Yep. For parents, the holiday season generally means that, in addition to the regular routine you've got going, you've got to do extra work, too.
Do you want to have good food on Christmas Eve, as well as Christmas? Have fun with the dishes. And the shopping among all the other people who don't want to be shopping, either, but they are, cause it's Christmas and that's what you do during Christmas. You shop among a three- or four-fold increase in the usual amount of human bodies within... any given store, anywhere. The employees are extra stressed and want to help you even less, by the way.
Yesterday I got to sleep in a little bit, but when I woke up, it was like, "Good morning, get to work." I had to start laundry, and wrap the rest of Lucy's presents cause we were too tired to do it the night before. All of this before I could have coffee. I was in a bad mood, which was putting Megan on edge.
This year, I was responsible for the doing of stuff for others. Namely, my little cute family. God, I love my girls. When I realized this, I was proud of myself for making the place all clean and smelling better on Christmas, for Megan and Lucy to enjoy and make their Xmas that much better. It's good to put in work for your family.
Of course, it's not all bad during the holiday season, but I'm really done with it at this point. It seems like there were more irritating moments than pleasant ones. However, Megan did get me exactly what I wanted for Christmas (Fallout: New Vegas), plus some (Metalocalypse ssn's 1 & 3, rounding out my collection). Awesome!
Lucy would fuss and complain when we tried to get her to open presents. The first two gifts she made it through okay, but by the end of it she was balling. It was sort of baffling, cause we were opening three seasons of The Muppet Show for her, and she likes Muppets. I dunno. At that point, it was the second round of opening presents, which we had to hurry through, so we could leave the house to go to T.J's.
This Xmas, Megan must have had a sign on her that said, "Get me useless stuff I don't want." It appears it's completely on my shoulders to get her anything that will actually make her happy. It's surprising that more of our relatives don't try to talk to her and ask her what she wants. They'd just rather guess, and since Megan's a very particular person, most of those guesses end up being bad ones.
Christmas came, and went. Goodbye.
It's the end of Megan's work week today and we've got Friday and Saturday off just like usual and that's just fine with me. We've got fun stuff planned for both days and Christmas definitely attracts me towards its rupturous cheer. I am metal, but I like to get and give presents too. No one dislikes that. And the big wrapped pile of them sitting around strung lights... ahh. Good stuff.
Reminds me of when I was a wee lad, getting up at 6 a.m. and waking my parents and going for the stockings. The sheer excitement was better than the actual unwrapping of the presents. I would say I was most happy in the days preceding Christmas morning, when we had our present-opening tradition. The morning of, when you can wake up and be a kid and know you've got a shitload of presents to open, was the height of Christmas happiness to me.
There was a gradual decline of happiness levels, but it didn't really leave completely until like three days after. Especially if there was snow on the ground. That just made it better for me. I love snow.
But not in Seattle I don't. Snow makes this city shit a brick.
This little family of mine has the smallest Christmas tree ever and it's got bracelets on it, but it couldn't seem any bigger to me. We've got our first pile of wrapped gifts, Megan's pregnant, and our family is tizzighter than the nucleus of the Big ol' Bang.
So last week I hit a peak of getting really into Louis C.K., delving in full force. Eventually I got tired of watching the short clips that YouTube has to offer, so I decided to watch a full-length standup routine on my Wii's Netflix channel (works much smoother than PS3 Netflix channel).
There were two LCK movies to choose from. One of them is just an episode of "Comedy Central Presents", and he had a tie on and it was overproduced and the swear words were bleeped and he didn't talk about his family. BORING.
"Chewed Up", the other movie Netflix has to offer, is the good one. He's wearing all black, and it's in a big hall in Boston in 2008. It's a beautiful routine, all things considered. Megan has been saying that he's the best comic we've had since George Carlin, and I can't help but agree. The guy has got a flow about him. It's natural, the way he talks during his routine. It all comes from his life, with embellishments thrown in here and there. Well, everywhere. But it's never not funny.
