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Baby Gates Down Readers (all 62; 61 of you!): I give you here – a week in my life.

Last week, as it were.  I realize it’s been a wee bit longer than usual since I posted.  Life got, well, busy.  And it still is.  And it’s still going.

But last week really stands on its own, in a “self-contained sitcom episode” kind of way.  So let’s start with that.  And then if I don’t go offline through sheer exhaustion, I TOTALLY promise to provide the next installment.  You know: to keep you all glued to your seats as you read through the … well … mundane normal frustrations that come with the life of two working parents with two small kids.

Last week was a BIT exceptional – but, really, not by much.  It’s a week in the life of working parents trying to keep it all a float.  Yeah.  We chose the boat.  And there are times it floats along with the precision and refinement of a cotillion.  And then there are weeks like this.

Okay – so last Sunday I posted about how I’m trying a bit of an attitude adjustment over here.

Quick synopsis?  Life might not always be bucketfuls of awesome, but I control how I react to what life throws at me.

So when things go wrong (and they always will, yadda yadda) instead of letting it all pile up, I’m just gonna decide to be happy.  You know, like these guys:

Simple enough, right?  Again, to summarize for those who didn’t read my first eternally optimistic post about this, here’s the premise:

My 4-year-old asks for an eggo waffle for breakfast and when I bring it to her pre-cut she implodes because I cut it the wrong way.  I can buy into this and snap back, or I can be the bigger person (’cause, like, she’s 4 and I’m 36) and not engage other to tell her it’s erroneously cut waffle or squat and … just be happy.

My computer crashes for the second time in a morning at work despite IT doing a “defrag” and various other requests for help.  I could throw stuff at the screen and swear to myself (which at times is oddly empowering); or I could re-boot, grab a coffee, catch up on news via iPhone while waiting and … just be happy.

My 1-year-old’s mitts might be impossibly difficult to put on because, secretly, Target is evil and just wants me to come buy new mitts from them AGAIN.  They are especially hard to put on while on deadline for bus pick-up for my eldest.  I could accept defeat; dissolve into a puddle of tears; and let my poor little one go mittless; or I can totally use it as an excuse for a BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPING ORGY; go find new mitts, and …. just be happy (in the meantime, she can wear her old mitts for 3 days).

I’m right.

Right?

Simple enough?

Right?

RIGHT?!

So week one of my New World View went pretty good – as my Facebook status-like post from a week ago Sunday would likely indicate.

First couple days last week?  The First World Issues Karma Keepers apparently decided I was a WEE BIT too smug and needed to be put me in my place.

Monday:  Second week of hubs on late shift.  But I’m rockin’ the new attitude!  Coming home from a productive day at the office.  Picked the kids up on time.  Had dinner all worked out.  Rocking the working mommy!  Then? My 1-year-old’s 3-month-old car seat broke.  First?  I didn’t know these could break.  Second?  Yeah.  Seriously.  Done broke.  The actual seat-belt buckle in the 5-point-harness broke.  Buckle no longer buckles.  First?  Couldn’t get her out.  So that was scary.  And she was crying.  ‘Cause she wanted out.  And couldn’t figure out why I was “stalling”.  I think I managed not to look panicked during all this, which I think earned me a (well, really, one of the) beer(s) (I had) once they were later in bed.  After I finally managed to get her out?  Buckle definitely no longer functioning.  Very much a Baby Gates Down moment.

Rear-facing infant car seat

Rear-facing infant car seat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I quickly worked out a) My husband bought this with interact so there is no credit card receipt and I hadn’t a clue where the actual receipt was (ie: no proof of purchase)  b) My life SUCKS!  I should be more organized and keep receipts!  We totally can’t afford a new car seat!  And crap! I’m totally not alone in this crisis.  I still have to feed and entertain two kids during this meltdown.

So I was less than rock star mommy with my girls, but got them set up in front of the TV before I started tearing through mail piles looking for the receipt for the ##&$*#&$ing stoopid broken car seat receipt.  No luck.

Given my husband was working late, I did what any independent 30 something woman does.  I called my daddy.  He came over a little while later and poked around the car with a flashlight.  Given he’s an engineer, he gave me a professional diagnosis on the car seat: (Spoiler Alert!) Broken.

I’d found the manual by this stage and called the company, whose voicemail informed me they’d be pleased to address my concern during regular working hours.  I then called the store I bought it from who said that the company should send me a replacement part if I give them the manufacture date and number.

I accept defeat for the evening.

Tuesday: Get to work.  Crawl around my backseat and write down ANY. NUMBER. I. CAN. FIND. ON. THE. CAR. SEAT.  Also notice the nice “patent pending” indication on the buckle.  Not sure I’d hold my breath if I were you, Graco.  Just sayin’.

