In Case You Were Curious

I’m over here today. This is my sister-in-law’s site (I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before). It’s pretty awesome, in my opinion. She does a heck of a job on it — it’s something she pours a lot of passion into. I’ll let you know when Part II gets posted.

Edited Sept. 26 to add: Part II is here.

Thursday

Thursdays are not good days for me. By Thursday I am very tired. I have had enough of the stay-at-home-mom role. I have had enough of the battle of wills, the feeling I have that every day is spent: feeding, diapering, potty visiting, trying to get to nap or quiet time, cleaning, cooking, feeding, bathing, getting to bed, folding laundry, etc. You know the drill as well as I. I am tired of trying to think of things to do with my girls — cheap, nay, free, things. Even more tired of trying to actually do things like grocery shop with them, or play boat, or go for walks around my sidewalk-less neighborhood.

I am just tired.

The TV vow has actually been going pretty well since I wrote about it. Until today. Today I just couldn’t face trying to get Monkey up to her room where she wouldn’t rest or nap or be quiet enough for Bun to sleep. So I left her in the living room (securely gated in), on her Pooh couch, and let her watch a Backyardigans DVD. I proceeded to eat lunch, read a little, clean the kitchen and put in a load of laundry. Plus check my e-mail, update my resume, and read a little more. She was quiet, I have to admit that. She didn’t move from her little couch. So she watched a total three hours of TV instead of one, for which I’ve been aiming. Oh well.

At least I didn’t have Panda’s day.

Monkey doesn’t name her animals yet. When pressed she will usually name it after an aunt, uncle or cousin she’s seen recently.

But she does love them, even when she buries them in grass.

Weekend Wrap-Up

The Good

Pictures!


Go Steelers! Monkey and Bun dressed in proper Sunday gear. The Pittsburgh Steelers are now 2-0. They actually looked kind of impressive in the second half of Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills. It may be a good year to be a Steeler fan!

Bun must pull up on everything and everyone. DearDR says she actually stood on her own Saturday afternoon. She’ll be walking by Monkey’s birthday. I can’t stand it…

The Bad
This is about an argument. And the argument is about sex. And if you don’t want to know about arguments or DearDR and my sex life, avert your eyes. Look at more pictures. Or read the funnyness below.

DearDR and I have a troublesome sex life. I’ve mentioned this before. We both like sex, and it is an important compenent of our marriage. Unfortunately it has taken a hit, and it took a big hit this weekend.

Because of our birth control method, known as Natural Family Planning or the Fertility Awareness Method, and because of our differing libidos (mine quite low as of the past year or so, and DearDR’s still very, very high), and our schedules, fitting in actual sexual intercourse is challenging. Additionally, DearDR needs to have sex or have an orgasm, the way I need to read some of a novel at night, or have a glass of wine. It’s how he wants to relax, sometimes the only way he can relax. And believe me, right now DearDR needs some relaxing.

Yesterday, he came over from next door, where he was studying for his licensure test, and tried to get it on with me. Not only am I having my period right now, but I had had a very difficult time getting the kids in for their naps (and Monkey wasn’t really napping, anyway). This on top of a difficult morning and my over-riding desire to sit still for at least one half hour and watch football. Plus, I was washing dishes when he came home.

I said a very unfortunate thing, along the lines of, “I am tired of our sex life being about you hitting me up for blow jobs.” (DearDR, like many men, I suspect, doesn’t really dig having sex “while the painters are in” as he so quaintly puts it.) This, quite understandably, made him quite angry. So he stormed back off next door to study more; and I regretted my outburst but was unable to apologize for it in the moment.

I got more and more depressed as the day wore on over my gaffe and the hurt it inflicted on DearDR, and the fact that it was going to lead to a bigger fight later when really I wanted nothing more than to cuddle up with my husband after the day, and, yeah, maybe help him out with his needs a little bit. But I was angry, too, because it seems like the burden of solving what is wrong with our sex life is on me, and I really don’t want anything else on me right now. That is probably an unfortunate turn of phrase in this context.

And Monkey wouldn’t be quiet in her room, and I couldn’t watch football, and it’s already been a crappy month, and I had had an… let’s call it an intense conversation — one during which my temper snapped and I cried quite a bit — with a friend earlier in the week. When he came home for dinner later, and I confirmed that he was indeed quite angry, I cried, and it took a lot of willpower not to just get in my car and drive away. I just want to run away from big, emotional, intense things lately. And stuff keeps happening along these lines, and I am really tired.

