Yawning, I drag myself out the front door and sit in my car. I’d like to lean my head back against the headrest, just for a moment, but I know that’s too dangerous. I need to keep moving or I’ll fall asleep.
It’s early- just a little after 6:30 in the morning. I’m not due at work until 7:30, but I could use the extra 30 minutes to catch up. I know I’m salary and the time is not paid, but it’s worth it for my sanity.
Through sheer force of will I bypass Starbucks. I love them, but I’m never going to lose the baby weight if I keep downing 300 calories worth of coffee several times a week.
I pull into the parking lot at ten to seven….. and my cell phone rings.
The Caller ID is my boss.
“Hey, Becky, have you left work yet?”
“I’m in the parking lot right now.” I wait for this to sink in – that I’m a wonderful employee who has arrived thirty minutes early.
I wait in vain.
“Oh, good. There’s a problem with our latest project. Call me when you’ve got your computer up and running.”
I stare at my cell phone with a sinking feeling and sigh. There goes my extra time.
The next few hours pass by in a blur– by the time I surface I realize I’ve missed my pumping time. Again. My gigantic fridge stockpile I was so proud of is dwindling slowly by a few ounces every day and it’s starting to stress me out.
I stare sightlessly at the computer screen as I
strap two plastic sucky things to my breasts, which has got to be the least sexy thing ever and let myself be milked like a large, overweight white cow politely powder my nose. It feels good to surface for air.
Of course, as soon as I’m done I hit the ground running again. Frantically-typed emails, phone calls, shuffling paper, mailing items, more emails, more phone calls, more emails, errands, more paper.
I surface again hours later and realize that I barely have time to pump before I go home. Great. I’m probably going to end up two or maybe even three ounces short again today. Perfect.
Like always, I leave work about ten minutes late. I really need to speak to my boss about my salary. I can’t keep giving away my time for free like this.
The drive home is nice, but sadly a little too short. I’m probably the only person in Southern California who would like a longer commute home, but those precious minutes in the car are the only time I have to myself all day.
I try to sneak in the front door, but the DragonMonkey sees my car pull up.
“Mama car! Car! MAMA CAR! MAMA CAR! MAMA CAR! MAMA CAR!”
Before my mom can stop him he has bolted out the front door and is flying down the walkway to my car. I’d be flattered, but he’s being pretty literal. Sure, he’s glad to see me, but that’s not why he’s excited. He’s thrilled because my car is home. Crawling around the inside of my car and pretending to drive is the highlight of his day. Normally I let him do it even though I generally get elbowed, bruised and generally beat up as he clambers all over me in the front seat, but I can hear Squidgelet whining. He sounds hungry.
“Sweetie, I need to get inside. Mama needs to feed Squidgelet.” I’ve tried nursing on the street before, but every time I do I end up flashing a neighbor. So now we go inside.
It’s really quite amazing how quickly the DragonMonkey can shift from ecstatic joy to rage.
“NO! MAMA CAR! NO INSIDE! MAMA CAR!” I sigh, and scoop him up. He thrashes against me, back arched, howling his rage and frustration. I drop him unceremoniously just in the front door and manage to slam it behind me only milliseconds before he can dart back outside.
His screams doubly in intensity and volume. When he sees me hanging my keys on the keyring, he kicks me in the shin.
“CORNER. NOW!” He throws himself wailing into the corner, bemoaning his very existence.
I sigh, and grab the Squidgelet from my mom. I toss the baggies of milk in the fridge then sit on the couch and pop him on to nurse. Despite the ear-deafening screams from the corner, the moment turns almost peaceful.
The DragonMonkey notices my attention has wandered, so he decides to up the ante. When his screams stop abruptly I look up, just in time to watch him spit. On the floor.
I hate the spitting.
But I am just SO tired.
“Mama,” the DragonMonkey sings out. “Mama. SPIT.” He ineptly sprays the floor again, deliberately showing off just how bad he is.
I know negative attention is still atttention, and I should probably just ignore it… but I really do hate spit.
“NO SPITTING!” I dislodge the Squidgelet and lay him on the floor. He begins to wail at being at his sudden abandonment and is joined only moments later by the DragonMonkey as he sees me approaching. He does his best to stick his nose in the corner, but it’s too late.
“You spit, you spend time in your crib. Time out in your crib, NOW. NO SPITTING! EVER!”
I plop him in his crib and close the door behind me, doing my best to ignore the furious screams.
I return to the living room and rescue the screaming Squid from the floor.
Ah, peace at last.
I leave the DragonMonkey in there for
about ten minutes two very brief minutes before I return. He’s a snotty, tear-filled, disgusting mess.
“Hug?” he says miserably. “Mama up? Hug?”
I use a towel to mop up his messy face, then lift him from his crib. He lays against me, exhausted from his rage, arms encircling me.
“Huuuug,” he says warmly. “Huuuug Mama. Mommy. Huuuuuuuuug Mommy.” He deepens the hug and I return it. Ah, finally. A sweet moment with my son.
He leans back, breaking the hug, and places a hand on either side of my face, forcing me to look at him.
“Hi, DragonMonkey. I love you.”
“Hi, Mama…..” he trails off, then smiles a little too wide and a little too bright. “Mama, car?” he asks sweetly.
I sigh. The idea of going out to sit in my car for forty-five minutes is just not appealing. I’d really rather skip it for a day.
“Sweetie, not today. Mama’s tired.”
The sweet expression slips off his face. “Mama. CAR.” It’s pretty obvious he’s not asking this time.
I put him down and sigh again. I seem to sigh a lot when I’m around the DragonMonkey. “Sweetie, I said no. No car. Not today. I know it’s disappointing, but you’ll just have to learn to deal with it.”
He stares at me in fury for a moment, and then spits on me.
You read that right. He spits. On. ME.
It pretty much goes down like this:
Furious, I scoop him up and drop him in his crib again.
Rinse, Repeat. Rinse, Repeat.
The rest of the evening passes in a blur.
Spit, scream, love, hug, scream, laugh, scream, nurse, bath, nurse, scream, laugh, hug, scream, love, warm up bottle, blankey, kiss, nurse…
Both kids in bed. If I’m lucky, I’ll get an hour or two before the Squid starts crying. I hate teething.
I get less than two hours before the Squid’s pained cries wake me up. For the rest of the night, every forty-five minutes, he wakes me up crying. I can’t get mad at him – he so very rarely complains that I know it really hurts him.
Rock, rock, rock, nurse, sleep, scream, rock, rock, rock… nurse. Sleep. SCREAM. Rock, rock, rock, sleep….
BEEEP BEEEP BEEEP BEEEP BEEP!
The early morning light streams dimly through the window, painting the bedroom grey.
Time to start the whole thing over.