Saturday, June 17, 2006

My candle burns at both ends... - Edna St Vincent Millay

Why am I always so exhausted?

H laughs at me when I ask him this question.

I don’t think the answer is as simple as, I never stop. Although I don’t seem to stop nearly often enough. (But wait till I tell you about this next Tuesday…woot!) I don’t think most other people experience this level of exhaustion just getting through their everyday lives. I think my mental health issues and emotional state make me prone to weariness. I think my genetic makeup is such that all I am really suited for is lying around on the couch and reading, and unfortunately my life currently requires a much higher level of activity than that.

Primo had zoo camp this week, which he enjoyed very much. But it meant getting all three boys up, fed, clothed, on the potty, teeth brushed, and then in the car to drive to the zoo by 9 where I had to get them all out of the car just to take Primo to the camper-gathering location because there was no curbside drop-off. It wasn’t till Wednesday that I realized I could leave the younger two in the car (with the windows open and within sight) because everyone was there to GET RID OF their child, not acquire more. Then it felt like, no sooner did I get the other two home, Seg on the toilet and cleaned up after, the baby nursed and sleeping, the kitchen cleared up and the house straightened a bit, and a load of laundry thrown in, then I had to get them back in the car and go pick up Primo.

I took Segundo for his speech evaluation Wednesday afternoon. The final results:
1. He needs to have the wax cleaned out of his ears by a pediatrician. Also, he has permanently retracted eardrums (causing a clog like that you get when you ascend/descend in an airplane or on a mountain). So, some of his speech issues may be due to his reduced hearing, but it also looks like the hearing things are easily fixable.
Yes, I DO too know what Q-tips are for.
2. He has about a 25% development delay in his speech. They have specific things to work on and recommend speech therapy within his preschool classroom setting.
On one hand, nice to know we are not completely overreacting; on the other, when you hear anyone in a position of authority refer to your little boy’s “disability”? Well, I gotta say, my heart dropped into my stomach, to mix my metaphors. But that’s how it felt. I just wanted to cradle him in my arms and growl at people. Even though these people are going to HELP him. So when he calls his brother a poopyhead, he can say his name CORRECTLY. Enunciate each syllable PROPERLY.
My little Seg. Even though he calls me a "deetheart," I know what he means. *He's* the deetheart.

Thursday I worked a ten-hour day and because I spaced that everyone else leaves at 4, I never got a lunch break. Wah-wah, I know.

Friday I took the two younger boys to the zoo while Primo was at zoo camp. I drop Primo off at 915, and the zoo doesn’t open till 10. Except, I discovered, if you are members – and we are. In which case you can go in at 9 and pretty much have the entire zoo all to yourself. Segundo rode some of those silly ride-on vehicles that take quarters to shake and jiggle around. It’s only recently that I have had to start putting money in them; for the longest time, just sitting in them was enough for both boys. Then I bought him a lion puzzle in the zoo store, as a present for being so brave and cooperative on Wednesday. (Seg is the family puzzle whiz.) I rarely buy my guys stuff “just because” as we have enough toys to entertain a third-world country, but this felt important to me. It also might have had something to do with hearing the dread “disability” word.
We spent close to two hours in the aquarium. We watched the penguins frolic and swim and get fed; we played in the stingray tunnel and watched them be fed. (At first I was horrified that they feed fish OTHER FISH, but then I realized that it’s not as if the stingrays call out for pizza when they live in the wild. Duh.) Terzo crawled around on the carpet and oogled the sharks in the two-story tank; he was enthralled. And we all watched in fascinated repulsion the octopus, who rarely appears during normal business zoo hours, slurp its way around its tank, eyeballing us out of the sides of its scrotum-y head.
Then we got some lunch (tragedy! The zoo has reformulated its chicken finger coating!) and went and picked up Primo and came back into the zoo and rode the tram through the zoo as the Sumatran express was closed for inexplicable reasons. It was a lovely morning. I got to really slow down and spend some time with Seg, uninterrupted and focused on him.

On the way home we swung by the city pool, to sign up for swim lessons and get pool tags for the summer. Regardless of the fact that this will require me to buy a new bathing suit (I was thinking of a nice black-and-white suit, to showcase my increasingly whale-like figure), it seems like the right and smart thing to do. Neither goal was accomplished – I didn’t have enough cash on me for the pool tags, as the city raised the prices by twenty bucks for those of us suckers who live in the city and can actually afford to pay taxes, own our own homes, feed our own children, oh, and subsidize everyone else’s pool tags. And then I had the following exchange re: swim lessons:

Me: Can I sign up for swim lessons?
Giant, bored, and inept pool guard: Sure. We are just not sure we're doing swim lessons here at this pool though.
Me: When will you know if you're having swim lessons here?
GBAIPG: When we have enough people signed up.
Me: So then I would like to sign up for swim lessons.
GBAIPG: Sure. Yeah, ok, but - we are just not sure we're doing swim lessons here at this pool though.
And so on.
Do I really want these people being in charge of my kid not drowning?

And then I had to think about dinner. I hate dinner. Why do people feel like they need to eat dinner every night? God, they’re so demanding! Add into this mix the potty training, general three-year-old tantruminess, five-year-old boredom, and baby non-napping and fussiness. Nothing too far out of the ordinary – in fact, NOTHING out of the ordinary - but as I have once before told you, I do NOT deal well at all with the mundanities of everyday life.