The Absolutely Hysterical

More hilarity from the Monkey occurred over the weekend.

On a walk near the covent down the road from our house, DearDR and Monkey stopped by a statue of Mary holding Jesus. DearDR said, “Who is that?” Monkey answered, “Mary.” (In Monkey-speak, sounds like, “Ma-wy.”) “And who is she holding?” “Baby Jesus.” Then Monkey looked up at DearDR and said, “Where’s Joe?”

Occasionally, DearDR says to Monkey, “Do you know what I want to tell you?” He usually says, “That I love you very much” or “You’re such a beautiful little girl.” Something along those lines. The day after the “Joe” crack, DearDR said to Monkey, “Do you know what I want to tell you?” And Monkey responded, “That you have my present right here?”

When September Ends

Wake me. I will be so relieved.

Aside from my wedding anniversary, this month has sucked. And we’re not even half-way through.

I have a teething infant who is trying like hell to give up her morning nap. I have an intractable toddler (aren’t they all??). I have no job or work; to say money is tight is such an understatement, I can’t think of an analogy for how big an understatement it is. My primary computer crashed out on me. We almost have no health insurance. In order to continue to have health insurance, I have to get $1600 to my former employer by Friday. Said former employer, incidentally, who has an opening for a writer; said FE with whom I have been in touch since Labor Day; said FE who seems completely uninterested in having me back as an employee. In order to send $1600 to my FE by Friday, I may have to call my father to ask for the money. The humiliation and shame such a call will cause me and my husband, I’m not sure it’s worth $1600. At the same time, what is being able to see the doctor or go to the emergency room for mere co-pay dollars, especially when one is talking about kids?

The scariest part of all of this current crap? We’re 11 days in, and it can still get worse. I won’t list the ways.

My faith is keeping me sane. But it sure as heck isn’t paying the bills.

TV Killed the Attention Span

So DearDR e-mailed me this article the other day. Granted, all the data are from 2004, but it’s probably safe to say that not much has changed in three years. (I’m not sure what brought this to DearDR’s attention at this point, either.)At first, I got a little pissy because, frankly, DearDR is much more likely than I am to turn on the tube and let it run when he’s watching the kids. But then I reined myself in, and realized that while I may not let Monkey watch five hours of TV at a stretch, I certainly am not innocent of turning it on when I don’t feel like doing anything. My choice to “use” the TV is usually quite selfish: so I can have a second cup of coffee, or read a few more pages of my novel, or whatever. I turn on the TV for some me time.

But I don’t think I need that much me time anymore. I have nap/rest time (usually); I have an hour or so at night. I think it is better for me to commit the play time to Monkey and Bun, and use the TV less. Also, I am quite lucky that my girls are good at amusing themselves for short stretches of time. At least enough time for that second cup of coffee.

Will I completely turn off the TV? No. In my head, I figure an hour, in two separate 1/2 hours, is a nice amount of TV watching. My chosen viewing for Monkey is usually a DVD — Dora, Baby Einstein, the Scholastic videos (these are awesome, videos based on Scholastic books, and Monkey loves them and reading the books that go with them; I discovered them at the library).

In reading the article, I am less struck by TV’s link to ADD or ADHD (I mean, it’s nice that they are studying this, but it’s not exactly rocket science to make the link) than by this fact: “Last year, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that a third of children under 6 live in homes where TV is on most of the time, and 33 percent of those children have televisions in their bedrooms.” From this, more recent, article.

Children under 6 have TVs in their bedroom?? For what? So they can fall asleep with it playing? So they can turn it on in the morning and let their parents sleep a little longer? (Well, okay, that sounds, theoretically, like a fantastic idea — talk about selfish!) Why would any child need a TV in the bedroom? I don’t even plan on letting my children as teenagers have TVs or computers in their room. Bed is for two things; one of them is sleeping, and the other I’m desperately hoping my girls don’t engage in until marriage (I can be in denial for awhile yet).

I did not grow up with a TV in the bedroom. In any of the bedrooms of my house. Or in the kitchen. I did watch TV as a kid — I still have very fond memories of the greatest children’s show ever “The Electric Company”. When DearDR and I got married, and he suggested we put our second TV (once we had upgraded from my dinky 13-inch screen with built-in VCR) in our bedroom, I looked at him like he was nuts. (Same as when he suggested we hang his pictures of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary above the bed, but that’s a different story.) We did not have cable TV in my house growing up. It wasn’t even considered as far as I know.

