Saturday, November 10, 2012

Slimy Sludge

My best friend's name, literally translated, meant 'Doesn't Want to Listen', or 'Doesn't Want to Obey'.  Sarau was one of the most beautiful girls in my age group.  A classic Polynesian beauty, she had soft black hair that hung down her back, mocking brown eyes, light brown skin, a straight nose and full lips.  She was always laughing with the loud, self-aware laughter that knows all eyes are on it.

Sarau was noticeable.  In fact, she was impossible to ignore.  Funny, charismatic, always the center of attention.  Her sardonic, slightly mocking take on the world around us amused me.  She was just a little bit dangerous, which amused me, as well.  If there were boys beckoning us from a dark corner, Sarau was likely to go see what they wanted.  Or at least cast them a glance from her slanted eyes and toss a flirty and taunting word or two over her shoulder.  I enjoyed the attention we got when we were together, and I think she enjoyed it, too.

I remember one time, one of her older sisters had a baby.  I remember it was a little boy, Sarau's first nephew.  We had spent the afternoon in her hut, slumped against the mat wall, using a  hand mirror to peer at our reflections in the light that filtered in through the smokey doorway.  The floor of packed ash and dirt was cool and dark beneath our feet.  The occasional chicken would wander in, pecking hopefully for missed grains of rice and muttering worriedly to itself.  Against one wall, the food safe stood, guarding a couple of bowls of taro pudding, some fish, and a cup of sugar behind its wire screen.    The family's bedding was all tied up against the coconut log rafters of the hut, a bundle of blankets, pillows and mats that bulged down in protest to being suspended for the day.  Sarau's little brother kept a collection of brightly colored food wrappers, and they waved like a parade of ostentatious jungle birds against the pandanas leaf roof's soot blackened underbelly.

Sarau was using the mirror to show me the little blackheads that dotted my forehead.  I had never noticed them before, but she apparently had, and was anxious to squeeze them for me.  I pushed her hand away.

"Stop it,"  I said.

"What?  You need to get rid of these.  Just sit still, let me do it."

"No, stop it,"  I insisted.  She ignored me and leaned in closer.  Feeling crowded, I stood up.  "Come on, let's go outside."

"Ok," Sarau shrugged.  On the way out, her sister called to us from behind the hut where she was grating coconut.

"Come get the baby, Sarau!"  she yelled.  We detoured, and Sarau picked up her nephew.  He was scrawny, like most village babies were, and naked.

When we got out to the open path that ran through the village, Sarau looked at me with the familiar dangerous, provocative glint in her eye.  She smiled at me, her lips curving up impossibly at the corners, and raised her nephew up so that he was at eye level with us.  One hand supported the infant's neck, and the other cupped his naked little butt.  Continuing to look straight in my eyes, she opened her mouth and brought her lips around the baby's testicles.

Shocked, I stared at her.  Looked confusedly away.  Looked back at her.  She laughed at me, mocking my discomfort and delighted that she'd knocked me off kilter.

"I'm ... I'm going home,"  I told her, and took off.

I didn't know, at the time, what to think about her behavior that day.  But that was the beginning of the end of our friendship.  I honestly still look back at that memory with some horror, some confusion, still unable to sort through what exactly must have been going through Sarau's mind at that moment.  What caused her to do that.

What about you?  Have you ever witnessed something that sticks with you, and which, when you revisit the memory, still seems to leave a slimy sludge on  your soul?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Monday Marathon

As a stay at home mom, I sometimes get the feeling that I just spin my wheels all day long.  At the end of a day, I am exhausted, but can't really remember doing much productive.  So I decided to document my Monday.  I'm publishing this first part of the post before the kids get up.  I'll update at lunch time, dinner time, and then again before I go to sleep.  Ready? ...... GO!

4:30 a.m. - Manasseh starts crying.  I decide to ignore him, maybe he'll go back to sleep.

4:45 - Nope, he's wailing now.  Pick him up, and discover he's peed through his onesie and fleece sleeper.  That's what I get for not putting an extra insert into his diaper last night.  Strip him, put new diaper on, nurse him, and put him down again in just his diaper.  

5:00 - Back to bed.

5:15 - Alarm wakes me up.  I push snooze.

5:25 - Snooze.

5:35 - Snooze.

5:45 - I get up, put on my workout gear, and go out for a run.  

6:15 - I ran 1.5 miles!  The longest I've gone since getting preggers a year ago.  Glad to be working my distance back up.  I start a pot of coffee, and sit down to do my bible study.

6:45 - Second cup of coffee.  More bible study.

7:00 - Wake Scott up. Get on Facebook and check my email.  Manasseh's starting to talk to himself in his crib.  Open up Blogger.

7:15 - Xander calls from his room:  "Mooooom!  Can you pick me uuuuuuuup?"  Here we go.


