Thursday, August 15, 2013

Every Little Thing

Over the past few weeks the girls and I have put on some major mileage and had so much fun and are basically squeezing all the adventure we possibly can out of these few precious weeks of summer our New England climate gives us. And summer is loving us back.

Brooklyn: We walked to three playgrounds in one day (!), I had too-much wine and wonderful catch-up time with my girlfriends (!!) and then we took a FERRY to HEAVEN (!!!) and it was so absurdly magical that I had a little lump in my throat for most of the weekend.

Parenting at the same time, in the same place, with old friends, is amazing. You see them in a best, new light. And you also see that you are the same to them, and they are the same to you, even though everything is different.

And. As with most things, once you are actually doing the thing, it just...unfolds. I was in a mild twist about having the girls in the car for so long and general traveling solo-parent-style. And, of course: There was a grating 45-minute stretch of whining (the mamuuuuh mamaaaaaah maaaamuuuh sob sob thing that makes one wish ears were never even invented) instigated by my darling eldest before she took her own trip to Nap-ville, at the beginning of the 3rd hour of driving on the way down. As per my "breaks every 2 hours" rule, we had just pulled back on the road from our Big Treat fast-food lunch when the whining began. I wanted to shove their new Minion toys (which Baby G. promptly christened "my pickle-bull" after "despicable") into my ears. But then my big girl gave in to her fatigue and slept the entire rest of the ride to the CT grandparents' house and proceeded to have the best times ever for the rest of the weekend. There was one night wherein we all couldn't fall asleep for shit, and then slept like crap. There was a terrifying thunderstorm on the way back during which I discovered 1., the wipers on the car are inadequate, 2., the defrost on the car is inadequate and 3., when you are on a busy highway and you can't see past the front of your car, and you just have to pull over praying that everyone will let you do so, your hands can shake so hard that it can take upwards of 15 minutes to calm them so they will not also be inadequate. I could have done without those parts, but then, we could have just not gone, and none of the good stuff would have happened either.


Portland, Maine (with beloved houseguests): Not one but TWO trips to the best ice cream shop/petting zoo ever. A golden afternoon at the beach. Magic-hour suppers on my back porch. Three adorable little girls playing together. Not one, not two, but THREE amazing good ol'fashioned late-night hangouts with my girlfriend who is, no contest, the best person in the world with whom to destroy your liver. Resultant hilarious hung-over parenting afternoons. And the aforementioned precious chance to share space with an old friend, who is also a (great) mom and a (great) wife.

I had a little Gretchen-Rubin-esque epiphany during that week. You know how some people just make you feel wonderful and like yourself? Your best self, in the most Oprah-manner of speech, but in an effortless way? These people are your "inflators" and you should cling to them always, and make them fly hundreds of miles to see you and your children. Guilt them into it, I don't care. Just get them into your space. And you should drive or fly hundreds of miles to see them, also. The other kind of people are "deflators" who make you feel bad and fuck them.That is what I learned that week.

Northport, Maine: For a few years now, my family has been heading up the coast of Maine for our family business's association retreat. This sounds like it should be boring, but it is not, not by a long shot. The first year, Little A. was just barely there: I had confirmed my pregnancy the very day before we drove 4 hours to Bar Harbor and I spent the whole weekend bobbing around in that heady mixture of joy and panic that is the beginning of pregnancy and also wondering if everyone would notice my avoidance of wine and blue cheese. This year, our fourth year, I finally got the whole weekend RIGHT. I hired one of Little A.'s beloved teachers, Miss Alicia, to babysit. My brother and his kids were also coming, and Miss Alicia knows them very well also. Alicia was fantastic all weekend - she required absolutely NO instruction, she was up for anything, and she can drive a golf cart. (I have a ridiculous inability to drive anything smaller than a car. So stupid! I need to get over it.) So, A+ childcare choice.

The drive up to the resort was rainy and sleepy, but the weather also meant very little traffic. I would only give myself an A- for transport because my car broke down that morning, all full of our stuff, but then I got to drive my dad's fancy Audi, so maybe I get just a regular A.

Friday evening there is always a lobster bake/ridiculous dance party. The girls were happy to learn the Macarena and hang in the bounce-house until bedtime (A- for much later than usual bedtime). My dad started drinking CC over ice at 6 pm and didn't stop until well after he had danced with my mother - TWICE - to "Blurred Lines." That was a scene, my friends, that I will never forget. I will never forget. I also might have taught my mother how to dance "Gangnam Style," but there was no video recording so let's just pretend it never happened. I might have been drinking rum. Weirdest-wedding-ever-dance-party: A+!

Poor Baby G. succumbed to a tummy bug overnight on Friday, so I spent the pre-dawn hours  changing both of us out of multiple pairs of barfed-upon PJs. Friday-into-Saturday, I'm afraid, gets a D. But Saturday officially dawned bright and lovely and we all went to the beach (A) and with plenty of Tylenol and cuddles, by afternoon, the Baby was just fine (B+). And all the grownups went to a wine-tasting (A), which was fun except day-drinking should be followed either by more drinking or immediate napping and I did neither (C+) and by 9 pm that night I was DONE. My brother and his wife were DONE too, so they took me down the mountain in their golf cart, collected my nieces from my cabin, and we all went to bed early (A+). But that was OK too. We all slept like champions and drove home the next day without incident (A-).

