Monday, June 7, 2010

"Should we do pros and cons?"

So, yes, my husband never wakes up grouchy. And yes, this makes him my early hour foil. It also makes him pretty fabulous.

He also has no idea how old he's going to be in 2+ months. One night, he was talking to me about something or other (please don’t ask me to remember) and he mentioned that he’s 32. I said “no, hun, you’re 33. And in 3 months, you’re going to be 34.” “What!?” he exclaimed, “no! that can’t be right.” “Sorry, but it is. Take 2010 and subtract 1976. . . .it’s 34.” “NO!” said he, utterly gobsmacked. “No!” said he, slumping on the couch. I looked him over. He looked like the same husband who has never really cared about aging, who welcomes every gray hair that encroaches on his black mane (even while I pluck mine out). “My mind is racing,” this stranger said. “I’ve been telling everyone at work that I’m 32! I can’t believe I’m 33!” “Going to be 34. . .” I pointed out, helpfully. The same vein of exclamation began all over again the next day, with “I can’t believe I’m 11 years older than my co-worker!” (Rest assured, he is now in the acceptance phase of this grieving process. . . )

And by now all of you know how I've managed to not hit him over the head with an oar, to let him off the hook, and how I'm a sucker for a M in a bath towel. I'm long-suffering like that (note to self: remove tongue from cheek).

But one night - oh, one night! - at around 6:15 we discussed getting him out of the house (and getting me out of cooking) after a day of him volleying between studying and caring for a wily 6-month old. First, to the serious business (I had to pump), and then (!) we were off to grab some eats. Only, as it happened, by 7:30, he was barely taking a studying break at the exact moment our auburn-headed babe was rubbing the backs of his chubby hands in circles against his tired eyes. Too late! (you know, unless we really wanted to push it. . . )

We quickly decided a sit-down was out of the question (because sometimes we're cheap like that), then debated going for a "nice sandwich" from someplace like Quizno's or Schlotzky's and lamented the lot that is ours of not living in a town with decent restaurants nearby. He Googled the samich shops and, sure enough, they were deemed too far for our sleepy-eyed time constraints.

I stomped my feet and threw myself down on the floor and kicked the ground and yelled at him and thrashed my hair about. (okay. not really.) But my voice went up a couple of notches and increased in strength and forcefulness, something about "45 minutes ago" and "I told you. . . !" and "it's too late to start the chicken in the fridge!" and "I'm so tired of eating late!"

He shuffled into the kitchen with a heavy sigh. "What are you doing!?" "Cooking, I guess." "Well, I'm just warning you, I probably won't eat whatever you make!" I apparently regressed to age 5 while he was shuffling and sighing.

I went into the kitchen and poured a bowl of Lucky Charms. A desperate measure to be sure. As he prepared the chicken, I slammed the cabinet door because I was frustrated and it was a satisfying exclamation point to my frustration. I settled into a chair, watching our baby sprawled on his floorground, sucking desperately on a rubber bath toy, surely hoping a tooth will poke through soon or that his parents stop ignoring him. I took a bite of the leprechaun cereal and said "something's amiss with this milk." "Yeah. There is. . . " "Great! Thanks for warning me! I just poured a huge bowl!" I made a big show of getting up and making a whole new bowl, telling him he could eat the first one if he thought the milk only tasted off, but was actually fine. My first bite from the second bowl gave me ample evidence that I was right about the milk. . .

He pushed the chicken pan into the oven, then offered to shower the baby since he was going to get in anyway. As I went about the house, my frustration festered, waning for only the smallest moment when I heard his muffled daddy voice conversing with our naked baby.

We exchanged pleasantries ("thank you" and a kiss or two) while I diapered and dressed the baby (albeit, with alternating feigned nonchalance/cool indifference on my end), then I rocked the tired babe into a milk coma for the evening (he slept for 10 hours!) while M partook of his own cooking and gushed over it, pointing his fervent, whispered tones in my direction, trying to elicit a response. I sat, with my eyes closed, my nose velcroed to the baby's Johnson&Johnson'ed head, and tried to ignore him.

If my nose hadn't been fastened to a baby head, I would have probably harumphed around some more or been snide with him. As it was, what was I going to do? Bottle it up? Blow? I was really deprived of options, confined as I was to a rocking chair with my baby in arms. Then, he relayed a conversation he had with the baby earlier in the day. Something about how I'm the best mom ever. It bounced off my mad heart.

But not really, because I remembered he cooked last night and made me lunch that day, and that he bathed the baby, and that he was cooking again tonight. And he just told me I'm doing good at this mothering thing. I thought to myself "swallow it down. let it go through you." Then, I thought to myself "No! he broke a verbal dinner agreement! He must not get away with it!" Hunger growled in my belly, and the weariness of a busy work day clung to my limbs. I was armed for battle.

After putting the baby down I came out and started my grand harumph, but ended up bumping/scraping my knee on the coffee table and stifling a curse word. When he tried to comfort me, I rebuffed him, pronouncing a ban on all coddling and touching of any kind, and declaring "I'm grouchy!" (in case he hadn't caught on. . . )

But you know what? As I ate his herb encrusted chicken breast with olive oil infusion and fresh snap beans from his garden, as my knee smarted and my stomach ceased its grumbling, I finally managed to do what I had failed to do earlier. I swallowed it all down.

[Title quote is from "Music & Lyrics"]

1 comment:

The Sartori's said...

I kept thinking, this is me I could have written this post. She has a secret camera in my house.

And then you took the high road and I knew you didn't and this wasn't about me at all.

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