Just Heather

It’s been a real good news/bad news day:

The good news is the girls appear to be getting over their sore throats without a trip to the doctor. The bad news is I now have what they had. In spades.

The good news is a decent-sized check we were awaiting has arrived earlier than expected. The bad news is it still doesn’t make a dent in the medical bills we’ve accumulated.

The good news is my laptop replacement cord arrived today. The bad news is that is not the only problem-it’s still having trouble making a connection, but at least it powers up (for now).

The good news is Lorelai is once again sleeping through the night. The bad news is she is apparently making up the nutrition by nursing every 2 hours during the day.

I’m just going to veg out, attempt to take a nap and hope when I wake the good outweighs the bad.

Just when things were looking up—Brenia is finally better, Lorelai is beginning to sleep through the night, and Stacia is back at school after a seemingly endless winter break—it all starts over again.

Stacia came home from school yesterday, sick, with a tale of woe that was sure to be the highlight of every dinner conversation in the neighborhood—she threw up on the bus. A quick check determined she had no fever and the look I’ve seen a million times screamed sinus drainage. Such is life with allergies. She was fighting with her sister again by the time daddy came home so she’s at school today.

Brenia, on the other hand, is feeling crummy and home for the day. Not that she had big plans, but I was really looking forward to the start of the new session of my Bible study. I guess I’ll jump in next week. It wouldn’t have been much fun with Lorelai fussing all morning anyway. She’s pretty stuffy too, and, from the looks of things, will probably be dealing with allergies her entire life as well. It’s possible I can chalk hers up to teething since it is coupled with enough drool to fill a bucket, but I don’t have high hopes.

This was not supposed to happen, you know. I don’t let these kids gnaw on my boobs 10 times a day when they’re born to live a life of daily medication and regular trips to the doctor. I’m pretty sure when I got talked into this, I read somewhere that breastfed kids are healthier. What a crock of shit. This child has had exactly 12 ounces of formula her entire life, and always mixed with boobie milk. Nonetheless, she’s been sick twice now and she’s not even 3 months old.

Of course, with her utter lack of patience I don’t have a choice anyway. She’s very much into instant gratification. I can’t imagine listening to those screams while I dash off to prepare a bottle. Much easier to pop a boob into her mouth and move on with our lives. Have boobs, will travel. We won’t even discuss the ridiculous cost of formula—$11.99 for a small can of powder!—versus the free milk God gave me. I’m in this one for the long haul, allergies and all.

Me: Hi, honey. How was your nap?
Her: I wasn’t tired.
Me: You slept for two hours…
Her: But I wasn’t tired!
Me: That’s because you slept for two hours.
Her: My eyes are tired.
Me: Maybe you needed to sleep more than two hours.
Her: But I’m not tired!

Today’s giggles, brought to you by Brenia:

“Mommy, I washed my face with the rug!” (While I laughed hysterically, it was comforting to find out she meant rag.)

“Stacia needs an eyeball for her lamp.”

I wear so many hats: wife, Mommy, chef, maid, Brownie leader, business owner. Why do I feel so guilty if I take them all off for an hour to just be Heather? We have a routine at our house. Every night at 8 p.m. we give each girl a kiss and tuck them into bed. Hubby heads off to the office—which is now a corner of our bedroom. I take a nice, long bubble bath. This has been going on for about 3 years now. Yet every night, I feel like I should spend what little time we have in the evenings as his wife.

We don’t have a lot of alone time as a couple. Stacia came along 4 months after the wedding. Go ahead, do the math. Now that we have 3 kids, there’s rarely a moment’s peace. A part of me feels like our quiet evenings should be spent together. Then I remember why I do it. It rejuvenates me. It restores my soul. I can truly be his wife, instead of sitting next to him on the couch all evening as an exhausted shell of a mom. I spend an hour each evening washing the mom off, and the next two being a woman.

