Tag Archives: Australia

Wisdom of Robert Burns

Photo by: Jeremy Dennis

“The best laid schemes of Mice and Men oft go awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain, For promised joy!”

Robert BurnsTo a Mouse (Poem, November, 1785)

Time off for me just wasn’t in the cards this past week. If you read my last post than you know how excited I was to have a day off from the kiddos. Something, clearly, was conspiring in the Universe against this plan. My ex emailed me Sunday a.m. that he had missed his flight from London to LA. Well…I don’t always check email first thing on a Sunday, so both my boys were waiting and packed for his 10 a.m. pick up. Around 9:45, I got a nagging feeling, like a pit of doubt, that sometimes settles in my stomach when dealing with my ex. Before checking my email I instinctively knew it was off.

I had a suspicious feeling the overnight visit might not happen for the boys, even before Sunday morning. See, I have this theory about bad things happening in 3s. When I was a crime reporter for a daily newspaper in North Carolina we’d expect a third murder by the next full moon. If there had only been one murder that month, we knew to expect two murders by the morning. And it always worked out that way. Even our EMT friends and emergency room staff would get ready. I still don’t know why that is. … But I digress. My little let-downs are nothing compared to murders obviously, but still, I was on alert.

First there was the poop in the bath Friday night—a sign that relaxing in the jacuzzi sans children might not happen. The second sign happened the next day when I almost wrecked. I was in a hurry to get my son to his soccer game. At a red light I quickly put sunscreen on my face (I’m neurotic now after two skin cancer scares) and then handed it back to my boys. I’m rubbing it in quickly, the light turns green, and as I cross the intersection, I feel an excruciating pain suddenly cut into my eyes and then I can ‘t see. If it wasn’t dangerous it would be hilarious. I start screaming “Mother!” One of my boys starts laughing, the other crying. I pull over after I manage to cross the intersection and tears won’t stop streaming from my eyes. Man, it was so bad, I could barely navigate to the soccer fields and commenced to cry the entire game. I couldn’t see to cheer my little guy on and my two-year-old kept walking up to the other parents saying, “Something’s wrong with my mommy!” Little does he know what a loaded statement that is! LOL

So, I survive the game and start to get excited about Sunday’s impending freedom. As you know, it never happens. Well, I made the best of it. My boys and I actually had a blast. I still don’t know why their dad didn’t call first thing. I called him and asked him to tell the boys via skype why he wouldn’t be there. He promised to squeeze in a five hour visit during his layover the next day on his way to Australia. My oldest held back tears.

So, the lesson learned is that I always need to have a plan B.  I packed them up and we went to a local October fair where we ran into schoolmates and neighbors. It was a great day, even in the scorching heat. That evening I invited a good friend, also a single mom, and her son over for dinner. I made the yummiest salad with heirloom farmer’s market tomatoes and avocados, baked chicken with herbs de Provence and roasted carrots and fingerling potatoes. Even the kiddos loved it! We played puzzles with the youngest and the two oldest boys played with Star Wars legos. I have to say, it ended up being one of the best Sundays I have had in a long time.

And you know what? Their dad did show up the next day during his layover, bearing presents. He met us at school where I volunteer as a creative writing teacher once a week. I was so nervous that his flight might get delayed, or something else might happen to thwart the visit, that I had a backup plan of an ice cream play-date in the works. But, I didn’t need it. As I walk out of the classroom, my ex is leaning against the wall, his suitcase in hand. He has his English blue sweater on—clearly sweating in our Southern California heat—with a smile on his face that I forgotten he owned. It’s a smile the melts hearts. My oldest ran to him. The teacher seemed enamored with him and chatted nervously with him a bit before we three, oddly, walk into town together as if we see each other every day. The youngest, who was with the sitter, got to see his dad later and oh’d and ah’d over his bath toys from Hamley’s. As odd as it was, it ended up being a great, albeit short, visit for the boys. In the end, they are very excited about seeing him next weekend when he’s on another stop over from Australia back to London. I’m confident he won’t let them down this time. But then again, cough, you know what Mr. Burns says about the best laid plans …

Ahh—A Moment to Myself! (Wait, what’s the catch?)

This week has been nuts—even more than my norm. (Can you imagine?) And, sadly, I didn’t handle it as gracefully as I could have. To be fair, the lack of sleep and potty training is making me batty. My soon-to-be three-year-old just won’t sleep. What is going on? Is there a drug for this? (For either of us??) He’s been a bad sleeper his whole little life, but it’s been especially a struggle for the past three months. For a while I was Ferberizing him—you know, the Ferber method where you let him cry it out. Well, he shares a room with his big brother and his big brother needs to sleep to be present at school. When I was Ferberizing him, my stubborn little guy would scream and run out of the room over and over and over again until almost midnight. I would walk him back in, say he was a big boy and he needed to sleep on his own, put him back in bed, only to have him run out again. Needless to say, both William and I were going crazy. Eventually, I’d give in and lie down with him. Even then, it would take him an hour, maybe more, to actually fall asleep. He’d hug me and say, “I lub you mommy.” Often times, when we’re lying there, he’ll play with his animals, spin around like a top until his head is at the bottom of the bed or he’ll kick the wall … You get the idea. It’s maddening. Both William and I usually fall sleep before him. Typically, most nights I wake up at 3 or 4 a.m. with my body slammed into the small slat of the bottom bunk bed with his chubby arm up on my shoulder. I usually am still fully dressed and my teeth haven’t been brushed, my face not washed—I’m a complete mess. So I get up and start my day, not able to fall back to sleep after the five or so hours I did get. I’ve had a crick in my neck for a week over this due to the bunk bed slat business. I’m going CRAZY!

Twice this week I’ve actually hired a sitter in order to put the little guy down for me. Both times, I’ve returned at 10/10:30 p.m. and he’s STILL UP!  I found myself standing over my adorable cherub dressed in footy pajamas. I’ll put my hands on my waist, put on a stern look and ask why he’s still up.

His reply: “I fraid I lose you mommy!”

Pitiful right?

What’s a sleep-deprived, crazy mom to do? Well, one morning this week, at 4 a.m. I broke down and called the ex in London. NOT my most graceful moment. (Ironically, my first post four weeks ago was about how sleep deprivation and stress can cause decision fatigue and cause a person to make bad decisions. See: “No Wonder I Can’t Decide What’s For Dinner”) Since he hasn’t been with his boys since July, and I’m about to have a nervous breakdown, I let him have it. Not cool. I have no idea how many times I used the F word. Seriously, this was not my most zen moment. But you know what? I apologized later in the morning for losing my cool and explained to him rationally the extent of my sleep-deprived state. And you know what else? He’s called the boys at least two times this week and is squeezing in a one day layover on his way from London to Australia on Sunday and a weekend visit on his way back the following week.

Hooray for small miracles!

I’m SO excited. If all goes well, this Sunday evening I’m going to enjoy the most luxurious bath I’ve ever had followed by a good nights rest—in my own bed!

I don’t think I’ve been this grateful for one day off in all my life.