My first and last project of 2018

Sooooo, I was playing with the boys in our already cluttered toy corner. At one point, my youngest, Thing 2, goes to the small, sad-looking plastic play kitchen set I bought about a year and a half ago, and starts cooking up a storm. Probably trying to recreate what he saw daddy cooking the day before (all the while chatting away in his unique toddler-speak. I understood “yummy” and “chicken”.) He was perfectly happy with this cheap little toy, but I no longer was. Motherly guilt sets in, and I hear two tiny voices say:

...you should get them a proper play kitchen

…yeah, with a fridge

…and a microwave

…yeah, and buttons that actually move!

…SOLD!

Now mind you, that all happened in the space of a second, without consulting me, the actual conscience entity in charge. But since my mind had already been made up for me, by me 1 and me 2, I thereafter became obsessed with play kitchens for the next week until I actually bought the darn thing.

What my otherwise clever brain failed to realize while perusing and obsessing over the thousands of kitchens that I googled was that they don’t come assembled. I mean, I knew it, but my brain, I think, actively kept that information hostage in my subconscience in order to shield me from the trauma to come. What followed once the package had been delivered was a 10-hour ordeal which I would have gladly exchanged for either one of my two, painful labour experiences.

I exagerate, I know, but just let me have this.

15:00

Husband had been in a mood for days, so I decided to tackle this project on my own. I wasn’t daunted. I had singlehandedly put together furniture in my college days. I could handle a tiny play kitchen, no sweat. Be done in 3 hours.

Remember when I mentioned something about 10 hours?! Yeah, so…

With Thing 2 down for a nap, and Thing 1 enjoying his screen time (Husband out of my hair grocery shopping), I decide to familiarise myself with the manual and start looking for the pieces to this ginormous puzzle.

20:07

About five hours (and an incident with Thing 1) later, this is what my efforts had amounted to…

Not much to show for, except a nice mess that I now had to keep my youngest from stepping all over. He had awoken in a foul mood, so guess how that went! Husband was put in charge of rallying the kids which helped …some…

22:22

The punishment continues. You’d think I was almost done, but this is when all the little detail pieces with the tiny screws rear their ugly heads. Screws that need to be screwed in upside down. Wait, what? Yeah, you read that right. In the end, it was easier caving and asking Husband for help to flip the whole kitchen set upside down. Luckily his mood improved when he realized he, I mean the boys, were getting a new toy.

23:45

I take charge again. Getting tired and making stupid mistakes. Just a few screws and bolts to go and the tiny screw driver that came with the package slides…under…the fridge. What the!!! Fridge is too heavy to move. All my MacGyver tricks to try and shimmy it out fail miserably. I could just kick myself, until I remember…

23:52

My trusted Swiss-army-knife-like IKEA-screw-driver thingy. Thank goodness I wasn’t too tired to remember where I kept it. ♥️The temporary love of my life.♥️

00:01

It’s done. It’s really done! No, wait. Am I just dreaming? Did I fall asleep? Ouch, no, I’m awake. Woohoooo🎉🎊🏆

00:02

…What the heck is that! Oh, Pringles, did I forget a bunch of screws?!?! I bet it’s gonna cave in like a house of cards. I bet it’s …oh, just spare parts. O.k., mini heart attack subsiding. Need to change my undies.

00:54

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t go above and beyond my already exhausted mental limits by staying up just a bit more so I could dress it up a little for them. I even added some dishes in the sink to get them started on the right path to kitchen chore management. O.k. boys, go follow in your daddy’s footsteps!🥞🧀🌽🍌🌮🍗🍳🥗😛

01:??

Showered and in bed. Yeah, I’m getting too old for this…

So boys, I love you guys, but this has been my first and last project of the year. Well, until me 1 and me 2 get me me in trouble again. Those meddlesome Monas better learn to keep their trapholes shut!😒

No rest for the weary or sick

Where does the time go people? It’s October!🤤

What comes to mind when you think October?

