Platters of sushi
Flight of sake, glass of wine.
We should do this more.
Platters of sushi
Flight of sake, glass of wine.
We should do this more.
We stopped by the local sporting goods store before lunch today. While I attempted to find a good rain jacket for running (no, I do NOT want to talk about the deteriorating forecast for my Thanksgiving race), M tried to keep track of all three kids while simultaneously offering advice on various running jacket features.
As he stood in the middle of a bunch of clothing racks, squirmy and increasingly heavy Ellie in his arms, pair of insane four-year-olds running in circles around his legs, he turned to me with a wry look on his face.
“I am living the dream, right here.”
It doesn’t bode well that it’s Day 7 of NaBloPoMo and I’m already searching for ideas. Well, that’s partially true. I have a few ideas kicking around that I’m not ready to actually sit down and write, yet. Like how much I hate feeding therapy, and the fact that my 4-year-olds are obsessed with death. I’ll get there.
Tonight, I turned to M and asked him what I should write about. He said, “write about me. Because I’m awesome.”
He tried to backtrack and say he was kidding. Too late, buddy.
Marriage isn’t easy, even when you’re married to the “right” person. Toss a few kids into the mix… well, you know how it goes. So much stress, so much to do, so little free time. I know I’m not the only one who unintentionally puts her marriage a few steps too low on the list of priorities.
This weekend was a really good thing for us. We’ve both been mighty stressed recently, and a lot of it has been cumulative over the last, oh, eight months or so. 48 hours completely to ourselves was unbelievably restorative. A three-hour drive, just us. A hotel, no kids, no laundry, no cooking, no to-do list. Just the two of us, doing whatever struck our fancy.
It was a wonderful reminder that we actually, you know, enjoy each other’s company. That conversation and company is as easy and funny as we remember it being. It was comforting to quiet that nagging little voice in the backs of our minds that wonders if we’d lost something, and lost it for good.
It’s still there. We’ve still got it. It’s hard to see sometimes, amid the daily grind and hassles and irritations and pet peeves and obligations and pressures. But it’s there.
So, a public thanks to my beloved M for our much-needed and much-appreciated weekend away. Thanks for convincing me I was ready to leave Ellie with the grandparents. Thanks for indulging my requests for a fancy massage and some hibachi for dinner.
Thanks for 7 years of marriage, for holding on tight, for not letting go of my hand, through all of the bumps in the road. I wouldn’t want to travel it with anyone else. On we go.
Would that every Saturday could start with a spinning class, immediately followed by an 80-minute aromatherapy massage.
A lazy lunch, a spur-of-the-moment drive through rural roads, a stop at a fabric shop for an early birthday present.
Tomorrow, we’ll return to reality, and be glad. For today, we’ll appreciate this luxury.
Me and M.
Grandparents have all three kids.
Why not stop for the factory tour?
Oh, the sweet sweet freedom.
The most-asked question when I announced my pregnancy was some variation on why my husband changed his mind. Well, instead of speculating inside my own head, I went straight to the source. I hereby present to you the first-ever guest post on this blog, written by none other than the man, himself.
M, in his own words:
Whether to have a(nother) child is an incredibly personal decision. It’s influenced by so many things, your economic status, your own childhood, your experiences with children, and on into a list too exhaustive to iterate. So, when my wife told me that there was interest from anyone other than her on why I had changed my mind on having a third child I was a bit mystified. I’m not really sure how this very personal decision, or my thought process leading to it is relevant or useful to anyone other than me. However, since apparently someone wants to know, I’ll try and explain what led me to a change of heart.
I have one sibling, a very wonderful sister. We’ve gotten along well our whole lives. I never felt like I was missing out on anything on that front. I lived in a quiet, peaceful home as a child. Larger families seemed… chaotic. Fun to watch your friends’ from a distance perhaps, but not my comfort zone. Two kids has always seemed like the “right” number to me. It worked in all the ways a nice engineer like myself appreciates, symmetry, parent ratio, dinner seating, number of pizza slices in an average pie, whatever. Two was my magic number; preferably a boy and a girl.
Bingo. Jackpot. We lucked out on the first try. Boy / girl twins. Perfect. I’m done. Albeit with more intensity, but one cycle of spit-up, one cycle of potty training, synchronized schooling. Basically once we get past a hard part, it’s done. We don’t have to dread when child #2 is going to hit the same rough patch, just get through it once and you never have to do it again. The quintessence of efficiency. What could be better? We were agreed, twins was an awesome handful, it was all we needed.