Weekend cumulative average: A

And this weekend, well. For the first time ever, the Green Team is splitting up to have separate adventures. Little A. is spending the weekend with my parents, and has already told me that she is going to "take Nana on all the rides at Santa's Village because otherwise Nana might not have fun. And Grampa can take pictures." Baby G. is going to her first Red Sox game with her dad, CT grandparents, and uncle. And I am headed up the coast again for a little getaway of my own. This will be the first night I have spent away since Baby G was born. I am going to miss the dickens out of those girls but oh, oh, oh. SLEEPING IN and other adult-y things, how I have longed for thee.

I used to hate summer. Indoorsy, bookish nerds with an aversion to bare skin don't fare well with heat and sweat and tourists all around. But now I can see what all the hype is about: it's fun. FUN! Summer is a stupid and highly inappropriate Daft Punk song blasting out of your car window and all three of us girls singing along. Summer is ice cream dripping down your chin. Summer is the perfect light reflecting off the slick of low tide. Summer is a little black dress under fireworks. And I'm paraphrasing myself here, but around these parts, Summer 2013 is delivering fun, on all fronts.

So, what did you do on your summer vacation?

xoxo, A

Friday, August 2, 2013

I Didn't Even Know I Had a Belfry Up in this Piece

On Tuesday night, a few hours after I fell into a wine-y, swoon-y kind of sleep, I had a very strange dream. In my dream, it was 3 am. I awoke in my bed, and looked around my own room, just as it was when I went to sleep, Little A. snoozing next to me. A bat was swooping and darting around my room. Round and round it went, skimming over the covers, banking turns off the angled walls, stirring up the air. The cat jumped off the bed and went to investigate. She made a couple of prrts! but then just sat in the middle of the room and watched the bat's hectic flight pattern, SWOOP-retreat-SWOOP-retreat. And as quickly as the night visitor came, it disappeared. I heard a thump, maybe in the closet. The cat trotted over to the closet, but quickly returned to her place on the bed. And we all went back to sleep.

I told my mother about the strange dream and thought nothing more of it. She has been having strange dreams this week, too. There must be something in the cosmos. So the usual Wednesday thing happened at my house, and I put myself to bed early.

And then it was 1 am. And there was a shadow on my ceiling. And it was THE FUCKING BAT WHICH WAS NOT A DREAM BAT AT ALL BUT A REAL FUCKING BAT IN MY BEDROOM.

Jesus Christ, you guys. I am all for bats in nature. They catch bugs! They are a valuable part of the ecosystem! Bat houses! Yay! But in my bedroom? Swooping my bed? Getting close to my FACE.

No. No no no no no no. NO TO THE POWER OF INFINITY.

As is typical in these midnight fright scenarios, for a few long moments I froze and watched the little fucker swoop around. Nothing like waking up in a cold panic to get the old adrenal glands pumping. What to do. What to do about a FUCKING BAT IN MY BEDROOM. I willed my limbs to work. I turned on the light. The bat flew out of the bedroom.

Aha, I thought. Bat rodeo. I grabbed a pillowcase, thinking maybe I would throw it on top of the bat if it landed somewhere. Like a net! I have successfully employed this method with unruly cats and toddlers, but not flying things, so it would be an experiment. The cat and I paused on the stairs to watch the bat swoop around the living room. Once I saw it clear that room, I followed, flapping the pillowcase in front of me as a sort of shield/bullfighter cape thing. While also trying very hard not to shriek or otherwise raise an alarm that would wake the sleeping children.

And so, that was the game. The bat would fly into a dim room. The cat and I would follow behind, the cat with her tail in the air, me with my trusty pillowcase flapping in front of me. Finally, the three of us made it to the kitchen. Which is next to the dining room. Which is where there is a giant door to the deck. Which was my hope for a flying-rodent-free abode.

The bat landed on a window and tried its damnedest to scrabble out through the screen, and then just rested there for a moment. I raced over to the door and opened it as wide as it could go, and then tried to send psychic signals about the nearness of the open door. I flapped my pillowcase and turned lights off and on, trying to find the right level of dimness to encourage a scared, tired, and probably hungry bat to FIND THE FUCKING OPEN DOOR ALREADY.  The cat sat in the middle of the kitchen and deigned to raise one paw at the bat as it flew past her on one of its tumble runs. Then she looked at me and asked for a treat. Fucking cats, man.

Once, twice, the bat made a crazy circle around the perimeter of the kitchen. On the third pass, it took a sharp right a few feet in front of me and flew straight out into the darkness. Out into the OUTSIDE. Out into its OWN DAMN HOUSE.

And so I successfully, luckily, got the bat out of my house. It took me an hour or so to get back to sleep after that, and all day yesterday I had the PTSDs around bird-shadows. I'm over that today (I think).

SO. Let it be known to all that I am a bat-wrangler extraordinaire! Both girls slept through the night and never had a clue what drama a flying rodent wrought in their home.

I dearly hope I will never have to employ that particular skill-set, ever, ever, ever again.

xoxo, A