Except where he started talking about how he had his dog lick cottage cheese off his balls when he was a teenager.
But now that I watched "Chewed Up", I've been feeling fucked up. The negativity of it all has been sticking to me. It's been a day and a half and I can't stop thinking about it. The guy is brutal.
Maybe it's different for me because I can directly relate to him. I'm a dad with a daughter. He's got two, though, and he had them when he was older than me. I think younger people are sort of more easily able to deal with and relate to kids. And that's why his negativity toward childrearing (expressed in his act, if not in his personal life) was so surprising to me at first. It really began to grow on me, cause I was feeling frustrated lately with not only Lucy, but my as-yet-unborn.
There were possible developmental problems. We have learned today, however, that the baby is fine, and I'm really really relieved and happy. I'm going to have a healthy second child. Boy or girl, I don't care. It will be beautiful and it will be mine. So, dealing with that, and then hearing Louis C.K.'s bit, was a strange combination.
But Lucy was being naughty with naps for the last couple of days, so I was feeling some natural frustration that comes from childrearing, and LCK's message hit home for me, though it was, at first, surprising.
I then started feeling comfortable with this way of looking at your kids, by seeing them as the little monsters they can appear to be.And then it went beyond that, and I sort of manifested those feelings. It got so bad, that with mine and Lucy's stubbornness combined, we had a really big fight yesterday.
It was classic. We were both siding with ourselves. I was trying to express dominance and she was rebelling. Simple, right? It escalated from there and made us both a little insane right up until today. She didn't sleep well last night, and got up real early, and was groggy all day today.
As a dad, I feel this need sometimes to get really angry and frustrated and insane dealing with the monotony and ... I dunno, the hard times with my kid. There needs to be some sort of catharsis somewhere in there. Some release of the negative energy. And that's exactly what Louis C.K. did onstage. He bitches about his kids a lot, and his wife. It made me want to sort of follow that example, but I may have taken it too far.
Overall, I love his comedy. It was so good it fucked me up a little. I can't forget it. He's a lot like George Carlin, who he dedicated the movie to. But the message can be dangerous in the wrong hands. Like metal fathers' hands. I have to learn more restraint. But also I was afraid for my unborn and not quite right in the head.
Don't worry, my kid has no bruises. None that came from me, anyway. I can yell, and I sometimes hold her face to the floor, but I never hit. And I never will, tempting as it seems some moments.
I was depressed yesterday. Today I'm not. And Lucy took a nap like clockwork right at noon.
In regards to yesterday's complaint blog, this PSA gave me much-needed perspective.
Why is it that when I hear this guy talk, I always feel a little better? A little weight taken off my shoulders? Thank you, Louis C.K., for telling it like it is, from a father's perspective.
And thanks, CBS, I guess, for hosting it.
I lay in bed
My bed is the head
That gets me to where I'm thinking of
That leads me toward paths of green
That guides me up the river of streams
I lay in bed
My self is the shelf
On which my moonshine sits
On whom I place my vials of nine
On her I let my body slip
O god the hour is late
My cats, I don't have to worry
Where is that written piece you owe?
Mind you don't lose your job
I lay in bed
My eyes start getting heavy
It's textbook what happens next
The fingers no longer fing and my conquistadors no longer sting
Lucy and I were out on our mostly-daily morning constitutional today, and I took notice of a woman pushing two 3-or-so-yr-old boys in a stroller. With me, I always let Lucy walk by herself, and lately I've even been letting her choose the path.
I couldn't help but think that pushing your kids around in a stroller is not exactly going to get those kids a lot of exercise. It's nice to see the outside world, cause kids tend to be cooped up inside a lot, but taking them out in a stroller seems like a copout to me.
