It’s not like he doesn’t have the exact same experience taking care of the kids as me, I mean, we’ve both spent the past year working from home and tag-teaming the two yayhoos. It’s just that, well, he tends to be a little (A LOT!) more anxious about everything than I am. (See this video).
If you watch that video and then ruminate on the fact that that high strung fella is about to spend three whole days on his own with two kids under three, well, if you don’t chuckle a bit at the HIGH-larity that is about to ensue then you better check your pulse, you just might be dead and not know it.
I’m off to New York City until late Sunday night. Girls weekend kind of thing. Quite honestly, I’m thinking it’s going to be harder on me than Serge because I’ve never been away from Henry for more than a few hours at a time since his birth. And the only nights I’ve spent away from Violet are when I delivered Henry… So, well, I’m kind of attached. Can I detach enough to enjoy myself? We’ll find out
Who will fare better? The overly attached mama bear or the over-anxious dude who has never wrangled two kids solo? Le the live blogging begin!
Well, here we go.
A weekend of just me and the kids.
I bought a new box of Band-Aids and some milk and a pack of magic markers. Any other suggestions?
I’d be lying if I told you that I’m pretty prepared for this.
But, its happening, so I have to get ready, fast. Monica is going to New York City. Without me, without us. Just her and some hot and sassy girlfriends and Tiny Devil (played by Wilford Brimley) up on her shoulder. It’s weird. She is running around putting make-up on/throwing dangerously sexy outfits into a duffel bag/smiling in the pre-dawn lamplight of our home.
My wife has never smiled before 9:30am in her life.
So, I have this gut feeling that come Sunday night, Monica is going to stumble back through our front door exhausted from all the madness, from the Gauntlet Of Awesomeness she’s just run through.
Just as long as she doesn’t have some new tramp stamp. Just as long as she doesn’t have Jim Beam breath and smudged phone numbers in bar pen on the back of her hand.
And me and the kids? Well, Little Miss Big Apple, we’re about to find out.
It’s Go-Time, people.
So, come on.
Serge @4:49 am: Oh my God. Seriously? Why are both kids awake already? I want to blame Monica. She’s been up and banging around in the bathroom for awhile, getting pretty for the city I guess. But it isn’t her fault, I know. I make the same bumps and and thumps every morning myself. And this big old house in the morning is like an echo chamber.
Henry is extremely agitated because he wasn’t ready to wake up yet. The only thing that calmed him down? Mom carrying him around. Great.
Also, I’ve just noticed Violet has big rosy rashes on each of her cheeks. It’s probably from wiping away all the mess from her head cold the last ten days. But then I think: I found a tick in her ear the other day and now I’m all worried that it’s tick poisoning. It ain’t even 5 in the morning yet and I need a glass of Happy Hour.
Serge @5:22 am: I just typed this into Google Image Search: “child tick bites.” I wish I was never even born unto this horrid life.
Serge @6:03am: Monica is leaving soon. Her bag is by the front door now. Dawn is breaking outside. I feel like a Civil War General, standing in the woods at dawn, waiting until there is just enough daylight to order my Army to charge across the field.
Victory or death.
Am I taking this weekend too seriously?
Serge @6:12am Why is my wife dressed so hot? She is going to get on the Chinatown bus. This is unsettling, dude.
Serge@7:01am Mommy is gone. Violet stood in the window ten minutes after she left and said, “Bye Mommy.” No lie. I used an animal cracker to snap her out of it.
Serge@8:19am Oh sweet Violet. How the hell did you get well covered in blue magic marker over the last fifteen minutes. I turn my head and my kids change colors. Ugh.
Serge@8:20am Monica just called. Not to tell me she loves me. To tell me that I have to load kids in car and drive to faraway town to move car she drove to catch bus because it will get towed. Unreal. Un-%$#*&!@-real.
Serge@8:52am Update: Violet’s body quite covered in rash that doesn’t seem to itch or bother her at all, but looks like chicken pox. Maybe post-fever Roseola(sp?) Guess I need to call the doctor. Anyone have a clue? You can message me at Facebook if you want. Thanks.
Serge@9:46am Going to the doctors. And to fetch the damn car. Probably stop off at McDonald’s to get Violet some ice cream and Daddy six or seven Big Macs and a bunch of fries for that time, long from now, when the kids fall asleep and I turn into Bridget Jones.
Serge@2:06pm What a morning. Just back from the doctor’s. Violet had a massive hive breakout and it turns out she is allergic to previously prescribed antibiotic. Then Doctor tells me all of these signs I have to watch for, like slow breathing and puffiness around mouth and all this stuff and if that happens then call 911! Got Henry checked out by the doc too, since I had to drag him along and he is super snotty and cranky and only happy when he sees me or I hold him.On way home I had to pull over multiple times when V fell asleep in her car seat to make certain she was still alive. She is here with me now, they are both napping.
