Taking Care of Business

There comes a time in every parenting couple’s life when the two of you must consider the question: do we want more children?  Are we closed for business or should we continue to people the world?  Well, in Chris and my case, we are without-a-doubt-126%-stick-a-fork-in-me D-O-N-E.  Slam the shutters tight, roll up the carpets, lock up the doors, and throw away the key– my uterus is no longer available for sublease.

But what to do to ensure that we don’t have an unplanned “caboose” on the Reichert train? Well, in theory we both agree that Chris should get a vasectomy.  It’s permanent, it works, and most importantly, it doesn’t involve any action on my part.  (The third point is a major selling point- at least for me.)  So on paper, we agree that this is the right thing for us.  And we’ve continued to agree for the last 26 months; time and time again, Chris assures me that he is on board with this plan.  Yet, we (or really rather, Chris) have not taken any action.  What is a wife to do? Should I start shopping around for doctors?  Schedule it for him myself?  Honestly, I don’t even know who to call.  How do you even go about coordinating something like this? And then, I had an epiphany…

Imagine if you will:  you pack up your husband for a weekend away with the boys.  Think three days in Vegas- how could he say no?  He and his best buds will arrive in Sin City and be whisked away to a casino/resort on the Strip.  It will provide all the typical amenities of a high-end casino but with one very important addition…that’s right, SNIP SNIP!!  I mean, how brilliant is this plan?!? I’m envisioning the Wynn/Canyon Ranch/Mayo Clinic/Hooters all rolled into one central location.  So many advantages:

  1. While in most cases, guys like to go it alone (example: when was the last time you saw a group of guys go to the men’s room together or shop together?), I think this could be a solid case for strength in numbers.  By going as a group, it would be a bonding experience…sort of a rite of passage into the world of sterility.  Being part of a group would also ensure that the guys actually man up and go through with it instead of chickening out.  Who wants to be the lone coward who couldn’t endure a teeny tiny outpatient procedure?  They’d never live it down.  By the way, the merchandising opportunities for the casino on this point is ENDLESS….boxers, beer cozies, baseball caps, medical supplies, commemorative t-shirts, frozen peas.  You get the picture.
  2. For me as a wife, I would gladly outsource any caregiving duties to a buxom Las Vegas nurse.  By the end of the day, after I’ve tended to countless boo-boos (both real and imagined) for my girls and their entourage of dolls, stuffed animals, and make-believe friends, I have very little sympathy for any ailments my husband may have. The best I could muster in this situation would probably be to tell him to “walk it off, you wuss” and to “try squeezing a bowling ball through your urethra TWICE and then come talk to me.”  If he finds a better bedside manner with Nurse Tiffani or Jazmin, I’m all for it.
  3. The guys could recuperate in peace.  Rather than having a wife wondering whether he’s well enough to come open a jar of pickles or being surrounded by offspring who have an uncanny propensity to strike them accidentally in the groin area at any given moment, they’d be free to recover with no such interruptions or dangers.  They could order room service or sit poolside while a cadre of nurses, health aides, and waitresses cater to their cocktail (and medicinal) needs.   The casino could have a giant movie theater in-house stocked with jujubes, popcorn, and ice packs.  Or, they could just sit on their asses and do what 99% of the Vegas population does: gamble their life savings away!  Maybe they could start small and just bet on who of their group will cry during the procedure and have to call their mommy.  Or,  they could take advantage of a veritable cornucopia of games that require little to no physical exertion: black jack, mah-jong, poker, roulette, craps, baccarat, pai-gow, Texas hold ‘em, slots..can you tell my husband goes to Vegas a lot?  And the casinos would literally have a captive audience.  You think drink service can be slow at the tables?  Just try to get someone to push your wheelchair away.

I haven’t thought out all the details but I think I’m on to something.  I know!  Maybe if they gamble enough, the casino would even comp their surgical procedure.  I mean, who says the house always has to win?

Sin City? More like Sterility City! Viva Las Vegas!

A Room of One’s Own

The thing about being a stay at home mom is that nothing stays the same…I know, I am so profound for one so young(ish).  To continue: just when you think you have the little munchkin figured out and are settled into a routine that requires minimal drinking during daylight hours, they throw a wrench the size of Connecticut into your happy little schedule and leave you reeling.  I find myself in such a predicament as I navigate a frightening new world in which Katie refuses to nap.

Here’s the deal. Yes, it is a sad, sad day for many stay at home parents once a child stops napping.  Our mid-day break is snatched away from us and the transition period from one nap to no nap can be brutal.  There are a lot of tears, screaming, tantrums, and gnashing of teeth….and the kids don’t handle it any better either.  When my oldest, Sarah, started giving up her afternoon nap a few months after turning 3, I was distraught.  The silver lining was that she was at least old enough to understand the concept of staying in her room for a “quiet time.”  After some “training” (which usually involved threats of no dessert that evening), I could usually count on 45 minutes to an hour of solitude which was of course interspersed with potty breaks and more threats of no dessert.  Not as great as a nap, but I adjusted and my sanity, for the most part, remained intact.

But Katie, at a little over 2 years old, has no such comprehension of what “quiet time” means or why she must stay sequestered in her room.  Most days, she comes out of her room after approximately 3.5 minutes to announce that room time is “OH-VAH MOMMY!” On the very rare days I can get her to stay in her room for more than 15 minutes, I find that my 2 year old has been replaced by an F5 tornado.  Someone call FEMA.