7:17 - Go get Xander up, and together we pick up Manasseh.  Go snuggle on the couch with the two boys.

7:20 - Put Manasseh in his exersaucer, and Xander and I start breakfast.  I crack the eggs, he mixes them.  Toast in the toaster.  I make myself a mental note to start a load of laundry when the eggs are done.

7:30 - Eggs are cooked.  Xander asks for breakfast so I pour him a bowl of cereal (the eggs are only for Scott and I - the kids don't like eggs, but I have to have protein in the morning if I run).  Remember laundry, so I head down the hall.  Sophie stumbles, sleepy-eyed, towards me.  I detour, and snuggle with her on the couch.

7:35 - Scott's out of the shower.  I deposit Soph on the couch, and fix him a cup of coffee.

7:38 - Bring Scott his breakfast.  Remember laundry.

7:40 - Laundry in the washing machine, go back to the bedroom to talk with Scott while he gets ready.  The kids migrate into the bedroom.

7:45 - Manasseh fusses, alone in the living room.  Scott gets him.  He's wet again.

7:47 - Xander gets me a diaper, I change the baby on the bed.  We all talk and hang out while Scott finishes up.

7:55 - Dad's out the door.  Kisses all around.  I pour Sophie her cereal.

8:00 - Manasseh won't be put down - he cries in the exersaucer, and on the play mat.  I sit down with him in my lap to eat my (cold) eggs one handed.

8:10 - Still at kitchen table, nurse the baby.

8:20 - Steal a few minutes to get online.

8:25 - Now he's happy again, so I put him down in the exersaucer and start on the dishes.  Xander's got his train track spread out on the living room floor.  Sophie's playing restaurant with her kitchen stuff.

8:35 - Still working on the dishes, but Manasseh starts fussing.  Move him to the Bumbo on the counter.

8:45 - Manasseh still fussing.  Dishes three quarters of the way done.  Pick him up, give him some Ibuprofen (maybe another tooth's coming in?), get him dressed for the day.  Put him down on the floor of the kids' room, where they now have a restaurant set up.

8:50 - Xander comes to tell me Manasseh's crying.  I put him (the baby) in bed.  Time for his first nap.  Go back to the dishes, where the water's still running.

8:57 - First snack request of the day (the prize goes to Xander).  I tell him the same thing I tell him every day:  Snack time is 10:00.

9:05 - I tell the kids that play time is over, and it's time to start cleaning.  Sophie heads to the bathroom to clean it, and I direct Xander to pick up his train track.

9:10 - I'm wiping down the sink, and realize that Xander's playing with his trains.  I tell him to pick them up, not play with them.  He starts trowing them into the box, and tells me, "I AM MAD!"  But he's cleaning, so I let it go.

9:13 - I remember the laundry.  On my way over to it, see the computer on the kitchen table.  Sit down to check facebook.  Xander's dragging the train box back to his room.

9:14 - Xander reappears with his blanket in one hand, and trains in the other.
Me:  "I thought I told  you to pick the trains up."
Xander:  "No, no, I DID.  But I'm going to play with these ones."
Me:  "No, you are not going to play with those ones. It is clean up time, not play time.  Go put the trains away like I told you to."
He starts crying, and disappears into his room.

9:15 - He comes back out, and lurks behind my chair.
Me:  "Come here, son."  I pull him into my lap.
Xander:  "Do I have to sit in your lap?"
Me:  "No."
Xander:  "I want to sit in your lap."
Me:  "Ok, buddy."  We snuggle for a little bit.

9:20 - Sophie starts cleaning the school room.  Xander picks up the TV room.  I switch one load of laundry to the dryer, load another in the washer, and start cleaning the kitchen.

9:35 - Xander's done with the TV room.  He gets the vacuum and begins to vacuum it.  Sophie's still working on the school room (so far, she's been distracted by a bottle of glue, a handwriting book, and a card she found on the floor).  The kitchen is clean, except for the floor.  I'm not sweeping this morning.

9:40 - Sophie's still working on the school room.  I tell Xander to get ready to go to the library.  I head back to my room to get ready, as well.  Passing the kids' room, I see that everything that used to be on the floor of the TV, living, and school rooms is now on the floor of their room.  It was clean this morning.  *sigh*

9:45 - Make my bed up and straighten my room

9:50 - Xander's dressed.  I set him to cleaning his room, while I get dressed.  Sophie's still working on (read:  distracted in) the school room.

9:55 - Sophie's done with the school room.  I direct her to get dressed.

10:05 - The kids eat snack (french bread and string cheese), while I pack up for the library - diaper for Manasseh, snack for myself (apple and string cheese), fill the water bottle, collect books / library card.

10:20 - Wake Manasseh up, and load everyone into the car.  Head to the library.