I thought this was gonna be a weekend of games and little hikes in the woods. Guess I was wrong again.
Serge@2:17pm Btw, big ups to My Momz for coming with me to the doctor’s in the next county even though she has the damn flu herself! Without her, the amount of crying in the Honda would have led to me pulling my eyeballs out and eating them like raw clams and then probably driving us all off a grey dismal mountain. Thanks Mom.
Serge@2:39pm House is wonderfully quiet. It didn’t seem possible two hours ago, but here we are. I am laying next to my sweet little girl, she is knocked out from the Benadryl the doc gave her. But I keep putting my pinky under her tiny nostrils to make sure there is air coming out and going in.
Also, I wanna watch a turkey hunting dvd but I don’t wanna wake her up, you know? I don’t like all these weighty decisions at all.
Serge@2:43pm Many turkeys up on the TV screen. Trying to keep volume at a decent level. Wishing there was a White Castle located out by our mailbox.
Serge@3:14pm Poor Henry. He was so agitated in the car when we went to get meds after the doctor. Screaming and choking on his own small voice. I had to throw the Honda in park in the lot and I got out and walked back to his door and as soon as I opened it, as soon as he saw me: Boom: he stopped and smiled. Unreal. Then he held my thumb and kept having these hiccup whimpers for like 3 minutes because he had been crying so bad. Even grammy wasn’t enough for the lad. He wanted that daddy.
That was the only highlight so far. That and the frozen pizzas I scored.
Serge@3:49pm Me and a sleepy girl covered in hives are laying on the bed watching Sesame Street eating mini Nutter Butters and cold milk. She is talking to Oscar The Grouch. This is all a good sign. Plus: Nutter Butters, so that automatically makes this a new highlight of the weekend so far.
Serge@3:55pm Damn. Kid is HORKIN’ down Nutter Butters. Gonna try putting the lid back on them now before I am cleaning up peanut butter stew from these sheets. She isn’t going to let them go easy, though…I just know it.
Monica@4:15pm Is it wrong to giggle after reading all the Serge updates? Because if it is then I didn’t giggle, I swear. Just got back to my hotel after a lovely lunch with the gals from Babble. I think that I was sucking down an ice cold Corona while Serge was at the doctor learning about Violet’s allergy. Getting ready to meet up with an old friend for a night of Mexican food, more Mexican beer and gossip. I miss my babies but feel all jazzy and alive. New York City always does that to me. It’s strange to stroll down the street without a stroller, to only have myself to worry about. I didn’t realize how much I missed me. The me before kids. Yeah, I feel bad for Serge, but not THAT bad.
Monica@4:21pm No tramp stamp… Yet. But I’ve only had just the one beer.
Monica@4:25pm Just tried to call Serge several times. No answer. You think he’s not answering out of spite? Or is he in a Nutter Butter/Big Mac coma?
Monica@4:40 Is it also wrong to be glad I’m not witnessing Serge pacing around the bedroom and holding a mirror under Violet’s nose every two minutes to make sure she’s breathing? Because I am certain that is happening, people.
Serge@4:44pm Two kids awake. The Apple And Cow is open. That’s the name of my juice/milk pub for kids that is gonna make me rich. So far things seem ok except for Violet’s welt-like second skin of hives that makes me sad. No real scratching though, so musn’t be itching yet, thank the lord.
Not sure what to do. Was going to attempt 7 hour/6 shellfish paella tonight for me and the kids but not sure if this is the right night, ya know?
Monica@5:10pm Just made an appointment to get a butterfly tattoo on my lower back! Or maybe a fairy. Can’t decide.
Serge@6:26pm @Monica: I would love either one on you but I’m going to have to say that a fairy riding a butterfly would be something that could “inspire” me…wink/wink!
Just administered the Benadryl to Ms. Violet. Hoping she will be okay. I’m guessing she will. I plan to put her to bed in her bed and then move her in to the bed with me when I head up (probably about ten minutes after her). That way I can make sure she’s not scratching away at these nasty hives and all.
Henry is leaning back against his purple bean bag watching Team Umizoomi. His sister is pulling all of the flash cards out of the drawer I put them in for the 55th time today. How is that fun? I’m sick of picking up flash cards. It’s become a full-time volunteer position. I think kids rather enjoy taking our tiny slivers of solace and just bashing the steam out of ’em, like a bear with a can of sardines in his mitts.
Seriously, I am.
Watching Bubble Guppies as if it was something deep/something I could sink my teeth into/as if it was Francis Ford Coppola presents The Bubble Guppies.
