Part I: Games, rambling negativity

September 8, 2010 at 1:59 pm (Parenthood, PJ)

I’m going to try a new thing- writing posts in the half an hour I’ve carved out between when Mark goes to work and the rest of the family wakes up.  Oh, but it’s hard to find time to myself these days.  Between getting up for school and a baby who sleeps great except for that one all-important “ahhh-the-kids-are-asleep-now-I-can-say-hi-to-you” hour, my self (and my marriage, but that’s another story) is getting neglected.  It’s okay, it’s temporary.  But wow am I enjoying my coffee in the dark and QUIET this morning.

Do you want to know what you should NOT do on the first day of the second week of school?  Here’s one for you.  A classic Heather example of parenting gone wrong.  I happened upon a couple of hours yesterday with Parker alone at home.  Oh, yes, and a baby who wanted to be asleep, I was sure of it, but she kept waking up every twenty minutes and screaming.  So one child who communicates with words.  A rarity.  Parker asks if I will play a game with him.  A good idea, I tell him, except first I have to get dinner in the oven… fast forward twenty minutes.

[Forgive me, this whole post would be MUCH better with pictures.  But I’m not going to warrant it with the time that would take.]  Then, we go to the game… well, it’s not a cupboard.  It’s the weirdest architectural feature of our house.  The entryway is two stories high, but they added a closet at the door that’s ONE story high.  As you go up the stairs, to your right is a carpeted square about 3 feet wide that is the top of the closet.  All alone.  I can never figure out what to do with it.  Leave it vacant?  No, any square inch of horizontal space in our house gets utilized by somebody I will not name for piles of magazines, unopened bills, articles torn from newspapers, well-intentioned lists on the backs of envelopes, usually an overdue library book we can’t find, etc., etc.  Uncovering the strata of a neglected pile that’s been dumped into a box and shoved on his desk is like an archaeological dig.  [I will not try to say I never create paper piles, but they are not quite so haphazard and usually of one type of paper.]  So, anyway, no. 

Perhaps combine the weird with another object I can’t find a place for- the kitty litter box?  I’ve thought seriously about it.  But, since this is the spot your eye goes while sitting in the living room, no.  One year I placed the Christmas tree there.  Not so easy to get it there, but kept it away from children.  Everybody thought it looked odd though.  And it did.  [If I had a picture, I’d love to put it here.]  My last idea for The Square has been a game cupboard.  The older kids can manage to reach part of it, but it keeps younger kids from getting into the little piece games.  And we have so many games and puzzles, I could never find a place for them.  Place I Don’t Know What To Do With, meet Things That Never Fit Anywhere.  They’d been there a couple of years.  Problem was, they were just stacked there.  When you wanted the game that was ten games down, you either 1) methodically took each game down and set it on the steps until you reached the desired box, or 2) you pulled on the desired box, hoping it would magically come sliding out while the boxes above remained stacked.  Kind of like that trick of pulling out the tablecloth with all the dishes staying on the table.  I generally picked option 2, and then at least a box would inevitably fall on my head.  And often open, spilling game pieces down the stairs.

So, back to Parker, who wants to play a game.  We’ve gone to the stairs to pick one out.  Instead of seizing the alone time, I pick *this moment* to decide- this storage method for games is not working.  In fact, it’s suddenly driving me batty now that I look at it.  Never mind I’ve been ignoring this fact every time I go up and down the stairs for years.  How about let’s first move ALL the boxes to the top of the bookshelves in the family room?  I am met with less than enthusiasm but I press on.

Now, are the top of the bookshelves empty?  Of course not!  Are they dusted?  No way Jose.  Is this coffee table free to stack boxes on?  No, it’s covered with folded clothes.  [Which, let me just complain here since this is becoming a whiny sort of post anyway- I never fold clothes and then just leave them in piles.  My husband will fold and leave piles covering the entire family room.  I should be grateful he folds at all?  Perhaps.  But honestly I’d rather he not fold at all.  Somehow he can sit and watch TV between two piles, but I can’t relax until the couch, at least, is cleared.  And maybe I didn’t want to do that chore before I relax.  But I know where he gets it from.  This particular time the coffee table was covered with clothes because my mother-in-law had been over the day before, and she folded our clothes and left them in piles.]

So I press on.  I begin to take game boxes and find room.  Move wine bottles and boxes of Photos From Before Photos Lived On My Hard Drive from the top of the bookshelves to the floor.  Implore Parker to help.  Parker, instead, did what I imagine any kid would do.  He started doing a puzzle.  Did this irk me?  Of course!  “Help me, Parker.  Can you hand me that box?  Pleeeease?  If you help me, we can play a game faster.  No, no, no.  Don’t take out more than ONE game.  NOOOO, don’t open Monopoly!”  Remember the girl baby we all love, who wasn’t sleeping well?  She is crying.  I ignore it just long enough to make me decide I’m a Horrible Mom (about three minutes).  Change her, feed her.  Leave her sleeping, kind of, hopefully.  Continue moving boxes and asking (actually whining at) Parker to help.  I repeat these three things- moving boxes, feeding or bouncing Willa, and cajoling Parker without success… for the full time we have alone.  Somewhere there in the middle we eat dinner alone together, which was a bright spot.  He told me all about which people, including some new ones from school I’m happy to know about, will be coming to his birthday party in May.  Eventually Mark returns and I am in full sweaty annoyance.  Pretend you can hear a nagging mom here:  “This house is a disaster!  It’s so cluttered everywhere!  No one will help me.  All the kids want to help Mark, not me, unload from his errands.  Why will they help him and not me?!?”

A mess
Token photo, in which you can see very little of what I’m talking about

Aaack, I just realized I was supposed to be in the shower eighteen minutes ago!  Half hour blogging is impossible!  So, in the end, we never played a game, Mark put the kids to bed, and I finished moving the games.  Grumbling.  With a night’s sleep I have a lot more clarity about the numerous ways yesterday could’ve gone better.  We WILL play a game today, Parker, I promise!!

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