the No-Love List of 2014

I’ve had some interesting thoughts about parenthood lately. I will share them here soon and they might be of service.

THIS post, though, is not that. Y’all have read my Love Lists before, right? You know I’m the gratitude-filled Pollyanna type? So I don’t have to be that way now? Because what I’m feeling is a No-Love List. Please tune out now if you only like me for my bright side ways. 

1. People who ring my doorbell multiple times during Bram’s nap. Ring it and HOLD IT. Ring it as if they are bleeding and only I can save them. Ring it not to be saved, but to sell me something. Trust me, evil door-ringers. You don’t want me to answer the door. I practice gentle parenting, which means that even if you manage not to wake my children up I will come at you with all the anger and frustration that I manage, somehow, to suppress during my two-and-a-half year-old’s many meltdowns. Save yourselves. Move on down the road.   

2. When my toddler wastes food. Food is a big deal to me. We buy it from farmers. From our co-op. We spend a lot of time thinking about it and planning for it. We spend WAY MORE MONEY than we possibly have on it, so important do we believe it to be. I spend hours preparing it: almost everything from single ingredients, working to teach Bram in his Learning Tower, paying attention to smells and sights and textures. So when my child decides, as he did today, to smear pesto risotto all over the table and floor (with glee), I am angry. It is a button for me. Don’t waste this food. It will not engender kindness. To wit: today, in one of my lowest parenting moments of all time, I did something petty. I asked Bram to put all of the smeared risotto back on his plate, and when he refused, I ate (with glee) one of the all-fruit rolls he’d chosen as a treat from the farmers market last weekend. I was almost giddy with the revenge of it. He, of course, lost his shit. I gave him the last bite in a moment of parental defeat.   

3. Our cat Iris. Who I should love, so kind is she to my babies. But Gods Help Me, she is high needs in a house that is full of high needs and where too few of those needs are mine. For starters, we recently learned that Bram is highly allergic. And in ongoing-battle-news, her litter must be scooped seventeen times a day to keep her from peeing everywhere. This – for the mama who has two potties to regularly dump, and cloth diapers to constantly change and wash, and a big toilet to occasionally clean – is maddening. Add to that the fact that she is enormous and insists on sleeping ON ME even when at least one and sometimes two children are already there and you’ve got some resentments brewing. Which are followed immediately, of course, by guilt. Because who doesn’t love their cat? I am worse than people who ring doorbells during nap-time.  

4. This job market climate. J is having a tough time and she would be a catch for any of the jobs she’s applied for and it is hard. I can only imagine (and shudder at) what this must be like for families who’ve been laid off. At least we’re treading water. Still. No love for this job climate.  

5. That even now, a year later, I can’t walk down the stairs without remembering the fall. Pretty much every time. And I walk down the stairs a lot. Carrying things – people, laundry, things – a lot. Spatial trauma, friends. I would say it’s for the birds if I didn’t like birds so much.     

6. Drivers who use our street as a cut through and therefore drive about seventy miles an hour past my house. THERE ARE CHILDREN HERE I shout after them as if they possibly care about the nearing-middle-age, unshowered, Crazyville mom they (maybe) glimpse in their rear-view mirror. But slow the hell down, people. Jesus. You’re worse than people who wish their cats away.   

7. The miles between me and some of the people I love with whom I am desperate to share coffee or wine or movie dates. 

8. Yard work. I hate yard work. Seriously, if you live near me and you like yard work: want to trade? I will come clean your house top to bottom every other week if you will come pull these weeds. Or edge. Or something. Just: you come be outside and I’ll come Monica Geller the hell out of your house. Takers?

9. Not being alone with J. I miss her. Or I think I do. We’re coming up on five months without leaving the Bird and it’s getting hard. I’d like to look at my wife. Even when she annoys me I like the look of her. 