But I’m too wiped out to argue with myself. I wanna be swept away by Hollywood right now, but I ain’t getting off my butt to get the remote to change a thing. So it’s these idiot idiot fish.
Serge@7:19pm Super cool moment of the weekend so far. I just picked up Hank and his bottle and said to Violet:
“Hey kid, I’m taking Henry up to bed now.”
She looked up at him with her puffy face. Then she said something I have never heard her say before.
“Goo-nigh Henwee, I wuv you.”
Hole. E. Crap. Just when you least expect it: a double rainbow!
Serge@7:46pm Benadryl should have kicked in by now. I’m a little antsy over here. Grammy just sent Violet an e-card telling her she hopes she feels better and that she was so good at the doctor today and that the nurse really loved it when Violet sung into her rubber blood pressure pump like it was a microphone. The card was a bumble bee landing on a puppy dogs nose. It was a nice piece. She liked it obviously. I just took the computer away after three dozen passes through the thing.
Letting Violet have a little extra time with Mike The Knight. She earned it today, my baby doll.
Oven is pre-heating. Got a frozen pizza pie ready to go.
Have a little glass of pinot grigio staring across the room at me.
Have a bottle of red uncorked on the counter.
I fully expect a helicopter to plow into the house before I eat or drink any of it; been that kinda day.
Is anyone even reading this?
Serge@9:17pm Kids are asleep.
House is quiet.
Watching some Guy Fieri and having a little vino.
I miss Monica bad.
We struggle like a lot of couples, but she’s been gone 14 hours now and I am ready to start walking towards Brooklyn to wrangle her back.
Also, I wonder if she got me any cool souvenirs yet.
Serge@10pm I just snuck into their rooms and Violet and Henry are a couple of knocked-out cubs. I’ma pass out now, ya’ll.
Thanks a lot for riding along with me today.
Tomorrow: I’ll be here, waitin’ for ya.
Monica@11:03pm Back in my hotel room after a night of drinks and gossip with my best Brooklyn girlfriend. Serge, you do not “miss me bad” you liar. You are totally enjoying your free time while the kids are sleeping. Turn off YouPorn right now! And if you do miss me it’s only because I take my turn with the wee ones and give you a break from the madness every few hours. I miss the kids, but I will reiterate, it is nice to be me again. To wander the streets without a stroller, a diaper bag, two whining kids. But tonight, at the restaurant we went to in Brooklyn, there was a couple with a little girl that looked to be about one, and she was having the grandest time. Made me miss my family. Watching Bubble Guppies with Wylet and H-Dawg is WAY better than drinking the best margarita in Brooklyn, I tell you what. Night.
Serge@3:40am Been up for last hour and a half. Poor Violet is itchy and I am trying to keep her from scratching. Loose pjs and another shot of benadryl, but still she is clawing at her skin. We are watching episode after episode of Mickey Mouse and of course: the episode she keeps asking for, Pluto’s Bubblebath, I don’t have recorded on the damn DVR.
Might have to do middle of the night cool bath for her. That will suck because Henry sleeps right next to the bathroom and we will definitely wake the little critter up. Then, it’ll be my worst nightmare…the middle of the night and everyone awake.
Feel in over my head.
Hell, who am I kidding: I am in over my head.
I feel like ordering fifty hard-boiled eggs from room service to Monica’s hotel room. I really really do.
Serge@3:59am Who is pulling the puppet strings here? Huh? What big eye in the sky is watching me and messing with me? Henry is awake now. God knows why.
I just whipped him up a bottle mega-fast but I am trapped in those fragile spiderweb moments that hang between me giving him a bottle and that moment when he either drifts back to sleep, or begins a sad put-put take off down the runway which I hear dribbling down the hall before it goes airborne with a full throttle lift off of all-out bawling.
No sound yet, but he wouldn’t be done the drink just yet either. I hate this long wait. I feel like a big prison escape siren is sitting right out in the hallway, making clicking noises/fingering the trigger. I feel like it’s going to go off any second. It’s uncivilized.
It’s $!#&*#@ nerve racking, is what it is.
Serge@4:51am Henry seems thrilled to be awake. The little thug. Seated on bed from L to R it’s: Violet Bielanko, age 3/Henry Bielanko, age 1/Serge Bielanko, age 247. We are watching an episode called Genie Donald in which someone prances around La-La Land dressed like….a genie. Guess which character it is.
I made coffee.
I should have just made coffee for dinner last night and never even tried to sleep my big five hours.
I feel like ordering a pizza from one of the best joints in Manhattan and having it delivered to Monica’s hotel room. But I feel like getting the guy to put extra cinnamon all over the pie.
Like a pound of Upper West Side Gourmet Fresh Ground Country Cinnamon.
