Friday, December 04, 2009
If it wasn't for the tarnish we might not notice the shine
Dear Ittybit and the Champ,
It has been so tense here these last few weeks.
Perhaps it's because so many corners of our lives seem to be crumbling into a fine dust.
So much tension and strife. So much worry. So much anticipation.
And then came the virus.
The one that emptied out Ittybit the night before Thanksgiving. The one that gripped me a few days later and got your father a little while after that. I was sure it had missed the Champ until the phone rang at my desk the second I sat down in the chair Monday morning.
I turned right around at went home before I even had a chance to fire up the old Dell.
Since then the crud has been playing a game of peek-a-boo.
While you recovered almost immediately, Ittybit, the Champ has been locked in battle -- occasionally vomiting between being otherwise happy, active and hungry. Monday, sick. Tuesday fine. Wednesday fine ... then sick. Thursday fine then sick ... and back to fine.
When you are parents you will understand what such uncertaintly does to a person who is suppose to have at least some of the answers.
I don't handle rollercoasters well. I don't handle illness well.
That's an admission I'm making to myself, because ordinarily I THINK I handle everything well.
But it's gotten to the point now where Ittybit is asking me if I'm "frustrated at the children or just frustrated in general."
I don't handle it well.
I am tired. I am tense. I am tied up in knots.
And one night, when Ittybit is peacefully sleeping, your father is sick and in bed, little Champ (after seemingly getting over it) starts to vomit. ... and then won't settle. There is no sleep. There is no consolation. There is only Nickjr at night and an incontinent dog for company. My own stomach turns with the smell of my surroundings.
I am not at my best. I just want you to stop whining and sleep, I want you to stop asking for water I can't give you. I want to sleep.
I am not comforting. I am on the edge of the cliff I cut out myself from solid rock.
But I am there, turning the channel, cleaning up vomit, wrestling you into fresh clothes when needed. And cleaning up dog pee and troubleshooting her needs: Water? Out? Leftovers? Please stop barking, It's 4 a.m.
It wasn't one of my shining moments.
In the morning I try to get ready for work -- a day I can't really miss because there is a special deadline and not enough people to meet it.
I break down instead as I hear the sick, mad boy bleating plaintively from the sick couch for his mommy.
I can't do this. I can't do this. I can't do this.
I haven't slept. I feel sick again. I can't do this.
Your father tells me "Just Go" and "It's like ripping off a Band-Aid. ... He only wants you when you're here."
The words sting.
You sit on my lap and calm down, but peace doesn't last for long.
"Waffles," you tell me.
"Dad will have to make waffles."
"No, you make waffles ... you help me."
"I can't help you. We have no waffle mix. I haven't slept. I'm going to be sick ...."
"YOU HELP ME!"
I can't help. Daddy can help"
"I want my Daddy."
I was crushed. And yet, I know I would not have been hurt by it had it not been deserved.
This evening, in the car, after I picked you up from the sitter's house, you both argued most of the way home.
Champ, you told your sister you were bigger than her. Ittybit, you asked me to tell him the truth. I tried. He wouldn't hear of it.
Bicker, bicker, bicker.
Despite the arguing, I smiled and thought this is normal. This is good. This is healthy. It was the first time I can remember smiling in more than two weeks.
And then Champ, you started to sing: "I am sleep, sleep, sleeping ... I am waking up."
I laugh. ... You have as good a voice as your sister's (even if you are smaller).
I will get sleep. Things will be better, I'm telling myself.