Bugs.

My parents’ house is loaded with bugs.** Spiders, beetles, unidentifiable gross crawly things that I don’t care to get close enough to identify. It’s not their fault. It’s not like they live in filth, but they do live in the woods, in a completely brick house with zero insulation. So, the only thing between them and all the disgusting creatures of the outdoors is a bunch of porous stone. Not enough.

We also often had little mice that had sneaked through some tiny crevice and then stood, stock-still, bewildered and horrified in the middle of our living room while I sat with my legs tucked up under me on the couch, staring at them, just as stock-still, bewildered and horrified as they were. It was not uncommon to hear mice scurrying around behind the paneled living room walls, and the bugs. Oh, the bugs. Daddy longlegs tiptoeing across the carpet. Moths fluttering around the light at the front door. You never knew if a dark spot on the floor across the room was a piece of lint or a creature.

I hate bugs. And, y’know, hate is not even the most accurate word. I think I probably have something bordering on a phobia. My reaction to them is irrational and visceral. Once, when I was 16 years old, my mother found a cricket in the house and was trying to shoo it back outside while I sat with my legs up on a chair, actually crying real tears. I was certainly not afraid it was going to hurt me. I just felt…I don’t know…bad. Weird. Wrong. Oogy. Squicked.  Horrified, really.

Luckily, I am married to someone who kills all the bugs for me. (And, no. I don’t mind them getting killed. I have no interest in ushering ants out the front door.) But when The Who and I travel solo, as we’re doing now, and we’re home alone at my parents’ house, as we are now, and there are icky bugs showing up all the time, who’s gonna take care of them? Luckily, so far (this trip) I’ve been able to dissociate enough to just turn a blind eye. I shooed a spider out of the suitcase tonight, for example, and promptly blocked it out as if it didn’t even happen. But that was just a spider. Is my 2-year-old still too young to be the designated bug-destroyer?

Shit. Don’t answer that.

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** Ok. It’s not loaded with bugs. That’s not fair to say. But on any given summer day, I am likely to see at least four live bugs and at least two, uh, previously live bugs. In the house.

Inside.

Sick days are no good, in general. I hate staying inside and missing adventures. The days take forever from wake-up to bedtime and yesterday was no exception.

Last week, when I heard it was going to be in the scorching 90s on Sunday and I knew m* would be out of town for work, I planned to spend the whole day at the pool, nap and all. My first clue that this wasn’t going to work out should have been when The Who complained of mouth pain when I picked him up from daycare on Friday. It wasn’t. When he spent all afternoon on Saturday whining and miserable at a family picnic, even turning down a chocolate chip cookie, this should have been my next clue. Nope. And I even obliviously believed the plan was still a go on Sunday morning, despite his lethargy.

Lemme just take his temp to be sure.

One-oh-one under the arm. Super. Needless to say, we stayed in. He laid his hot body on me and napped. We watched a lot of Barney. He drank some juice. He whined and moaned. I dosed him up. Sometime around 2pm, he rallied, the Tylenol finally kicking in, and we played for a while before he pooped out again and just wanted to hang out on the couch.

We played with Play-Doh during the 2-hour rally. This is truly an act of love; I can't stand Play-Doh. Can't they make it not smelly and crumbly?

Yes, I know Barney doesn't really resemble Al Jolson in full blackface, but you try representing a big toothy smile with Play-Doh on command. Don't hate.

Today was another “inside” day, despite his waking fever-free (and staying so all day — hooray!) I honestly don’t know how I made it, but i do know that i squinted into the sun this afternoon when we ventured out for milk, as though i had been living in a cave.

Yeah, kinda.

Travel.

This morning, finding myself fresh out of conditioner for my hair, I reached into the bowl full of hotel grooming products we keep on hand, tossed back the first three (lotions) and dashed into the shower with my fourth pick, no idea from where it came. I lathered, rinsed, and repeated, thinking about getting The Who up, working at the Y, what we should have for dinner — and then popped open the conditioner. Instantly, I was on a huge cruise ship, tan and rested, with zero responsibility. Just from the smell. And sure enough, when I looked down at the bottle, I saw that it was a take-away from our Mediterranean honeymoon cruise.

Sigh.

Remember travel before having a kid? I kind of didn’t until this morning. Of course I remembered the trip; a) it wasn’t that long ago and b) it was the most memorable vacation I’ve ever taken, but I’ve just taken so many trips with The Who since then that it’s become my frame of reference. The smell of that eucalyptus conditioner brought it all back, though: running through the Vienna airport to make our connecting flight (unencumbered by a toddler, his stroller, and his pokey starting and stopping); bobbing in the Venetian water taxi, waiting for a slip to open up (unconcerned with whether I remembered the crayon roll or not); staying up late eating cookies and playing cards (not dreading the consequence of being woken by a kid in his pack-n-play in unfamiliar surroundings.) It was just us. Just us and the boat and the fun and the water and the time and the peace. Oh, the peace.

I love traveling with The Who. I really do. Although we don’t go much of anywhere aside from home to see my family, I love showing him new things and getting him used to being in different places. I don’t generally mind the extra time and thought it takes to pack for two now and to make sure I have all the things I’ll need for hours out at a time. I like having a car-companion on our long road trips and I love seeing things like take-off and landing through his eyes.

