I had one good thing happen this weekend. My best friend came over for dinner Saturday and I got to watch a movie that wasn’t about a Disney Princess. The rest of the weekend pretty much sucked. If I thought people wouldn’t drop dead of a heart attack, I’d lay it all out in my native tongue (swearing), but the way I’m feeling, expressing myself would probably kill someone.
You see some days, everything just clicks. The whole day runs smoothly from 5:30 AM until 10:30 PM and everything gets done. Those are the days when I’m doing things for my family, like house cleaning or shopping or running errands. Then there are days were I want a little “me” time and the whole thing goes straight into the crapper. In fact, on those days, it feels like someone is deliberately screwing me out of my personal time. And I get pretty pissed about it too, can you tell?
I busted my ass last week to finish off a story for ERWA’s Blasphemy theme week. The story got an okay reception, people said they liked it, but the important thing to me was that I got it written and out the door under a tight deadline, in spite stuck in a chair nursing 50% of the time. I’d also gotten some paying artwork finished up as well in the past two weeks, so I was feeling pretty good and figured that after working so hard, I deserved a little time off.
Well, time off when you’re a mom doesn’t exist. I ended up racing around on Friday trying to run errands that I hadn’t been able to get to earlier. We had lunch with my best friend Mary and her son and that was great, but then after they left I had to put up with a couple of fussy kids. Neither one wanted to take a nap, so I got screwed out of my usual free time because nobody would go to sleep long enough for me to do anything I wanted to do. Then Michael came home and informed me he would be working all weekend. Okay, I figured I could deal with that. Mary and I had made plans to get together again on Saturday and as long as Cassie and Sam took a nap I’d still get two or three hours of time to do my fun stuff.
Now I swear to you, all I really wanted was some uninterrupted time to draw. That’s all I wanted. And it’s not like I’m trying to recreate the Sistine Chapel, by the way. I just wanted to practice some cartooning. But to make that one little thing happen, I had to get up at 5:30 AM. I knew if I got up at 5:30 AM, I could get the morning chores done, have time to exercise, and then take Cassie and Sam out to a playground or some place and wear them both out.
It didn’t happen. Sam was up all Friday night. I managed to drag myself out of bed around 8 AM after Cassie ran in and woke up Michael and me. It took forever to finish the morning chores. I did get a walk, but then had to come back and finish up more chores. Then Michael took off for work, leaving me with two cranky kids. I got Cassie down for a nap at 3:30PM, an hour later than I’d planned, but Sam wouldn’t fall asleep, so I ended up lying down on the bed with her to nurse her down. Guess which one of us ended up taking the nap?
So two hours later, I woke up and discovered my free time was gone, thanks to sleep deprivation. I decided I could live with it, as I still had Sunday afternoon to look forward to. Mary called, I told her to come over, and we spent the evening eating pizza and watching the kids horse around while we enjoyed a non-Disney Princess movie (I can recite “Beauty And The Beast” in its entirety, so the breather was much appreciated).
Mary went home, Michael took Cassie and got her ready for bed and then Sam went nursed and went to sleep. I was happy. I was going to get a good night’s sleep and get up early on Sunday so I could get my free time.
Guess what? I was screwed.
Sam woke around midnight, grunting and fussing. She continued to grunt and fuss all night. I was still wiped out, in spite of my two hour nap, so the only thing my tired little brain could think of to do was nurse her in bed. I spent all night curled up around this grunting, fussing, farting little twerp and got no sleep until just before my alarm went off at 5:30 AM. I turned off the alarm and went back to a fitful slumber. Thirty minutes later, Cassie came into the room and climbed into bed with us. Four people do not fit in a queen size bed, let me tell you, especially when one’s a farting infant who can take up three times the space of a full grown woman.
