Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I'm Going To Marry You!

I've been proposed to twice in my life.  The first time was by Chris back in 2004 on a day I gave him a glimpse of what life with me would be like.  He begged me to go out to dinner; I whined and complained and told him I wanted to stay home and watch TV.  At the restaurant, he tried to persuade me to get a drink and a pricey appetizer and the most expensive entree on the menu; I believe I told him to leave me alone and go straight to hell.  Still, despite my crabbiness and overall unpleasant demeanor, the engagement ring arrived at our table and Chris proposed marriage and perhaps a dessert of some sort.  I said yes to both.

He's going to make someone
very happy one day.
The second proposal was just a couple weeks ago.  It wasn't as much a proposal as a statement of fact. I was cuddled with the kids on the couch and Andy said, "Mommy, when I grow up, I'm going to marry you."

"Aww," I replied.  "That's nice.  But I'm married to Daddy."

Andy already had a fix to this minor problem.  "I'm going to marry you," he repeated, "And Daddy can marry Alex."

Later, when I was to mention Andy's master plan to Chris, his reply was perfect.  "I don't know- there's going to have to be a lot of progress in the civil rights movement before a man can marry his own son."

I'm not sure if Andy wants to actually be my husband or just further cement his future place in my life.  A few months ago, I made some offhanded comment about how one day he was going to grow up and have his own job, house, and family. Admittedly, this is a lot to burden a small child with; the kid can barely deal with being dropped off at preschool, and suddenly he's imagining having facial hair, living with some strange lady, and having to navigate rush hour in order to get a thankless job that will just barely cover his mortgage payments.  "I am NOT going to grow up!"  Andy yelled back to me after this nightmare scenario sank in.  "I'm not going to get my own life!  I'm going to live with you FOREVER."

"Don't worry, Andy.  You can stay with me forever," I promised.  And believe me, I meant it.

But sometimes I can't help myself from teasing the poor little guy, and later, when we were watching "The Little Mermaid," Andy wanted to know why Ariel was marrying Prince Eric.  "She loves him," I said as we watched Ariel wave good-bye to her father the king.  And then, half smiling to myself like some sort of sadistic jerk, I went on, "And now they're getting married, leaving behind her father, and sailing off to start their own life."
Saying good-bye and off to get their own lives.

Andy's face immediately transformed into what can only be described as a horrified scowl.  "But not me!"  he cried, shaking his head and crossing his arms tightly.  "I'm not going to get my own life, and I'm not going to live with mermaids!"

"Of course not," I replied.  And I've really had to restrain myself from further teasing him on the topic because I think if I bring it up again, the kid is going to have a nervous breakdown.

But I haven't had to bring it up, because Andy's been stewing over it, and he's come to the only logical course of events.  He can still grow up, but he can stay with me forever if we just make it official and get married.  And we can keep living in our house, and I can go ahead and drive him to that thankless job everyday because I already have his car seat installed in my car!  See how perfect our life can be?

Alex and Daddy, though... I wonder how those two will fare once Andy grows up and kicks them to the curb.  I can only hope Alex will be a less crabby spouse than I've been; Chris deserves at least that.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Take Down Your Christmas Crap!

Alex is confused.  If he could construct sentences, I'm sure he'd say, "Is it Christmas again?  Is it STILL Christmas?  What's going on out here?  Am I getting more toys or not?"

We've survived the polar vortex.  It's over, folks.  The snow has melted, and although I empathize with how cold and lazy it is out there, it's time to put your Christmas junk away.  At this point, you should just be embarrassed.  I wish I could say it was only one or two houses in my neighborhood that still have decorations out, but it's literally every third house.

This is why we don't bother to put outdoor decorations up in the first place.  Actually, there's a couple reasons.  Here's the complete list.

1.  Don't want to.
2.  If you put them up, then, yes you have to take them down BY FEBRUARY AT THE LATEST PLEASE.
3.  I can think of about ten thousand other things I'd rather spend money on than a fake Santa for the yard. Such as boots and sandals for my kids.  I have recently realized that Andy only has one type of all purpose shoe.  No snow boots, rain boots, sandals, dress shoes, pool shoes, etc.  Just sneakers.  Size nine.  And I think he technically is a size ten.  
4.  Where do you people store this stuff the other eleven (or seven) months?
5.  Nothing screams waste of time like putting out decorations.  I mean, don't you people have Netflix?