10. The news. Always, but right now. I just can’t even. Not and stay present for these little people.  

Pollyanna Epilogue: Bram woke up from nap early as I was beginning to draft this today. He was crying; we’ve been having lots of bad dreams lately. Lou was sleeping on me while I wrote, so he got dragged upstairs and somehow stayed asleep. He somehow stayed asleep when I came back down too, by the way, because he is a saint-baby. Anyway, through his hysteria I finally discerned that Bram wanted “Pomo’s Game” to help calm him down, which means that he wanted me to name his body parts one by one while he tightened all the muscles in them and then relaxed them. Feet, then legs, then belly, then arms. Little meditative soul. Then he took three deep breaths. Really, he counted them. Then I started to sing and he started to cry. “What’s wrong now, Bug?” “I wanted to yawp!!,” our child cries. Seriously, he wanted to do a few of Walt Whitman’s “barbaric yawp[s].” So we did. We yawped. Four times each. Then he said, “I want ‘Graceland’ now.” Which means Paul Simon. That kid. He’ll knock the No-Love List right out of you. 

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6 thoughts on “the No-Love List of 2014

  1. I had a cat like that and a doorbell like that and frustration like that. I got rid of the cat and put a threatening sign on the doorbell. Probably not the most graceful way to deal with Things but it made me feel better.

    Also, I still have a food-wasting toddler like that. Haven’t fixed that one yet.

  2. 1. I fourth the idea of a sign by the doorbell. Or just disconnect it all together. Though people can be just as persistent knocking loudly.
    2. Ah, the toddler diet. People were always in awe of The Bean and his appetite for everything when he was a baby. He’s eaten vegan grilled cheese sandwiches 3 of the last 4 days for lunch. We’ve started insisting he tries bites of what we’re eating at dinnertime. It’s such a battle though. Sounds like not quite the battle you’re having with Bram, but still. Toddler and food are not always a fun combination. Also, forgive yourself. We all say and do things we aren’t proud of.
    3. I felt this way about Mo. Now I miss her. But to be really, painfully, honest: it’s easier now.
    4. ((Nod.))
    5. ((Hug.))
    6. Another sign? This one on your lawn? Something along the lines of “Slow down! Children are playing here.”
    7. Yes.
    8. Done! (If only it weren’t for all those miles.)
    9. Again, yes.
    10. I barely read/watch the news anymore. I find myself trying to hid my ignorance when people talk about current events, but I just can’t take it.

    Finally, please send Bram over. I would like to dance to Graceland with a whole gaggle of silly children (or at least three). (Also, one of the most romantic things Jen did in our early dating days was send me a copy of one of Walt Whitman’s poems.)

  3. Oh R, my dear, beloved friend. I completely relate and stand by your list. The world can’t always be rainbows and butterflies. Your honesty is respected and appreciated :) We no longer have a ”working” doorbell, but no worries — our incredibly over-protective dog loudly alerts when someone as much as walks by, which is coincidentally ONLY at nap time :-/ Sara is the cat-lover, not I. No, I want to punt kick the furballs at least once a day. Yes, that’s right. Dogs and cats and toddlers. Sometimes, like you, my day is a revolving door of everyone elses bodily functions. Gag. We spend way too much dough on food also — but when the boys refuse to eat mystery-meat, dinosaur blobs (in a moment of pure parenting/chef insanity I picked them up in the freezer section thinking “the boys LOVE dinosaurs….”), I know we’re doing it right. We don’t worry about high-speed drivers on our street. All the traffic on our street crawls by, mainly due to the crack house next door. Gotta slow down to get your dope. FED UP with our trashy, crack dealing neighbors. Our children should not have to look out the window and constantly see transactions. Totally frustrating (considering my employer….). One day, when we are retired, we will worry about our yard and immaculate landscaping (like our other, incredible neighbors). I miss being alone with my wife more than anything. I love our family time together, but how I long for some consistent adult-only time with her. Nothing on the news surprises or shocks me anymore. Finally, it amazes me how tiny little humans can tear you down one minute, have you completely frantic and ready to cry — then turn around and totally make your day <3 Lots of love and hugs to you and your wonderful family. xoxo

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