But it’s so nice to lean into a hot shower, massage some Princess Cruises Lotus Spa conditioner into my hair, and remember the rocking of the ocean beneath us as we slept, waking in a new city as the sun rose, and spending day after relaxing day with my wife — just the two of us grownups.

Alone on the top deck, near the end of the trip, docked in Marseille.

Deals.

Dear Groupon and Other Assorted Daily Deal Sites:

Oh my god, I love you. You, combined with my shiny new Paypal debit card, have made it so easy to get good stuff cheap and there’s not much I like more than getting good stuff cheap. Sometimes, I know, it may seem like I’ve forgotten about you (sorry, woot.com; you were my first and I’ll love you forever, but I just don’t think I am in love with you anymore. Let’s still be friends, ok?) or like I don’t have time for you (you’re a big commitment, livingsocial.com. You have a lot of “side deals” to investigate, but that doesn’t mean you’re not super.) But the truth is, Groupon and Other Assorted Deal Sites: you have made me one happy woman. I got plans for you.

My most recent purchase: BrightBin (in Blueberry Blue.) $9, thank you very much, familyfinds.com

A few weeks ago, I got this Tonka Construction Play Mat for a wicked bahgin, thanks to totsy.com

You're next, thumbprint pendant, as soon as heartsy.me throws me a bone.

What are your favorite daily deal sites? What were your favorite bargain purchases?

Quotes.

  • While cooking grilled cheese with me: “When I grow up, I wanna be a Boy-Cooking-Grilled-Cheese Man.”
  • In his crib when M* went up to get a toy out of his crib: “I’m hot. Did you come up here to get all the hot out of me?”
  • While eating ice cream:
    The Who: Ice cream, YUM!
    Mama: Oh, hey, tomorrow is Flag Day!
    The Who: Flag Day-YUM!
  • Playing trains: “This train and this train and this train are sad about the track is nervous.”
  • While driving his ride-on truck from the living room to the kitchen and back: “Mama, I missed you. Did you miss me when I was putting my truck in the car wash? I’m going do the car wash one more time, then come back and love you.”
  • In the car at the end of a. 9-hr drive: “No, Mama. We are just going home. We don’t have to worry about whistling. When your boy tells you to whistle, you have to whistle. And when a grown-up tells me to don’t whistle, I don’t have to whistle.”
  • After being asked by M* if he wanted to say good morning to me: “Um, I don’t need to. I wanna say hi to Mama in another day.”
  • An exchange:
    Am I little?
    Ummm, yeah you’re little.
    Am I a big boy?
    Well, yes. You’re a bigger boy than when you were a baby.
    Why I’m not a baby anymore?
    Because you grew.
    Why I grew?
    Because you ate food and drank water and got lots of rest and that’s what bodies do when you eat and drink and sleep. They grow.
    (Pause)
    And my nipples growed!
  • Across the house in the living room, singing. Stops singing and says (presumably to one of the cats): “No I sitting right here! I sitting here and you go over there. Your place is in the litter box!”
  • Eating breakfast, discussing how hungry we were: “I’m hungry for my Mommy to wake up.”
  • While I was kissing his cheek: “I don’t have time for that, Mama.”
  • And, finally:

    While walking into the house from the car with his toy phone up to his ear, "Hello? Grandma? Are you there, Grandma? Hello? Why Grandma's not talking to me?""

Bullets.

  • I put The Who in a red, white, and blue outfit yesterday. I even wore one myself. I don’t consider myself unpatriotic, per se, but I am not a “flag-waver.” Having a kid has made me dispense with my party-poopin’ ways and subscribe to theme-dressing. I am mostly ok with this. However, if I ever wear a “Christmas sweater” (you know the kind I mean), please take the wheel because clearly I have lost my mind and shouldn’t be driving.
  • I am trying to think of a way to instill a love of nature in The Who without actually having to spend much time in it myself. I do not enjoy bugs, creatures, or sweating. I do not like to get dirty, be dirty, or play in dirt. I totally want him to love these things. (Although if he doesn’t enjoy catching and keeping snakes and toads, that would be completely fine with me.) I can send him to camp when he’s old enough, but if he’s anything like I was, his lack of early exposure to gross nature will make him less than excited about it when the time comes. Help.
  • Every day, I change my mind about whether or not to keep the cats. They are such a pain in ass. But then yesterday, The Who asked Simon if he wanted a “sandwich” that he was making in his play kitchen. All together now: awwwwwwww.
  • I am one click away from ordering fire truck big-boy underwear from The Gap. This says two things: 1) my baby is almost a boy! 2) the only way to avoid Disney-themed toddler underwear is to order overpriced three-packs online.
  • I’m going to see a movie this afternoon. My third in as many weeks. “What stay-at-home-mom does that?” my friend hooted at me via text. Is it really that weird for an [almost] middle-aged mama to squeeze in a movie in the middle of the day when the kid’s napping away at daycare? I didn’t think so, but now I am rethinking. (I’m still going, though. Popcorn, air conditioning, and Tom Hanks are too compelling.)
  • There will be a return to semi-post-protection here. Entries with full-face photos of The Who will be password protected. If you’re in the Circle of Trust, you know the password (comment and ask for it if you don’t) and if you’re not, sorry. Truly, I am, but I have to take at least a rudimentary stab at privacy.