At 7:30 AM, I commanded the family to get out of bed, because I knew daylight was a wastin’. Cassie refused to get out and screamed when I repeated my demand. She got her first time out of the day at 7:35 AM. Somehow, we got through breakfast and then Michael headed off for work again. I spent the next five hours muddling through chores that should have only taken two. Sam kept screaming to nurse. Cassie kept pestering me for milk, or her doll, or to fix her bow, or to do something else. It was non-stop harassment all day. I called Michael before noon to come home for lunch. He asked did I want cheese for the sandwiches. He offered to get some on the way home. Like an idiot, I said yes and told him I’d serve lunch when he got home. Michael then went on a three-year shopping expedition, which I think ended at with him discovering the North Pole. Sometime around 12:45 PM, I had to break down and feed Cassie and myself. Michael came home just as we were finishing up. He had cheese. And yogurt. And milk. And deli meat. And fruit. And about twenty other items I hadn’t asked for. It wasn’t the shopping that took so long, he told me. It was standing in line waiting for the deli clerk to slice the cheese that had been the problem. Riiiiiiiiiiight.
Sam started crying again so up I went to the glider to nurse her. Did I mention that I now have to pump out some excess breast milk before each feeding to keep her from overloading on the lactose in the foremilk? So she howls for five minutes while I hook up my raw, chaffed nipples to the breast pump from hell and bleed off two ounces. Then we nurse. And nurse. And nurse. Sam nursed for fifty minutes and would not let me unlatch her. Meanwhile, Cassie kept hovering around wanting to know when we were headed out for the museum to see the pirates. Again, I’m an idiot. I promised Cassie we’d go do this no matter what, event though we’re rapidly running out of time before her scheduled nap, AKA my free time (2:30 PM). At 1:30 PM, I finally get Sam unlatched and we all hustle out the door to get to the museum.
The museum was nice, if you like taking things at a three-year-old’s pace. We whipped by all the interesting exhibits to get to the kids’ area where Cassie got her face painted up to look like a pirate. She got a sword balloon too and a little pirate doll. Then Sam started to howl AGAIN to be fed. Fortunately, the Scottish Dance Theater was getting ready to perform so I convinced Cassie we should go watch the dancers while I nursed Sam. That lasted about 20 minutes. Then Sam unlatched and howled some more. I wanted to stay to see the dueling exhibition (they had pretty boys dressed up as pirates and enough Johnny Depp look-a-likes to choke a sea monster), but Sam was fussing and Cassie wouldn’t sit still so I called it a day and we headed home.
Cass fell asleep in the car. Sam did not. I had to haul Cassie up to bed and sit and nurse Sam some more. Cassie woke up about five minutes after I put her down. It was now well past 2:30 PM and my free time was rapidly disappearing before my eyes. Over the next hour I nursed Sam while continuing to send Cassie back to her bed. After finally getting Cassie down, I had to soothe Sam was suddenly extremely fussy. I finally got her down for a nap at 4:45 PM. I went downstairs, had a drink and then banged my head against the wall as Cassie popped out of her room announcing once and for all that nap time was over.
And so it went, on and on and on. Things just kept going wrong the rest of the day. Michael didn’t leave work until late, so yours truly had to make dinner while keeping an infant calm and a preschooler entertained. We had waffles and scrambled eggs. Yes, I know. That’s not dinner. I don’t care, it was all I could come up with as there was no chicken thawed out. The rest of the evening flew by in a blur. I recall taking ten minutes of “me” time to scribble down a small cartoon and another five to run up to the office and scan it in. Woo-hoo, there goes my creativity for the day. Michael took over with Cass and got her to bed. Sam refused to calm down until 10 PM. The night didn’t get any easier either. Sam woke up grunting and farting again at 2:30 AM and all I could think of was, “Here we go again.”
By sheer force of will, I made myself get up at 5:30 AM. I felt ugly and vile, but I knew there was no way in hell I was going to get any time to myself if I didn’t get up at the crack of dawn. And somehow, as I muddled through a morning of temper tantrums, household chores, exercise, more chores, more tantrums and a couple of sessions of pumping and breastfeeding, I suddenly managed to click back into my normal routine. It caught up with me at noon, when I found myself relaxing on the couch, holding a contented baby and watching Cassie play happily with her Little People. We were all dressed, the chores were all done, and the afternoon was wide open.
Cass went down easy for her nap today. Sam’s a little fussy, but I can live with that. I’ve had some time to draw and plenty of time to finish off this rant. I may even get a little more work in, if I take Sam downstairs and let her fuss it out on the floor while I sketch. I won’t get everything done that I wanted to do today, but I got something done that satisfies the artist in me, and that’s enough to keep the mom in me from going off the rails.
We’ll see how tomorrow goes.