However, if you're gonna take the kid to a place where they can get exercise,or if you're going someplace far away and you can't or don't want to drive, strollers are good. They keep the kid from running out into the street to get brutally murdered, or into stray dogs to get brutally mauled, and it keeps you from having to carry your little bag of potatoes.
When I take my girl outside, she's walking. The very reason I take her out on mostly daily constitutionals is to give her some room to run and stomp and release lots of that toddler energy. It makes nap times come sooner. If she doesn't nap, we both go insane: her from lack of sleep and bitchyness, and me from frustration and lack of alone time.
Naps are very very important. We all know this. I've learned that my Lucybeans won't sleep as easily if she doesn't get to go outside first. Every kid is different, however, and some don't need outside time to sleep on schedule.
But Lucy has (mostly) always been difficult to put down, and it's been even more difficulter lately. About two or three weeks ago is when it began, and it's become a daily occurrence. Around noon, she'll tell me, in her non-verbal way, that she wants her pacifier. She likes to have it while she falls asleep. So I take that as a cue that she wants to lay down and go to bed. That cue is reinforced when I say, "Are you ready to lay down and take a nap?" and she responds by running into her room.
She'll go right to her bed and sit on it, but I always have to lay her down and put her feet under the blankets, etc. Then we wait. I have to sit there until she falls asleep, cause she won't if I don't. Usually she likes to hold my hands.
The waiting begins to drive me nuts after a while, as I'll eventually realize I'm sitting there for no reason. Her eyes will stay open, and she'll fidget with her hair and look all around and point at things. Just about every time, I'll see her eyes begin to close at some point, and then pop back open.
It's really too bad that anger and force aren't useful for getting a kid to sleep. That just makes the kid's heart rate go up, and makes for bad feelings, and those aren't easy to sleep among. So I'll get sick of sitting there for a half hour, doing nothing, trying to be quiet, and I'll take her pacifier away and let her get up. She then stays up till 2 or 2:30.
So not only am I in there once a day to get her to sleep, but twice! It's fucking aggravating. My whole day seems like a period of taking care of her for the sole purpose of waiting for her to go to sleep, so I can do something for me. There's plenty of shit I want to do, but as I now have a kid, my life doesn't belong to me anymore. Lucille takes priority. So I just go along with the motions, waiting for some me time amid all the chaos of diaper changing, dressing, feeding, cleaning, disciplining, cleaning, reading to her, cleaning.
And some people tell me these are the best days of my life. Yeah fucking right. I love my kid, and it was very worth it to have her, but parents whose kids are older and moved out tend to forget the daily routines that drive you up a fucking wall. Anyone that tells me not to complain again is getting a free lecture. Or an argument.
I feel the days of my life slipping away. I'm only getting older, and by the time my schedule frees up, I'm afraid I won't have the fire of my youth anymore. I'm also getting pretty sick of this long hair, and I need to be in a band soon to show it off before enough is enough and I chop it all off. Being a stay-at-home mom is hard.
Also Lucy has not been staying in bed for the night bedtime. For the same two or three weeks she's been faking me out during the day naps, she's also been getting up out of bed every night after Megan puts her down. We've got a good solution for this, though--shut the door. She can't open it by herself, cause it's a shitty old door and it sticks shut. So we hear her running around and doing whatever in there, in the dark, while we're breathing easy and watching some fun, adult tv and eating cake and NOT TAKING CARE OF OUR THANKLESS TODDLER. She usually gets to sleep by nine.
This blog started about strollers and turned into me bitching about Lucy not sleeping. I guess I needed to get that out. Now I feel like I should say something nice.
Okay, here's something. Ever since I tried to put her down around noon today and it didn't take, she's been entertaining herself, and I got to type this long ass complaint blog. She's let me do something that interests me. Thank you, Beans. Now I will go play with her and give her her pacifier back and try to get her to nap again. And I will swoon with my love for her as I watch her fall asleep. Seriously, it's a wonderful thing.