10:30 - At the library for story time.  The kids sit up front, while I sit in the back and nurse a patient Manasseh.

12:15 - Standing in line waiting to check books out at the library, my phone rings.  It's somebody who would like to adopt one of our kittens.  Can she come over right now?  Sure, I'm on my way home.

12:30 - Get home, juggling Manasseh, my purse, keys, and stack of books.  Put Manasseh on his play mat, fix the kids lunch (Xander - PB & honey, cut into triangles, and milk.  Sophie - PB & honey, not cut, lemonade)

12:35 - While I'm making sandwiches, the doorbell rings.  I let the lady in, she picks out a kitten.

12:38 - Sophie and Xander sit down to their lunch.  I start on my sandwich.  Manasseh fusses, so I put him down for his nap.

12:40 - Sit down with my lunch, and direct the kids to go play while I eat.  Take a short break to get online while I eat.


1:30 - We start school.  Sophie writes in her journal while I practice the alphabet with Xander (A through J)

1:50 - Xander practices cutting.  Sophie does handwriting.  Manasseh wakes up crying, so I give him some more Ibuprofen and nurse him.

2:10 - We get out the shaving cream, and practice writing on the desk (it needed a good cleaning, anyway).  Xander practices writing his name, and Sophie does spelling words.

2:25 - Clean up the shaving cream mess. Put Manasseh down for (hopefully) the rest of his nap.  I remember I haven't changed out the laundry yet.  Move wets into the dryer, start yet another load in the washer.

2:30 - Sit down for science.  We're starting a new unit on the 5 Senses.

3:00 - Xander goes down for his quiet time.  Sophie and I do math and reading together.

3:30 - Sophie's quiet time.  I sit down in the TV room, intending to turn on a show and fold laundry.  Instead, I sit for an hour and surf the web, sharing the couch with a mountain of laundry.

4:30 - Xander starts screaming in frustration from his room.  I go investigate - he's trying to get his Playmobil castle together.  I sit down and set it up for him.

4:35 - Sophie comes to see what we're doing.  We end up playing knights and castles.

4:45 - Manasseh wakes up.  I bring him into the kids' room.  I nurse him, and we keep playing.

5:00 - Into the living room to pick it up.

5:15 - Think I should feed Manasseh soon, but then remember I had been planning on making him some sweet potatoes.  I get the potato out, peel it, chop it, and put it to cook.  All one handed, because Manasseh refuses to be put down.

5:20 - Decide we need some mood music.  Find Bruno Mars on Pandora and crack open a beer.

5:25 - The potatoes are cooked, but now piping hot.  I blend them, and stick some in a bowl in the freezer.

5:35 - Feed Manasseh.  Sophie and Xander are bickering over the train track, which has made its way out from their room again.

5:45 - Wipe the baby down, change his diaper, and put him in his pj's.  Take a moment to look down in his eyes and he SMILES at me.  Like he hasn't been fussy for the past hour.  Sophie comes in and asks why my tummy is fat.

5:50 - Since the baby peed himself last night, I should probably change the sheets before I put him down.  I change it, while he screams and rolls like a beached whale on the floor.

6:00 - After giving him some more Ibuprofen, I put him down.  Shut the door.  Take a breath.

6:05 - Line up ice cube trays to ladle in the mashed sweet potatoes, to freeze for later.  Sophie and Xander are playing with a box of nuts and bolts.  Sophie informs me she is having a horrible night because she can't watch TV (and won't for the next two weeks, since she saw fit to throw the remote and break our one-year-old flat screen)  Xander's in the same Cars pajamas he's worn to bed for the last week.

6:15 - Time to start dinner.  I've got a product party tonight, so it's mac 'n cheese for the kids.  Scott can fend for himself.


6:23 -  Scott walks in the door.  Since I feel like I spent all day irritated at Sophie, I ask her if she wants to come spend special time with me at the 'mommy party'.  Xander's ecstatic to spend Daddy time.

6:30 - Sophie and I head to the product party.

7:30 - I'm regretting my 'special mommy time' idea.  I really think she's trying to climb back up into my womb.

8:00 - We head home.

8:30 - Kids in bed, kisses and hugs, prayers, and the house ... is ... quiet.  Blessedly, peacefully, wonderfully quiet.  I get a bowl of cinnamon Life cereal, push the mountain of clothes off the couch and onto the floor (it'll be there tomorrow, after all, and tomorrow's a new day), and settle down with Scott for the newest episode of The Walking Dead.

9:30 - We put on Band of Brothers, 'Day of Days', for the billionth time.  Those guys are like old friends by now.

The house is quiet.  There is peaceful companionship with the man sharing this room with me.  Our cat chases the last remaining kitten across the floor.  I take a deep breath, and let my body settle.  Both muscles and mind, worn and tired, slide into rest.  Goodnight.