So it’s just gross.
Like 8 lukewarm slices of Nebraska truckstop air freshener.
Monica@6:29am Actually feeling bad for Serge now. No giggling or anything. Just talked to him on the phone to try and tell him about my day yesterday and I could tell he was distracted with trying to keep both kids on the bed without falling off and then suddenly he was in the backyard yelling at Milo to come back in from his morning pee and then I think he was making Henry a bottle and then I could hear his breathing indicate he was walking up the stairs… You know how it is, talking to someone on the phone who has noisy kids, someone who is distracted by their kids and keeps yelling at their kids in the middle of you trying to tell them something important and then they’ll turn their attention back to you and say “Sorry, what were you saying?” and you know there is no point in continuing. I have those kinds of phone calls all the time, it’s just usually I’m the one with the distracting kids.
All this alone time is so luxurious. Even though I miss my family I start to panic when I think about my alone time ending. It’s just so damn nice to sit and not be bothered or have to get someone a juice or a binky or a bottle or break up a fight or keep a kid from climbing the stairs or letting a dog out to pee or making dinner or reading a story or trying to play and keep them entertained and oh my God it’s so much, all the parenting stuff. Too much, sometimes.
Drank a fair amount last night but I stuck to beer so I’m feeling pretty good today. Friend arrives from JFK shortly and then we’re off to explore the city and find the ghost of a 27-30 year-old Monica who used to haunt these storied streets.
Serge@6:39am Just got back from re-con mission into the woods out back to find Milo,The Lab. Milo is 4 years old and enjoys Frisbee/dirty grill pans/Motown music/and wandering across the county looking for love or money or whatever the hell he is after, whatever it is that he isn’t getting here in this house.
Talked to Monica on the phone briefly. I’m not gonna lie to you. It was a little racy, a little edgy. It was like as PG-13 as you can get without blowing up into low-level R.
We kissed through the phone. Okay? There, I said it. Now, enough about that.
Henry is: TAH-DAH!, pulling flashcards out of a drawer and throwing them on the floor. Violet is messing with the microwave pancakes I made her, jabbing at them but not eating much. I’m watching CNN/fifteen people killed overnight in Syria. This house, even when she’s hung upside down, is just nothing compared to what so many people have to deal with.
I usually end up watching this about fifteen times a week. It makes so much sense to me. And it helps to make a little sense out of the daily nonsense we pull off as a people.
Serge@7:41am A Big First! Drawing on the walls! I knew it was coming, but now that it’s actually here I’m just so dang proud.
Ladies and Gents, Violet B. proudly presents her very first mural.
Featured on the terra cotta colored north wall of The Playroom Gallery, Ms Violet’s stunning debut features eclectic swirls of red and purple: a trillion loose bolts of lost energy desperately seeking a human receiver in the computer age.
Stand back by the infamous soft statue of Buzz Lightyear and one will witness powdery western sky hues flat-dipped in menace and rolled in troubled crumbs.
From precisely four feet away: the observer is gifted with an ephemeral glimpse of a purple forever/a red here-and-now.
Put your eye inches away from the work and we are privy to Grimace and Elmo: wrastlin’.
…..And of course, each day from 2-4pm, this amazing new masterpiece is touched by a sunbeam and suddenly appears as the Virgin Mary. Only $8 gets you in the door and one photo with the artist. (No Photographs Allowed In The Exhibit!)
Serge@8:24am In the kitchen with Hank.
I just like that I’m a man who can say I’m “in the kitchen with Hank” and be telling the honest truth.
Serge@8:41am Well, that was fast. And like that my little love affair with childhood art is dead. Violet just took a brown crayon to the white fridge. I went all Earl Weaver on her too. I’m nipping this thing in the bud.
Serge@9:08am Nap for Hank The Tank. Me and V coloring with a black Bic. Might try and give her a cool bath.
Serge@10:27am Just finished getting Violet out of the tub. Couldn’t make the water very warm because of her hives and this upstairs is cold in general, so I was feeling bad. She was cool though and I thanked her for that with a dollop of bubble bath in the water. I figured that I would gamble on a little bit of it not aggravating her skin because she loves bubbles so much now, And she has had a rough go of it here lately. So how am I going to say no, you know?
Henry still napping. This is a good thing. He was up before the local roosters.
Am thinking about taking us all to the park to feed the ducks and the trout. Maybe stop for some burgers/fries/ice cream on the way home.
And if they want anything to eat, I guess I can spring for that as well.
Monica@4:17pm Drunk as hell, contemplating a third tattoo. Kidding. Spent the day wandering. Began in Wall Street, subwayed up to Union Square for brunch then sauntered to Washington Square. Bought Serge a little something-something at a record shop in the West Village, then walked through Soho to Tribeca and then subwayed over to check out my old ‘hood in Williamsburg.
