You may be wondering where the heck I've been? (Okay, indulge me and FAKE IT.) Well, I've still been cleaning. That's right. And I'm not done. And it sucks. It truly does. To spend one's whole day scrubbing with pruney, slimey fingers punctuated only by diaper changes and breaking up squabbles and finger diving into Laurel's mouth fishing out treasures she keeps finding on the floor.
Yes, it's sucky.
But there is so much good. Enough to make the suckiness rewarding. Like, I washed all my old glasses we found up in Pepe's attic--all the old wine glasses Sam and I used to use when we were sweethearts--and put them away in a CLEAN cabinet. Like, I found some cool non-skiddy shelf-liner-y stuff at--where else?--IKEA, that I used to line the kitchen drawers (and the hall-way organizer for sock and undies). Like, I LOVE "line"-drying (meaning that in France they have these laundry racks they call "etandage") and knowing that I'm not sucking up energy and I'm being all green. And (speaking of) like how my girls are wearing their cloth diapers and how my new front-loader washer wrings them out with its little centrifuge to the point that they are nearly dry when I hang 'em up and only take half an hour to dry (as long as they used to take in the electric dryer at home). Like the soapdish I bought (yep, IKEA) fits perfectly on the tile ledge in our water closet. Like working cell phones, internet and cable (CNN International!!!). Like speedily-processed long-stay papers. Like inexpensive tune-ups on the minivan. Like having my smooth double stroller and my nearly-fixed, borrowed TRIPLE stroller. Like Sam going to the mass transit office to get our family passes so we can take the metro, tram, busses, etc. as a family and can soon do trips to the mall for hardware, etc. without having to take the van out. Like Sam going to the in-laws' house and bringing back their awesome and ancient and WOOD dining table--when I think how I grew up eating in front of the TV and now how it makes me break out in hives--and our old folding wooden chairs. Like how we might soon have our house in Charlotte rented and be able to save even more money. Like how our cost of living allowance, because we are so careful, is going to help us pay off our credit cards within one year (six months if we rent out the house). Like how stinky cheese that would cost $12 (and up) per pound in the States is like a buck-fifty here. Like how I FINALLY found my Weight Watchers slide rule and can now calculate my points and am surprised at how not-so-bad I've been doing after all. Like how our American VCR/DVD combo actually WORKS on our new TV so we don't have to use the behemoth anymore. Like how when people visit to deliver stuff, they take one look at the view from our living room and say, "Woao! Bel appart!" Like how my father-in-law sent me two heads of lettuce, a mess of tomatoes and four cukes and three zuchini yesterday and just in time because we didn't have anything to eat for dinner (or lunch today) and really didn't want to try to go shopping at 8pm.
Yes, there's suck aplenty. But there's good around every corner. *sigh*
And there's more....
I've just about had all I can take of Ryan, my oldest. I really wish I could say that I can overcome any obstacle and that all it would really take would be some patience, energy and love. Well, my tank is running low on all three. It's not his fault. It's mine. I'm stressed. I want to get the apartment clean so they aren't traipsing around in filth, but I can't get anything done cuz they're always here and fighting or choking or hungry or whatever. So, LOTS of places are almost clean. Then, there's the fact that I get maybe half an hour to myself (including bathroom breaks) and that starts when I wake up and ends when I go to bed. Even now, Laurel is slobbering on my knees and I'm pretending not to notice. I know Sam has to work and all, but when I'm sitting on the couch with one kid on the boob, the other standing face to face with the TV screen (and me physically powerless to do anything) and the other saying, "I'anna cuuuuuuuppa!!!" over and over and over, and I say, "SAAAAAAAMMMMM! What are you DOING????!!!???" And he doesn't answer. And I get up and find out he's been "checking his email" for the past half an hour when he has internet at work ("But my Yahoo doesn't WORK very well at work!"). That's when I lose it and seem to somehow blame it all on Ryan. Maybe because he's the one there and he's the one misbehaving and SMILING about it. Maybe because he's the one who I find, time after time, jumping on the futon when he has promised not to. Maybe because every time I find Lily screaming or squealing or with tears running down her face, and I ask what's wrong, Ryan answers, "Lily did it" or some similar version. Maybe because he says "I waaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnaaaaaaaa" all the time. Maybe because I'm a crappy mother.
I don't know.
All I know is that last night, I told Sam to "FIND RYAN A SUMMER PROGRAM before I end up in jail!!!" And this morning, I thought, "Oh, it's not SO bad. If he did actually find him a summer program I would probably really miss him." I thought, "Maybe we just needed a chance to get used to each other again." And just when I think that, Sam calls and tells me that he's found Ryan a summer program. It doesn't start next week, but the week after. Ryan is going to be THRILLED. All he talks about is going to s-c-h-o-o-l (sorry, I've gotten used to spelling it because even the slight MENTION of school--and I mean, even if you say "school of fish"--Ryan says, "I wannnnaaaaa go to schoooooool!!!!" So, why is a little teensy part of me sad? I guess because we've sort of bonded over the past three weeks.
But it will be for the best. The program is a total fun thing (not real school) that will prepare him linguistically for what he'll find waiting for him in September. And this program thingy will take him on little excursions and stuff (to the park and to the movies and to the museum) and he'll feel so grown up and stuff. It makes me tear up just thinking about it.
And Lily. We're also going to find out tomorrow if she can have a spot, too. She's SO ready, too. Every time we go to IKEA (which is, ahem, often, huh?) and go to the play area, she wants to run and play with the other little kids. The other day, she sat right down next to a little girl sitting in one of those egg chair thingies. They sat there like that until they both wanted to get up but were stuck. It was so cute. So, she might be going to "school" too which will be great because she was starting to feel left out in the States whenever we would drop Ryan off at school.
So NOW, instead of being like, "I'm stuck at home alone all day with all three of these kids!!!" I'm like, "Hey, I only have a week left to spend all day with all three of my kids." I have to admit, it will be fun to be alone with just a baby again. I loved staying home with just Ryan. And just Lily. But I only had JUST LAUREL for three months before bringing Lily home from day care. And it seems like I've been home with both girls forever but it really has only been seven months (since New Year's). That's insane! But at least Lily might be happy to see me at night again like she used to be.
Either way, things seem to be moving forward. Gaining momentum even. It's true, I haven't even gone anywhere by myself yet (other than the parc) and haven't had to go shopping or anything by myself yet or really had to interact with many people yet--not all alone anyway... YET... So, I'll update you on the progress of all that. That will be the true determiner of whether or not I'm gonna make it without having to be admitted to a mental institution. If I can stay home with the baby, work out, write, go to the outdoor market, work on my farm project and well, you know... the Five-Fold... Then, everything will be okay and I'll return to the States in one piece. Not unscathed, perhaps, but maybe enriched on a few levels.
Bee Tee Dubya... In case you're wondering where the hell all the pix are, I have to say, well, just hold yer horses. Even though I have wi-fi now, it aint the fastest thing in the world. So, I'm gonna hafta upload my pix to Sam's computer since it's directly wired. Bear with me and stay tuned. Thanks for reading me.