I have had one or both kids at home with me for several days spanning the period from Christmas to the present. Yesterday was the first day back to the public schools, where my older daughter attends preschool, but it was cut short due to snow. We quickly received notice that school would be closed today too for the same reason, so it’s like an extension of the holiday break. Oh, and Monday turns out to be a holiday too (Three Kings Day), so it’s pretty much like Tuesday is going to be the real return to school date.
Here is how we did New Year’s festivities to ring in 2014, illustrated with the challenges of “celebrating” with munchkins:
1. I had a 101 fever and was pretty much bedridden on New Year’s Eve.
We had planned to go to my sister’s house with the kids for a night of Cheerios and champagne-filled sippy cups (for me, not the kids). Instead, the weird sick I’ve had since before freaking Christmas rose to a crescendo and confined me to the house for the entire day. I rang in the New Year with extra strength Tylenol and Bar Rescue reruns.
To make the evening even more special, something plastic melted in the dishwasher and required us to vacate the kitchen, along with our newly-arrived delivery pizza, and open all the windows in the house. The piercing wind that entered our livingroom as a result was a nice touch, considering I had body aches and chills and really thought the frigid cold would be just the thing to make me more comfortable. I tried to go upstairs and hide under the covers, but this would have required leaving my 19-month-old and 3-year-old running around downstairs with pieces of pizza while my husband attempted to dig the melted goo out of the dishwasher.
2. I skipped out on an awesome New Year’s Day dinner to help my sister get started planning her wedding. Moth caterpillars were involved.
I need to say from the outset that planning my sister’s wedding was probably the FUNNEST way to spend this day, so that is not at all my gripe. But the point is that I needed a break from the kids and also needed to see my sister before she left town again, so it just worked out that dad took the kids to grandma and grandpa’s for a turkey new year’s meal, while I went my separate way.
My sister is on a strict budget and is going to use my gown from my 2008 wedding. I shelled out the extra cash to have it professionally cleaned and preserved, so I pulled it out from the closet and drove it over to my parents’ house for her to try on. I even researched the issue and learned you need to handle the preserved gown with cotton gloves, to prevent oils from your hands from transferring to the material. Who happens to have a stash of like 5 pairs of cotton gloves readily available in a drawer somewhere in her house, for just this occasion? That’s right, my mother does. The day was off to a great start.
We opened the box, and I quickly learned that a “preserved” wedding gown just means they put it in a box that is not airtight, and throw a muslin cloth over the top of it. Maybe I was supposed to take it out of the box and put it in a chest or something when I picked it up? Well, here’s the fun we found inside:
IT WAS MOVING. There was another one, but it was dead. I’m not sure that makes it any better though.
We scoured the dress for more critters, and found no further evidence of the moth caterpillars anywhere on or inside of the gown. My sister is a trooper and she tried on the gown. It was perfect. I’m having it cleaned, and properly stored this time, so she can start the alterations process.
That was a great day, but when I got home, the kids were back and so was the messy state I had left my house in that morning. A pause button is nice sometimes, but it’s still just a pause—the show picks up where you left it when you get back.
3. Back to School (for a half day before a snowstorm).
You know how some people get back from a vacation, and then say they need a vacation from the vacation? It’s like that with a long holiday break. You fall out of a routine, and that first day back to school/work is a killer.
But at least I expected that, so the first part of the morning wasn’t all that bad. What made it difficult was this: I dropped off both kids, at their two separate schools, between 8:15 and 8:45 (running late due to snow, but oh well), and then realized that I needed to make my 10:30 appointment to pick up my new contact lenses. Yeah! This was going to be great. I have been wearing rigid gas permeable (“hard”) lenses my whole life, and after an extended period of wearing glasses only due to dry eyes, I was going to try soft lenses.
The time between 8:45 and 10:30, which is exactly 1.75 hours, sounds like a lot of time when all you need to do is drive one town over. But, being the first day following the break, I was completely brain fuzzy and just unable to do normal things like make breakfast and catch up on emails, things I needed to do before getting back on the road. My head hurt and so did my brain. By the way, I have a 19-month-old who is resistant to weaning and pretty much is attached to my boob all night in order to sleep. I am never what you would call well-rested. More like, adequately fed and caffeinated for sustained online activity and execution of such household tasks as are necessary to avoid condemning the home for health and safety reasons. I have very low standards, is what I’m saying.
So after doing pretty much nothing for an hour or so, I arrived at the eye doctor’s just in time for my appointment. I tried my new lenses. Perfect! The doctor carefully instructed me on how to remove said lenses. Right eye came out like it was nothing. Left eye …
Welp, let’s say that after almost an hour of tears and frustration, the doctor had to take the lens out for me. Because I couldn’t deal with sticking my fingers on my freaking eyeball and pulling a flimsy little sticky slippery thing off of it. I mean, I could deal, but I could not execute. It wasn’t going to happen. I am a soft contact lens failure.
“The removal process is a lot different from the way you were doing it with the rigid gas permeables!” the optometrist cheerfully offered. OH REALLY? THANKS FOR POINTING THAT OUT. At least she was friendly. She assured me that it is totes normal for people to need an hour or more to learn how to remove them. Which would have been fine, if my eye was not turning red from all the POKING and if I didn’t need to get to Hartford by noon for my kid’s early dismissal from school.
The lesson here is to not schedule weird or new things to happen on the day you take your kids back to school. And to consider that snow might happen in the middle of winter in Connecticut.
BONUS: Today we are all home due to the storm, which in hindsight was not really all that bad. But home we are, and it’s neither a true snow day (not at all snowed in) nor is it a full work day. It’s a snowork (snork?) day, I suppose. Here is how my phone call with opposing counsel went this morning:
Me: (answers ringing phone) Melanie Dunn.
Caller: Hi Melanie, it’s Attorney, we need to discuss the reschedule of our—
Me: DOLPHIN!!! DOLPHIN SAYS EEE-EEE-EEE-EEE-EEEEE!!!!!!!!!!
Except that last piece of the conversation wasn’t actually me. It was me, holding onto a toddler, who was holding one of those books with the buttons on the side that you press to make sounds that go along with the story.