  • …Pumpkins?
  • …Falling, orange leaves?
  • …Halloween?
  • …Almost Christmas?
  • …Almost 2018!!!?

Well, when I think October, I think flus, head colds and laryngitis. What can I say, the past couple of October’s have not been good to me. 

Yes, ’tis the season of coughing and sneezing, fevers and wheezing. If the weather doesn’t get me, or the a-holes in the train who have never heard of covering their mouths when they cough or their noses when they sneeze, I can rest assured my kids will. Because whatever virus my little outbreak monkeys catch at daycare, they are sure to bring it home and share it with me. Frequently.😐 Generously. 😑

Now, throughout the year, 9 out of 10 times the damage is minimal: I get the sniffles, I get the chills, yet I am still able to function at 89% capacity. But every now and again, right around this time, they bring home a whopper that floors me to the point that I long for the sweet release of death. But Death just laughs and says, you’re on your own chica.

Everyone expects business as usual.

The kids still need to be dropped off at daycare. I can barely deal with them when I’m healthy, so yeah, they gots to go. But can’t your husband take them, you ask?

😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂

You obviously have not read my other blog posts. My husband, offer to help, lol, you’re funny!

Problem no. 1 there is that he works an early shift. No. 2, me being almost-dead sick does not constitute as a good reason to miss work or go in late in his book. I’ve learned to accept that. As long as I don’t actually keel over, he’s in luck.

The kids still need to be bathed and fed. They still expect you to play with them, endure their rough-housing, and still expect you to have all the patience in the world when their screams are tearing apart the last nerves that weren’t already in searing agony.

Why?

Cause that’s just what moms do.

24/7. 365 days a year. Even when we’re sick, we’re still on active mom-duty. I remember having to put in earplugs, cause my inner-mom could not rest if she could hear her babies in need. My impulse was to get up and do something about it, even though I knew that the room would pirouette and karate-chop me to the ground if I were to attempt such a stupid move in my feverish condition.

Don’t get me wrong. My husband does his share, but if I were to award grades for parenting performance, I’d have to send him to remedial school. I’m grateful to be living in a modern society where mothers have a few more liberties than say 60 years ago. But even though we say that men and women divide the burden of parenting equally, we all know that’s bull manure.

Sometimes it’s due to circumstances. Sometimes it’s intentional. Sometimes one spouse just cannot comprehend what the other goes through and does every day. Whatever is broke gets fixed so quickly that the other person never even knows it was broke in the first place. You get what I mean?

And that got me thinking about how we divide the physical and mental load (in my opinion, as I’m sure my husband sees things differently). See chart below.

If kids could buy a parent at the store, which one do you think they’d choose based on these specs?

And that led me to think what a review by my son might be like:

Shawty14 | October 24th 2017 | Mom-bot 4K Ultra

“Good battery endurance. Nice speed. Sometimes cranky”

  • 🌟Loving
  • 🌟Kind
  • 🌟Makes me laugh
  • 🌟Plays with me
  • 🌟Well organised
  • 🌟Cooks delicious food
  • 🚨Bossy
  • 🚨Demanding
  • 🚨Prone to viruses

I’ve had the mom-bot ultra 4K for almost 4 years now and despite the cons mentioned above I wouldn’t trade it in. I would have given it a 10 out of 10 if it let me sleep in more. And if it had a mute button.

B.t.w., I’ve been told that if you allow the mom-bot to relax frequently virus resistance increases. But who’s got time for that? I need it on-call at all times. It’s bad enough that its response time to me crying has steadily decreased as I got older.

MischiefIncarnate replied
Lol. Mute button. IKR?! Thanks for the heads up on that crying thing. Thought it was just malfunctioning with me.

