A Study on Bad Timing

Because I am on a flexible work arrangement at work, when I worked mad, crazy hours during busy season, I was able to choose two weeks to take off later in the year without taking official vacation days.

Because Kullervo was graduating in May, I chose the first two weeks in June, thinking that we would have some time together as a family, that I would have nice time in the early summer with the kids to play outside all day, every day before the brutality of summertime hit.  This worked conveniently around the schedule of my current client at work, and it was going to be perfect.

Then Kullervo’s summer annual training with the National Guard changed its dates, so the entire second week that I am off from work, he is gone.

Then we realized the awfulness of bar exam studying, and how it makes law school look like half-day kindergarten.

Still, I have these two weeks to play outside with the kids, “chalking” (as Oliver calls it), taking nature walks, swimming in the pool, basking in the sun (with tons of sunscreen, of course).

It rained for the ENTIRE first week that I was off.  All of this past week has been rain.  Every day.  All day.  If it’s not raining, it’s pouring.  If it’s not pouring, it’s drizzling.  If it’s not drizzling, there’s lightning.  If there’s none of the above, it’s nighttime and nobody realizes it.  And the forecast calls for nothing but rain for the next 10 days.

On top of that, Oliver developed what may be his worst diaper rash ever.  It was so bad that changing his diaper either took two people, or took one person holding him down using acrobatic-style leg calisthenics while he screamed bloody murder, “Don’t hurt me!  Don’t hurt my bum!” and I was certain that someone was going to report us to child services.  The diaper rash turned out to possibly be a blessing in disguise, because it finally convinced Oliver to attempt to use his potty.  And if he’s naked, he’ll use it without accident.  If he’s wearing anything, he’ll just let loose.  (I figure it’s a step in the right direction, right?)

And, because there has to be an ‘and’ here, Hazel appears to be teething, and hasn’t slept for more than about 30 minutes at a stretch at night for at least three nights in a row, which, of course, means that Kullervo and I haven’t slept for more than about 30 minutes at a stretch, and because the first night Kullervo didn’t realize, my boobs are so sore from nursing her every 30 minutes all night long that I remembered why I am fine to wait awhile before having another new baby, because the first few weeks of nursing are a horrible time.

But being inside with two kids all day makes them whiny.  And yell-y.  And bored.  They’re so bored they don’t want to watch TV.  They’re so bored that at the suggestion of a movie, Oliver says, “Um, how about we do something else, okay?”

So, that was last week.  Today, because God realized that I was really, really, really, really, really, really going to need it, it did not rain.  We dropped Kullervo off at Army this morning and headed for the zoo.  We went to the zoo, threw some tantrums, saw four animals (a free zoo makes going with toddlers much more enjoyable, because who cares if you only see four animals and your kids are much more concerned with the HUGE ant they saw walking by the window when they were looking at the bear sloth?), had an argument, chased some birds, and then came home for lunch.  After naptime, we went and tried out a couple of playgrounds we hadn’t been to in awhile (verdict: the first one was ghetto and I worried that we would be eaten by zombie drug addicts or something, and the second one was great with a lot of kids and parents who didn’t appear to judge me as I tried to keep both of my children from dying while perched on high playground surfaces and who lended a hand when it appeared that both were trying to dive off of opposite ends at the same time), and then came home right at dinnertime.

But, because we had to say goodbye to Kullervo for two weeks today, I have been an emotional wrecking ball today and desperately worked to not show the kids so they didn’t get freaked out.  I’ve been tired–I napped right along with the kids today, and it was AMAZING!–and on the verge of tears all day.

So, now I have rambled on and on and on and should probably re-read this before I post it because probably huge sections of it aren’t even going to make sense, but whatever.

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More Mockery

Lest you think I only mock other people, considering myself superior to others, I will share some of my recent kitchen foibles.  Mostly because I think that my own stupidity was funny. 

