LIVE BLOGGING: One Daddy's BlogHer Weekend Alone With The Kids!Serge Bielanko
Monica is off to the Big Apple.
This time, she’s off to a thing called BlogHer, which is a convention for…well, bloggers. Lady ones, in particular.
So, I have Violet and Henry all to myself until Saturday night. That’s approximately 60 hours of solo wrangling ahead of me.
Wish me luck.
Monica, for her part, may chime in from time to time on her end, but there is no guarantee from me on that. It’s understandable, I guess. I mean, when you’re partying with other bloggers in Manhattan, chugging down wines and beers and Jager shots out in the real world, in the big town, the last thing you’re probably gonna want to do is more cyber scrawling, but what the hell do I know?
So, join me, as I bring you The Amazing Adventures of Violet, Henry, and Me, in real real time.
Thursday, August 2nd
Monica, 10:02AM: First time blogging from a phone here. Hell, it’s my first time blogging from a bus.
I am on a Manhattan-bound MegaBus.
A jam-packed bus. But I don’t mind. All I have to do for the next four hours is sit here. After day after day after day of full-time parenting, sitting elbow-to-elbow with a stranger is a damn vacation, is what it is. Scored the armrest. I think it belongs to me anyway. I am next to the window using the middle armrest, which I think is mine as my seatmate has sole access to the aisle armrest.
Sooo … Am headed to BlogHer because I live pretty close to NYC and because Babble is having a little shindig, and it’s nice to meet folks you work with when you can. It’s nice in theory, I mean. For me it is often awkward because I am so socially awkward. Now, don’t get all excited that you might find me in a bathroom stall making the acquaintance of a full-blown anxiety attack or anything fun like that. I hide the panic well. It’s all on the inside. The only giveaway that I am dying on the inside is loud talking and excessive complimenting.
It’s what I do.
What I don’t do — SERGE — is Jager shots.
Mostly, I am excited to see NYC. To wander down busy streets and feel electrified just by being there. I have had a crush on the city since I was a kid. Serge seems to think London is competitive but to me New York City is beyond compare. I can’t wait to bring Violet and Henry for the first time. Show them Mom and Dad’s first apartment as a married couple, the spot on the sidewalk out front with S + M and Max carved into the concrete circa 2005. It’s where the story of our family really got underway…
Serge, 11:05 AM: Okay, so she’s off to the Big Apple.
Violet is at daycare for a couple more hours and I just put Henry down for a nap.
There is always a nervous energy that comes over me in the first few moments of being alone with the kids. I get both excited and a little leery because, let’s face it, anything can happen. The last time Monica went away, the kids both got pretty ill almost as soon as she walked out the door. And this time seems a bit better though, to be honest, Hank has a very runny nose and Violet had one just yesterday, so I have that to contend with.
Overall, though I will take that as opposed to the hive mania and up-all-night symptoms of my first weekend alone with them.
As I sit here writing this in my garage, the sound of Henry’s Brazillian Lullabye is wafting across the driveway from the window where I have the baby monitor set up.
It’s a gentle scene, way different than the chaotic one Monica will be living in the next few days. And I hope that is a sign of things to come.
Serge, 12:13 PM: I went to the doctor’s this morning “to get my … prescription filled.” I have never been to this guy before but Daddy needs his anti-depressants and so, once a year, I have to put on my nicer Willie Nelson concert shirt and my cleanest cargos and comb my mop and march into someone’s office to tell them that I would like for them to sign off on yet another Golden Year of Pharmaceutical Candy for me.
As I was getting ready to leave, the nurse hands me a bunch of papers that cover every spectrum of survival known to humanity, from bug bites to lightning strikes to diseases.
‘Hey thanks so much!,’ I told her.
But really I was like …WTF?
Then I get back home here, ready to take this whole weekend with the kids by storm and I start leafing through the papers and chuckling to myself when I come across this one that has a big chart on it.
Figure out your BMI, it promises! Figure out your own Body Mass Index!
Hmmmm, okaaaaaay. I bite. I start doing the crazy additions and divisions like it tells me, plugging in my height here/my weight there/adding 262,206 for whatever the hell reason they came up with that step.
I get my final number and roll my finger up to the top of the paper to check what the final word is here.