Bathtime isn’t the only time guilt sets in. Last year, I left town all by myself. Spencer played single dad for the first time ever. Oh, I’ve left for an evening or afternoon, but never before had he been in charge for a full 2 days. The girls wanted to go with me, and when they clung and pouted as I walked out the door I had a hard time remembering all the reasons they shouldn’t. Brenia was sick. Three hours in a car would not be fun. Stacia gets so emotional that she did not need to go to a funeral when she didn’t know the person. I needed the time to say goodbye when I wasn’t surrounded by others who needed me. But none of those reminders did anything to quell the guilt.

I think Mommy Guilt multiplies with each child. I worry phenomenally more about being a better mom. It filters into every aspect of our lives. I stress now over splitting my time even further and end up over compensating. Case in point: learning to sew in 3 days so I could make 18 aprons for my daughter’s Baking Birthday Party. I was successful, by the way, but at the expense of added guilt over how little time I spent planning the last birthday—nevermind that she’s only 3—and the feelings of abandonment the wee one suddenly developed while I spent several hours hunched over my new sewing machine.

She has now figured out the bathtime ritual and begins a preemptive tantrum as I start the water to prevent me from leaving her. She is not usually successful, though I do tend to rush out when her screams begin to waft up the stairs. My baths have gone from over an hour to barely 30 minutes, but I still manage to squeeze it in-guilt and all. Plus I get to feel guilty that he no longer gets to spend his alone time because he’s too busy dealing with our spoiled rotten mommy’s girl. I have decided to ignore that pang because I need it more.

Today I walked to the mailbox in my pajamas—greasy, I-haven’t-showered-in-two-days hair and all—just to get a break. I had an extra child yesterday so I have cuddle time to make up for baby. She cries if I set her down for a minute—even in her beloved swing. So off I went to get the mail as if my life depended on while she wailed her teeny head off inside. Now she’s snoring and I feel guilty that I have to put her down so I fix something to eat, but considering that both our bodies depend on that sustenance I’d best get to it.

I tell myself it will get better. One day she’ll outgrow the need for constant reassurance. One day none of them will even remember the things I guiltily stress over. One day I will sleep again. One day I will have the time to devote to my husband. One day I will see my children all grown up and realize I didn’t do so bad afterall—I hope.

Her: I have a burp in my panties.
Him: What?!
Her: I have a burp in my panties.
Him: You mean you farted?
Her: Yes. Excuse me.

I love when little kids start learning to tell jokes. The concept is there, but the punch line is never quite…funny, which makes it hilarious as all get out. Here are Brenia’s first attempts at humor:

Her: Knock knock.
Me: Who’s there?
Her: Baby not crying.
Me: Baby not crying who?
Her: Lorelai!

Her: Knock knock.
Stacia: Who’s there?
Her: Food
Stacia: Food who?
Her: Food eating!
Stacia: That doesn’t even make sense.
Her: It’s a joke, Stacia!

I asked my family last night what their favorite part of 2005 had been. Spencer says, “Um, I don’t know.”

I’m thinking how about baby Lorelai or watching our toddler turn into a little girl or maybe watching our first born mature into a not-so-little girl. Oh, wait. Those are mine. I guess he’ll get back to me on that one. Stacia’s favorite thing was spending time with her family. Brenia had 3 favorites : “the new year, new car, and eating stuff.” That’s my girl!

Now is the time for New Year’s resolutions. I don’t make normal resolutions. I don’t see the point in making a declaration that is only going to stress you out and make you feel guilty when you inevitably fail a few months later. I prefer to make fun, easy to keep resolutions. One year I resolved to stop wearing underwear because it sucks. I’ve kept that one to this day. Another year I resolved to take a bubble bath nightly. I don’t get to it every, single night, but I certainly do my best.

I haven’t come up with anything for this year. I do want to get back into a yoga routine, but it’s not about losing the last of the baby weight or even the quiet meditation. I just like how much better I feel on a regular exercise routine. The other benefits are just a bonus. I need to come up with something more fun though because that reeks too much of a traditional New Year’s resolution. Maybe this year I’ll resolve not to pick up dirty socks that didn’t get that way on my own two feet. That sounds fun.