I felt somewhat vindicated about the “no TV in the bedroom” when I saw this study, linking low sexual activity in couples to TV viewing in the bedroom (obviously, they aren’t watching the right thing together, wink wink). But at this point, seeing as DearDR and I only manage to have sex, oh, twice a month, and he often falls asleep on the couch (watching TV, duh) and stays there all night, maybe I should reconsider. Our sex life won’t get better, but at least we’ll be sleeping in the same bed! (Which my parents ALWAYS did and still do. I don’t know how my mother deals with the snoring!)

Now I am not a child psychologist or a sociologist or any kind of child-care professional (unless you count SAHM). These are just my thoughts and opinions, and I’m not really going to analyze the trend or the study. I think it makes a good point, and I for my part am going to try really hard to reduce the amount of time my kids watch TV. I know that they will still get plenty of viewing time in at my in-laws (talk about a household that has TV on all the time! My FIL watches Fox News in the living room; my MIL watches the Food Network or her mystery shows upstairs and/or in the kitchen, and Nanny has her own set in her room), and probably some at daycare (when they go back), and I can live with that. Control what you can, and all that.

Six Years

My mother-in-law recently informed me that at our wedding, a number of people related to me mentioned to her that they had thought I would never get married.

This did not surprise me. I distinctly remember being 16 years old, and my mother saying to me, in tones of exasperation, “You’ll never get married. You’re just going to have a bunch of lovers.”

I was, in my mother’s words, bohemian. I was artistic, dramatic. I was, to my parents’ view, untraditional.

For the most part, I didn’t trouble over this idea of getting married or not. I didn’t have elaborate fantasies about my wedding day, or my husband, or children. I dated, I had lovers and a few, as the kids say now, friends with benefits, even a few one-night flings.

Then, after a particularly painful break-up in my late 20s, I re-evaluated a few things. I moved into an apartment on my own, and started to figure out what I really wanted in a partner. I had already figured out what I didn’t want (the hard way, which is either unfortunate or, possibly, the way these things are figured out).

I wanted someone who made me laugh. This was close to top of my list. I wanted someone who was interested in me, for me; I wanted someone who was interested in my life, my family, my wants, goals and desires. (My recent ex and I had split at my brother’s wedding, of all things, because I finally figured out that he didn’t really care about MY life. It was cool if I wanted to stick around and be in HIS life, but we weren’t headed to OUR life.) I had recently returned to the church, and I wanted someone who shared my faith. I wanted someone with a strong family life, because that was something I enjoyed. I wanted to have fun, but I also wanted the option of not having fun, of being able to feel other emotions: sadness, frustration, anger — and of being able to express those emotions without getting grief for it.

And then, when I was 29, I ran into DearDR. At the time, of course, he wasn’t DearDR. He was an acquaintance, someone I knew from college, and then later, someone who lived in the same city neighborhood as I. Granted, we were in a bar on the South Side; I was with friends, he was with his sister, his brother-in-law, and his cousin. He and I started to talk. He bought me a Maker’s Mark on the rocks. Two hours later, two hours that felt like two minutes, his crew was leaving.

He said to me, “Will you have dinner with me sometime?”

And I said, “Yes. That sounds good.”

He said, “Can I have your number?”

I said, “You can look me up. I’m in the book.”

The next morning, I woke up and thought, “Holy crap, did I actually say that?” Yeah, I really did say that. In an enterprising scramble, I got his email address from his BIL, who was an acquaintance of mine as well. On our third date, I thought to myself, “I could marry this man” — a thought I had never had, about any man. Our fourth date was the wedding of two close friends of mine; he told one of the guests (out of my earshot), “I’m going to marry her.”

And he did.

And he makes me laugh, even when I am crying sometimes. And he lets me cry and be pissed off and scared and frustrated, and he lets me express it. And he lets me be happy, he often is the source of my happiness. And he is a wonderful father to my children. And he is my lover, and my friend, and my partner. He is interested in me, and I in him, and we have our life as well as our lives.

Happy anniversary, my dearest DearDR. I love you — you are the love of my life. I never saw you coming, but I am so glad you are here.