You may have noticed I used it and its instead of she and her. That’s because I suspect that my sons don’t see me as the fragile human being that I am. The way they roughhouse with me, climbing over me like I’m some comfy throw pillow if I make the mistake of laying down for even just a second.  The way my youngest once re-fe-used to eat unless he could pick the food out of my hand, thereby basically reducing me to a plate. There’ll come a time when they’ll understand that mommy has feelings too and that they have to take these into account. Until them I’m expected to be operational and available no matter what, like a machine.

So on the one hand, I have a husband who, though affectionate and kind, has in the past displayed the empathy level of a rock, and will undoubtedly do so in the future. It’s in his nature and that is my cross to bear (part of the fine print in the marriage contract, so to speak). On the other hand, I have two kids who don’t yet understand that the world doesn’t revolve around just them. How do I make sure I don’t have a nervous breakdown or start binging on chocolate and what not (again) to get through the day?

Honestly I don’t have a clear answer…yet. I just know I have to seize the little things that make me happy and open the valve on the pressure cooker in my head, and one of the things that helps with that is blogging. And if another distraught and overworked mom (or dad) stumbles upon it and gains even a modicum of comfort or comic relief out of it, well that’s another motivator for me to keep going. Even if I’m only cranking out one blog a month.

The blog is also a monthly reminder of why I quit the babymaking game. This month’s reminder: I’d like to go back to being able to be guiltfree-sick and not have anyone depend on me for the duration of my illness. As long as there are children under the age of 18 under my care, I will always come in second, in sickness and in health. So tie my tubes already. No more delays in my parenting pension plan.😏

Food feud

In keeping my anniversary resolution to focus on the positive reasons why I got married, I have a confession to make. Don’t tell my husband, but one of the reasons (perhaps even the main reason) I married him is because the man can cook – major exclamation point! When we started our relationship almost 19 years ago, I was at beginner level in my cooking skills. I specialized in dishes that could be cooked and eaten in 20 minutes or less. 

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot from my Chef. I’m nowhere near his level of expertise. I still need some semblance of a recipe (steps to reproduce, as it were), on paper or in my head, whereas he can cook up delicious masterpieces on the fly. And that’s o.k.

That’s why I married him.

About a month after we met he asked me to marry him. Naturally, I was hesitant, to say the least. But he won me over, the first time he cooked for me. After that, I knew he was the one. They say the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. If so, I must be part man. (I joke, but that would also explain my style of shopping: in-and-out, no dilly-dallying, just get what I need and get out of the store).

I’ve only known two other men who can cook as well (/better). My uncle Fernando and my eldest brother Irwin. Little does my brother know, he is in an ongoing cook-off with hubby. 

Here’s what’s up. Every once in a while, my brother, bless his soul, brings me a dish of whatever mouth-watering concoction he’s produced. It’s like he has a sixth sense for knowing just when I’m in need of some delicious comfort food. My husband, for reasons unbeknownst to me, sees this as a challenge, and he goes above and beyond to make the next meal he prepares (more often than not a variation of my brother’s dish) extra scrumptious. 

How do I know, you ask? Could it all be in my head, pray tell? I know this for a fact, because for the duration of the meal, and sometimes the day after (if there are any leftovers) he repeatedly asks whether I’m enjoying the meal and how it compares to my brother’s. Not once, not twice, but sometimes as much as five times. 

First time he asks

What I think: Can’t talk. Too busy eating. Lalalalala. Nomnomnom

What I say: “Mmmm, *chomp, chomp* hmmm mmm!”

Second time he asks

What I think: Dude, you’re harshing my food buzz. 😕

What I say: “Yeah, its really delicious!!”

Third  time he asks

What I think: I know you heard me just now. 

What I say: “Yeah!”

Fourth time he asks (as I’m fixing myself another plate!)

What I think: *Sigh*

What I say, every word dipped in monotonous sarcasm: “It’s the most disgusting thing I’ve ever eaten. I don’t think I can swallow another bite.” 

Fifth time he asks

What I think: O.k. I’m done with this game.

What I say: “….. I’m sorry, did you say something?”