Nothing much to say today. Well, I'm sure I could spout a wild sprout of words, but today I'll keep it liquid.
Megan and I have two days off starting today, and I've been just sitting on the couch, drinking coffee, looking at the computer. It's been awesome. So awesome, in fact, that I now actually want to get up and do something productive.
Like drink more coffee. Maybe I'll disinterestedly start the laundry.
I'm just glad that Lucy is old enough now to entertain herself. She's been walking around the apartment pretty much all morning, but there will be times when she goes in her room to play with her toys and let Mama and I do our grownup thing. Relaxing on a day off rules.
But Lucy frickin freaks out. It takes her a good 20 min. to recover from it. Here's a typical vacuum freakout detailed in easy and fun-to-read steps.
1. Initial Realization
- usually jolly facial expression goes cold
- mouth contorts into grimace
- eyes widen
2. Fear Sets In
- day just got shitty
- hands begin trembling, face gets red
- whimpers ensue
- eyes raining tears
- running around screaming
- 3/4 panic mode Defcon 4
4. Cool Down
- vacuum away
- fear mostly away
- the longest step (process takes approx. 20 min.)
There you have it. God Help Us All if the big vacuum comes out. There we have immediate Defcon 5/Code Red and it lasts for about an hour, AFTER the vacuum gets put away.
Today I had to pull the DD out to clean up some crumbs she left from a cereal bar, on the automan. She ate the whole thing in like five seconds, but that's beside the point. I knew I had to pull the thing out and put it into use, and it couldn't wait until she had her nap cause that was like 4 hours away. Preparations were in order.
So I walked over to the corner of the room where the thing's charging. I pointed to it, and told her that I had to use it. Then I suggested that she go into her room and close the door to lessen the noise. So after she processed that, through the ensuing panic that came Before I Even Turned The Thing On, she went into her room, clutching her cup of milk for some kind of comfort. I closed her door for her, turned the thing on, and proceeded to vacuum the shit out of those crumbs.
And you know what? The automan is cleaner now, and the surrounding carpet. Fantastic!
She then had her cool-down period, realizing the vacuum was put away, was not going to be brought out again, and that the world was slowly returning to its standard, working, palatable order.
Another funny thing. I needed to make a phone call, but my computer was on my lap and I was too lazy to get up and get it. I looked around the room to see where it was; saw it; said, "Oh man, I need to make a phone call, but there's my phone. It's too far away."
So what did Lucy do? She went and grabbed it for me! What a little sweetie. She's my sweetie pie.
I made a phone call. Had a marvelous time! Then, hanging up, I looked at the phone. It had food on it. Then I was wiping my head.
This morning Lucy took out her Sesame Street Animal Alphabet book, opened it, got all shy at Grover, left the book with me and hid behind the automan, and a few minutes later started crying. She was cool there for a little while, and it was amusing. It's always funny when she picks the book up, but then raises her eyes to the ceiling and puts her head back as far as she can, just to avoid the gaze of the characters she loves so much in the book she just picked up.
I can act like I don't get it, but shyness and embarrassment and bashfulness are indeed strong emotions in adults. We just learn to hide that stuff.
When she cried it was a little baffling, and a little annoying. A medium-strong cry, with some of the engine-revving sounds that I can't really reproduce in text form, but here is my attempt: aAAAaa-eehhhh-eehhhh-eehhhh-eeehhhh.
Mama took the book away from her.
Today I started laundry and took out the recycling and compost and garbage and Megan cleaned out the diaper pail (camouflage). Megan let me sleep in. I stayed in bed till 9, feeling a funny mix of guilt and relief for sleeping in. I love it when she has days off.
This is probably how stay-at-home moms feel when dad has the day off, but I've got a feeling that even on those days, mom still is the one who gets up to take care of the kid while dad sleeps in. I think I've got a really good deal going on here. Mama can't wait to see her baby in the morning, when baby's in a good mood. Cause usually, it's only after mama gets off work in the evening that she gets some baby time, when baby's crabby and tired and it's the end of the day. Megan only gets about 5 hours or so with Lucille before bed. I get her all day, and then I have to work all night (2 nights/week)!
