I am in an unprecedented funk. A recession. A malaise.
Nothing is specifically wrong. The children have a cold but if I slipped into the megrims every time a kid stopped breathing through both nostrils I'd never get out of bed... so that's not it. We continue to follow an austerity budget but things aren't nearly as disastrously nauseatingly bleak as they were this time last year so I doubt that financial concerns are crushing my spirit. I just.. I just feel SAD.
I cut out alcohol and caffeine and I started going to bed at ten (I still don't fall asleep until forever but, you know, I'm in there) and I have refused to watch the last disc of season one of True Blood (Aaaaiiiiiieeee! That SHOW! I had no idea I was such a delicate flower but I have spent half this series with my head under a pillow) and I have been drinking lots of water and I sat in the sun for forty minutes yesterday and... and meh. Steve - good son of psychiatry that he is - suggested that I see someone (especially with regard to what even I can acknowledge is my whackaloon anxiety when it comes to my children and The Great World: we are going to the Ffarm this weekend for the first time since it has been somewhat de-deathified and I got so worked up in anticipation of all of the things that might happen to the twins that I started communicating solely in eeps) and I nodded but in truth I don't even really know what that means. I have seen that line a million times since I first started reading Ann Landers at the age of eight (You might want to see someone about your eighty cats. If you continue to answer your wife's harmless inquiries with 'For breakfast I want to dance on your dismembered corpse. And eggs' you should see someone) and although I have always been respectful of the wisdom I have never gotten the logistics.
Is the theory that we all have some loving family counselor on speed dial? Am I supposed to go to my normal physician - the guy who told me that there was really nothing to be done with migraines and who I worry already feels like I'm that girl who spends too much time in the nurse's office - and tell him I've been feeling a little SAD lately? I am 90% certain he will tell me to cheer up.
And so I should. But I'm still in a funk.
I took Caroline with us to speech/physical therapy last week. Generally she stays home with Steve but we had to go to the airport immediately after Patrick and Edward were done and I thought she would appreciate the car ride so she came too.
She's very different from her brothers. When Edward and Patrick are waiting at therapy they sit with me - Edward usually on my lap - and we read. Caroline wanted to be as far away from me as possible. She went and looked at the toy area and then at the book area and then she wandered over to the receptionist and said "hello" and then she scribbled on the sign in sheet and then she saw a smaller toddler.
"Oh!" she said ecstatically, "A little baby! Hello little baby!" and she patted his head like a bichon frise.
When Edward hesitated to leave us and go with his therapist Caroline put her hand into the woman's outstretched one and said, "I'll go!"
The therapist laughed and said, "I don't think you need to practice talking."
Caroline squinched up her lips and said, "We could play something else, OK?"
[Caroline's newest affectation is to end every sentence with oooookkkkkay? or you knoooooow? Very pre-pre-pre-teen]
Edward realized that Caroline was trying to muscle in on his beloved Kendra and said, "No Caroline! MINE!" and he took Caroline's hand away and inserted his own. Then they left and Caroline kind of shrugged and went back to the toy area where another mother was playing with her son.
Which... and this might be the gumps talking so forgive me if I sound cranky but... the toy area at therapy is a corner of the lobby with a knee wall and a gap to go in and out. This woman was sitting on the floor with both legs stretched out so they were completely blocking the entrance. The first few times Caroline walked over she stopped at the legs and tried to figure out what to do. I watched her and waited for the woman to move her legs but she did not. So Caroline left and then circled back again and left and circled... she really wanted those toys. Should I have said something? It was obvious that Caroline wanted to get into the toy area but maybe the woman needed a prod from another adult? I tend to hover though and I am trying - especially with Caroline who has a strong independent streak with which I do not want to interfere - to back off provided they aren't bothering anyone. I'm still not sure if I should have intervened.
Anyway Caroline eventually climbed over the woman's legs (generally I would consider this "bothering" but... the woman WAS blocking the area) and went to join the boy (six?) at the toy kitchen. He was very nice. He did not want to play with Caroline but he wasn't mean about it. He simply ignored her. So Caroline stood next to him and imitated what he did, which mostly consisted of holding things up and saying, "What is this mom?" and his mother would say, "That's spaghetti" or "That's an egg." Caroline watched them for a moment and then picked up a piece of play food and said, to the woman, "What is this mom?"
The woman answered her the first two times but the third time she said, "I'm not your mom! Your mom is over there" and waved in the general direction of three feet away, where I was sitting.
I said, "Hi Caroline!" and Caroline looked embarrassed.
I don't even know why I am telling you this story... it has no real point but now I feel all committed to finishing it.