That’s what it says I am. Not ‘overweight,’ mind you. Nonononono, that category is unfit for me.
I land in the f-in OBESE column!
Next time, just give me my damn pills and kiss my ass.
(BTW, I am 5’9″ and weigh 487 pounds. So, you know, they are liars.)
Monica, 1:15 PM – My seatmate is maybe the greatest seatmate of all time. Tiny woman who folded into herself like origami the second she sat down, put on her headphones, lowered her hat and hasn’t moved since noon. I am listening to some intense Radiohead (intense Radiohead is redundant, right?) and feeling like I should be thinking deep thoughts but am really quietly geeking out on the fact that I am sending out these little web missives from a bus! In the middle of nowhere! I will never get over technology.
I like riding the bus. Much better than a plane. Buses are adventurous and the American landscape is endlessly fascinating. We are maybe an hour away from that first sighting of the NYC skyline. I always get jazzed for that. I just ate a protein bar and drank a tomato juice and am wondering if Serge felt my smug condescencion all the way back home. Yesterday he told me my newly purchased flax seeds and protein powder give me a “condescending air.” It made me chuckle because flax seeds ARE condescending. Other condescending foods include tofu and related products (tofurkey!), wheat grass, all Starbucks specialty drinks, pistachios and tiny finger sandwiches. But flax seed is exceedingly condescending. Like, the Gwyneth Paltrow of the food world.
Serge, 2:06 PM: Just brought back Violet from daycare and whipped up some lunch for her and H.
Here’s how that went:
– I serve the First Course of the meal. Multi-colored Goldfish crackers. They are a hit. They are always a a hit.
– I ask Violet if she wants a hot dog like Henry is having. She says, “yes.”
– After nuking two hot dogs and chopping Henry’s into small slivers, I cover each with yellow mustard and ketchup.This might be the most Americana lunch of all-time.
– I present each child with their hot dog.
– Neither kid touches it.
– Violet asks for yogurt. I play hardball and tell her to eat her dog first. She pretends I don’t exist.
– Henry decides to touch his hot dog and paints himself with chunks of it so that he looks like a Jackson Pollack.
– He doesn’t eat any of it though.
– I wipe cheeks and clean shirt-fronts and cave in to the prisoners in the yard rioting for yogurt. Then, I set them free.
– I am a 40-year-old man eating off a Goofy’s face on a Disney plate. I pop a bits of hot dog nub salad, splattered in condiment paint all mixed in with Goldfish crackers, into my gob as I look out the window.
-I am glaring out the window.
-To the east.
– I am evil-eyeing the sky stretching away back over the ridges towards New York City.
Serge, 2:49 PM: We just had a hardcore Tinker Toys session on the playroom floor in which I made a dog and Henry destroyed it and Violet attacked Henry.
Now, I’m trying to type this on the couch and H just showed up with the Tinker Toy box and he has that wild beautiful look in his eye.
Serge, 3:59 PM: Henry and Violet are in ‘Quiet Time‘ now. Man, what a good idea that has been so far. Every afternoon, we take them into their rooms and let them just chill out in there for a while.
Henry usually takes a good nap.
Violet … well, she is a different story. Some days she kills it, just laying back with a dinosaur book or some stickers and winding down until she zonks out for a spell. But, just as often, Monica and I just settle in for some
‘afternoon delight writing, when we hear the creak of a door/patter of footsteps/and there she is, proclaiming things like,”Hey, what’s goin’ on? I’m back!!!”
Then, it’s one of those strangely tense situations when my wife and I stare at each other across the room and try and convince the other one, with gunfighter eyes, that it’s THEIR turn to try and convince Violet to return to her sanctuary/give us a bit of space and time to
get busy work.
But, so far this afternoon, I’m not hearing so much as a peep from up there.
So, I think I’m just going to sneak off for a few hours of fishing!
Psyche. I wish.
Truth is though, there is something inherently calming in knowing that big love is just a flight of stairs away, but at the same time, knowing it isn’t right there in your face for a little while. ‘Quiet Time’ started as an idea. And now, it’s an institution of higher chillaxing.
(Okay, it’s 4:10 PM exactly. Now that I just wrote that, I want to time how long it is before someone shatters this peace. I give it six minutes tops.)