S+M and Max was still etched into the cement out in front of our old apartment. Man, was it ever weird to visit a place I lived when I didn’t have kids. I saw ghost Monicas of years past everywhere I turned. Drunk Monica dancing on bars, stumbling home from this or that evening of overindulgence, tired Monica waiting for the subway to take her into her job in Manhattan, Monica and Serge, newly married, walking Max to the park or across the Williamsburg Bridge. It feels so good to remember me and remind myself of me. I am this whole separate person aside from Mom, you know? My life is more than kids. I think I forgot that for a while. Also, I can’t believe I’m saying this because, oh my God, we are together 24/7 all the time, ALL THE TIME, but I actually miss Serge and I am enjoying reading about his solo adventures with our babies as much as you guys. He really is the best dad.
Okay! So… Resting up before hitting the town tonight! Back in the countryside I wonder what my family is up to. 4:30… Thirty minutes until I usually turn on some Sinatra or Billie Holiday and whip up dinner while the kids scoot around on the floor. Outside, horses and buggies clip-clop past at a fairly regular pace… It’s a sound I never tire of hearing. A sound quite different from the constant buzz of the city. I love them both, equally.
Serge@4:48pm Just went upstairs to check on my daughter. She is still zonked out. Hank is pulling flashcards from a drawer. (Surprise.) I have fallen into a heap on couch. I think I have some blues today. Must be the full moon, I guess.
I get tired of me a lot. I get exhausted from the continuous reel of regrets and resentments and big stupid visions of how much better I should be at love/at money/at being cool/at being a husband/at remaining calm. I spend way too much time wishing; wishing I knew how to be the kind of man I might have been rather than the one I am.
I wonder how much of who I am is written in stone/how much can be melted down and re-crafted into something bigger and badder. Looking at Monica’s NYC notes, I know I would feel different if I went back there. She loves the past, loves to re-visit it and try it on again here and there. But, I suck at that. For me, everything in the rear-view is bombed out villages/ whips of thick black smoke holding up the sky. It’s all burnt. It’s all pretty much just gone forever.
And I wonder whether that has made me sad somehow. If maybe it has affected me being a dad/me being a husband in ways I may never ever know, until I’m cruising by on a cloud watching everything in reverse.
Does that sound stupid? I guess it probably does.
Whaddya gonna do.
Serge@6:37pm Henry just walked across the floor kicking a soccer ball out in front of him. Now he is using Max The Lab as a step ladder and is just moseying up on the couch like a pigeon on the roof.
Watching him this weekend is blowing my mind.
Serge@6:52 In my world, there is something called Juvenile Meal Projecting. It works like this. Unless you are just a wee goober who still survives on that nasty liquid squash stuff, then anything and everything I prepare you for a meal/snack/bribe is always going to be something that I am ready to eat myself. For instance: a half hour ago I cooked up some fish sticks and fries for my daughter knowing full well that there was a good chance she wasn’t going o eat it. She’s been picking at her food as she crawls from the flu swamp.
Well, the twenty minute window is up and I am now the proud new owner of a plastic plate of cool/stiff fish & chips. #winning
Serge@8:37pm Kids out. Dad out.
Serge@5:09am Up then. Henry crying for second time of the night. Which means he gets his second bottle of the night. Very glad I remembered to bring small can of formula upstairs with me. Otherwise, it would have meant two dark trips down into the cold kitchen bowels of this house. Luckily, for me, both times he has drifted right off back to sleep.
So. 2 for 2, we are tonight.
Not me though. I was able to drift away again the first time, but this time I’m finished.
The dream is dead. Goodbye Michelle Williams. I cannot believe we caught that many trout, girl! And those bald eagles that flew over us and dropped that wine and that picnic basket?! AND THAT HAMMOCK WE FOUND IN THE SHADE OF THE TREES?! Are you serious?!
Man, oh man.
I feel so strange this morning.
Something is coming down the pike. I can feel it in my bones. But what.
Serge@8:05am Hank The Tank is up. I can hear him gnawing on the rail of his crib with his two groundhog teeth.
Thank God though. Somewhere in this house is Monica. She can come get him. Thank God for daylight savings. Thank God for the equinox. I don’t even know what that is.
Just, thank the lawd that last night we turned the clocks forward one day.
That means its Monday.
That means Monica is here.
That means I am saved.
Serge@8:48am Yo. Just so you know: turn your clocks forward an hour not a whole day.
Yeah, I know. Sometimes everything in the world sucks.
