There’s a reason I got married

I hate playdates. There. I said it.

I have been with Bucket for 15 years, which means I haven’t dated since I was 21. SWEET ACTION! Imagine how delighted I was when I discovered that I would have to start dating OTHER PARENTS at age 32. I mean, for real. I never considered how children would make friends, and how I would have to accompany them as they made said friends, and I would have to spend hours with strangers and their kids. Why can’t they just ride off into the wilderness on their bikes the way I did when I was a kid in 1400? Stupid modern urban setting.

I remember Peeta’s first playdate. It was with his friend W, and it was at W’s house. W’s mother is my friend Sharon, who scared the hell out of me. She is very beautiful and very well dressed and NEVER came to school looking like she was still wearing her PJs. I remember going to her house thinking, what am I going to say to this woman? What if she’s boring? Am I wearing the right clothes? How long do we stay? How do we get out of there if it’s awful? WHAT IF IT’S A TRAP? How long should Bucket wait for us to come home before he calls the police?

For the record, it was not awful. She did not kill us. And W. is now Peeta’s best friend, and Sharon is one of mine. She even managed to forgive the fact that I dress like an unwashed pubescent boy and my house is a disaster. WE LUCKED OUT.

Fortunately, I figured out the system: find parents you like and then force your kids to play together. This has worked, for the most part. I have a rotation of about five awesome friends and we get together and the kids run amok. Sometimes there is alcohol. My friend Lisa and I even invented a new drink called the Pineapple Playdate. It was a great day.

Sometimes it does not work out. Sometimes I have had to spend awkward hours with people I don’t like so that our kids can play. Even worse, sometimes parents I like make me take care of their kids, whom I do not like. I stopped doing that pretty quickly.

I thought I had separated the wheat from the chaff on the playdate front. I forgot about Noodle, who now wants to make her own friends instead of always playing with Peeta’s. Kids are SO selfish. So now I am dating again. And Noodle is popular, goddamn it, so lots of people are asking to get together. Why coudn’t I have just had a big nerd!?!

It’s 45 degrees today. It’s raining. And we had a playdate scheduled with a kid whose mom has been trying to get together for weeks. I won’t lie: I didn’t want to go. I don’t like making small talk and trying to be witty and well-dressed. I want to be with people who aren’t offended when I swear like a sailor and complain about everything that ever happened in the history of time. I want to be with people who invent new drinks to make playdates fun for the parents. (Note: if you have had repeated playdates with me and my kids in the past five years, you should feel pretty fucking special because it probably means I love you. I would have weeded you out far before now if I didn’t.)

So here I was, dreading this afternoon and trying to think of reasons we could leave early because I AM ALREADY MARRIED AND I DID IT SO I WOULDN’T HAVE TO DATE ANYMORE, and I was sitting down at my computer to bitch about it on Facebook, and the woman cancelled! There is a god!

I’m off the hook for today. Meanwhile, there is a gang of little girls at Noodle’s school and playdates are being requested.

Someone get me a Pineapple Playdate.

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Who wants a lollipop?

I know, I know. I haven’t written in a million years. I am trying to summon the energy to write about our trip to South Africa. I will do it, really.

But in the meantime, here’s a little update from the Half-Assed household.

Children are being super bad. Children are making my brain bleed.

I say to said children, “You guys, cut it out. I only bought one bottle of wine.”

Bucket adds, “Yeah. Don’t make me go to the liquor store tonight.”

If you are a regular reader, you already know that the children love few places more than the liquor store, and as such, they begin to chant, “LIQUOR STORE! LIQUOR STORE!”

After a few chants, Peeta looks at Noodle and says, “We should call it the Lick It Store. Because they give us lollipops.”

LICK IT STORE! LICK IT STORE!

I think I am going to need more wine.