Then, yesterday evening, I went out - ostensibly to grocery-shop but instead wound up at my favorite bar having a beer and some buffalo bites, sitting on a barstool among all the young, hip, and accompanied Friday-night revelers, reading a book which I enjoyed immensely. I have never minded eating out by myself, but it’s been awhile since I’ve done this, purely out of lack of opportunity. And it would have been fine except my waitress – who I may point out was no hot young thing herself – clearly, CLEARLY, was full of disdain at my loserdom and was a horrible waitperson. I had to ask for a glass for my beer. I had to ask twice for a glass of water. I had to ask for the blue cheese sauce for my chicken, and then she charged me for it – which NEVER happens. Everything took FOREVER to get, and when I did manage to find her to see what was up, she was sitting at the bar chatting up other patrons. The final straw: the bill was $13.52; I gave her a twenty (“Do you need change?” Um, YES); she brought me back 6 bucks. It’s not that I wasn’t going to throw that 48 cents her way anyway; it is the principle of the thing. It’s bad enough that she asked if I wanted change in the first place. I am the first to admit that I am hard on waitpeople – I expect a level of service that many people don’t. But I tip accordingly. This woman got a buck. I hope the 48 cents was worth it. And I said something to the floor manager on my way out.

And then I went grocery shopping. And then I went home, carried in the groceries, put them all away, threw in a load of laundry, carried a basket of clean clothes upstairs, put away the clean dishes in the dishwasher, loaded up the dirty dishes, and WENT. TO. BED. Where, I’d like to tell you, I slept the sleep of the just and the exhausted, but my retainer was bugging me, and the baby kept stirring, and then the cat leaped over my head in one of his midnight spastic fits. I slept through my alarm this morning. I didn’t have time for breakfast. I didn’t have time to run. I barely made it to work on time.
And the Perfects are coming over for Father’s Day dinner tomorrow. For which I must bake a cake, and prepare potatoes and salad, and clean and fry a boatload of greens per H’s request, and do everything but buy and cook the steaks. Thank God I don’t have to do that.

God, I am so exhausted.

Do you suppose I could be anemic? Maybe I am not eating enough chocolate. Maybe I am eating too much chocolate. Maybe I need another coffee.

Maybe I should stop whining and get over myself.


Sarah Louise said...

What was the thing about next Tuesday?

And yes, you are a wonder woman. But you take time to have coffee, so I think you'll be okay.

and I love Edna St. Vincent Millay.

kilowatthour said...

BB, clearly you need more beers and less obnoxious waitpersons. And also? Uninterrupted sleep. This is my prescription.

blackbird said...

I'm fucking exhausted just reading this.

Lazy cow said...

What BB said. Try and be gentle with yourself. And make H do more of the food prep for today!
I LOVE that you go to a bar with a book by yourself. Next time I'm meant to be 'grocery shopping' I might try it.

Suse said...

I can't believe that cow asked if you needed change! And THEN didn't actually give it all to you.

Re the exhaustion, yes. I remember when Son #1 was about o start school and I kept thinking How am I going to get four of us up, dressed, fed and out the door by 8.30 five mornings a week?! And in fact sometimes I didn't, but mostly it's achievable. And I too am genetically programmed to lie beneath a swaying fan, having someone feed me grapes while I read elegant magazines. Sigh ...

Amy A. said...

...maybe you need a vacation! It's so hard to be mommy but you sound like you are doing a great job, even if you are tired.

Joke said...

You need to watch more comedies.


Surfing Free said...

Jeese ... I need a lie down now! Like you I never, never feel well rested, but I think it's just part of the general plan to keep mother's in a zombiefied state so that they don't have the energy to start a revolution about the crap deal they get. And why is it that sheer exhaustion is never enough to ensure a solid nights sleep?!??!

andrea said...

what the hell?! who was it? did you get her name? we should go to the map room next time just out of principle.

how is wednesday night for you?

jess said...

Have some more chocolate.

I think I need some, too. And I thought MY weekend was non-stop.

I hate insolent waitstaff. You should come to the pub by my house (because, you know, it's only all the way across the country) where the waiter sat down with us and brought about half a dozen beer samples and chatted and had the guts to tell my friend that he'd asked an assinine question. It was awesome.

Amy said...

I am exhausted just reading that!!

I agree about waitpeople. I am hard on them too. BUT, if they do a good job, I tip accordingly!! I just hate going out (finally) with (hard earned) money and getting crappy service!!

Relax, take some time for you.

Carolyn said...

I'm glad the ear/hearing problem can be fixed. With that, and speech therapy, he will soon start blowing you away.

"scrotumy head"- loved that description.

I generally tip well, but not if the service sucks!

I hope you can get some rest soon.

Loretta said...

As my grandmother would say, "Holy Mother of God!" Are you kidding me? You need to know WHY you are exhausted? Other than the three kids under six and the job thing and the husband thing?

I vote for more beer and wings, more sleep hours, and more help from husband and less entertaining on that grand scale when you have three kids under six a job and lack of sleep.

good lord - I am SO glad those days are over. Now I am just a bitch who won't entertain on father's day - we all went to the beach instead AND I spent mother's day with my sister.

Your turn will come.

I promise.

herhimnbryn said...

Hallo from Australia.
The end of that quote is I believe...
"But ah, my foes and ah my friends
It gives a lovley light"
Or something like that!
Am gradually reading through all your blog. You seem to have a great 'light'!