Friday night, Conner and I had our good friend W over to hang out.  I decided to surprise Conner by making a bisque, and bought all of the ingredients ahead of time (like, Wednesday or Thursday–for once I was on the ball!).  It was to be a corn and red pepper bisque, and sure to be delicious. 

Friday came and I was scurrying around the apartment like a madwoman, having procrastinated tidying up to the last minute (after Oliver’s nap).  I had to start the bisque, clean the kids’ toys, sweep, do some dishes… But I did it.  The toys were put away (stuffed into Oliver’s room where nobody would see them), the clean laundry was hidden (in Conner’s closet–no time to fold the clothes).  The dirty laundry was hidden (in my closet, so we didn’t confuse the baskets).  The dishes were cleaned (I didn’t cut corners there). 

I sat Oliver down to eat his dinner, and began to prepare the ingredients for the soup.  It was then–and only then–that I realized that in our NYC apartment, I only have one pot.  And it’s a 2.5 or 3 quart pot.  Certainly not big enough to make soup in.  After about 10 minutes of panicking and trying to figure out what else I could make that would dazzle W (she’s really fabulous and worth dazzling), I realized that I could halve the recipe.  Phew!  Disaster averted.

Then it crossed my mind that we only have two real bowls.  Our ‘fully stocked’ kitchen did not come with bowls, and when we first moved here we only bought one for each of us.  After all, we have plenty of bowls at home.  This was a problem.  I considered serving dinner straight out of the pot and pretending that it was some hipster way of eating, but I rejected that as being a bit too weird to be believable.  I considered having Conner stop and buy a bowl on his way home from work, but he was already running late. 

I settled on serving my soup into what can only be considered a deep plate.  Seeing as how I’m not a huge fan of the spicy and the soup contained more than a little cayenne pepper, I wasn’t going to be eating a lot anyway. 

So, disaster averted.  Fun was had by all on Friday night.  But I’ve learned my lesson: don’t just read recipes ahead of time… think about what you’ll need to cook the food in the recipe, and what you’ll need to serve it. 

It’s Not Fair

I’ve been thinking for a couple of days about the concept of fairness, specifically with regards to relationships.  Admittedly, I’ll often get upset at Conner because I perceive something as being “unfair”.  But what does that mean?  If I think something isn’t fair, what am I actually expecting?

A hypothetical example of a situation which might upset me due to its unfairness:

Let’s say Conner, who’s in law school right now, spent the day at school, during his breaks between classes hung out with his friends, and then went out with his buddies for a drink, and then, coming home after the kids are in bed, spends the evening studying and expects me to cook dinner.  Let’s say that I spent the day dealing with whiny, sick kids who refused to eat everything I gave to them, had more dirty diapers than would seem possible.  And for good measure, let’s pretend that it’s a rainy day, so we couldn’t even go outside to play.

I can imagine me getting upset, and thinking that it wasn’t fair.

But does that really make sense?  No matter what happened, there would be no way of making our lives fair and even because we’re not the same person.  We don’t have the same goals, dreams, fears, irritations, responsibilities, life experiences.  There’s no way to make it fair.  I think that I could say that in the hypothetical I posed that Conner was being inconsiderate of me and my feelings.  That’s something that is concrete and able to be fixed.  But to say that the situation isn’t fair–what would make it fair?  Since we aren’t both doing the same things, there would be no way of making it equal.

Perhaps one would say that fair isn’t about having the same things, but of equally shared responsibilities.  But that also doesn’t really pan out in practice.  So for every diaper Conner changes (because he does the bulk of them), I should change one?   For every dish that he washes (because that’s another of his chores), I should wash one?

What about for every hour he spends with friends–should I have the same?  Maybe in theory… but in practice we probably have different needs when it comes to sociability.  What if I happen to need more (or less) time with friends in order to feel fulfilled?

So, fair isn’t really a goal to strive for, I think.  And fair isn’t a good tactic to use in an argument.  In a relationship, we should not strive for things to be fair.  Instead, I think maybe we should strive for both parties to be fulfilled and satisfied, taking into account our different needs.