Always look on the bright side of life

This has been kind of a shitty day. Wait, maybe not quite shitty. Yucky, maybe. Peeta busted into our room in the night, then Noodle woke up early and came in the bed with me and Peeta (Bucket had decamped to the guest room because he refuses to sleep with kids in the bed), it was rainy, Noodle wouldn’t stop pooping, I got an email from Peeta’s teacher wanting to discuss his reading issues, and it was dark and rainy.

I have found five things to make this day better:

1. Noodle in her crib at naptime yelling down to me, “I love you [to the] farthest star!” over and over and over again.

2. Peeta got 100% on his spelling test. That’s right, my kid can spell together. Can you spell genius?

3. Rain turned into 75 degree sunshine. We are about to go out for ice cream in the sun, because it might be our last chance. Mine will have chocolate.

4. I’m going to the liquor store for a big bottle o’New Zealand sauvignon blanc on the way home from the ice cream store.

5. Bucket gets home in two and a half hours and it’s his turn to cook dinner. Sweet action.

The perils of fame

The other day, I took Noodle to the local library for our weekly toddler time (during which she makes the poor librarian sing Old McDonald with warthogs, but I digress). When I brought some of my 589374 books to return them, the librarian called me by my name for the first time without being prompted by the library card. As a huge nerd, this was the pinnacle of fame for me. THE LIBRARIAN KNOWS MY NAME. That’s right, peeps–I’m basically Angelina Jolie, but you know, shorter and fatter, with glasses and a shitload of books.

I can’t decide whether it was better or worse than my fame at the Subway in Manhattan, where I used to go daily for lunch. The dudes there memorized my sandwich order, and when I came to the door, they immediately started making it and waved me past the dozens of glaring New Yorkers, and I was all, “Out of the way, bitches! I need my six-inch turkey and ham on wheat!” And then I quit that stinking job and never went back and no one has ever memorized my sandwich order again. And I’m sad. Again, digression.

I came home and told Bucket. I’M FAMOUS AT THE LIBRARY, BUCKET!

He looked ashamed and told me his story of fame. That day, he had been waiting at the bus stop when the lady from the liquor store came over. Oh hey, she cried. How are Peeta and Noodle?

Help me out here: does the fact that I’m famous at the library balance out the fact that Bucket (and the children, which is obviously much, much worse) is famous at the liquor store? Probably not, right?

Shit. At least one of you is calling DSS right now.

Don’t drink and cut

I just finished cutting the hair of everyone in my family (except for me, of course. Having given myself the “Small Wonder” bangs in college, I am way too smart to trust myself with sharp scissors. Those other three are damned fools). I am now left with a toddler with crooked bangs (that were crooked to begin with, but she wouldn’t let me straighten them), a giant pile of straight ginger and curly black hair on the floor, and a husband with a very small bald spot on the side.

While Bucket claims that this is a great haircut for Peeta and I should always cut hair after starting cocktail hour, I maintain that it is far better to cut hair sober, mainly because Bucket can’t see the giant chunk I accidentally took out behind his ear. Damn vodka!

Oh, the irony

So the children got really ratty after I TOOK THEM TO THE MOVIES and BOUGHT THEM POPCORN AND CANDY today (Who’s the fairest mother of them all? I AM THE FAIREST MOTHER OF THEM ALL!) and they were starting to make me twitch with their whining.

I looked longingly at the bottle of wine with one glass left. No, I thought. Don’t drink the last glass of wine before Bucket even comes home. That would be selfish and mean, and besides, you can make it until 6:30 when he gets home, you pathetic lush.

Bucket comes home, goes into the kitchen to finish up dinner, and I go hide from the children in my office. About 10 minutes later, Bucket yells that dinner’s ready. I walk into the kitchen, and GUESS WHO IS DRINKING THE LAST GLASS OF WINE?!!

And guess who is going to the liquor store to buy some more so that he doesn’t get a revenge pillow over his face as he sleeps tonight?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: better to be mean, happy and drunk than nice, sad and sober. (Actually, I’ve never said that, but I stand by it regardless.)

To sleep, perchance to dream

That’s right, suckers. I have a master’s degree in Shakesepeare. Lot of good it did me.

