stfu.

Here’s what I want you to know about right now: I need my child to stfu. I mean, I need it. Like, if he doesn’t stfu, I am going to lose my mind. More than I have already lost it on him today.

I can’t tell if it’s my irritability (8 days out) or if he really is more annoying than usual today, but whatever the reason, he has crawled right under my skin and taken up residence. From the second he woke up, he has had a constant emittance of noise coming from his face. His usual chatter, sure, but then even when he’s not talking, he is humming or beeping or bipping or singing. Right now, for example, a full 25 minutes since we said goodnight to him, he is in his bed, infuriatingly humming one single note, pausing only to draw a breath when he runs out. Is he listening to his voice? Noticing the vibration it makes on his lips? I don’t know and whatever it is, I’m sure it’s fascinating and important and not something I want to squelch. But for god’s sake, make it stop.

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The Voice.

So. My kid makes this — noise. With his face. Ok, his voice. He makes this noise with his voice. He uses this crazy-ass voice that makes me want to die. Or kill him. Or at least maim us both severely.

It started as the voice of his [stuffed] dog, Bella, but it has now become his default tired/excited voice also. And, apparently, when you’re 4, you are either tired, excited, or pretending to be your best [stuffed] friend approximately 98.64% of the day. Every day. All the goddamn time.

I hate this voice.

He knows I hate it, too, which is the kiss of death. I remind him constantly how crazy it makes me and how I sincerely wish he would reserve it for just Bella. (I mean, what kind of jerky mother tells her kid that his best friend’s voice isn’t allowed to be heard?) And he seems to be agreeing. He seems to understand (to the extent to which he can.) But then, out it comes. And it gets right under my skin. So, I tell him again, exasperated. He obliges, but only momentarily.

The other day, I was talking to m* about it and she told me that it was only annoying me because I was letting it. She didn’t let it get to her. “Try some positive affirmations,” she told me. I snorted and rolled my eyes, but I tried it anyway. The next day, every time he’d slip into The Voice, I’d silently tell myself: It’s not so bad. He’s just playing. You can tolerate anything for a little while. And, lo — it worked! He went in and out of The Voice all day and all day, I rolled with it. I didn’t mention it to him once and it miraculously didn’t get to me.

At some point during the afternoon, I texted m* to celebrate my newfound patience: “FYI I have not mentioned the voice all day, despite its near-constant use.” And she texted me back to say, ironically, it had finally gotten to her that morning and she had spoken to him about it. (The message didn’t permeate, apparently.)

Ah, well. So much for positive affirmations.

And, also, kid: stfu.

 

XX.

PMS (mine, obvs) is not a good mix with a 4-year-old. I couldn’t help but laugh, really, as I was quietly (not so quietly) seething. He’s got this allergic, like, I don’t know. Ball of mucous? Just sitting in his gullet. And I can’t blame him because, I mean, right? But he does this half-throat-clearing thing. On repeat. Every four seconds. (Yes, I timed it. What of it?)

And then there’s Curious Goddamned George. (I think that must be his official given name.) With his monkey noises and crap behavior. Getting into bullshit messes that could have been avoided with a little common sense. Squawking and chirping and bouncing around like a friggen monkey. For a half hour. I had to draw the line at one episode. Even Strawberry Annoying Shortcake is better than that monkey.

And then there’s the hair in my face, the way my shirt keeps riding up, the butter that got everywhere as he attempted to spread it on his toast, the skin on my body that I want to crawl right out of — it’s just not a good scene.

We played a rousing game of “I Spy” in the car on the way to school and it took the edge off, believe it or not. And thankfully I remembered my ear buds for my day of cafe-working. At least there’s Pandora. And Adele. And multiple renditions of “Hallelujah.”

Asshole.

I’m going to preface this post by saying that there is nothing right about it. It’s all wrong. I mean, wait. Don’t misunderstand; it’s all accurate, but it’s wrong. So wrong.

My kid is an asshole. And I say this with complete confidence because I know that all 4-year-olds are assholes. I know it. I have done enough primary and secondary research to be able to definitively make this statement. And I have evidence, too. Plenty of it. So, don’t start with how awesome they are and how cute and loving and whatever. I know. I hear your counter-argument and I respectfully disagree.

I offer you these examples. Read them and then see if you can really stand there and tell me that 4-year-olds are not assholes. Go ahead.

  1. When I am trying to walk somewhere, he decides he wants to walk in the exact same place and doesn’t give a shit that someone else is trying to walk there, too. I am forced to hold his head with my hand to keep him in one place so I can squeeze through the doorframe before him. Then…
  2. …he complains that I messed up his hair when I was trying to pass him.
  3. On his way to do anything I have asked him to do, and after he has asked the mandatory “how come?” at least twice, he takes baby steps to do it. With a pouty face on like I am asking him to shoot the neighbor’s dog instead of go pee before he puts his clothes on.
  4. From the back seat: “Put my music on!” “I can’t HEAR it!”
  5. Interrupting.
  6. Interrupting.
  7. Interrupting.

