Ask and you shall receive, Internets. When given the choice over twitter last night if Little Big readers wanted to read the last installment of 100 Games for Baby or to hear me bitch and whine about my drama, you unanimously chose drama, my friends. Well, except for Justin who voted inexplicably for “juice.” Reading other people’s drama is cathartic in a way and you always walk away thinking thank god that didn’t happen to me.
Last night was kind of a rough one. It wasn’t a bad night, really. I mean, it was, but I’ve had so many worse nights lately due to stress and depression that last night was really just one irritating circumstance after another. After another. Culminating with a door handle exploding in my face. I don’t know how that could happen, either, but I think someone Up There was having fun creating more and more ridiculous things to go wrong for me for Their personal enjoyment. Assholes.
The reason I am not saying it was a bad night is that my husband has a good job. We’ve been waiting so long and things have been so hard that though I’ve been pissy or irritated at times, nothing can compare to that pre-job feeling of terror. I feel like I’ve climbed out of the huge hole of PPD; it was a slow climb and it’s taken awhile. I’m not giddy-happy all the time, but there’s a lightness that the irritation of daily life can’t touch.
Yesterday was one of those days that every parent or potential-parent thinks about in the back of their mind. It says to them, “There will be days like this. Are you sure you’re cut out to be a parent? Can you handle being That Woman In The Store With The Screaming Child?”
First, let me give you a sample of what the past two weeks has been like in my household. Anthony has been commuting to different cities in the Bay Area for training. Which we’re both very happy about, but it makes life more complicated. My to-do list after work every day is enormous, and since Anthony gets home from work so late, I’m functioning as a single-parent. I’m happy that I get to spend so much time with Isobel, but I miss my husband and frankly it’s a lot more work.
I try not to make my daily to-do list too ambitious. I list only the things I really think I can accomplish, and tasks are triaged in a way that the most immediate get my attention. Last night I needed to pick up Isobel from Grandma’s, pick up my prescriptions, stop by the hardware store for Halloween costume parts, and pick up take out. This was of course in addition to the daily grind of folding laundry, doing dishes, making dinner, and bathing baby. I fall into bed with Isobel exhausted at 8:00-8:30 every night, so this doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for this to get done.
The problems began when I went to pick Isobel up at Grandma’s a little bit after 4:00 pm. She had not napped at all that day.
I’m going to let this sink in. Parents, your hands are probably getting clammy from seeing where this is going.
My girl takes a one and a half to two hour nap every day. We rely on that nap because she’s a horrible banshee child if she doesn’t nap, and no nap means we run the risk of her sleeping at from 5:00 to 7:00 pm and being awake all night. A skipped nap means the possible disruption of the sleep schedule of three people. Which could affect things for the next couple days as I’m a sleep whore and I NEEDS MY SLEEP. IT’S THE PRECIOUSSSS. WE LOVES IT.
Plus when I skip out on sleep it makes my Crohn’s all horrible and I can’t be having with that.
So, she had no nap. And she had fallen asleep about five minutes before I arrived. It was a deep, deep sleep that I could not rouse her from. Reluctantly, I loaded her heavy, limp body into the car. And then I got the second wave of bad news: she had hidden her bottle somewhere in Grandma’s house and Grandma couldn’t find it.
In normal households this wouldn’t be a problem. But our asshole cat Jupiter takes pleasure in nothing so much as gnawing tops of the nipples. Despite numerous nipple purchases we always seem to have only one or two useable nipples on hand at any one time. Isobel is shuttled from me to Anthony to Grandma to Olivia to my Mom to my cousin’s house. Things get lost and destroyed and if she had just one caretaker (preferably me) this wouldn’t happen. But it did.
My car contained a timebomb: an overtired, passed out baby with no bottle.
Mentally I added purchase nipples to my to-do list and with the baby loaded up, I headed out. First stop: prescriptions. Mommy needs her drugs! For her allergies and her arthur-itis! She slept through the whole experience so soundly I thought I’d stop by the hardware store first and then head to Tarjay for nipples. It was on the way.
