When I was pregnant with Captain Destructo, I used to envision all the fun things I would do with my kids. I would be Ideal Mom, taking her to various activities that stimulate her physically and intellectually. Since she has become a toddler, I have quickly generated this list of Things That Aren't As Much Fun As I Thought They Would Be.
1. The Playground Oh, the playground. I remember going to the playground as a kid. My mom would pack us a picnic lunch, which we would quietly (and while sitting down) eat and then spend hours playing nicely and appropriately on the equipment. What I didn't remember is that I must have been either (a) over the age of 2, or (b) heavily medicated, because the reality of the playground with a toddler is much different. Molly has a blast at the playground. Her favorite game is screaming "no, share!" at the kids who are on the swings, and then swinging on them for approximately 10 seconds when they are free. Sometimes she also likes climbing up the inappropriate-for-a-one-year-old ladder and getting stuck. This game is extra fun for me, as I am 6 1/2 months pregnant and the size of a small hippo. I get to attempt to shimmy up the adjacent ladder and bail her out, all the while hoping that the "ages 5-12" notice is more of a guideline than a rule.
2. Storytime at the library I had high hopes for storytime. For the first 8 months or so, storytime was great. Captain Destructo would look adorable and stare at the other babies while I got the chance to see other grown ups and pick up some books. Now that she can walk, talk, and refuse to sit still when not in front of the TV, storytime involves her singing one song, then yelling "ball! ball!" for the next 15 minutes while I chase her around the room and try to get her to sit. Last time we went another mom told me she was "really something!" It'll be a while before we're back.
3. The Pool The pool is one of those places that is really fun for the first 2 minutes. Captain Destructo splashes in the baby pool while I sit and try to forget the fact that the baby pool is really a large potty. But, inevitably, splashing turns into spotting something really exciting, like a leaf, outside the pool, and I spend the rest of the time running around on the scalding hot pool deck trying to lure her back in.
4. Reading Books I'm a former teacher and current bookworm, so I fully get the importance of reading books. We do enjoy our reading time, but you know the drill. "More book?" really means "read me this same book over and over, and you had better count each of the ducks on each page and make the quacking sounds or you'll rue the day." You know what's more fun than reading the same book about Elmo? Watching a movie about Elmo. Just saying.
Oh, single moms, I don't know how you do it. And when I say that, I don't mean it as a cute euphemism. I really mean that I have absolutely no clue how you manage.
I have been doing the single mom thing for the last 3 weeks while the hubby is away on business, and I am roughly 10 seconds from losing my mind. I am at the point where I get seriously upset when Captain Destructo goes to bed at night and I have no one to talk to. When my phone rings and I actually get to talk to a human whose vocabulary is not limited to Sesame Street characters and the word "mine," I am so giddy I can hardly stand it. However, I have discovered several things about myself:
1. I am scared of the dark. When I go to bed, I first go to my bedroom and turn the lights on. Then I walk from the living room to the bedroom, turning all the lights off in a row so I never have to be completely in the dark. I also set our alarm system at 6:00. Not sure if this is sadder because I am that scared at 6:00, or that I'm that sure no one will come over after then.
2. I am really quite boring. I get so excited for my husband to call every night and then all I tell him are the cute things Captain did all day.
3. Apparently I spend too much time at the grocery store, because when Captain Destructo talks to her Daddy and he asks her what she did that day, she says "buy food." Every day.
4. Being pregnant has turned me into an emotional basket case, exacerbated by being alone. I have cried for the last 4 days over that following: the baby didn't kick for an hour, I'm afraid no one is coming for Thanksgiving, I couldn't find my favorite sunglasses, and Captain Destructo doesn't love me anymore. Yeah, it's awful.
Being a stay at home mom can be lonely and isolating sometimes, but without a husband coming home to look forward to, it becomes infinitely more isolating. So hats off to you, single moms. You deserve a day at the spa with a gallon of margaritas on the side.
So last night was Captain Destructo's first Halloween...or at least the first Halloween that I let her stay awake for. I spent 30 minutes convincing her to put on her Abby Cadabby costume (complete with wig, tutu. wings, and wand) and the next 30 convincing her not to take it off so I could take her picture ("Tutu off? Tutu off?" for seriously about 10 minutes straight). We then went to exactly 3 houses, where Captain tried to empty the entire contents of our neighbor's candy bowl, before coming home and handing out candy to mostly high schoolers before retiring. But it was a pretty fun night. Here are some of my observations about Halloween.
1. As previously mentioned, mostly teenagers. Most of who looked old enough to drive down to CVS and buy a bag of candy themselves. Weird.
1b. Several of these teenagers were not in costume. One of them (a high school baseball player), when asked what his costume was, said "uhhhh...a baseball player?" To which my husband said "lame." The boy replied "I don't see your costume dude." I replied that we were not asking for free candy. But I still gave him a Butterfinger because I didn't want him to egg my house.
1c. One teenage girl was on her cell phone. She lifted up the mouthpiece, said "trick or treat," and then continued her conversation. Again I gave her candy.
2. I get that kids want to wear scary costumes. I just don't entirely get why parents think it's ok. I mean, a witch or a ghost is ok, but the scary Saw puppet thing? Really parents? So your kid has seen Saw, a movie which caused me to lose sleep for seriously about a week, or you think Saw is so cool you put your elementary schooler in the outfit?
3. Ditto for the girls in costumes that are really just hoes. Slutty Dorothy, slutty cheerleader, even slutty princess came a calling. Again, if your daughter wants to put on thigh highs and a bustier that's one thing, but what makes you think that's a good idea?
4. Kudos to the mom following her son, holding up the costume that he refused to wear so we could see it. That's my kind of mom.
5. I don't know how I feel about the mom who asked if we were the Girl Scout cookie family. At first I said no, but then she said "but you bought a whole bunch of cookies last year, right?" Oops. Now I wonder what an appropriate amount of cookies for a 2.5 person household is (but I sense it's less than 8 boxes).
5. All in all? I was super psyched for this Halloween and ended up feeling a little let down....sort of like after my first mother's day (does this sound awful? You know what I mean). Maybe next year we'll keep the costume on for more than 3 minutes.