Me and Henry are downstairs now and I am having some more coffee and Henry is having his morning Bink. Violet is still in bed and I think she has just finally hit the wall. Poor kid has been sick two weeks. Last night, I fell onto my bed and within three minutes I could hear my daughter coughing. Three minutes later: it was this magnificent chorus of straight-up gagging/tripping over the shotgun blasts exploding out of her little mouth.
I went in there and sat down with her on her bed. She had her eyes closed and I was running my fingers through her curls and telling her, you know, “It’s okay, baby/Daddy’s here/dumb stupid cough go away!”…that sort of thing. But I was also flipping through the pages of my medical know-how, trying to figure out if I could top off her last shot of Benadryl with a dose of this weakish honey cough suppressant we got from Wal-Mart.
I was holding her hand as she barked and shook.
“It’s okay sweetheart.” I whispered. I couldn’t even tell if she was actually awake or not.
She coughed so hard that I thought she might puke. I could feel it happening then. Dammit, I thought. No. No. No. NoNoNoNoNo.
My proverbial wife-beater lifted up off of my skin and slowly ripped like molasses lightning down over my swelling chest. My pecs went green. My arms inflated with angry juice. My forehead spread out across the top of my head like the Welcome To Crazy Town sign at the edge of the city.
I was Hulking out.
I was turning into that same old SOB again.
My little baby coughed again/she hacked up a coal mine canary.
Well, there is a single straw for every camel’s back.
I became Serge-Stressed-Out-By-Basic-Life-Stuff.
I rose up off Violet’s Princess Bed and ran straight through the south wall/smashing out the other side of the old staggered wood siding of the house/raining 100 year old flat nails and horsehair plaster and hibernating ladybugs who were just minding their own damn business on the side of a rotting stud down onto the dark cold winter yard.
I landed thirty yards away in a full run and took off down the middle of Main Street roaring out into the black. I tore the scraps of my t-shirt away and jumped over five parked cars in a row. My eyes were friggin’ bulging out of my thick country-ham head but I could see like a wild turkey and I was looking around with super sharp Navy Seal night vision. I was searching/hunting for the Godforsaken Loo-Zer Terrorist Germ Beast that keeps messing with my Violet.
I was done with patience.
I was done with simple pointless clueless common-sense parenting bull-crap.
There was only this left now. There is a point, for men like me/lovemeorhateme/when all that reamins is to completely lose all sense of evolved calm and to open up a can of WhoopAss on everything and everyone from the birds asleep in the trees to the stars winking down from their high shelf. I do very very little well in this world. Trust me: if you knew me: you wouldn’t like me. But this….this transition from man to Manimal…I rule at this stuff, yo.
Monica, my lovely beautiful wife hates me for it. She walks away from me, for reals, because of it. But I shrink back down and I get scared of losing her and losing everything and so I chase her down/ I promise it won’t happen again. But then, a day or two later, I look in the mirror and I’m Bill Bixby with pin-dot eyeballs once again. It’s exhausting. I tell myself one thing and I do another. You know what I mean at all?
But, I keep trying to throw it.
I swear on all the banged-up dreams in this town . I’ll never stop trying.
Last night though: I got halfway down the street and I just couldn’t find the beast anywhere. And man, I really wanted to. I wanted to pummel the side of the face of the thing laying all this sick upon my daughter. She is too young to be on that end of things, I told myself. She deserves better. I wanted to throw a beat-down on this thing’s ears until Violet’s tiny health fell back out of them.
I wanted to make her better so bad. Right now. With my bloody fat fists. But it never works out for me. I get that way and I lose. Every single time.I couldn’t find nothing to hit. Not an enemy for miles and miles.
I climbed back up into the house through my shape in the upstairs wall. I took a couple deep breaths and rubbed her hivey cheek as she coughed.
I lost all my swell.
“You okay, mama?” I whispered.
“I’m okay,” she whispered back, so soft like. It caught me all off-guard.
Maybe two minutes later, she was asleep again. The coughing totally stopped.
I went back to my bed and laid down and that’s all I remember.
Monica@8:00pm (Saturday night) Sway down the street like you couldn’t miss a beat if you tried… That’s how New York City makes me feel, man. Like I imagine people feel after snorting a line of coke. We are dressed to impress and strolling straight up one of Manhattan’s biggest arteries. 7th Avenue… Well, okay… Whitney is dressed to impress. Me? I’ve squeezed my fat mom feet, feet that are used to the comforts of sneakers, into a pare of stiletto heeled boots. Dumb move. I knew this when putting them on. Hell, I knew this when bringing them. These are not shoes to walk in. They are shoes mean to be seen. Later I will give them to Whitney, a young single gal who has cause to wear them. I don’t even want to own them anymore. Don’t even want to be tempted to wear them because it will be a mistake every time. So now, with Whitney strolling and me limp strolling, we are heading right into Times Square.
