Sometimes the monster is in the next room disguised as a teddy bear, and the fangs come out so fast that even if you are listening you don’t even have time to play it over again in your head before the teddy bear bites your child for the second time. You hear the bear hit the wall and your child runs into the hall crying, angry. Using her strong voice.
The bear looks all the sudden like a stuffed animal. It’s as good as screaming “she’s lying” because really? Monster bears?
Everyone thinks and a few people say “Oh honey, the bear didn’t bite you for real because bears don’t do that. Just be more careful with your toys.” And someone makes a stern face at the bear and your child is momentarily satisfied and runs albeit cautiously back toward the bear to play some more.
But you are not satisfied. The hair on your neck and arms is standing up and you call your children into the room and you send a message to your spouse and you separate the children from their toys for a few minutes, and then for the afternoon. There might be something wrong with that bear, because your hairs don’t lie and neither does your child. Some of those bears that were made in China have sharp edges or lead paint or parts that move too fast and you have an instinct. Get to the bottom of this, says your gut, which is in knots. You believe your child.
Your husband has a conversation with your child, careful not to put words in her mouth. What’s up with those toys? Your kids have active imaginations. But sometimes toys really do come alive and turn into monsters.
He confirms that incredibly, this toy is a monster toy. As much as you tried to protect them, screen their toys, even as you were right in the next room a toy transformed into a monster and attacked your child.
Later the therapist will ask about the color so you make note that the color of the heat that overtakes your body is white when you ask your husband to either change the lock on the safe or remove the firearms from the house. What you want to do is rip the bear from limb to limb; destroy it before it hurts any more children. Find the factory where it was made and burn the factory to the ground. You cannot stop yourself from sinking into a delicious fantasy about this act. You don’t want to stop yourself.
What happens instead is the bear goes away forever and you start the long process of reassuring your children that they are amazing and wonderful and that from this point forward you will make sure that their toys are safe. You will never let a monster near your kids again, and you will slay a monster that threatens them. Because that’s your job. Your job is to believe them and to protect them.
Not much has changed about our general situation in terms of the you know what and and many depths of layers of incredible complicated ways in which this relatively common and mundane sort of boring and predictable and let’s face it… plebeian - obstacle affects our lives. So that’s what I’ll go with as my main excuse for not posting lately, and we’ll leave out the massive quantity of empty coconut run bottles being hurled into the recycling bins located at the volunteer fire department on the road that shares space with the Yulee Primary School as my husband rolls by them on his way to work in the mornings.
Over a year of semi sobriety, down the tubes. Ah, well. At least organic pineapple juice is a full serving a fruit in every glass, and if you mix coconut rum with Green Machine Superfood it’s really pretty good for you. Who knew wheat grass could be so tasty AND such a fantastic component of a stress relief cocktail?
What to do but sling wit, shuttle ourselves and each other to therapy multiple times a week, do our best to maintain a level and courteous tone sometimes through clenched teeth, sometimes while passing a casserole dish (only to the left because that’s good manners) even though none of that matters. Nothing matters. The books you read don’t matter, and the tone you use doesn’t matter, and the words you say don’t matter either especially. You know why? Because whatever you say in English comes out in a completely fucking different language. You dress your face in an expression from Care Bears and what people see is a combat outfit from a RAMBO movie. You put on a kitten sweater and what people see is a great big “Fuck You” in airbrushed script on the front.
In the end, people handle crisis in their own way. Some of us handle it in different ways at different moments during the day. Me? Round 10 a.m. if I can slip out of here and evade Jack for a moment and/or corral him in an appropriate closet, I’m at my favorite indie coffee pusher mainlining a rocketfuel straight up while someone makes me a perfect plain latte for the ride home. By noon I might be posting something along the lines of ”it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” in French on Facebook, which as it turns out does not keep my husband guessing for very long and probably makes him almost nervous enough to bail out on work and come home to check on us. Too bad (or phew!) he’s a kindergarten teacher and can’t leave his classroom! I’m not a lush though, sillies! I still like to run! Running relieves stress like a mofo.
I have this great blue checked apron that belonged to my grandmother, and I keep planning to put it on with some red lipstick and start having drinks every afternoon at like 4:30 with lots of ice…rattle the ice around in the glass, walk around the kitchen in high heels while I cook dinner, maybe bark at the kids a little bit here and there. Even though I’m not a routine person I crave the routine of a good cocktail hour.
But therapy, both in-home and individual, plus court appearances, doctor’s appointments hither and yon and rides to and fro (why oh why do we live in a town with no sidewalks or buses!) keep me sober and clod in sensible shoes more than I’d like to admit. My poor apron. My poor red lipstick.
Ah well. We still manage to survive the apocalypse, day by day. Happy hour by hour.
But not eloquent.
I did not give up. Notyetnotyetnotyetnotyet-a chorus through my mind all night, while I smelled baby hair and touched the softest skin on the planet. This is my last baby, my last chance to make this work, and I owe myself a little more time. It’s what I want.
To that end, I declared myself incapacitated for social gatherings, for laundry, and for household chores. My only job right now, I said, is to lay around and nurse this child. It’s not forever, and the family can handle it. We can all pitch in. The toddler can spend quality time with me watching movies and snuggling, and she can get her outdoors play with other people. I can reach out for help and ask a friend to drive to pick up the breast pump. I can call a lactation consultant who does phone consults. I can let go of my perfectionism with regard to laundry and the household tasks, and let the people willing to take them on do things their way.
Thank you, internet. I feel loved and supported and I’m so grateful.