Thursday, September 8, 2016

On Nudity and a Long Summer

As you might be aware, Tony, I mean WE, bought a boat this summer.  If I had romantic notions of spending my summer on the water, day-tripping out to the San Juans to hike and watch orcas, I was quickly disabused of them.  What really happened is Tony spent a boatload of time away from the family.  A boatload.


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My only boat trip.


The boat is older than he is, so regardless of its purported “great shape for its age,” it had problems (with the engine, with the bilge, with the battery, with the lights, with the boat things that all boats have, apparently) that needed to be remedied right quick.  This resulted in Tony working on the boat through most of the Independence Day weekend.  And then he took Jamie and Charles and went “fishing” (working on the boat at the dock) for an entire week in July.  Then he missed a family camping trip to attend a bachelor party (thank the dear Lord my parents went camping, too).  Then he went fishing again, three weekends in a row, in August, once leaving me with all three children for a weekend.  It’s a wonder we’re all still alive.



This kid is one cute camper.



This one turned FIVE.


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This one turned TWO (you can’t tell, but he totally has his hand in his diaper) (poop and chocolate cake batter look the same) (this caused problems for me)


Do I begrudge him the time spent away from us with his new lover toy?  Of course I do.  But the cascading problems with the boat engine were neither anticipated nor Tony’s fault, and they’re unlikely to happen again.  That is, I’m sure there will be other problems that require him to spend a few hours working on the engine in the future, but the hope, nay, the expectation, is that they will be few and far between.  In other words, next summer will be so much better.  I might even get more than a 15-minute ride on the boat myself.  So, I was angry about him being gone so much, for forcing me to shoulder the burden of a family of young boys and a puppy (what the fuck were we thinking?  That dog is basically on cocaine ALL THE TIME) during a busy summer while trying to manage my business and have a little fun and relaxation myself (I didn’t get to that this summer – maybe next year).  However, I have forgiven him because I love him and I know he wished it could have been any other way.



Except he’s probably happy to miss this 2-year-old bullshit.


I’d like to think I’m capable of running this circus on my own, but I swear, every time I turn around, someone has taken off his pants, the dog is eating God-knows-what, and more sticks and rocks than I could have imagined have been turned into swords and projectiles.  And bedtime?  Forget it.  I am ready to admit that I am not an empowered, amazing mother who can keep the home ship afloat while dad is keeping a literal ship afloat (I’m not sure which of us got the worse deal: me, touched all over with jam-hands or cleaning up toddler vomit at 2 am, or Tony, covered in diesel and troubleshooting engine trouble for hours on end).  Instead, I am the woman who buys ice cream, takes kids hiking and to the park, makes dinner, fills the wading pool, and then loses her shit when the toddler refuses to sleep and instead cries for 90 minutes straight and the big kids don’t listen to directions THE SAME DIRECTIONS EVERY NIGHT FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY, BRUSH YOUR GODDAMN TEETH.  Mama needs a consistent bedtime, too, people.  The wine and chocolate aren’t going to consume themselves.



The price of ice cream on a hot day: massive tantrums post-sugar crash.



Regardless, it’s been a good summer.  Charles went to several weeks of day camp and only had a few meltdowns and days he refused to go (his middle name is Stubborn).  He read probably 200 books this summer – it’s a constant trial to get him to look up and pay attention to ANYTHING besides whatever he’s reading at that moment, though a good movie will often do the trick (the kids enjoyed Spy Kids, The Mighty Ducks, The Three Musketeers, and The Goonies this summer, though their current favorite movie, THE BEST OF ALL TIME, is Shark Boy and Lava Girl).  If he wasn’t reading, he was riding his bike or his roller blades.



The damn dog has to be pinned down to stay still.

Jamie played in the dirt at preschool every single day and I almost never gave him a bath.  Sometimes he jumped into the shower with me and sometimes he stripped down and played in the wading pool with Freddie.  He was clean enough.  My priority was happiness, not cleanliness, and God knows there’s no fun dirt pile in kindergarten.



It’s a fake tattoo.

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Freddie stripped down to nothing every hot afternoon and played in the wading pool.  The dog’s poop bags have been used to pick up Freddie’s poop from the backyard more times than I’d like to admit.  Freddie always throws a fit about having to put clothes back on.  He’s learned to push his diaper down and pee out the top, thus soaking everything in sight, because he thinks it’s funny.  He’s fascinated by his brothers peeing in the yard but doesn’t have the control to do it on demand just yet.  The other day he managed it and was so proud and excited: “Mama!  Pee-pee!  Mama!  Pee-pee!”  He’s cute, he loves to dance, and he doesn’t just say “no” like a regular two-year-old; he says, “Nononono!” while shaking his head.


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And now, school.  It’s been a long summer.  I can’t adequately describe how tired and beaten I feel.  When does the coping stop and the living begin?  Maybe now that Jamie is in Kindergarten and Charles is in second grade,  Tony’s home for the weekends and the boat’s out of the water, we can all work on trying to kill each other within the confines of a regular schedule. 




The best part of the end-of-summer?  The school switched from a school-supply list to a flat fee per student so the teachers can buy supplies for their classes.  I’m planning to use the extra brain space that would have been occupied by comparing binder prices and parsing out ten-packs of pink erasers to restock the bar with carefully curated alcohols and mixers.  The dark days of fall are upon us and I plan to mix cocktails frequently.  Say, every time Freddie takes off his clothes.



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