As I said, I don’t know the reason he feels the need to outcook my brother. Is he that competitive? Is he just jealous I like someone else’s cooking as much (/more)? And why ask for my opinion so many times! Is he just deaf? Or does he get off on the validation?

End-of-year ham. Sinfully delicious!

If I’m in a particularly good mood, I’ll consent to a little bootlicking, especially for his specialty dishes, like his end-of-year turkey and ham. I make it a point to compliment him so profusely, the only thing missing from that scenario would be me doing splits while waving pom poms around. Most days the cheerleader in me is just too pooped to care. She just wants to binge eat, roll over and go to sleep.

Competitive, jealous, deaf, or validation junkie. Je ne sais pas. It could be any or all of the above, really. I’m not gonna overanalyse the cause, I just want the effect, i.e. a tummy filled with lots of yummy stuff. As long as I have that, my marriage is rock solid.

Happy (so-so) mother’s day

Sunday, May 14th. 2017. 7:05 AM. My alarm goes off – my 1,5 yr old son, henceforth to be referred to as Thing 2. I can barely open my eyes, I’m so tired. Perhaps because this is my second unsolicited wake-up call for the day. The first was sometime after 3 AM. This has been going on for the past two weeks and I’ve basically given up on the fact that he’ll go back to sleeping through the night. Sleeping in hasn’t been a thing for me since 2013 anyhow, so I have grown accustomed to minimal rest , I’m sad to say.

So I wake up and go through the morning rituals. Chromecast Thing 2’s favourite YouTube videos to the tv so I get 15 more minutes of shut-eye (that’s just me with my eyes shut listening to his every move), until he decides I’ve lazied about long enough. Then it’s a quick diaper change, and we go down to get him some milk and play until Thing 1 (big bro – 3+ years) wakes up and decides to join the chaos, or better said, bring the chaos, because he is just all over the place.

Breakfast, play, diaper change, play, more diaper change, fight, play, meltdown (everyone gets a turn) and more play. I say play, but it’s more like ‘mess up whatever mom is trying to put away/ clean up’, which seems to bring them loads of joy and entertainment, much to my chagrin.

Eventually, around 11, my husband of five years graces us with his presence. He gives each of the boys a kiss on the forehead, and, almost as an afterthought, he gives me one as well. I resist the tremendous urge to punch him in the throat, seeing as how him being awake and present gives me a little more leeway to tidy up.

After doing the dishes, I step out to throw away the biohazardous waste that my two little captors have produced since waking up. “Happy Mother’s Day”.  That’s my cheery neighbour. I’ve just spent four hours in the trenches doing battle with my two little terrors, and already preparing myself mentally for when I have to go back in, so I don’t really register what she says. I hear myself auto-replying “You too”, hoping it sounded at least half as cheery as she did, because I just dont have it in me to go full-blown-fake happy at the moment. Then it dawns on me, oh yeah, it’s mother’s day. Too late. “Did you forget?”, she asks. “Yeah, just another regular Sunday here”, I say laughingly as I rush back inside, hoping that didn’t come off as bitter, but then again, not having the energy to really care whether it did or not.
As I make my way to the kitchen, I avoid making eye contact with my husband, for fear I won’t be able to stop myself from throttling him with one of the many stuffed animals laying about. I also neglect to mention that our neighbour just gave me another reason to be mad at him. Not that I was expecting gifts: I knew what I was getting into when I married him. And the kids are still too young to guilt into pampering me. But the least he could have done was give me one day – 1 DAY – to sleep in. I think I’ve earned it after all the sleepless nights, all the breastfeeding, all the refereeing. Not asking for much, just one extra hour. Not an afterthought kiss on the forehead. For better or worse. In sickness and in health. Till death do us part. Till death do us part. Till death do us part. Thats my go-to mantra when I’m particularly upset. It calms me for some reason.

Tie my tubes already!

Oh yeah, happy mother’s day. MumbleMumbleGrumbleGrumble

Mama Grinch

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