That being said, my kids do enjoy the Christmas lights on our block during actual Christmas time.  And yet Andy has an inherent understanding that while other houses are all lit up and pretty, Mommy and Daddy don't venture out into the yard during the winter unless the house is on fire in at least two separate rooms.

I'm not a decoration person to begin with.  My sister has decorations for every holiday of the year, and while her home is always inviting and festive, I can't help but look at her pumpkin place mats and Casimir Pulaski towel set and think, "Where do you keep this stuff year round?"  And "How do you find the time/energy to switch this stuff out constantly?"  I applaud the time and energy (perhaps she drinks less wine than I do), but the storage issue is huge.  Space is at a premium in our house, which is why I've slowly been getting rid of the prized possessions of both my husband and children. Snowman mug set?  Goodwill.  Apple corer Chris bought at Goodwill that time we went to donate the mug set?  Garbage.  Andy's loud police car that somehow works even when I take the batteries out?  Garbage in front of Goodwill.

(I don't mean to imply that the snowman mug set has ever been one of Chris' prized possessions, but Chris prizes all of his possessions and is reluctant to part with anything, whereas I've tossed out perfectly fine watches before just because I didn't want to have to deal with getting new batteries for them.)

((However, the apple corer is a prized possession of Chris', despite the fact that he hasn't eaten an apple in at least half a decade.  This is why I haven't actually thrown out the apple corer yet- you can call off the divorce lawyer, Chris, your useless hunk of garbage is safe for now.))

But, of course, I'm getting off track.  Please take down your Christmas decorations if you haven't already. You are filling my children's heads with false notions of gift receiving and the confusion of what impending Easter will bring.  Also, it just looks bad.  And this is coming from the house that once purposefully grew a seven foot weed outside their front door just for kicks.  Sooo.... you know it must be super bad.

Sigh.  I miss that weed.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Everyone Is Having Fun Without Andy!

Sometimes I think Andy ghost-wrote this book by Mindy Kaling.  
Not that I've actually read this book, but I do think that it's, hands down, one of the best book titles ever. And right now, Andy believes that everyone (mainly me and Alex) is having fun without him, and this fear is gnawing at his soul and making him a touch paranoid.  I keep reassuring him that it's not true, but my reassurances are false, and Andy is highly suspicious of what exactly goes on after he gets dropped off at preschool.

He has caught me and Alex in the children's museum in his preschool building, and he sobbed about it for hours after spying us through the small window in the door.  "Why did you go to the museum without me?" he kept asking.  Eventually, after reasoning failed, I managed to calm him down with some sort of sugary bribe.  That was only one particular instance, though, and his small life is now clouded with anxiety whenever Alex and I bid him adieu at preschool.  Andy has told me that, in no uncertain terms, Alex and I are to do one of the following while he is in class:

1.  Wait outside his class on the bench.
2.  Wait out in the parking lot in the car.
3.  Go home and wait there, but don't play with his toys.

Alex and I have decided not to select any of these items, because they all suck.  Bench and car are obviously not happening, and being home with just Alex is almost worse than being home with both of them.  I like to stay out and about and soak up as much of the world, or Target, as I can before bringing the kids home for the many, many hours left in the day.  I like to take Alex to the children's museum or his parent/tot gym class. It's unfortunate that both of these happen to be in the same building as Andy's class because the poor kid keeps running into us, and I seriously think it's pretty much killing him.

It's a good thing Andy doesn't know that, on days when I run errands before going down to the museum, I strap Alex into his car seat because Alex gets such a huge kick out of being the big boy in Andy's absence. That alone would make Andy absolutely lose it.  Sometimes I am so grateful that Alex doesn't actually talk, because I know that kid would betray all of our preschool time secrets in a heartbeat.

"Yeah, I sit in your car seat,"  Alex might taunt.  "And it's like you don't even exist.  On Thursdays we go to the gym, and I drink out of the WATER FOUNTAIN.  And that balloon Mom told you she found in the parking lot?  Well, she bought it for me.  It's my balloon.  We're just pretending that it's a stray balloon we randomly found just so that you don't completely lose your shit.  Think about it Einstein.  Balloons FLOAT. How could we find it on the GROUND of the parking lot?  Doy!"

I do take great pains to make sure that Andy doesn't see us while he is at school.  In fact, sometimes I walk out of Andy's class and up the ramp like I'm going to the parking lot only to make a U-Turn once I'm past the preschool windows and re-enter the building through the second level doors.  Then, when we are leaving the gym on Thursdays, I do the opposite, walking up and out the building only to walk back down to the other entrance as if Alex and I were freshly arriving.  Indeed, if Alex could talk, I can only imagine how he'd explain- or question- this indoor-outdoor-indoor insanity.

