Did you miss me?

Long time no bloggy. There’s no particular reason for this. Perhaps my creative juices are flowing into other receptacles. Perhaps I assume the world has grown weary of the exploits of a chronically stressed thirty something mom in Yokohama. Do people still read non celebrity blogs? I dunno.

So let’s see…what is new. I took on a lot more work in April, and it feels like I’m just getting used to it now. The past few weeks have been a trial because the kids keep getting sick. And what am I supposed to do then? I’ve tried a number of things: take the day off (when possible,) reschedule when possible, send them to school iffy and hope for the best (this didn’t end well.) With no cooperative family nearby, how do you make this work?

 It seems like I work four shifts every day, starting with the morning shift. This one is shit and I shouldn’t have to do it alone. I think HRH was literally  hiding in the toilet this morning while the kids fought over who got to sit in front of the heater, 1 punched 2 who started to cry, meanwhile I was trying to make miso soup and hang laundry and maybe kinda get these  kids to school on time, at which point 1 throws up. After all of this bedlam finally calms down, HRH emerges from the porcelain throne room as if nothing is amiss. Coincidence? I doubt it.

Shift two is actual paid work. This part is okay because it’s paid. That’s nice.

Shift three involved getting small people from school and wrangling them wherever they may need to be in appropriate states of stress. Homework. Dinner. Cleaning. This shift is kind of crappy, too. Then baths and stories and cuddles, which is nice. Until bedtime when no one will sleep. HRH usually comes home around this point and either a) asks for dinner, which pisses me off, or b) sees the kids are a mess and says he has to “work.” Inevitably, this also pisses me off.

Then shift four is getting ready for the next shift one. Laundry. Picking up errant Lego before they can successfully attack my feet. Preparing my work stuff while I can concentrate on it without being called to look for things that are exactly where I told you to look on the first place, dammit. This shift is critical, but it doesn’t happen when I fall asleep mid shift three.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how my life compares to my husband. I mean, he works one (long) shift, and gets paid for it. Apparently this also allows him to lord it over the rest of us.

There is a lot on TV here about women in the workplace, blah blah, but I’m starting to think we are working it backwards. Just like charity, maybe equality needs to start at home. There is no equality in my home. I have no idea how to achieve it. I don’t even really want help with house stuff anymore, just for people to stop making more work for me and to not complain already. Will I eventually resign myself to an even lower standard than that? Scary.

Frustration of Forgetfulness

Frustration. At Me First, for never remembering anything and thinking nothing of having every woman in the family running after him all the time. I won’t have him turn out like that!

This morning I asked him several times to get ready. By several I mean, of course, close to a hundred. With varying levels of intensity.

The plan was pretty simple. He needed to load his backpack, go to school to water the flowers, meet Me Too and me en route to the station. Stop at Station A for my Japanese lesson, then on to Station B for the dentist. He had an orthodontist appointment at the same time Sister would be getting her teeth cleaned.

Except he didn’t put his retainer in his backpack, which defeats the entire purpose of this outing. Perhaps some would say I’m at fault for not physically checking his backpack before we left. That certainly would have avoided this whole situation, but I had my hands full dealing with breakfast and laundry and everyone’s crap, plus HRH’s man cold. I wasn’t on top of my game this morning. Then there is the principle at stake: I cannot physically manage to do everything, nor can I mentally keep track of it. The sooner everyone comes to grip with this glaring defect of female human existence and starts managing their own s.h.i.t. the better it will be for all involved.

We realized halfway there that the retainer was still at home. I changed Brother’s appointment to later in the day, but can’t change Sister’s, so the options are to a)run back and forth like mad or b)ask MIL to pick up the retainer and bring it to us while Sister is at the dentist.

The speed and ease with which he chose option B pissed me off, to be honest. No sense of remorse at having caused all this trouble; no embarrassment at asking others to cover for him. Again.

I was tempted to make him get the things himself, but I’m not confident he could manage two trains alone, much less remember to lock the door on the way out. Cancelling the appointment means wasting another precious day of summer vacation…. Screw the principle and go with convenience it is, then.

It just makes matters worse that his backpack is chock full of toys and comic books…

Twenty Questions

Me Too enjoys playing twenty questions when we are killing time on the train. She calls it twenty-five questions, which is a good indicator of both her understanding of the game and respect for rules in general.

MT:okay!
Me:Is it a person?
MT:yes!
Me:Is it a man?
MT: yes!
Me:Is it a real man, not from TV?
MT: I don’t know. He’s old.
Me:Older than mommy?
MT: I don’t know. He’s dead.
Me:Is he an American?
MT:yes!
Me: George Washington?
MT: No. Maybe he’s French.
Me: Napoleon?
MT: No, he is not a killer.
Me: Can I have a hint?

MT: He likes the bonjour cheese!
Me:(bewildered) I give up.
MT: Leonardo da Vinci!