The barrage of people is mind-boggling. It’s warm and so bright it’s like daytime. Snatches of conversation assault my ears. “So I said whatever” or “he was born in France” or “it was a bad divorce”. All these words, bits of strangers’ lives, wing into my ears and are gone before I can even assess who said what.
We decide to buy tickets to one of the comedy shows dudes on Times Square are always hawking… And then we pause for a bit to take the requisite Times Square photos.
Monica@9:00pm (Saturday night) It’s been a while since I had sushi this good. We order a sake taste tester type appetizer and proceed to sip sake and Sapporo. In the back of my mind I feel guilty. Guilty for having fun and spending money while Serge is at home on dad duty. So I suck down another Sapporo and try to focus on the time at hand…
Serge@12:46pm Just got back from dropping the car back off for M when she gets home late tonight. Long trip just to turn around and come back, but there you go. Henry is down for a nap.
Violet and I are eating some lunch. Chicken nuggets and chunks of cheese for her. And some neon pink yogurt endorsed by Phineas And Ferb which she won’t touch with a ten foot spoon. I find that hilarious since she also has a real burning dislike of that show. Even if it is on the TV for ten seconds she freaks. So, those guys can’t really win in these parts.
For my lunch: a warm 40 of Olde English and a pretzel straw.
I’m having…actually: who gives a damn what I’m having. It isn’t even good. It’s rotten.
Violet’s been scratching at her fading hives and now a few of them have flared up again. Yay.
Serge@1:32pm Driving hard towards the truck stop. I’m hard chargin’ like Thelma and Louise towards the cliff. Just realized that its Sunday! NASCAR race is on soon! I am dropping the kids at the arcade in the truck stop for a couple hours! Don’t worry: I’m giving them like fifty quarters.
This could end up being an awesome afternoon for everyone after all. #go_dale_jr
Serge@2:28pm Sun is out and it’s too nice for sitting inside. There’s been so much stagnant air around here lately. So much sickness, so many blahs. Therefore, I am considering Phase II of Operation Duck Park. Or maybe hit the lake, which is closer. We could take a little hike through the ticks, I mean the trees. And there is a beach and some slides and swings that Violet likes a lot.
Either way, the bigger news is that I just pulled off something mega: The 2012 Totally Impromptu Birdbrains With One Soap Bubble Bath Party! It was completely spontaneous and completely off-the-charts successful. One second I was just standing there trying to chisel this petrified milk booger off the side of Henry’s nose/the next second both kids were giggling and splashing in a neck deep swamp of suds. Now they are both a couple of hot washed dinner plates, all squeaky and gleaming. I wanna show them off a bit.
So: maybe the duck park. Probably more likely to run in to a couple other Moms-Who-Duck-Park over there than anywhere else.
Serge@3:22pm Violet is asleep on rug in her room. Thus, previous idea is now a “dead duck.” Ha!
Screw it. Time for NASCAR.
Monica@3:47pm Typing this from a Starbucks smack dab in the center of Chinatown. It should probably be illegal to patronize a Starbucks in Chinatown but it was the only internet connection I could find. Reading Serge’s always eloquent words (he flings words onto a screen like a painter splashing colors onto a canvas) makes me miss him. Here in Chinatown I am reminded of a memorable day we spent here once six years ago.
Sent my friend Whitney to the airport an hour ago and now I have a few hours to kill before the bus back to Pennsylvania. I know I could be making better use of my last precious few minutes in NYC but there is this giant bag I have to carry around to contend with. I should just go buy a wheeled suitcase from the gargoyle of a woman I’m looking at through this window and hit the pavement rolling but, for now, I’m gonna sit here and sip my coffee and talk to youse guys.
Last night while in Times Square I couldn’t stop thinking about how much Violet would love it. Right now, at 3-years-old. Henry too. He would grin at the bright lights, big cityness of it all and just look and look and look and extend his index finger and growl in that way he does when he’s excited to bear witness to the awesomeness of the world at large. AAAHHHGGGGG…
This weekend went beautifully. No big hitches… everything unraveled like it was a scripted Broadway play. Acts I, II and now this, the third act, which opens on a slightly disheveled 34-year-old mother of two writing from a tiny coffee shop in Lower Manhattan. Things happen better without plans, I think. I like to roll like that. To just fly by the seat of my pants and see what happens. Serge, not so much. He likes plans. Sometimes I wish he wouldn’t feel so beholden to plans because plans just set you up for disappointment, you know? When the plan doesn’t happen accordingly, Serge gets annoyed and his annoyance/anger sets me on edge. Kind of like the way he described above with the Hulk. He gets edgy and mad and when he’s edgy I’m nervous and annoyed and then we just feed off the bad vibes and bickering ensues.