Go inside.  Life chugs along lovely for about an hour until the second (of two) printers I have access to stops working.   I spend 30 minutes getting remapped to a third printer.  That also stops working.  My office is apparently 13 years late to Y2K.  Given I have some time on my hands I call the car seat company.  Who inform me that the number I need is actually on the bottom of the car seat so I will need to a) remove it and write the number down and then b) put it back in so as to keep using it (illegally*) until c) their replacement part shows up in about a week.  I point out this is a less than awesome place for them to uniquely print the information.  I’m informed by the poor sales clerk that others have previously raised this point with her.

*But my husband has totally MacGyvered a way for the car seat to still lock our child in securely enough in the interim with his rock climbing gear.  Rock star daddy!

The rest of Tuesday is pretty much the same.  I’m halfway to daycare pickup when I realize I forgot something at the office.  So once I pick my kids up we all “field trip!” back to the office where my kids get to meet my boss and my four-year-old tries to walk off with office supplies.  My 17-month old’s totally cool hat distracts them.  They’re like midget Bonnie and Clyde.  But before they got game.

We get home for a quick dinner and go swimming with granny for half an hour.  It’s lovely.

I don’t really remember Wednesday.  Except that it involved getting woken up at 4:45am by a) snowplows and b) my husband’s Wagnerian snoring.  Upside?  I was wide awake by 5:30am and ready to shovel us out from the crazy-first snowfall of the year.  School busses were cancelled so my eldest hung out at daycare with my youngest all day (which my eldest apparently thought was awesome – she can’t wait for the next snow day – and my youngest apparently found less than awesome given this was an obvious INVASION OF HER DOMAIN and she was in a 17-month-old funk all day as a result.  So much so that my daycare provider and I joked she might be menopausal).   As far as work?  Printers were up and I managed to finally order the car seat part.  So win!

By Thursday life was back on track.  I had an after work function where I had two (okay, three) glasses of wine.   The end result of this was that I was in bed asleep by 9:30.

Which made Friday pretty good.  I was tired, sure.  But I remembered that my 4-year-old had asked to go for dinner at the All you Can Eat Sushi place we go to as a family about once a month (aside: perfect restaurant for kids to learn how to behave in public: not McDonalds; kid friendly; try something new; and while being huge enough that those on date night can be far enough removed from, well, us, is expectant of reasonable decorum).  My husband wasn’t working late, so let’s giver!  Cherish the moments!  Quality Time!

Except that by the time he got home we didn’t get to the restaurant until almost 7:00.  I’d spent the last two hours trying to not have the two girls snack too much and, thus, ruin dinner.  My husband was coming down with something and so was less than his usually charming self (but had said he’d come and so we’d let our eldest know and she was psyched so HERE WE ARE!).  Despite a few rounds of faux bathroom trips the meal was pretty good until we got to the car and my eldest climbed into her seat, grabbing the frame of the car at the exact same time as I closed the front car door … on her fingers.

I almost did a clip of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” here, because the refrain kinda summed up how I felt about me in this scenario/most of the week.  Until I watched the video.  Which didn’t really provide an equal image to how I felt (despite moments of connection, among other things, I’ve never felt the urge to lick a mallet).  So if you could all just start humming along to the refrain of our young ingénue’s new hit now, you’ll be about where I was Friday night circa 8:30.

[Synopsis for those who can’t be bothered with Miley:  You broke me; I broke you.  Maybe in the other order.  But it’s all just gone to bloody crap by this stage.  It’s a mess.  Fix?  Dunno.  So tired.  Scene.  As commentary, in the video she’s randomly naked.  I’m unclear how that relates to plot line or character development.  But I understand it’s somehow a feminist statement.]

But getting back to the trauma at hand (honestly, no pun intended) we fairly quickly ascertained that the door barely caught her (zero swelling or bruising).  That said, it obviously still hurt and was shocking and so she wailed like a banshee.  This of course just compounded my feelings of crap parent.  One second of missed vigilance and I almost break my kid’s fingers.  No reason they should have been there – sure.  But they were.  So I’m almost in tears on the way home.  While my eldest wails in the backseat, my husband tries to make two of his three women folk feel better, and my youngest is – rather smugly – quiet (secure, as it were, in her broken car seat).

So we get home and after a bit of ice-packing and tending to our eldest (who, thankfully, really was fine) get the kids to bed.

We then both pretty much pass out.

The end.

While I’m still of the opinion we all live happily ever after, this was not the most awesome of weeks.

What about you?  Are there working parents out there going through similar weeks?  I’d love a little camaraderie.

Let’s end with Ren and Stimpy again.  Because, hey!  ‘Tis the season!

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