Serge, 4:22 PM: No lie. Violet just appeared with her stuffed dalmatian and announce, ” Hi Dad! I have dalvation!”
‘Quiet Time’ is officially over, I guess.
So be it.
Monica, 4:44 PM: This is what I look like right now. So if you are here and see me, come over and say hello because this is what I will look like for most of the night, only more so of THIS as the evening progresses. Because, well, this was taken Before Alcohol:
And now I must adjourn to the subway to go to this here thing where I will meet very exciting women and then I am headed to a party at Babble HQ. I will try and get the gossip on all the folks behind the scenes at Babble so I can dish it all here on Babble. It will tear a hole in the space time continuum .
Serge, 6:06 PM: Just back from a double-stroller walk up the country road.
Things were okay until we saw the ‘little white puppy’ who lives up at an Amish joint. She always comes out to say hello to passers-by and this time was no different. Knowing that Violet likes the pup, I offered for her to come down out of the stroller and pet the dog.
Bad mf move.
As soon as my daughter gets out of the seat she begins to lose her sense of humanism and calm afternoonism. I’m standing there dripping bullets of sweat down onto the front walk of the Amish people’s house as I become witness to my kid turning into a nasty werewolf critter right before my eyes.
She starts wiggling and squealing and my first thought is that maybe she has a wasp in her butt-crack or a honey bee in her ear hole. Then she is crying out that she scared the dog, which she didn’t incidentally/the dog is like 250 years old and has seen werewolves before/I just know it.
I’m a little dazed now, standing out in the sunshine.
Henry thinks her little fit is funny; his chin is propped up on the plastic bar on the side of the stroller and he is giggling something fierce. Even if she had lunged deep into my windpipe and come back out dripping some of my vocal chords down her messy chin, ol’ Henry would have just sat there and enjoyed the show, I reckon.
As far as Henry knows, hell, if a man has to perish in a wolfkid’s jaws right there beside his ride, well….he might as well take in the entertainment while it happens. This is a small village, after all, and no one can say for certain when excitement might get all lost and wander down these scattered lanes again.
“Violet!”, I scolded her a little in my best trying-to-keep-cool-in-the-presence-of-the-Amish voice, a sharp tangy cheese of snake-strike speed that I keep tucked under my breath, like an old forgotten tooth sleeping for centuries under a Victorian dust pillow.
She responded by bolting away from me and screeching, “Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!” She ran out into the road.
Now, see, that right there?
That right there is one of my pet peeves, you know?
I am a nervous-ish man by nature, standing on a bundle of twitchy jitters out there somewhere between Woody Allen and, I dunno, Howie Mandell? And, I do my best to keep my steel polished when I’m with the kids, but it doesn’t always end up staying that way.
Kids can smudge things without lifting a crummy thumb. A kid could wipe snot across the face of the full moon if they wanted too. They have powers we don’t know about. They can do shit we don’t even wanna know about.
But, I hate the running out into the road thing. Its so…amateur. It’s so sloppy and un-thought-out, And it can’t ever be good.
Ghosts play in the road.
Dead vapors play out in the road.
She didn’t get twelve steps away from me when she took a header all on her own and skinned a knee and laid down on the loose stones and the concrete and gave away the fact that she was a tired-ass little girl who skipped her nap and all the world was gonna pay for it.
Or at least, Daddy was.
I couldn’t be mad now. She was ashamed and confused and spider-bit, laying out there at the feet of the ghost who did me the favor and tripped her up.
I helped her back over to the stroller, Henry looking at us, smiling, waiting for the punchline/’there better be a punchline, Dad’.
We made it back to the house, the walk cut short by things we cannot see or control.
We made it back and I threw some fish sticks and fries in the oven for them and some Miller Lites in the fridge for me.
We made it back.
We always seem to get that part done, at least.
Serge, 8:20 PM: I was tucking Violet into bed when she looked up at me sleepily and asked, ‘Dad, can I go to the potty?”
We went in together.
She ended a really cool interesting day by presenting me with her fourth pee-pee in the potty in as many days.
What a way to march off into the sunset.
I love you so much.
(Talk to you guys tomorrow morning. Hope you’ll stop by.)
Friday, August 3rd
Serge, 8:30 AM:
Oatmeal for me and Violet.