So then the mother decided she wanted to take pictures of the kid using her cell phone. She pulled out her phone and told the boy to smile and gestured at Caroline to move saying, "Could you move out of the way?" since she didn't want Caroline in the picture, which is fine although just in case you've forgotten this is the toy area at therapy not the Eiffel Tower or anything. Caroline stood there looking like she had no idea what the woman was talking about (because she had no idea what the woman was talking about) and then she saw the camera/phone and was, like, ohhhhhh POSE! So Caroline vamped and the woman asked her to move again and the boy, gently, gave her a nudge out of the way and I decided to intervene on behalf of the purity of the family photo. I swung into the toy area (climbing over the lady's damned legs which were still stretched across the entrance) and said "Oh I do BEG your PARDON for CLIMBING over YOU" as I did so.
I picked up Caroline and climbed BACK over the legs and Caroline was just about to kick up a fuss when I suggested we go to the bathroom. Since this involved opening doors into mysterious corridors Caroline perked up enormously and it had an automatic soap dispenser that was worth the price of admission right there.
I think the woman was rude. The end.
When we got home I let Caroline POSE.
Thank you very much for the movie suggestions. I think I will put them into a google document and post it on the sidebar. Unless there is a better way to organize and share something like that? A list that I create but you can update? Something? I have been meaning to do this with your book suggestions too so that they are neatly accessible for us.
Oh! Speaking of which I am looking for good preschool books for the twins. You know the kind of picture books that talk them through a typical day? I'd like to read some before they start in three weeks - Patrick wasn't remotely suggestible but they are. Any suggestions? I looked at the library but I find that the picture books section is such an unholy mess that it is impossible to find anything specific when you want it.
We have the Curious George remake where he goes to school and I tried reading that but every time we've talked about school since then Caroline has mentioned the monkey. Maybe Spot goes to school? Although I think he's pals with a monkey there too. No monkeys.
Patrick starts school again in two weeks and I will miss having him around. He calls Caroline and Edward his little minions and they will more or less do anything he wants them to do. He recently confessed to my mother that he loves the power.
I think if I could compel people to wear sunglasses during lunch for my amusement I would probably do it too.
We are a little vague on whether or not he had to keep a summer journal. At times he says yes, at times he says no. Since he has not written a word - about his summer, he is on Issue 25 of Letter Comix - since June this may and/or may not be a problem for him when school starts. However, Steve and I are very clear on the fact that we are done with the third grade so the emphasis there is on for him. Last year I wanted the school transition to go well and I somehow inserted myself into the middle of his homework struggles so that he would get mad at me when Sunday night rolled around and he had X to do. Never again! That's my vow this year. I may help him organize himself but I refuse to become involved in that battle. Yes, homework sucks and, yes, I fully expect this year he will have a lot more to do and I will be happy to find him a sharpened pencil but that's it. I am writing this as a personal affirmation, by the way, because I am kind of controlling and in my secret heart I just KNOW I could do a better, more organized job if I could just do third grade all over again. Like, I would have that science fair posterboard done in November rather than faking data the night before like I always did.
Ha! I just re-read that paragraph and remembered that Patrick has been struggling with memorizing the last thirteen multiplication problems (random ones that he blanks on - mostly from the 4s and 7s tables: he points out he doesn't like the number 7. he also dislikes the letter W) and I finally offered to pay him a dollar for each one he nails before school starts. So... you know, totally disengaging myself.
I went in for seed packet gardening this year after I dug up a bunch of overgrown shrubs and wanted to add back in some color without spending any money or effort.
The results were mixed.
Lush morning glory vines framing the porch entrance? Pretty!
Riotous wildflower cottage garden? Not so much.
Isn't that appalling? My idea was that I was going to broadcast handfuls of wildflower seeds into the front bed and it was going to morph into a charming blast of all-summer color. Instead it looks like it should be hiding a rusted 1966 Dodge Dart. Mistakes were made. I got a lot of nice advice last spring about the garden (Planting Oaks was especially helpful) and as I recall many of you told me that my underperforming irises needed to be... separated? Replanted? Since I am going to have to pull all this crap up anyway I thought I would move the irises while I am at it.
I love Edward's tumbling auburn lock. He's very Romantic, even in fire truck pajamas. Speaking of pajamas, Caroline has outgrown her Little Keeper Sleeper 2T short-sleeved pair. Little Keeper Sleepers are designed for the stripper toddler who cannot keep her clothes - or worse her diaper - on after you put the cherub to bed. Lulu is a reader who sent me an email a few weeks ago offering to send Caroline her son's outgrown 4T pairs and this was so very kind of her that I decided to do the same. So the first person who comments or emails me that they have a child who could use Caroline's escape-proof 2Ts (full disclosure: we had a babysitter the other night who let Caroline paint - REAL CRAFT PAINT not washable gak - in them so one of the two pairs has a slight red stain on the chest) will get them in the mail. Lemme know.