Because of that, I think he’s a much better dad when I’m not around. It’s weird, but I think he keeps his cool more when I’m not there looking over his shoulder or correcting him or telling him I do things this way or that way. Well, that’s not weird. Who wouldn’t be more comfortable executing their role as parent without the judgmental eyes of a spouse burning holes through their actions? I need to go easier on him.
I called him an hour ago and he was saying that Henry is just crazy obsessed with him. As if to confirm this I could hear Henry shouting HI DA-DA! in the background. Throughout our conversation Henry must’ve said DAD-DEE or DA-DA about six times. It made me jealous. Don’t they miss me at all? Are they even wondering where I am? They aren’t old enough to really comprehend the fact that I went on a mini-trip, but aren’t they wondering why the broad who feeds them and bathes them and loves on them isn’t around?
Still, it’s nice to know Serge is such a competent dad. That we are equal in the realm of parenting. I know so many dads who don’t really even know their children that well, who have no idea what their kids want or need and have to get their children’s requests translated by their wives. These are the men who consider hanging out with their kids a few hours when wifeless “babysitting”. You don’t babysit your own kid, numbnuts.
But anyway, I’m so proud of Serge, yet saying I’m proud of him seems condescending. Like, I didn’t expect him to be able to fly solo this weekend and I totally did. Like I said, when it comes to parenting, he defies the stereotypes of his gender.
It’s kind of a bummer, now I feel like I have to return home and be a super parent and let Serge slack off for the next few days but that’s the last thing I feel like doing after having this dizzying taste of single girl on the town freedom. I feel like I got an important piece of myself back. Since the house fire I have felt as If I’ve been suspended in a gray fog, like I was just folding in on myself, piece by piece until soon, nothing would be left. But tiny parts of my brain have been reawakened. Remembering what it was like to stroll down the street and interact with people and go places instead of being holed up in a house, heating up the latest batch of fish sticks or whatever. Life is still happening, and I kind of forgot. But it’s all here still. It’s exciting. It’s comforting. I had lost myself in momhood and being a wife. Swallowed up by it all. Felt beat down, faded, played out, older than I am, but guess what? Life is still out here happening. Still here for the taking. Anything is still possible.
Serge@5:04pm Just hung Henry in the bjorn and went out to toss the Frisbee for the labs and stepped in some thawed dog dirt and and turned around and came back inside, all very fluidly, as if it was supposed to go down exactly like it did.
Serge@5:11pm Indication I Am Doing Something Very Right Or Very Very Wrong:
Henry just fell asleep in his high chair.
That’s a first.
Serge@5:30pm Wait. Whaaaa?
Monica, you had a theme song for the weekend?
And it’s that one?
Me and these two goobers had us a little tune too.
It played on a Bonnaroo Main Stage sound system in the pitch darkness of our kitchen every morning you were gone. It kicked in the very instant I walked out on the boards from stage left, with one goober in each of my arms.
Here it is. Let the people decide.
Serge@6:45pm Well, I’m gonna go ahead and call this a win for the old knuckleballer. And a win for the love of my life. She needed some space and some city. And I needed her to get what she needed, which it seems like she did.
We spend a lot of this life wasting time, don’t we? Moments that could be cool/positive: we pick ’em up by their slender glass stems and we stare directly into the eyes of the person we love the most and we hold the thing up by our face, exhale like a fabulous killer, and just BOINK: let go.
And something really nice shatters.
At best, it’s all a taxing little ritual. But stretched out over time: it’ll squash your heart in a vice made out of years, until one day you wake up and you got nothing.
Little flecks of glass remain behind too, long after we flipped them out of the dustpan into the can.
By the time you’ve loved and lost a few times: you’re more scar than skin and you can end up keeping your actual soul wrapped up in a big thick Wonder Slide burlap out in the garage. You can forget things you once knew. You can just flat-out lose important things about yourself and the dust stuck to the grease in your gears. You can end up neglecting so many of the old vital things that thrilled you once upon a time…back when you were carving yourself out of a wad of hot teenage mess.
This weekend was a lot of fun. And it also sucked. And there was hives and sushi and Brazilian Disney YouTube videos and old friends and bad dry coughing and frozen pizza and beer and Dora The Explorer Cups filled with cold milk and someone saw some live bands play and someone feel asleep holding hands with a dog and a whole city was traipsed and celebrated and someone smiled through his snot when he saw someone else dressed up head to toe in Mossy Oak as he led a parade of people and animals around a kitchen very far from a lot of things, but very very close to a lot of other things, too.
And we slung a bunch of it at you down the internets for a wink and a smile.
Love and trust and 5am diapers. In case you haven’t heard: they’re all the same damn thing.