Henry is still asleep, which makes sense since I heard him crying on the monitor at about 4 this morning and went in there to find him sitting up, Indian-style, in his crib.
He had a look of utter bewilderment on his face. I could tell he wasn’t sure if he was in Dreamland or back in the real deal.
I literally poked his arm with my pinky and he tipped over on to his blankets. My guess is that he was out like a light again before he even hit the mattress.
Getting up in the night for a crying kid always sucks, there’s just no two ways around that. But, if they all went back down as easy as Henry did early this morning, we’d never even bother to mention it.
So, I reckon I have to remember exactly what I fed him yesterday.
And then feed him that same stuff for the next six years or so.
We all want different experiences out of our experiences, I reckon.
New waves wash up on our beaches, and new ideas get left behind there, mixed in with all the seaweed and busted oyster shells and severed crab pinchers (who the hell is disarming so many crabs anyhow…is anyone looking into that?) So, we are constantly re-inventing ourselves as people and as entities without even knowing it half-the-time.
Monica, my wife is a great example of this lately.
There was a time when she would have had a wild time out there in the Manhattan night.
There was a gal, the gal I fell for, who would have been hitting the parties at the BlogHer convention and schmoozing and sipping on wines and beers and laughing in the middle of a crowd, her eyes lit up like 65th floor skyscraper windows in the setting sun.
But not anymore, I guess.
She called me late last night and told me that she had skipped all of the parties and the revelry. Instead, the newly gentle mother of my children went alone to one of her favorite places in the city, The New York Public Library.
And rather than running with some wild crowd drinking and galavanting down those city streets, she chose to sit in the urban dusk and sip on a take-away chai and read from the sacred texts of Buddha, first by sunlight…and then by lamplight, as the traffic and people and the swift ephemeral hours passed her by unnoticed.
Alone, isolated, adrift on a sea of knowledge, my wife, clung to the bobbing driftwood of her inner-most contemplations.
I am very proud of her for reaching that higher level of consciousness, too.
I know I damn sure couldn’t have done it.
I know I would have partied my face off until somebody drug my ass back to my hotel room; or anybodies room; or a half-decent spot behind a Hell’s Kitchen alley grease-dumpster for that matter.
It’s almost too much for me to buy.
But, that’s what she told me.
And, to each her own, I guess.
Monica, 9:30 AM: He’s lying, of course. About reading at the library. As a result of the nervousness of meeting new people I ended up drinking too much on an empty stomach and got sick.
I blame everyone but me. People just kept handing me drinks and, in an effort to be polite, I drank them, I guess. Because I don’t even remember ordering my own drink! So I got a little loopy because I AM SO DAMN POLITE. It is a cross I will have to bear.
I am sitting here recalling snatches of conversations I had with people I admire and hoping I wasn’t an idiot. I got to meet a lot of the folks behind the scenes at Babble. There are my favorite ladies, whom I’ve met before – Andrea and Dara – and I got to talk to Jack, whom I’ve long admired, whose life seems to be unfolding in the same vein as an action/adventure movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The guy is definitely taking the road less traveled and I really admire that, really dig getting the chance to talk to someone of his intellectual caliber.
I got a little loopy and have a vague memory of getting all drunkenly sentimental on Amy — she of Amalah fame. You can also find her right here on Babble Voices. I finally got to meet Tracey (Sweetney!) and her super hunk of a baker man, Charlie, who is as smooth in person as he appears in pictures and who, I’m told, rescued my enormous SocialLuxe swag bag from a dirty New York City sidewalk after I left it behind.
It was all fun and crazy and overwhelming for someone who rarely gets out of her little neck of the woods in Central Pennsylvania. Not only meeting so many new people all at once, but meeting co-workers, employers (that I am trying very hard to impress because they help mama pay the bills, yo) and mostly, meeting people whose words have long inspired me — particularly Tracey, Amy and Katie Granju.
Katie. Dear Katie … Thanks for the assist.
And so day 2 begins with me blogging in my underwear, looking out a window at the jagged skyline of the Upper West Side – roofs of buildings so filled with charm they could play the backdrop for a chimney sweep dance that could rival the epic scene in Mary Poppins, terraces filled with trees – gardens in the sky.
