Saturday, September 20, 2008

Another birthday party

I have about 24 hours to clean the house and prepare for a double birthday party for the girls. This is the family party. Only grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and a friend I've known since I was 11 are invited. The real birthday parties, the ones for social acquaintances and people who don't know just how fucked up my family is, are separate events. I learned the hard way two years ago that my family and the outside world do not mix. My father, who is mentally ill but completely oblivious to this, sat in his convertible Miata the entire party chain smoking. This wouldn't have been a big deal if his car weren't parked smack in front of my house and if my mother hadn't lost her cool a few times and loudly exclaimed to anyone she could corner that she was SO EMBARRASSED and that he was JUST SO HARD TO LIVE WITH. Meanwhile, my conservative brother was baiting my peacenik father-in-law about Iraq and other fun party topics. I think my bartender turned truck driver turned salesman turned bartender brother may have arrived during the last ten minutes of the party because I remember my mother loudly exclaimed HE IS JUST LIKE HIS FATHER.

Anyway, after that little fiasco, I decided that a separate family party was the way to go. So now we have three parties. One for M, one for E, and one for the crazies. The downside of this is is having to prepare for three parties (though E's party will be at the Children's Museum next week so no housecleaning necessary). I wish I could say that my house just needed a little vacuuming and a little dusting to be ready for guests, but it needs deep cleaning. That is how slack I have been the past two weeks. In order to do emergency cleaning, I have to clear toys and papers and books and mail and other clutter. In order to decutter, I have to find somewhere to stash the clutter.

I've told J that he has to take the girls away this afternoon for at least two hours so I can clean (for some reason I am unable to clean when they are present). I'm going to power up my iPOD and get through this as quickly as possible. I'm also calling a friend to see if she wants to go out after the children are in bed tonight. I think a pre-family drink will do me some good.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Due Date

Tomorrow, September 13 would have been the due date for the pregnancy I lost last winter. I didn't think it would bother me, but the lingering sadness that I have experienced over the last few months seems a little sharper today and my mind keeps wandering to what might have been. What would the baby look like? How would the baby feel like in my arms? Would E and M be happy to have another baby in the house?

I have the sense that our days of trying to conceive are extremely limited. We can't try this month because I need an MRI next week to help diagnose some upper right quadrant pain I have been experiencing since my more recent miscarriage* Because of childcare and work issues,** the timing would have to be quick, probably by my birthday in December. Then, there is the issue of that birthday. 40. I know it is just a number, but it is still a milestone. And,oh, did I mention my sucky eggs?

*Ultrasound suggests a stone in the bile duct.
**Our department chair is going to step down next year and colleagues are lobbying me hard to at least consider being the next chair. I'm not wild about it, but I'm obviously not rejecting the idea outright either.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Day Eight-Virus Time

It took only seven days back in preschool with all the other little disease vectors for both of my girls came down with runny noses, scratchy throats, and surly dispositions.

Still, having the girls back in preschool is wonderful. They are both much happier (less bored anyway) and are tired at night. Last year, we had moved M whose birthday falls near the cutoff to the older class. We did this because the next oldest child was three months younger and because E is a very big kid who is tall and solid like her dad's side of the family. While she did well in the class academically, she never seemed to gel with her classmates and most often played alone. After much hand wringing and agonizing (social development or academic development?), we decided to keep her back with the younger group this year in hopes that she would be better off socially. I haven't had a chance to speak with her teacher yet, but she tells me that she played with her friends today so I guess that is a good sign.

M seems to be transitioning to the new center with few problems. it probably helps that her big sister is in the next room* and that they see one another on the playground. She loves painting and singing and playing in the kitchen station of her classroom. Sometimes, when I have a few minutes free, I watch her through the one-way mirror in her class. The other day, I couldn't help but to laugh as she followed the master teacher around asking, "What's this called?" as she pulled out every item from the classroom treasure box.

Update: I'm making halting progress in my push to get my act together. Having a hurricane day for Hanna followed by this virus (my version seems to be worse than what the girls had and I had to take a day off today) hasn't helped, but I know I can make it up.

*E is the oldest in the three-year-old class and M is the youngest in the two-year-old class.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Day Three

My house is a wreck, I almost let my flood insurance lapse, and I've made no progress on papers, weight loss, or anything else I boldly announced I would be working on this month. And yet, I'm in a jolly good mood. Why? Sarah Palin. Oh thank you, John McCain, thank you. With the Alaskan branch of the Spears family to keep me entertained for the next two months, I am positively giddy. If they stick around longer than early November, expect a precipitous drop in my mood.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Day Two

Last night at 10:03 p.m., I pulled out our homeowners and flood insurance policies in case we get hit by Hannah as forecast. It was then that I noticed that our flood policy was set to expire less than two hours later at 12:01 a.m. on September 2, 2008. Much cursing followed. The last thing I want when faced by a tropical system is to be without flood insurance. Actually, the last thing I want is for J to find out that I forgot to pay the flood insurance premium.

I ended up calling State Farm which helpfully has people working around the clock. I was able to pay on-line less than an hour before the policy was set to expire.

On the bright side, if I hadn't designated this "get-my-act-together-month," I probably wouldn't have pulled the policies out until the rain was blowing sideways and the trees were snapping around us.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Day One

I've decided that this is the month I get my act together. You know the drill. Lose five pounds, make long overdue doctor appointments, get a paper out, clean my baseboards, socialize with my friends more often. . .

It is no accident that this new resolve coincides with both of my girls being back in preschool after three long months at home. Maybe this is wrong to admit, but even with a part-time sitter, I thought I would lose my mind this summer. It is too hot in SC to be outside much in July and August so we were indoor bound much of the time, bored and cranky to boot.

Take two cranky toddlers, stir in one miscarriage and top with a week spent with in-laws and you get an irritable, cursing, impatient mom. It wasn't pretty, and I'm not proud, but I never said I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. Now, after just four days of full-time care at the same preschool,* I am feeling much more patient and optimistic. I'm also feeling more competent because my college students seem to take me more seriously than my children and because my colleagues don't whine. . . much.

Here are a few pictures of M at her birthday party** last weekend.

*M just made the two year old cutoff. Cue triumphal music and choir of angels.
**We finally decided not to go overboard and only invited two other children. It was the best party ever!