There is, of course, more. But I’m gonna let Louis CK explain the rest of it to you. This is in no way safe for work. Or children. Or anyone who doesn’t have kids, frankly. There’s a lot of cursing. And oh so much truth.

(The relevant part is between 3:17 and 5:28.)
The Kids Do You In

Asshole.

I’m going to preface this post by saying that there is nothing right about it. It’s all wrong. I mean, wait. Don’t misunderstand; it’s all accurate, but it’s wrong. So wrong.

My kid is an asshole. And I say this with complete confidence because I know that all 4-year-olds are assholes. I know it. I have done enough primary and secondary research to be able to definitively make this statement. And I have evidence, too. Plenty of it. So, don’t start with how awesome they are and how cute and loving and whatever. I know. I hear your counter-argument and I respectfully disagree.

I offer you these examples. Read them and then see if you can really stand there and tell me that 4-year-olds are not assholes. Go ahead.

  1. When I am trying to walk somewhere, he decides he wants to walk in the exact same place and doesn’t give a shit that someone else is trying to walk there, too. I am forced to hold his head with my hand to keep him in one place so I can squeeze through the doorframe before him. Then…
  2. …he complains that I messed up his hair when I was trying to pass him.
  3. On his way to do anything I have asked him to do, and after he has asked the mandatory “how come?” at least twice, he takes baby steps to do it. With a pouty face on like I am asking him to shoot the neighbor’s dog instead of go pee before he puts his clothes on.
  4. From the back seat: “Put my music on!” “I can’t HEAR it!”
  5. Interrupting.
  6. Interrupting.
  7. Interrupting.

There is, of course, more. But I’m gonna let Louis CK explain the rest of it to you. This is in no way safe for work. Or children. Or anyone who doesn’t have kids, frankly. There’s a lot of cursing. And oh so much truth.

(The relevant part is between 3:17 and 5:28.)
The Kids Do You In

Gash.

I decided that, instead of going to the usual bagel place, I would go to the one in the middle of town because they had better coffee. And so, as you might imagine, now that it’s all said and done, in my mind, the whole thing happened because I wanted better coffee.

We parked and fed the meter one quarter for a half hour and then happily started toward the cafe. The Who rounded the corner onto the brick walkway and the tip of his shoe caught the tip of mine and he was down. Knees first and I remember popping out a casual, “oops!” before he then tipped forward and slammed his face into the wrought iron chair with a sickening thunk. He immediately popped up, both hands over his nose, Marcia Brady-style, and was hopping around in the way he only does when he is in so much pain (either physical or emotional — I’ve seen both) that his little body just can’t stand it.

Within seconds, blood was seeping through his fingers and pouring onto the ground like a slow-streaming faucet. Just. So. Much. Blood. Someone asked if he should call 9-1-1 and I said yes. In the far-off distance, I heard that call being made. A kind-eyed woman told me she was a medic and asked if I wanted her help and because I was basically a shivering, hysterical puddle, I accepted. She immediately got on her knees and applied the wad of napkins someone had procured. She started talking to The Who. “What’s your name, buddy? How old are you? You’re gonna be just fine. You got a little boo-boo on your nose. Is this your Mommy? Are you going to dress up for Halloween? What are you going to be?” As she distracted him, she pulled his hands from his face, exposing the biggest, most gaping wound I have ever seen on a child. (The EMT later told me that face wounds just pop right open because of how taut the skin is.) It looked like a wide open laughing mouth right on the bridge of his nose. I saw tissue. And bone. I am sure of it. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I kissed his head and told him he was going to be fine, but I couldn’t stop myself from hysterically asking, repeatedly, if he was going to be ok.

He later asked to return to the scene. We examined the blood spatter on the bricks and I secretly thought about Dexter and what the Miami PD Forensics Department would have made of it.

The kind first-responder kept giving me tasks to do. “Why don’t you take that ice and wash his hands, Mom. Why don’t you wipe that blood off his shoes.” And a few times she said, “You need to hold it together, Mom, so he stays calm. If you need to step away for a minute, do that.” Which I did. I called m*. Nine times. She didn’t hear her phone (which, in retrospect, is probably better. I would have panicked her if she had spoken to me then.) Another sweet bystander rubbed my back and gave me sweet looks. I continued kissing The Who’s head and holding his bloody hands.

For all of our family love for emergency vehicles and sirens, The Who was not delighted to be riding in an ambulance. I do think his repeated visits to the local fire station helped keep him calm about it, though. He climbed into it all by himself. And that would be the theme for the rest of the day: The Who totally stepping up and far surpassing anyone’s expectations for a 3-year-old in an ER with a marble-sized hole in the middle of his face.

There’s never a time when seeing this feels ok.

