My Family

A Quiet Moment

It is peaceful and serene at this moment, though that could end at any time because Julia will wake up at some point and I will need to feed her. In fact, there she goes – sighing…she is perhaps dreaming of food…a nice yummy bottle of formula (or "for-MEE-ah" as Alex pronounces it) because the one she had this morning was burped back up, all over Julia and Mommy and the living room chair Mommy was briefly relaxing in after getting Alex dressed, fed and ready to go and while Bill’s uncle and cousin were having their breakfast and while Bill is lying on the air mattress in the basement having a migraine. Had to get Uncle and Cousin to the car rental place at eight to pick up their car, so naturally, Julia, who NEVER burps anything up except one and only one other time, had to burp up a gallon of formula. (It expands in the stomach…it only started out as four ounces when I mixed it for her.)

Anyway, so that was fun. Julia thought so. She gave me a big icky smile while I got her out of her yucky onesie and into a dry one.

Yes, we have houseguests. Family house guests. They arrived on Saturday the 7th and will depart on Saturday the 14th. I will do all the laundry on Saturday the 14th and work very hard at relaxing on Sunday the 15th in an effort to avoid the rotten fact that on Monday the 16th I have to go back to work.

I don’t want to.

I am very happy to be home, playing with my smiling baby and my 2 year old son (who also goes to daycare some of the week so he can "see a fens" (see friends) and my also-home-because-he’s-a-teacher husband.

I am very happy to do laundry and shopping and dishes and cooking and cleaning and all that other domestic stuff without having to cram it in early in the morning or later in the evening after all the rushing is done and the smaller members of the family are sleeping.

I am very happy to have leisure time to read the paper. Or magazines. Or books, glorious books. I am reading a few right now, which, if I have time after this long-overdue post, I’ll add to my list of recommended books over on the right. But since it’s been nearly a month since I last posted, I should do this first.

Let’s see…well, after the clambake/cookout thing we pretty much decided we’re not going to do one next year. Not on that scale, anyway. Not that it was a huge thing this year, but there were a few irritating episodes that happened this year, and some bigger ones last year, and we decided that we neither want nor deserve the aggravation. So we’ll probably just do some smaller cookout things instead and save ourselves the headaches. It’s disappointing, but I think we’ll be happier.

Um…..of course my mind is a blank. Frankly I don’t know how I’m going to manage working again…my once fabulous and frightening memory (both the short and the long term branches of it) is feeble and unreliable now. I blame the hole in the Ozone layer. No particular reason, but it’s a convenient scapegoat for lots of things. (I know, it’s all the mommy stuff – lack of sleep, the distraction of two little kids, and so on. I know.)

Alex is a riot. He’s well into his "terrible" twos, except that sometimes it’s really hard not to laugh at some of the "terrible" stuff. Particularly when I agree with him.

In addition to the Uncle and the Cousin staying here right now, we also had three more relatives during the weekend – Bill’s brother, sister-in-law, and nephew (one of two) from Seattle. Uncle and Cousin are in from Ohio. Anyway, so there were five extra people in our house all weekend, which was a VERY BIG adjustment for my little blond boy, no matter how much fun they were.

So Alex has been "acting up." Or out. Or both. He’s also suffered some little injuries, one of which was a lovely bump on his head, right above his right eyebrow, which he got when he had been kneeling on a chair at a table on the deck when we were preparing to serve Saturday night’s feast of steamers, little necks, cheeses and crackers, lobsters, ribs, corn on the cob, and salad. Very few people had salad. Anyway, Alex was having some brie (he is a cheese snob) on a piece of melba toast and was possibly reaching for more – I didn’t see it happen – when suddenly he was on the deck under the table and crying very loudly and with definitely real tears.

For some reason everyone (in my opinion) seemed unable to MOVE and therefore they all just stood or sat, frozen in place, mumbling little tidbits of sympathy. Maybe no one wanted to miss out on another little neck with some of Bill’s brother Ray’s cocktail sauce. Maybe someone was afraid someone else would drink their glass of Bill’s homemade mead or the homemade Reisling he’d just poured. I don’t know. And maybe that’s not what was going on, but that’s how it seemed to me as I shoved my husband aside (he was peering down at Alex speaking in a soothing manner, LIKE THAT WOULD HELP!!!!!) and came close to also shoving someone else out of the way too but I managed not to and asked him in a terse but polite voice to get out of the way, and I plunked myself down under the table and grabbed my sobbing little boy and held him until he wasn’t sobbing so much. (When we discussed this event at a later time, Bill repeatedly told me "Jayne, you dove under the table." Like that’s an odd thing to do.)

Anyway, I rocked Alex back and forth and glared at all the legs around the table. The unmoving legs of all these uncaring individuals that I’m related to by marriage and ONLY by marriage. I wanted to bite them.  Sleep deprivation will do that to a normally sane person.

Well that’s not true, of course. The uncaring part. They care very much. They love Alex and would spoil him completely if they lived closer. It happened very quickly anyway. And it’s not like he was drowning. Or even bleeding. (Though how could anyone know about the bleeding from ABOVE THE TABLE????)