We reach the hardware store uneventfully. I load the unconscious Isobel into the stroller. Her head lolls to the side unresponsively. We sail through the cramped aisles of the store whose sales strategy seems to be: pile shit all over the floor! It’s more appealing that way! I’m looking for the electrical tape when her eyes fly open and she lets out a tremendous wail.
She screams. She rarely screams like this but she’s screaming and sobbing and she’s so tired she’s yawning-mid scream and that ENRAGES HER. She chokes on the yawn in her rage which makes her scream louder and longer. I’ve become That Woman, The One With The Screaming Baby whom everyone wishes would just leave the goddamn store already. Believe me, I’m trying to get the hell out of there. I’m desperately trying to maneuver my awkward, clunky stroller out of the store but displays are laid out in such a way as to deter thieves or mothers with crying toddlers in strollers. It’s not easy to leave and every wail attracts more scowling looks and I am That Woman With The Screaming Baby for some of the longest minutes of my life.
Finally we exit the store and I pick Isobel up for a reassuring hug. She is soaking, soaking wet. My poor baby. No wonder she woke up unhappy. I struggle to push the stroller to the car one-handed while consoling a traumatized baby. She flips out all over again when I load her into the car seat because she just wants to be held and now I’m That Woman With The Screaming Baby trying to load my gigantic stroller into my laughably small trunk.
As soon as we walk in the house she starts screaming for her bottle. She needs to be changed completely from head to toe as she is soaked in urine. And she’s crying for a bottle we don’t have. I search the pantry, desperate to find a spare, overlooked-by-Jupiter nipple to no avail.
It’s times like these, Internet, when I am the most fortunate of women, because I have good friends that live near by. Good friends who, praise Baby Picard Buddha Jesus, also have a baby.
I call my bestie and her husband and say, “I’m desperate. I need a bottle. I need it NOW. Can I borrow one of yours?” And just like that she was at my house within five minutes with a clean, empty bottle. Internet, you can only be so mad at the Universe before you are overcome by gratitude at the fortune of friendship.
Throughout this whole fiasco I was on and off the phone with Anthony who was driving home from the Bay. We’d talk, we’d be interrupted by tragedy (mine), then I’d call him back. With Isobel’s situation under control and my husband a half hour from home it was time to pack up the baby and pick up our take out. By this time she was in a great mood, talking and cooing to Angela and waving bye-bye to our pumpkins.
Things seemed to finally be settling down when we pulled up to the restaurant. I don’t know how to explain this, Internet, other than to say at this point, I was trying to get out of my car when the door handle exploded in my face. It was like Baby Picard Jesus was laughing at me and saying, “I’m not done with you that easily! Now you’ve become That Woman Whose Car Door Handle Explodes Into Her Face!” I didn’t even know she existed!
I’ve been driving the white car while the Buick is out for repairs and it’s old and crappy. But I have a strong affection for it anyway even though I have to turn the radio way up to be able to hear it over the sound of a spoon being caught in a garbage disposal. Anthony and I occasionally refer to the car as The Rock Polisher.
I’m really not sure how it happened. The handle is plastic and the hinge is plastic and it’s like it just snapped and the force of the snap broke part of the handle into little pieces that flew outward in all directions, three or four of those directions being my face.
If I hadn’t been wearing my glasses I’d be blind in one eye.
When I go to lunch I’m going to add a photo to this post that will show the traumatic aftermath of the Exploding Door Handle. The unlikelihood of that happening pretty much summed up the outlandish bad luck of yesterday.
Update: I’m on lunch. The handle only works about 30% of the time now, so when it doesn’t work I have to roll down the window and let my self out using the outside handle. Till that explodes. Then I’m screwed.
Here’s the actual hinge that exploded off and tried to hit me in the eye. The rest of the fragments are so small I didn’t bother trying to find them.