I did get ahold of m* and thanks to Hurricane Sandy, she was home from work for another day. She showed up at the hospital and for the next hour, as The Who intermittently napped (which ended up helping with his energy for trick-or-treating later), we took turns holding the numbing solution on his cut and tossing mournful, supportive looks at one another.

After an hour of pressure and resting, the giant hole started to come together a bit on its own. Here, instead of looking like a cruel, laughing mouth, it just looks like a delicate pair of lipsticked lips.

Now, he’s got five stitches in the middle of his face, holding together a half-inch crescent-shaped wound. He said it looked like his “boo-boo has eyelashes.” Astute observation, indeed.

Third eye. I imagine in some cultures, this is considered lucky.

He told me this morning that he wished he didn’t have his boo-boo. I assured him that soon, it would be a distant memory. He’s not totally at the “I have an awesome story to tell!” phase yet. He’s still pretty traumatized. So are m* and I, actually. Last night, trick-or-treating, I wished he was wrapped in cotton. All the tree limbs and slippery leaves. I thought five stitches was enough for one day. He was, of course, fine. (He told me it was because his “Spidey Sense” told him he would be.) I shined a flashlight directly on his face last night when he was sleeping to make sure it was ok and poor m* woke up at 3:45 am (for the day), thinking about him.

We both feel incredibly grateful. A harder hit, a smidge to the left or right, a slower-responding medical team and/or good samaritans — it all could have gone a different way. We vowed to donate regularly to our local fire department. I wish I had that kind medic’s name. The gash already looks better. He doesn’t have two black eyes — yet. My body is exhausted. I can’t imagine having to do this for more than one kid.

Banner.

I’m trying hard to make this day the kind of day I need and want, but I am being thwarted at every turn.

Thursdays are my “off” days, which means only that I don’t have to be in a classroom, teaching. Thursday is the day I use to catch up on all of my grading, student emails (though I also handle those as they come in all week), and other administrative stuff. Often on Thursdays (especially these days, as I am trying to catch up financially from a summer of basically no work) I will drop The Who off at school and come right back home, planting myself on the couch for a solid chunk of work.

I cherish Thursdays. I don’t have to talk to a single soul from drop-off to pick-up if I don’t want to (and I am finding that as I get older, the less I want to interact.) I love the feeling of not being needed. I love that no one talks to me, no one asks me to play, no one’s potentially waking from a deep sleep and crying, and there are seemingly endless hours back to back during which to work, nap, stare into space. Aah. Thursdays.

Today is no such Thursday.

It started with a doctor’s appointment that I had to make because this strange muscular (?) hip pain that has been gradually getting worse over the course of a few weeks reached an un-ignorable level on Tuesday when I climbed the flight of stairs and walked the five long hallways to my morning class. I mostly want confirmation that I don’t have an enormous tumor wrapping itself insidiously around my inner workings, but also, I wouldn’t mind some pain relief beyond the stomach-eating ibuprofen I’ve been downing. So. The appointment: 11:15am, which is not a horrible time to have an appointment on a crisp, sunny fall day such as this. That gives me two solid hours after drop-off to bang out some work, a casual drive out to the office, and then a solid chunk of time after to finish up.

(It’s worth a mention here that m* is home from work today and although we can easily exist in the house together happily, the vibe is not the same. It’s just not Thursday. So, I was already planning to do my work at cafes, which is why I had thought ahead and packed my laptop up with me. Smart girl, right? Sorta. Read on.)

It was 48 degrees this morning. I am still wearing capris and sandals because, well, because it’s not goddamn winter yet and I refuse. So, as soon as my temp gauge hit its sweet spot, I pumped the heat and as soon as I did that, the heat gauge slid all the way up to “H” (a setting it has never hit in all of its 6 years — not even when the radiator crapped out last winter.) So, drop-off-and-then-work turned into drop-off-and-then-repair-shop-where-there-is-no internet. (Also, remember the whole playing catch up from not working all summer? Yeah. The car repair shop is not so much the place to do that.) (They did, however, send me away within an hour with a directive to come back in a month and see if I need to spend $1300 or not.) (Awesome.)

So, with my morning work shot, I headed to the doctor where I found out that they didn’t actually schedule my appointment and not only did I not have an appointment now, the doctor was running behind (which she has never not been doing in the 9 years I’ve been seeing her.) They slid me into a 1:15 appointment with the promise of a phone call if she was running late so I wouldn’t have to stop my work prematurely.

Oh, right. Work. Here I am at Cosi, all set up to do my work. Finally, at 12:15. Except when I went to plug in my laptop, I realized that in my haste to leave on time this morning, I forgot my power cord and am using my last 22 minutes of battery power to write this post. Plus, the promised Cosi wi-fi is MIA, so I am patched into some jacked up Home Depot public slow-fi, which is not helping me make the most of my now, 21 minutes of battery.

So, let’s recap: no work done this morning. Possible jillion-dollar car repair. Doctor’s scheduling mishap. No power cord. Shitty wi-fi. No work this afternoon. So far, it’s a banner day. At least the sun’s shining.