A year and a half went by. Then the gentle pressure started. My wife wanted another chance. She wanted another child, an opportunity to put all her hard-won parenting experience to use, a bigger family. She wasn’t pushy, she wasn’t overbearing, she just… made it known. Now let me be clear here, there weren’t ultimatums, pouting, tantrums (I’m talking about the wife here, kids were doing all of that at the time), no high pressure, just very *infrequent* reminders that it was something she really wanted and that if I was going to consider it, time was limited.
I was adamant. I was a rock. We discussed and settled this long ago. Two. Done.
And then something changed. Sometime along the way my children changed. They went from rather boring babies/toddlers, to incredibly fascinating, loving, energetic *people*. They had personality, intelligence, and… guile. In short, they got a lot more interesting and I got a lot more interested in them. They transformed from being some*thing* to be loved, to being the most wonderful people in my life. And I was watching them grow up. And I was thinking that once they were past this one cycle of reading, singing, hugging, tickling, it’s done. And I realized that I wanted more of that.
Now, please don’t get me wrong. I am NOT sublime in my decision. I’m barely staving off panic on a regular basis. The mere thought of going through baby-nights again, while simultaneous caring for two 3.5-year-olds leaves me gibbering in terror. BUT. And this is a big one, I have absolute faith in my wife. Not that she’s super-mom (although I do think she is a little), but that together we’ll get through the rough parts and that the goal, another of these wonderful people is well worth far far more than a few years of sleepless suffering and a wardrobe of spit-up stained clothes. I doubt I ever would have asked for a third, but since she did, and the first two are (in my completely unbiased parental opinion) the finest examples of humanity ever spawned, how could I say no?
Guess I couldn’t.
But I’m serious now. Three is it. Done.
A very happy Day o’ the Daddy to our beloved M and all of the other Super-Dads out there.
Back tomorrow with more crazy travel tales.
All I said to my husband this morning was, “I would really like to get a break sometime today.”
It’s been a long couple of weeks. As the morning person in our relationship, I have always been the one who gets up with the kids. I’m pretty much on-duty by myself from the time they wake up until dinner. Thankfully, M usually gets home for dinner time and does the vast majority of bath and bed by himself. I’m grateful for that. But still, the days can be long and repetitive. At least on the weekend I usually have some sharing of responsibility, so I look forward to it.
The last two weekends, unfortunately, have not been so restful. M was taking a professional development course that met Friday night (so no relief when I’m burnt out at the end of Friday) and all-day for two Saturdays in a row. Did I mention that the kids take a parent/child swim class on Saturday mornings? Doing that by myself was nerve-wracking, to say the least, though they did well. Plus, last weekend, my in-laws were in town. And while that meant some extra hands and eyes, I don’t have to tell any of you about houseguests not being exactly relaxing. This weekend, solo swimming again, followed by a birthday party. Fun activities, but I’m damn tired.
So I really wanted my husband to just take care of the kids this morning so I could climb back into bed, and generally be off-duty for a little while.
He’s a good guy, of course, so he got his lazy butt out of bed and went downstairs. The next thing I know, Rebecca is running back upstairs to me.
“Mommy, mommy! We’re going to go see Dora!”
Lord only knows what he Googled to arrive at this choice, but he discovered that the Nickelodeon Live stage show was in Boston, today is the last day, and there was a show in an hour and a half with tickets available.
I helped get the kids dressed and stocked the man bag with a potty and some snacks, and off they went.
My house is quiet.
I think that guy is a keeper.
I can complain about him sometimes, of course. His inability to wake up at a normal hour of the morning, for instance, will drive me nuts until the day I die. Everybody has their “thing” that bugs the shit out of their partner. And when it comes to outings, sometimes I hate it that he seems to have no sense of timing, as far as how long it takes to get somewhere, how that fits into our schedule, and how long a shower he can take before I go stark raving mad.
But sometimes, man. Sometimes he goes big. He wants to do something special and fun that the kids will love. He doesn’t have as much experience going out solo with the kids as I do, of course. And he’s a worst-case-scenario worrywart by nature. So driving downtown and going to a theater by himself with two not-quite-three-year-olds makes him a little nervous. But damn if he didn’t see my need for some quiet time and turn it into something great.