I am just blocks from my old job working as a news producer at WABC on Lincoln Square. I think I’ll go get myself my favorite fatoush salad from the Greek joint down the street and hit Central Park.
Serge, 10:31 AM: Trip to duck park postponed til afternoon due to Henry’s complete bath-time meltdown and unpredicted need to nap.
When that kid come unhinged, he come UNHINGED.
Am still quivering from the fallout.
Serge, 11:15 AM: Me and Violet just watched Dumbo for the 662nd time.
It never gets old, really. Old Disney stuff still maintains some kind of real magic. The years don’t sand it down at all. Now: Bambi. I keep meaning to get a copy of the soundtrack on vinyl off Ebay. It’s actually some pretty elegant music; classy and parlor-esque (is that a word? what does it mean?).
Did I just say I was in the market for the Bambi soundtrack?
My how times has changed.
It’s weird but having a DVR on our TV has proven to be pretty astounding for us. I try and capture stuff like Bambi and Dumbo and I keep waiting some other classics to come around because Violet seems to love them a lot. And Henry digs whatever big sis digs.
What was the one with Brer Rabbit/Zip-a-dee-doo-dah? I wanna record that one too.
The other thing Violet is real into these days?
Old original Scooby-Doo. I keep hearing Casey Kasem’s voice rolling out of the playroom, which is slightly creepy, to be honest.
Anyway, it’s getting super-mighty retro up in here lately, and I’m down with that.
In drive-thru line at at Burger King an hour ago; I had promised Violet some ice cream since she had been a great girl this morning as she waited patiently for Henry’s endless nap to end; she was excited to be getting her small chocolate milkshake.
Me: Wait, I just ordered you hot soup. You said you wanted hot vegetable soup, right?
Violet: Ummm…hot soup?
Me: You said you DID NOT want ice cream, right? Or did I hear you wrong?
Me: Okay, what? Is hot soup okay? You like hot vegetable soup, don’t you?
Violet: (whispers through her confusion) Hot soup?
Me: Yeah! Hot potatoes and big carrot chunks and hot celery flavor! Does it sound good?
Violet: Nooooooooo. I wan chocwit icecweem.
Me: Oh man! I thought you said soup! I think it’s too late now! I got Henry his ice cream because he said that’s what he wanted, but you said soup, right?
Violet, No, Daddy, I didn say soop! I sayed chocwit icecweem!
(I pay and get the stuff and quickly put her milkshake down next to my feet on the floor.)
(We pull over into a parking spot.)
Me: Okay Henry, here’s your ice cream!
Me: Violet, your soup is too hot yet, I’m going to keep it here until it cools off, okay?
Violet: (staring out the window, barely audible) Too hot?
Me: Okay, here it is…you’re hot vegetable soup. (The shake has whipped cream on top and a cherry and the whole nine yards)
(She paws it and looks at it closely.)
Violet: It’s not hot!
Me: (smiling) Oh Daddy! You fooled me! You made me think it was HOT SOUP! Oh Daddy!
Violet: (stares out her window/bringing the first flow of shake up the long straw pipe/ a weak smile appears as she drops straw from her lips.)
Violet: Oh, Daddy. (she offers, ever so weakly.)
Serge, 4:56PM: Henry is napping,but Violet came into my room ten minutes into ‘Quiet Time’ again.
No breaks for either of us then, I guess.
So, she crawled up on the pillow beside me where I was typing and I said,” Okay, name an animal.
“Cows,” she blurted, without missing a beat.
So I typed in cows for my idea and lo and behold ten seconds later she was in hysterics as we watched this. (PS: don’t eat the brown acid)
Man, I am whipped.
This solo wrangling stuff is so demanding.
You are the ref, the cook, the policeman, the bartender, the driver, the bodyguard, the politician, the preacher, the program director, the cheerleader, the partner, the enemy, the confidant, the therapist, the interventionist, the nurse, the doctor, the stretcher, the butcher, the cheese monger, the water company, the electric company, the first responder, the traffic light, the laundress, the janitor, the bank teller, the bank, the napkin, the tissue, the paper towel, the towel, the jester, the joker, the roadie, the band, the King, the Peasant, the ass-wiper, God, and Darth Vader all at once.