Next year, they will both be in preschool.  Andy will go Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and Alex will go Monday and Wednesday.  So Alex and I will still have Fridays alone- but Alex will be two, and then two and a half, and then almost three.  By then, he will surely be talking (I hope), so who knows how that one lone day will play out for us.  One of two things might happen.  One, Andy's anxiety that Alex and I are having fun without him will live on on Fridays, fueled by Alex's verbal confirmations.  Or, two-  On Mondays and Wednesdays, I may be sitting outside the preschool (in my car or on a bench), wringing my hands together and wondering:  Are Andy and Alex having fun without ME??

Nah.  I probably won't be thinking that.  Hey, what time do bars open in the morning anyway?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

No Blog Entry Today!

I'd like to write a blog entry about my grandfather dying and about what that means to me and my family.  I'd like to throw in the mortifying pieces of humor:  Andy thumping on his chest and crumbling cookies into his casket, the comically morose demeanor of the funeral director as he grew angrier and angrier with all of the children (and their toys), and how Andy kept asking why dying means you have no legs (as you can't see the lower half of the body in the casket).   Ideally, in this blog entry, I might tell you how we explained death to Andy- the hodge podge of narratives, including people getting very old and sick, souls flying up like angels to be with God in Heaven, a person passing away simply because they are done with their work on this Earth.  Did Andy understand all this?  Yes, I think so.  Because now he wants to know if Mommy will die one day.  And he wants to know if I'm sad that my grandpa is dead.  And he has listed all of the people that he would be okay with dying.  And I'm glad it's been almost a week now, because the topic is seemingly no longer fresh in Andy's mind, and he's moved on to other interests, such as calligraphy.  Except without all the calligraphy.

The truth is that it's hard to write about all of this, because I am not sad that my grandfather is gone.  I feel absolutely nothing.  He was sick for a long time and largely absent from my life.  What I am sad about is that we weren't closer and that my mother didn't have a better relationship with him.  And I am sad that my grandmother is left alone.  But I am numb to the actual loss, and I cannot pretend that I am not.

So it turns out that I do not have a blog entry today after all.  I tried.  What I do have is that overwhelming urge to love my children as hard as I can, raise them to be good people, and keep them surrounded by family- to give them that feeling of extended belonging that eluded my mother and eventually me.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Three Words!

Sometimes, while we're sitting on the floor, Alex will announce, "Hat!"  This does not mean that he wants to WEAR a hat; this means he wants to BE my hat.  Alex will say "Hat!" and then proceed to scale me like I'm a climbing wall and try to arrange his whole body over my skull in makeshift hat fashion.  He thinks this is hilarious.  I think this is hilarious.  Then, of course, Andy also tries to be my hat, and pretty soon I feel dangerously close to having my neck snapped.  Hilarity, over.

Alex is quick to call out "Yeah!" whenever he falls or tumbles into something.  He will knock his big head into the wall and then say, "Yeah!" in anticipation to the question he knows is coming:  "Are you okay?" Yet we don't even have to ask if he's okay anymore- we just watch him fall and know that a "Yeah!" is about to instantly echo back up at us.  That Alex is so reassuring.

And then there's Alex's favorite word, "Anda!"  This is Andy, and Alex uses it to denote the actual person Andy (you may know Andy from such blog entries as "Andy Climbs Into The Toilet!" and "Andy Goes To Preschool For Free!") and also the objects that belong to Andy.  When Alex says Anda, he may actually mean:

I want to sit in Andy's car seat.
I want to wear Andy's shoes.
I want to brush my teeth with Andy's toothbrush, hygiene be damned.
I think this Little Teddy belongs to Andy.
Is this the remainder of Andy's string cheese?  I'm going to eat it.
I'd like to wear Andy's underwear.

And I've let him sit in Andy's car seat, brush with Andy's toothbrush (it's not like either of them has gum disease, so whatever), eat Andy's string cheese, and... wear Andy's underwear.  I've put Andy's underwear on over Alex's diaper, and he loves it.  Also, have I mentioned that Alex pees on the potty basically EVERY DAY now?  It's usually right before bath time, but whenever I put him on the potty, he basically makes the *trying* face and then goes.  Just another way he's trying to be like Andy, perhaps.  That Andy- what a role model.