Anyway, we finally emerged and I took Alex inside and got him some ice (in a little terrycloth cover with Elmo on it) and had Elmo kiss the booboo for a while til Alex didn’t want to feel that cold thing on his head any more or sit with Mommy.

The other fun thing that happened to my poor little guy, apart from a few other minor bumps and bruises, was the evil splinter he got on Sunday at the annual gathering of Bill’s family members at Uncle Don and Aunt Ruth’s summer cabin on the lake. Pond. Reservoir, actually.

Anyway, he probably got the splinter from the hand rail that goes from the deck down to the dock at the back of the house. He was up and down that a lot. I didn’t discover it til later that afternoon, and he wasn’t complaining about it because he was having fun most of the time. No nap that day, so he started getting pretty cranky and difficult as the afternoon wore on. Bill and I (and Bill’s nephew, Ryan) took Alex and Julia home. Both kids fell asleep in the car. Both little kids. Ryan is 17. 18 now – it was his birthday yesterday. Happy Birthday Ryan!

When we got home, I decided to get the splinter out before putting Alex to bed so it wouldn’t get infected or painful during the night (as splinters are wont to do…). I’d tried at the other house, but the tweezers there weren’t sharp enough to do the job. There was also nowhere to pin Alex down so I gave up quickly.

I changed him into jammies and started trying to get the splinter while he was still in that "I’m-very-drowsy-and-I-can’t-fight-back" state, but he became very alert all of a sudden and stopped cooperating. Bill held him and we brought him into the bathroom where there’s better light.

Oh, it was horrible. You’d think I had given him a slug of whiskey and a leather glove to bite on and had started sawing his gangrenous leg off. Yes, it was that bad. Bill had his right arm wrapped around Alex, holding him to his chest as hard as he could, and with the left hand he tried to hold Alex’s right arm still so I could take this damn fat little chunk of wood out of my boy’s tiny finger. The fleshy part in the first section right above the hand. Alex kept shrieking and crying and yelling "NO! NO! ALL DONE! NO MOMMY!!!!!" and oh my God I felt like throwing up. His voice got more and more worn out and ragged with all the shrieking and toward the end it was like he had all but given up hope of ever not being jabbed with sharp pointy evil tweezers by an inept surgeon named Mommy.

If he hadn’t wiggled so much, of course, I’d have been done in a minute or so. But I had to pick at the skin a little to expose one end of the splinter, and then the wood kept breaking in the tweezers, til finally I got a good grip and the splinter slid out cleanly and I have never been so relieved to be finished with something than I was at that moment.

I’d rather give birth again than have to do that to him again. But that’s not the way it works, is it…. You go through horrible pain to bring forth these little beings, and you think that’s the worst pain you’ve ever felt. But it’s nothing compared to any kind of pain your little one has to endure from that point on. You would rather cut off an appendage of your own than hear them scream in pain.

And this was just a splinter.

Bill suffered more than I did. I find, more and more, that he’s more of a softy than I ever thought he could be. I think I had already made up my mind that getting a splinter out of Alex’s finger would not be fun, but that I couldn’t think about anything BUT the splinter until after or I’d fail in my endeavor. I think Bill just didn’t expect that much screaming and wriggling.

So the next morning my goofy and delightful husband – who thinks I am silly for diving under a table – APOLOGIZED to Alex first thing the next morning and promised to do something fun with him later. Alex hadn’t even remembered it. Hadn’t even noticed the band-aid on his finger….

So anyway, all kinds of traumas and emotions and tensions here recently…and Alex – apart from getting wounded now and then – has taken to expressing his disapproval for my executive decisions about what he shall and shall not do by GROWLING FIERCELY at me. He is very blond and three feet tall and has perfect skin and his blue eyes flash every emotion with equal intensity.

"I go outside" he says, trying to unlock the screen door.

"No, not yet, you need to wait til (whatever it is at the moment) and then you can go outside."


"Alex…not yet. You will go outside in a minute."

Pause…then…"ROAR!" (Look out! It’s a Lion!) And as he says this he kind of leans toward me in a threatening manner…his little blond mane shaking slightly as he glares at me with his wild animal eyes.

I do not laugh, though it would be a great relief to do so immediately.

Instead, I bravely stare him down.

Next, since the roaring didn’t work, he tries to deafen me by SCREAMING SHRILLY AND AT A GLASS-SHATTERING PITCH. Just a simple, loud and high "AAAAAGGGGHHHH!!!!!!" And he looks at me, waiting to see if I will scurry, my spirit and will trampled, to the door and unlock it.

I don’t of course, and he resorts to either throwing things that should not be thrown, or slamming doors or repeating the roar and scream technique in case I wasn’t paying attention and he’s giving me one more chance before he chews me up and spits me out.

It’s very entertaining. Really. Bill and I compare stories and laugh hysterically at night after the lion sleeps (tonight…in the jungle, the mighty jungle…).

Bill is vertical now…he took a shower – right on schedule. It is three past noon as I type this sentence. He’s on the road to recovery. And Julia is still sleeping!!!

I think that’s it for now. I will attempt to proof read this now, but if I get interrupted, you can blame Julia for whatever I missed.

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