In line, at the Walmart check-out, I went to pay for some crap a few hours ago and I just couldn’t even remember the pin number for my ATM card. It’s a number seared into my steak. It’s carved into my trunk.
But, I just stood there, unable to look the clerk girl in the eye, punching in numbers that make no sense until she informed me that the card wasn’t going to work now. I had flipped the damn machine.
I think I paid her with some of my fillings. I can’t even recall.
We got the stuff though.
But, I’ll be damned if I know where any of it is.
Probably, still in the bag, on the carousel of bags.
(Goodnight, then. It’s beer-thirty. Thanks for reading/Talk tomorrow.)
Saturday, August 4th
Monica, 7:17am: Just talked to Serge. And Henry. “Hi mama. It’s mama. It’s mama. Bye mama”. His tiny voice echoing down the phone killed me. I want to go home. Although it’s a fantastic event and it’s super cool to get to meet a few people and catch up with others, I don’t think Blogher is for me. I think that, if I really enjoy someone’s blog, if their words really inspire me, I think I prefer NOT to meet them. I really do. I’ll probably write more about why I feel that way at a later date but, for now, I’ve got to head down to this Babble breakfast thing where an “exciting announcement” is going to be made. I think I’m going to try to move my bus up so I can leave at noon instead of four, so I’ve got to get going. I want to be sitting on my porch swing by evening.
I felt her crawl into bed with me but I was way too dead to the world. Sleep had been mine, all mine, but in that instant of thumps and tiny grunts I knew that Violet was scaling the other side of the mattress.
And I knew that, with the snap of some celestial pair of God fingers somewhere in another cosmos, my sleep was over. My fate had arrived. At like 4:45 in the freaking morning.
Still, I pretended to sleep.
She didn’t care.
“Daddy?” I could feel her breath all over my eye lids. She had moved in for an instant kill.
I gave no sign of life.
Hmph? I gave her one of those.
(It occurred to me then that it was my first hmph, actually. My first groggy response to the same toddler alarm clock that has been hopping into Saturday morning parental beds/pine needle piles since the birth of fire. I’m glad I was conscious enough to at least note the milestone)
“Daddy, wanna watch cows wit me?!” She was talking about that cow video I posted above. We’d watched it a whole lot since I first ran across it.
I thought about my plan of counter-attack here.
I mean, what are you supposed to do in this situation.
You aren’t thinking too straight/you want sleep/sleep is gone/you have to accept things/it’s her, your kid and yeah you like hanging with her, but now?/ you don’t wanna be a bastard to your own daughter and blow her off totally/ you should extend the bounds of discipline a bit and blow her off totally/will this lead to everyday-waking-me-up-bullshit?/ should I be getting up now anyway?/ am I too lenient?/ she must be tired still/ I wonder if she’s getting spoiled?/how do you know if you are not disciplinarian enough?/ that cows video is actually pretty hilarious/ I wonder how many people on Earth watch that cows video in the wee small hours/ I might be hungry/I need to get one of those remote control coffee-makers/ why not just put the coffee-maker on my nightstand?/she’s still there/I haven’t opened my eyes at all yet, but she knows that I’m in here/ she can hear my voices talking inside here, huh?/oh damn/ I’m about to watch dancing cows, huh?/I’m opening my eyes, I guess/ morning is here, I see that now/I’m opening my eyes now/there she is/there’s the kid/smiling at me through the fifty shades of mf-ing five o’clock in the goddamn morning grey.
“Hi, Dad!” She’s excited to have me now.
“Dad, wanna watch cows wit me?!”
What is that? She tacks on this whole ‘with me’ thing to just about every question/plea now and it suckers me in every time. How does she know to ply that sort of psychological stuff? It’s unsettling how quickly a three year old can know the value of pandering to someone’s weaknesses. She is still in diapers but she can scale some of my steepest castle walls without even spilling her drink.
“Okay. I guess so.”
I hit a few buttons, the power hits the runway, lights light up, tap/tap/tap, she smiles in the monitor’s glow, she squeaks.
Good morning, you fat beautiful weirdo cows.
The only difference between this downstairs bathroom I am now hiding in and a Great White shark cage is: there is no difference.
Talked to Monica a while ago and it sounds as if she is ready to come home.