Badumdum

I have little hope of winning this game…

Multi-tasking

Oh, the agony that is fifth grade homework! Like Barbie says, “Math is hard.” Especially when you insist on doing it spread across every horizontal surface in the living room, with both the TV and the computer/radio on, and get right up in your sister’s face and flick eraser bits at her.

He had the TV on in Japanese and the music in English…. I don’t know how that works. I can’t process both at the same time like that. Actually, I can’t even speak one language when there is background music in the other. (I assume this is the test of a true bilingual versus a flakey old fakety fake like myself. Fluent perhaps, but not totally bilingual.) And then to do math with all that going on? I mean it was numbers and (shudder) decimals.

Me Too escaped to her room with her dollies. Then she wouldn’t let me join.

Fly Lord Girls

So this post is about girls. Me Too had a run-in with the resident Mean Girl today that left her feeling wronged and betrayed when the kids who saw what actually happened didn’t stick up for her.

The details aren’t important, and the behavior of all the children is your standard Lord of the Flies stuff. (Anyone else think that should be required reading for teacher training?)

Me Too came home, and instead of telling me she’d had a shitty day, or reaching for the chocolate stash, or venting on Facebook-all those therapeutic and logical coping mechanisms adults employ- she started picking fights with her brother.

Cue kidmageddon.

I separated the perpetrators for a bit, but then Me Too started freaking out over her homework. She wanted me to read the problems, she didn’t know where to put the equals sign, etc etc ad infinitum.

After close to two hours of this nonsense (I won’t pretend I didn’t have to step outside for a few cleansing breaths,) finally the Mean Girl talk comes out.

Now she feels better, and I have a massive headache that may require vino and a good cry.

WHY are humans so abysmal at communicating? Would it not be more time efficient to just come home with your tail between your legs or something? Shall we try that?

Bad Choices and Coke Bottles

You know those times when you are forced to choose between a number of bad options? No? Then save us both some heartache, and stop reading now.

Long story short, I had to take Me First to work with me today. He had a day off in lieu of having been gone on a school trip Saturday, and after school care staff don’t get there until…after school. The preschool had open house for prospective students and wanted to show off their English program, so taking a day off wasn’t feasible. I could leave him home alone, have him wait at the park next to school, or take him with me. None of these were stellar options, but we survived. Actually, I’m lucky that was an option today. At the other preschools I work at, it wouldn’t have been, leaving me with even less stellar options.

But maybe it will do Me First some good, to see me in some other capacity besides wiper-of-noses and general-shit-cleaner upper.

My dad used to take us to work sometimes.

One of my earliest memories is of sitting at a too-big-for-me college desk, those kind where the writing portion is only on the righthand side. The wood was old and pitted, covered in letters I couldn’t yet read. The desk wasn’t large enough to let me spread out my Cinderella picture book; it was constantly falling down causing me lots of aggravation while my dad was trying to substitute teach. My sister was there, happily kicking her chubby legs back and forth. Where was my brother? Maybe not born yet…

In later years, we would wait in church offices, doodling on old bulletins, pretending not to hear the voices behind Dad’s office door saying so-and-so was drinking again, you-know-who was in jail, this one was beating his wife, that one had no money to buy groceries. All these people who put on their best faces on Sunday morning came in to fall apart on Monday afternoon.

How many summer afternoons did we spend waiting in hospital lobbies while Dad went in to pray with the sick and dying? How many times did we wait in the car while he checked on a shut-in? And don’t get me started on funeral homes…(shudder)

Most times we’d be rewarded with a Coke and a candy bar on the way home. When I was very little it was drunk from the glass bottle right in front of the store, then returned the sweaty bottles then and there for a nickel or a dime.

Dad never made us feel unwanted or in the way. Maybe we were. Maybe he was happy for the company, to share another part of himself, like I was today.

Monster Creation

We went out to eat after English school yesterday. Me First, as is his habit lately, ordered an adult sized meal. It came with a drink. With a twinkle in his eye (and maybe a song in his heart, I’m not sure since I wasn’t privy to that part,) he ordered a hot coffee.

Um, ???

HRH looked at me as if to pass the buck. He could have it, fine, I agreed. But he couldn’t use more than two sugar cubes. I figured if he didn’t finish it, I would. Take one for the team and all that, rah rah. Such hardship.

But I’ll be damned that kid drank the whole coffee like a pro.

Today when we took MIL out for Mother’s Day, he ordered an “afternoon tea” blend. Again, ???

What have we done? Is this a monster in the making? He’s too young to responsibly handle the caffeine addiction that will result from this behavior. Heck, I can’t deal with the fallout! World Peace is in imminent danger every morning until I get my coffee, we can’t go doubling that. It isn’t fair to the rest of Planet Earth.

Finally I told him he had to keep it to one a week. Caffeine stunts your growth, or so the old wive’s tale goes. Plus I can’t afford it if he starts ordering lattes on our weekly coffee dates instead of having a donut with milk.

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