Approximately 8 years and 5 days ago, as Ali and I drove a screaming 2–day-old Maya home from the hospital for the first time, I realized one thing:
Labor is a piece of cake. The problems start when you have to take care of an actual baby.
When Maya was 3 days old I realized other things:
- Wipe and bottle warmers only lead to expectations.
Cheap diapers are a bad idea.
3 am infomercials selling sleep training DVD’s are just wrong. And mean. (And yet I succumbed?)
When Maya was 4 days old I realized even more things:
- A good stroller is a smart investment.
- A sturdy swing is an even better investment.
- Buying batteries in bulk - so the swing never stops - is the only way.
When Maya was a week old I realized she’d be an only child. Forever.
So aside from my usual negativity you may be wondering what the point of this post is. Well, not much.
Except that I just want to say – to all the other mothers out there who may be struggling – that all children eventually turn 8.
They are actually sometimes very much enjoyable.
A very strange thing happened on Saturday morning: For the first time ever, my husband offered to go get breakfast.
Just in case you’re skimming this post (I don’t blame you!) and didn’t fully get that, allow me to repeat: My husband offered to get breakfast.
I approached this unique offer with doubt. Fear even. Was it a trick? Reverse psychology?
I was so hungry that I took a chance anyway. I asked for bagels and cream cheese. Smoked salmon and capers. A tomato. I even threw caution to the wind and specified wild salmon with no added color.
And just for $hit$ and giggles? I threw in a request for fresh squeezed orange juice.
As my husband wrote these things down, jumped in the car, and headed to Bristol Farms, I surveyed our empty fridge to determine what Plan B would be when he inevitably came back missing a critical item on the list. Like the bagels.
But here’s the crazy thing: Ali got everything on the list. He even took the initiative to purchase some fruit from the deli and had them slice my tomato too.
(That costs $0.40 in case you are wondering. And no, I didn’t know they’ll slice a tomato for you at the deli either. And yes, I’m wondering what they thought of that request too.)
So the three of us had breakfast. Together.
And since Ali made such an effort I too decided to make an effort. This means I refrained from peppering the conversation with smart ass comments like, “For crying out loud Maya, did you learn to eat in a barn?” and “Placemats were invented for a reason, people.”
I think there are many lessons to learn here including the fact that I’m a much nicer person when I’m not hungry. And Ali? He’s a nicer person when he is.
This past Sunday afternoon, while most children across the nation were still watching cartoons and eating Pop Tarts in their pajamas, my enterprising 7-year-old was hard at work manning a Therapy Pop-Up.
Initially Maya’s marketing ploy was to yell, “My shop is open!” from the doorway of her room. When that tactic yielded no customers she toured the house with a sign that read“Follow Me for Therapy.”
A mobile advertisement, if you will.
I was so preoccupied that my daughter used the word “therapy” that I had no choice but to stop cooking dinner (read: assembling a no-bake noodle lasagna) and investigate further.
Maya: “Do you have a problem I can help you with?”
Me: “Yes, I do. Your father won’t stop leaving his socks all over the place. What should I do?”
Maya: “You could buy more hampers and put them around the house.”
Me: “But he leaves them in the living room. I can’t put a hamper in the living room, can I?”
Maya: “I guess not. What if you stop making him food until he starts cleaning up his socks?”
Me: “Okay, I can do that. Thanks for the advice.”
Maya: “That’ll be $1.00. Also, here’s the address of my massage store. We do good massages that will calm you down until Dad starts putting his socks in the hamper.”
As I walked away with a business card, a potential solution for a 13-year-old sock problem, a new-found respect for my daughter’s upselling abilities, and fear in my heart that my 7-year-old knows too much for her age, Maya said, “Oh, and Mama? I also give advice on the phone and by Skype.”
I think I need someone to help me explore how I feel about all of this.
Maya competed in her first triathlon last Saturday.
I wish I could say that I was there, cheering her on, but I wasn’t. I wish I had a good excuse why I wasn’t there but I really don’t.
Here’s a not-very-good-excuse instead: After a week of juggling a sick husband, Maya’s never-ending homework (I learned just how geographically challenged I am), and a bad hair week, I simply didn’t have the energy to get myself across the city by 5:30 am on a chilly Saturday morning.
- I felt guilty about this as I ate breakfast.
- I felt guilty about this as I searched Instagram with keywords like #nyc and #breakfast.
- I felt guilty about this while I attended a baby shower.
- I felt especially guilty about this when I saw Maya’s medal and pictures.
Obviously I’ll feel guilty about missing Maya’s triathlon for a long time. No big surprise there.
But here’s what’s interesting…Ali didn’t go either. Instead, he woke up, had a leisurely breakfast, and sat in front of the TV for several hours. And I’m 99% certain he doesn’t feel the least bit guilty about missing the event.
How does he do it? How?
Every year, my husband asks me what I want for my birthday. And every year I say, “Please don’t get me anything.”
I don’t say this because I’m setting Ali up for failure, and I don’t say this because I’m selfless. No, I say this because it’s the smart thing to say.
I know you think I’m being dramatic, but I promise you that I’m not. And in a second you’ll see why…
Here’s how things unfolded last week (no pun intended) after I opened my birthday gift from Ali:
Me: “Light bulbs. You bought me three boxes of light bulbs.”
Ali: “They aren’t just light bulbs, they’re eco-friendly light bulbs.”
Me: “It’s my birthday and you bought me light bulbs.”
Ali: “Don’t you remember the last time I changed the light bulbs in the living room and you said, “That was the best gift ever?”
Me: “It was a figure of speech! Tinged with a good amount of sarcasm.”
Maya: “See? I told you Mama wouldn’t like them.”
Instead of realizing the error of his ways, my husband continued to try to make his point. He pulled up a chair (in lieu of a ladder) and started replacing the first of three living room lights that had gone out.
But, as expected, he got tired halfway into his project. So after a few minutes he abandoned the chair, the light bulbs (old and new), all of the packaging, and collapsed on the couch in our still dimly lit living room.
I’ll let you guess who cleaned up the mess.