Speaking of conversations and experiences that are going on all over the world, Mama went back to work last week after a 12 week maternity leave. During that time, I was pretty much on vacation. Mama was home everyday, taking care of the kids, taking care of the house, making dinners, shuttling the kids all over the place, and I was more of an accessory than anything. I must say, I liked it ALOT. She really had things running smoothly, and it made the transition of adding a baby to our chaos very calm.
But, alas, this shangri-la could not be sustained with what I make working at the sports book, so Mama had to go back to work. That meant that she would go back to the overnight shift for seven days so it would be on me to take care of these kids at night and in the morning, then when the two older ones would go off to school, it was me and the three month old baby on our own while Mama slept. Could I handle it? Oh, yeah, no problem, I have done it before. And this little baby has been wonderful. She sleeps through the night, she eats, sleeps, pees and poops, and just looks at you with those big blue eyes. Piece of cake.
Both the ten year old and the eight year old are huge helpers too. They do everything, change diapers, feed their sister, talk to her, hold her, etc. The only thing they don’t really like is the poopy diapers, but who does? No sweat, I have back up while Mama is gone. I take two days off of work to stay at home with the baby while Mama sleeps and away we go.
Let me put it this way, if it was 15 round fight, I lost a unanimous decision. I don’t know how it got away from me so fast. I know it all started with that damn baby monitor.
Eight years ago, the last time we had a baby in the house, the baby monitor was a simple, walkie-talkie looking thing. All you heard on it was static, sometimes the neighbor’s cordless phone conversations, and, of course, the baby crying. Now, thanks to our society’s technological advancements, the baby monitor is ridiculous. It comes with a night vision camera that you set up in the room, and it allows you to see the baby’s every move on a little screen that sits next to your bed. It never goes off, and it may have the best microphone known to man. You can hear EVERYTHING! Every breath, every squirm, every cough, even every fart. Then, when you hear it, you can immediately open your eyes and stare at the damn screen.
To make matters worse, the older ones are sleeping in the same room with their baby sister. I am not sure if you realize how much two kids move in their sleep, let alone sigh, snore, talk in their sleep or get up to go to the bathroom. This gives new meaning to the phrase “sleeping with one eye open.” Doze off, then a startled “what was that?” Nod off, only to jump up to a lost binky in the crib. And then, the debate begins while your eyes are fixated on that damn screen. “Do I go in or not?” “Is she ok?” “Maybe she will just go back to sleep.” Before you know it, the sun is coming up, and it feels like I haven’t slept more than 15 minutes straight.
Then, the morning routine begins. The baby is up, needs a diaper change and a bottle, preferably in that order. Then, wake the other two up for school. Not sure what it is like at your house, but it is NOT fun waking up two logs who like to sleep. And all I keep thinking between getting spit up on and told “5 more minutes” by the kids is that Mama is coming home at 8:20, and if their asses aren’t up, it’s MY ASS that will pay.
I play the drill sergeant routine, no good. I play the nice daddy routine, not working. I even started begging at one point, still not getting up. Frustration is beginning to set in. Somehow, they finally get up. Get dressed please, now. No, I don’t know what you are supposed to wear. Get moving, your mother is going to be home soon. No, leave the baby alone right now.
“Geez, Daddy, why are you being such a crank butt?” I am not being a crank butt, I just want you to get ready so there is not trouble from the warden when she gets home. Don’t worry about it, I will explain what a warden is later, just get dressed already.
We did this song and dance three days in a row. I got no sleep, the only time I left the house was to pick up the kids from school, I think I wore the same clothes the whole time, and I must have sang the ABCs at least 100 times. I had been shaving my head every other day, but it never even crossed my mind in these three days. Now, I have peach fuzz where it still grows on my head, and I have a playoff beard working like my beloved Pittsburgh Penguins. For those three days, I lost touch with the outside world. I had no idea what was going on other than what the headlines said on my phone.
I was never happier to go to work than I was on Saturday despite getting up at 5 am to shower (with the monitor in the bathroom and staring at it through the shower curtain), waking the kids up to have them at the softball field by 6:30am, and leaving the baby with grandma at the house. As I was driving to work after dropping the kids off for their games, I cranked up the music and let it all out on the 30 minute commute. Needless to say, exhaustion caught up to me, and I took my lunch break in the car, alone, and took a GLORIOUS NAP! Seat all the way back, old man style, O-U-T!
I know all of us with kids just do it and get through it. I know I did it, but I was younger and didn’t think so much. You just do what you have to do, and get through it. Now, being in my early 40s and constantly thinking and worrying about these kids all the time, this was a rough week. NO BULLSHIT, the fact that this baby’s life was totally dependent on me while Mama was gone and the other kids were sleeping got the best of me. I could not shut it down comfortably. I was talking to myself. Borderline basket case.
It got to the point by the end of the week that Mama said maybe you need to talk to somebody. HELL, YEAH, I need to talk to somebody. Men are not wired like you to do all of this shit. Make me an appointment. For $50/hr, it will be worth it for me to bitch to somebody that has to listen because I am paying him. I will go TODAY. I already know I am crazy, but this week put me over the edge. When can I go?
OH, it’s not covered under our plan. So, it’s going to be $160/hr??? Are you kidding me? I could take the guy to dinner for two hours, buy his meal, and it would be cheaper. That seems steep, but you can guarantee that if I go and pay that rate, I am not going to stop talking for the entire hour. I will breathe through my ears if I have to. For $160, that guy is getting it all. After that session, he probably will tell me “you know what? This is probably not going to work out. Good luck to you.” That’s fine. I know I am a jagoff, the warden tells me on a regular basis.
But, you know what happened? We made it. Just like Nike says, just do it. The baby survived, the kids made it to school everyday, their homework got done, they played their games, Mama went back to work, and I am still standing. I even got a blog post done. It was a week of adjustment for all of us, and we will do better next week when she goes back to work. And I am going to keep writing because it’s my outlet. Thanks again for sharing.
In the meantime, NO BULLSHIT, if any of you know any good babysitters…