Oh poor me. I was told that I'm lucky to have my kid a while back. A friend of mine, who lost a 6-month-old son to SIDS, said it. So I took that advice very seriously. I am darn lucky to have my kid. I will always cherish her, and I can't wait to see who she becomes when she gets older. I'm conveniently forgetting that she will have many many awkward years ahead of her, and the torture of elementary and junior and high school on top of that, but I still can't wait. I mean, that shit's unavoidable.
By the time she's my age, and able to understand how I feel about her, I'll be tired of waiting. I know I was an obnoxious teenager. Always angry. Always clinging to these ideals I knew nothing about. But I also grew up far from anything resembling advanced civilization, which I always detested. I didn't have to detest it, but I did. I still would. It's just not me. Maybe I did have to detest it. Maybe it's so inescapable that it's my duty to feel the way my... Id is telling me to feel. My natural way.
Digression is also annoying, sorry. That's something teenagers do, isn't it? I sure do see older people do it, too. Nervous people who overtalk themselves.
I digress. My daughter will grow up to be a sweet woman. She already has plenty of personality quirks that I am only beginning to understand.
No, that's not true. I get her. Her and I are on the level. We're both full of quirks. It doesn't get any better than that! Some things she does I don't quite follow, but for the most part I think I know where she's coming from.
That may change the more woman she gets, cause right now she's my little tomboy.
My mother recently said to me: After it's over you only remember the good parts. But when you're in the middle of it, it is a whirlwind, and it is hard.
Toddler also hellion
Now what she is also doing is testing boundaries. Seeing how much stuff she can get away with knocking on the floor, or throwing (Gameboy), without picking up. And also she's testing the limits of doing what I tell her. And she's also trying to make me feel sorry for her when I raise my voice in these cases by crying and making that crying face where the lips all curl together and the face gets red and the eyes tighten and the mouth goes, "eeeeeeEEEEEEEeehhhh!!!"
Here's a sample conversation. Me: "Lucy come here and pick up that toy you just threw on the floor."
"Lucy come here!"
(louder still) "Lucy come here!"
She turns around, takes two steps towards me, crying, then walks back to her window perch.
"LUCY I WILL WRING YOUR LITTLE NECK AND PADDLE YOUR, -ahem- Lucy, my dear, please clean up your mess or you will be put up on the cross like your savior for the evening."
Dada would walk to ends of Earth for this one
I've been involved in two discussions in as many days about how, in recent years, we've seen the rise in feminism, the over-compensation towards it, the androgynous result, and now a return to 'vive la difference!'
Maybe it's true, maybe it's not. Research will tell, and I don't have the patience right now.
But why not celebrate the differences? Women are women and men are pigs. So what? It's always been that way. There's an infinite amount of variety in each one of us, even though we all run on the same grid. There is a difference between us that is supposed to be there. But I'm still sick of the pink-and-blue thing.
I went to Target yesterday for boots for Lucy. My choices were pink and blue. Like, bright, eye-popping PINK!, and depressed, cool, aloof blue. I thought that that had been done away with. Turns out, it's back, or so I hear.
Perhaps my situation was more a cause of my immediate environment, than something endemic to the entire population. Could it be that Target serves a lowest-common-denominator-type of shopper (the most lucrative to keep in terms of sheer #'s)? If so, they'd want to keep that demographic, right? Therefore, of course, they would have to adhere to lowest-common-denominator-type social norms, and therefore it must be PINK FOR GIRLS AND BLUE FOR BOYS!!!!
I consider myself a feminist, inasmuch as I believe that women should be treated equally to men. It's tough to define what that is, however, because we do and want different things. And that's all I've got on that one for today.