M and I have always been the kind of people who can carry on entire conversations in movie quotes. Some of our favorite movies from early on in our relationship, like the Birdcage and the first two Austin Powers movies, we can repeat practically verbatim. We can usually just spout out an innocuous-sounding phrase, but with the right intonation, we both instantly know where it came from.
Not shockingly, I have not seen a movie in the theater since before the kids were born (for the record, it was Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix and I was gargantuanly pregnant and just praying I wouldn’t go into labor before it was over). I’ve seen a small handful on cable, but when it comes right down to it, I have seen pretty much zero recent movies.
But we haven’t lost our touch. No, we can still repeat strange-sounding phrases to each other, and we immediately catch the reference, and respond with the next line or otherwise work the source material into conversation. Witness: this afternoon. We were playing outside with the kids. M walked up to me, where I was sitting and watching them play.
M: “Honey, I’m trying to remember…. is it sausage casing day, or is it doily lacing day?”
Me: “Are you sure it isn’t nervous pacing day? Or perhaps doggie chasing day?”
M: “Wait, I remember. It’s racing day.”
Me: “Ah yes. Today’s the day we race.”
Sad, isn’t it? But damn, it sure is catchy.
C’mon. How many of you instantly knew where it was from?
My in-laws have my forever gratitude for taking care of the kids while M and I escaped for a child-free weekend. It was way overdue and much appreciated. For all of the talk about Jon & Kate, multiples, and divorce…. I would be lying if I tried to claim that we somehow escaped all of that stress (even without the demands of our own reality show). And by the end of the day, the last thing I have the energy to do is to focus on reconnecting with M. Sorry, it’s true. So this weekend was just what the doctor ordered.
It was a pretty quick drive up to Kennebunkport, Maine, where we stayed at The Breakwater Inn and Spa. Cheap? Nope. But if you get away maybe once a year, I say splurge. We arrived at around 9:30pm, and the reception desk was closed. It’s a quiet town, that’s for sure. Well, they had basically taped up an envelope with my name on it, our room key, and a letter welcoming us. The room was lovely and spacious, and for a little extra ambiance, they had the classical station playing on the stereo when we arrived. Aaaaahhhhhhhh.
Saturday morning was “me” time, for both of us. M… well…. slept. That’s what he wanted, that’s what he got. I was, of course, wide awake at 7:30AM, but no biggie. I lounged around and read blogs on my iPhone. Took a shower without wondering what trouble the kids would get into. Walked over to the complimentary breakfast and took in the view while sewing. My time to do whatever I so choose.
The one “scheduled” thing about the weekend was my pair of spa appointments. Aaaaahhhh. My first massage since I was pregnant was absolutely delicious, and the pedicure was not only lovely but overdue now that we’re in sandal season.
Spa loveliness was over around lunchtime, so we hopped into “downtown” and had a very tasty lunch at Hurricane Restaurant. Highly recommend it, tasty food complete with lovely views of the water. We lucked out, as it was warm and sunny after a nasty week of cold and rainy.
After lunch, we soaked in the lack of schedule and restraints. Walked around, hung out. M actually suggested that we hit a quilt shop we saw on the way in (yes, he loves me). More on the cotton-y goodness on my other blog. After that, his one request was to… play mini-golf. Yep. Mini-golf, it is. Who won? Yours truly! Not that either of us was particularly impressive.
After a stop at one of the countless ice cream shops, we headed back to the hotel and I took a whopping two-hour nap. At 5PM. What a treat! Then we went out for a late dinner. Let me tell you, if you find yourself in the greater Kennebunk area, make it a point to have a quiet dinner at On the Marsh. Service was good, ambiance was lovely, food was delicious. We even lucked out that they had a prix fixe menu in anticipation of Southern Maine Restaurant Week. (The mahi mahi was so good, I’ll even forgive them for spelling it “prefix.”)
Sunday was a quiet day. I got up and lounged around the free breakfast again, M slept in some more. Snapped a few photos of the copper wind sculptures and the bit of rocks and sand along the river right in front of the hotel. A bit of shopping and the most delicious roast beef sandwich I may have ever had at Henry VIII, and we were on our way home.
And so, I say unto you: get out of town. If someone offers to watch the kids for a day or two, don’t think twice. Go someplace fun and relaxing, splurge a little, and reconnect with your non-nap-dictated self, and maybe even your beloved as well. Good for you to get a break, good for the kids to have some time with other people.