Let’s go in for a closer look, shall we?  Notice that all toy baskets have been pulled out and there is crap EVERYWHERE.  I can only assume this was a direct and vindictive rebuttal to me and my admonitions to “get out your toys!” Well played Katie, well played.

Littlest Pet Shop scattered with Melissa & Doug magnetic dress-up dolls and Calico Critters accessories.  Why do they make kid’s toys so teeny tiny with so many pieces??? WHY?!
And in this corner, a whole box of Kleenex, deflowered.
And the perpetrator herself greets me with a smile and no pants.
So, I have to weigh my options.  Is it worth the 15 minutes of quiet I get to spend another 15 minutes cleaning up her disaster zone of a room? Sigh. I just don’t know.  I know it will get better and this too shall pass…the mantra of SAHM’s everywhere that keep us from tearing out our hair in clumps and sobbing quietly while we wait in the carpool line.  In the mean time, I’ll be buying my wine in bulk.

A Moveable Feast

A few weeks ago, I was driving by our old neighborhood and I saw my old neighbor at the school bus stop with her son.  For purposes of anonymity, let’s call my neighbor “Jill” and her son “Jack.”  Jack is probably about 10 by now.  The last time I saw him, he was a about 2.5 years old.  Seeing Jack and Jill that morning as I sped away in my minivan reminded me of one of the last dinners we hosted in our old house.

This dinner occurred 8 years ago when Chris and I were a newlywed couple.  We didn’t associate much with our neighbors on our street.  Most of them were  much older than ourselves and we were in very different stages in our lives.  We were too busy relishing the carefree existence of life without little ones.  I think we routinely slept in till 10am or 11am every weekend  to recover from late nights out where we didn’t temper our drinking because one of us had wake-up duty the next day.  And then, get this: after sleeping in, we would STILL nap later that day.  AND we had TWO incomes…can you even imagine such a nirvana?  But like fools, we didn’t fully appreciate the paradise we had created for ourselves when we had it.  And now it’s gone forever.  But I digress…we did have some neighbors right next to us who were about our age: Jill and her son Jack, along with their husband/father…let’s call him “John.”  One day, we saw the three “J’s” in their yard and started chatting.  Before we knew it, I had issued a dinner invitation and they had accepted.

To give you an idea of how totally clueless we were about children, we took John and Jill’s word that their kid was not a picky eater completely at face value and prepared grilled lamb kabobs, cucumber salad, cous cous, and grilled veggies.  No pasta, no chicken fingers, no fruit, no cheese sticks.  I think we even served Jack his beverage in a crystal goblet and I’m sure whatever I served for dessert was riddled with peanuts.  Ahhhhh, so naive were we in the ways of Parenting 101 in the year 2004.

We all sat together in our smallish dining room and I do recall dinner being fairly pleasant.  Jack was a little squirmy but he did eat his lamb kebob and cous cous. As the grown ups lingered over dinner though, Jack got more and more restless.  It was completely understandable but since we were kid-free, we had nothing to offer him as far as toys and our house was a minefield of non-child proofed sharp edges, unlocked drawers, and open staircases.  As Jack grew more and more fussy, his mother finally turned to him and said, “Do you want to suck?”

Hmmm…although Chris and I were obviously unfamiliar with parenting skills at this point in our lives, we had certainly never heard this phrase before.  What was little Jack supposed to suck on? A pacifier?  Or maybe she meant to say “sucker” like a Tootsie Roll pop or something.  Before I had any time to decipher her meaning, little Jack immediately yelled “YES!,” hopped out of his chair, and into his mom’s lap where a bare breast was exposed and ready for his eager mouth.

WHAT THE WHAT?!  Even with our lack of parenting expertise, Chris and I knew this was not the norm.  Chris was sitting directly beside me and we both immediately averted our eyes.  Unfortunately, our dining room was small and there was not much else to look at. I knew for certain that I could not look at Chris because if I had made any eye contact with him for even a millisecond, I probably would start shouting, “GRODY!” and dance on top of the chair trying to shake my willies out.  So instead, I focused intensely on John, the husband, while his wife and child, who just mere moments before had been chewing and eating LAMB(!), were next to him, caught up in their own very personal moment.  Should I have offered them a room?  Covered her up with a poncho?  Put up a Hooters billboard outside our house?  I was and still remain clueless as to the proper etiquette in this particular situation.

At this point in the dinner, I was ready to call it a night.  I mean, once someone pulls out a boob for their 2-year old, where else can the evening go, right? But no, our neighbor and her leech-like son simply moved over to our living room and made themselves comfy on our couch.  So, the evening wore on thusly: Jack suckling his mama’s breast, John chatting away, and Chris and I darting our pupils in all directions except at the circus show right before our eyes.  We never invited them over to our house again.

So, seeing Jack and Jill and the bus stop brought back a very memorable evening for me.  I am happy to report that Jack was standing independently and not sucking at his mom’s breast.  And apparently, they have been able to un-attach themselves long enough so that he could attend a public school, far from his mom.  So that’s progress, right?

And, serendipitously enough, a couple of week’s later, I see this on the news stand:

So Jack, Jill, and John were merely on the cutting edge of a new parenting philosophy called “attachment parenting.”  Now, I don’t know if I have my act together enough to actually have a “parenting philosophy” but whatever it is, it is NOT this.  And if this is your style of parenting, that’s fine if that’s what works for you.  Just don’t expect any invitations to our house for dinner.