For all the madness that life with young kids brings us, for all of the time it chews up and eats right in front of our faces, once you’re in that life, the life of a parent, you miss it a lot when you leave. I think she’s hit that wall now. Probably there are a lot of women in NYC at this BlogHer conference that are starting to feel that way.
It’s so good to be able to walk away from those heavy responsibilities sometimes. It’s actually healthy and essential. Constant cyclic life is do-able when we know that there will be respite here and there. But, routine can spoil hard when there is nothing on the distant horizon but more routine. So, I think Monica got what she needed this weekend. She had some laughs and some drinks and met a bunch of people and saw a few old friends.
Plus, she got to go to sleep for a few nights and wake up for a few mornings without having to stare down the barrel of everyday life.
Most of us can’t really ask for more than that, right?
This morning, while it was still way earlier than we had any reason to be awake, I brought Violet down to have some breakfast. I made coffee for me, some pancakes for her.
At one point, I remember vividly talking to myself, asking myself whether I figured that I could actually squeeze an entire plastic thing of Key Lime Yoplait out into a bowl just by crushing the sides of the container. (Yes. The answer is yes, I could do that.)
When I turned around to dump some granola cereal on top of the green goo I remember registering that Violet was shoveling a fork full of pancake into her mouth first, with a second though immediately following that one which stated: Violet’s face is also covered in blood.
She seemed oblivious to it, too, which, quite honestly, freaked me out beyond the heart attacks exploding down in my chest. Because, in all honesty, at this strange toddler junction in Violet’s life, if she can find an excuse to whine or cry about something she usually will.
So, it scared the hell out of me. She was wiping red streaks across her entire face, painting her own self with her own blood, and she had no clue.
Talk about unsettling. It was a ‘Shining’ moment for me.
My first thought was like fifty-thousand thoughts, but I remembered that Monica often tells me that if I kind of freak out or shriek like a baby-bitch when a kid falls or something than you end up scaring them more than the fall itself will, so I tried my best to be cool.
“Oh my, Violet,” I said to her. “You have a messy face, kiddo.”
By now, I had figured out that her nose was bleeding and there was really no way for me to help get it sorted out without her being in on it, you know?
Still, like an idiot, I tried. Right in the middle of her pancake breakfast I acted like,” Oh hey, Violet, daddy feels like holding you in his arms right now! Let’s go sit on the couch and watch CNN and you can/must put your head in my lap, eyes skyward, okay!!??”
She must have seen the fear in my eyes.
Young noses bleed with particular horrific gusto and that was what I was peering at. She must have recognized that their was some slight tremble in my words, a sort of uncertainty that she wasn’t at all comfortable with.
She was on to me. Then she looked at her wrist and she saw the wide smears of her blood.
“Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, it’s red! It’s sooo red!,’ she started up. The tears were quick to follow, of course, and I knew there was nothing I could do but get her to relax as best I could.
“Oh, this is nothing, kid. You just have a sharp booger up there, you see.” I told her, trying to use my no-big-whoop tone.” Stupid sharp booger, cutting up Violet’s nose tunnel!”
“Stupid shark booger!,” she echoed me.
In the meantime, I was thinking bad shit, man. I hate that about me, and I’m working on it, but my immediate thought was that she was having some sort of toddler stroke or something uncommonly insane like that.
I got her on my lap on the couch and used some tissues like a plug and talked to her as if we were splitting a bowl of ice cream in the evening. After a minute or two, the bleeding just stopped.
I called Monica, of course. I needed to process what I had just witnessed. That’s how lame I am.
I whispered down the phone line to her, like a spy or a perv or something.
“Violet’s nose was just bleeding. Can you hear me? Violet’s nose. Was bleeding!’
She blew me off, told me kids with colds and nose bleeds go together like white on rice.
And, then, instantly, I felt better, which was all I guess I really wanted.
And then me and V went back into the kitchen and I wiped the red away with a wet paper towel and she finished up her pancakes and I had my first cup of coffee and that, thankfully, was that.
Monica is on an earlier bus and should be home in the next hour or so. I have to get the kids in the Honda ad go pick her up at the drop-off.
So, I’m closing this thing down now. Thanks a lot for joining me and the kids for the last three days.
I DID IT!!!!!