Noodle has been sick. For a week. The longest week of my life (excluding the week before she was born, when SHE WOULD NOT COME OUT, and the week after she was born, when Bucket went back to work, when SHE WOULD NOT STOP CRYING). Huh. These grey hairs I keep finding might be from her.

Last weekend, she started acting a little cranky. Then a little more cranky. And then, all hell broke loose.

I took her to our doctor’s office on Monday because she was flooding snot and had a fever. The Serial Misdiagnoser nurse practitioner looked in her ears, listened to her back, and tried to look down her throat, but Noodle was screaming and thrashing, so it was virtually impossible. “Just a bad cold.” I debated about whether to push it, and decided no. Dumb move.

No sleep on Monday night. No nap on Tuesday. No sleep Tuesday night. Short nap on Wednesday. And so on and so forth, with snot sticking to everything, and her hot little body clinging to me and screaming. And I was getting more and more tired, and more and more sensitive, shall we say? By the time Bucket got home at night, I was Zombie Mama, walking wide eyed through the house, mechanically making dinner and putting children to bed and going to sleep myself at 9pm.

Only to wake up to Noodle in the next room screaming, “MAMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” in the middle of the night.

And then Peeta got this new Lego Harry Potter Wii game, which was clearly created by some singleton who hates children and their parents. It has no useful directions, so your child is left trying to wander around rooms and use magic with no understanding of what they are doing, until they break down in tears, which leads their mother, who has been reading walkthroughs from the Internet, to break down into tears and seriously contemplate burning the game and hunting down its creator to make them play the game in a locked room full of children for an unspecified number of hours.

And then it happened. At about 9am on Thursday, an hour before I was to take her to her first dentist’s appointment, I called Bucket to tell him I was about to start researching places with safe haven, and I cracked. Gasping through my tears, I ended up telling him that:

“I can’t cook risotto tonight! It’s tooooooooooo hot and I am tooooooooo tired! I caaaaaaaaaaaaaaan’t!”

And Bucket, wise man that he is, gently said, “That’s fine. We can go out to dinner, or I will cook, or we can get take out. Do you want me to come home now?”

I said no. I pulled it together and brought her to the dentist and she was an angel (of course). She took a short nap and played with her brother. We went to dinner and had Mexican food with margaritas and ate ice cream outside, and I thought life might be worth living. I thanked Jesus (and Mexico) for tequila and its medicinal properties.

I took her to the doctor yesterday morning, to see the Awesome Nurse of Love, who took one look at her snotty face and listened to her phlegmy cough and felt her hot little head and gave me drugs. Oh, drugs. The only way they could have been more welcome was if they had been for me.

It’s Saturday morning and I just slept until 9am. I had forgotten what sleep felt like. It is fucking glorious, if you’re wondering.

I accept payment in the form of booze

Addendum:

In the middle of dinner, Neighbor Girl’s father came over to thank me. On one hand, I was a little embarrassed because we were eating takeout Chinese (I made Bucket get it because I needed hot and sour soup to fight The Plague and I couldn’t be bothered to stand up and stir my homemade French onion soup for 45 minutes in my weakened condition). On the other hand, I was psyched because the house was vaguely clean (because Tibs and I had a lightning round of cleaning after we did his homework), and earlier, I put NPR on because I wanted to listen to some classical music, and it was still playing at dinner. So when the father came over, we looked real learned.

He gave me a bottle of wine and said, “You probably don’t even drink.” Before he could finish the sentence, Bucket and I said, “Oh, we DRINK.” In retrospect, our response was perhaps a little too quick, and I’m pretty sure Bucket might also have greedily snatched the bag of wine away from me as soon as I took it. Whatever, dudes. I got some free wine tonight.

I am feeling much calmer about my excursion to the school this afternoon, and will revise my previous statement. If she does this again next week, I shall accept payment for my field trip back to the school in the form of fine wine. Or vodka. Or gin. Or whatever will get me drunk enough to forget the shame of facing the kindergarten teacher in my sweats.