Friday, February 25, 2011

Tiny Children

For anyone who knew me in the large swath of my life before the Bug was born, you probably know this one fact about me: I don't like tiny children. I have revised the statement since her birth: I do not like tiny children, except for my own. She's pretty great.

Look, she helps me mark papers:

In light of this, recent events at and near my place of employment have caused me to utter the following phrases:

I went into higher education because it was a career path with very little gunfire.
I went into higher education because of the gunfire thing and because I don't want to be around strange small children.
And I meant it.


Today, when only 4 of my 14 students elected to show up for our regularly scheduled class meeting, I realized something: I realized that the 19-20-somethings I teach really aren't any more reliable than your average 4 year old. Like most four-year-olds I know, my students wheedle, whine, refuse to get the sleep they need, blame everyone else for their problems, and should all else fail, burst into tears and shout "It's just not fair and you're a big meanie." Also, your average 19 year old and your average 4 year-old have roughly the same understanding of when it is and is not appropriate to use contractions in writing and speech.

So, someday when I get my "grown up" (hopefully) tenure-track job, I've decided on one contract term I am determined to insist on: I think I'm going to need a sabbatical for the entire year the Bug is four, just to ease the load on my shoulders. Seriously.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Conversations from MommyLand: Episode 2

Tonight, after I had a minor mommy tantrum about the sheer build-up of crap to do in my life:

Me: I feel like I never have any fun anymore, and when I do, I'm so worried about not enjoying it enough, I don't really have fun. All I do is work and work at home. Fun isn't as fun as it used to be.

DH: Um... I think that's called adulthood.

Me: Hello. You bought me hoodie footies for Valentine's day, and I think they are brilliant. Clearly I'm someone with a problem with adulthood. And clearly you know that and want to encourage that.

DH: Hmm. [returns to playing StarCraft II]

I take that last bit of his as concession to the truth of my statement. I think he might even agree about the not having any fun. I'm not sure. This might be another opportunity to point out to him that he very rarely works after 9pm and even less rarely does any of his work crawl into bed with us and kick him in the face.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A New Adventure

So, in addition to teaching, dealing with random campus lockdowns, a baby who had a hella cold last week, and everything else, let's add one new adventure to parenthood. Travel with the Bug in tow on work matters.

Since the Bug is still nursing, it seems imprudent to travel for longer than a work day without her with me. So, if I go, she goes. Also, since the DH works long, occasionally unpredictable hours, it seems like I am the natural and ordinary baby supervisor.

So of course, last year, when I was relatively unencumbered, no matter how many abstracts I submitted to conferences, I couldn't get anything programmed. I probably wouldn't have been able to get a letter to the editor published in a local paper. This year, I am, for conferences I have heard back from, 3 for 3. I am actually programmed on 3 separate conferences, one of which will require international travel.

And I have to attend these with the Bug in tow. One of them, I have already persuaded the DH to come along and Bug wrangle. The other is being held about 45 minutes from my parent's house. While this will involve a plane flight, it is essentially a scam on my part to get my employer to pay me to take her for a visit with her grandparents.

I'm trying to convince my parents that they want to take a vacation to the international conference. We could all go together. They could spend 4 straight days playing with their granddaughter. I might tear my hair out (there is, after all, a reason I asked to go to boarding school at the age of 15), but they'll all have a splendid time.

But how do I balance my party-girl conference self (in so much as academics are, in fact, party girls) with my mom-self?

Also, how to take the pack 'n' play on a plane then a train and get us and my sanity there in one piece? Is it possible to do such a thing with a 15-month-old and remain sane?

I'm not really sure, but what I am sure of is that some hilarious posts will ensue.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Conversations from MommyLand

So the Bug has been sick, so she's been an unhappy little person and her sleep schedule has been off. Also, on Monday, she had a fever, so she wasn't able to go to the sitter's house for the day. Our backup plan, although a bit complicated, worked quite well: morning with Nana, DH came home to wrangle for an extended lunch, then I came home early from work and she and I headed off to the Baby Doctor's office.

The only problem with this is that it totally screwed up my usual work flow. I couldn't do my normal prep work Monday afternoon, as that was eaten up by the trip to the doctor's, and on Tuesday, where I usually get some work done during the Bug's naps, I wasn't able to, because my dear sweet girl wouldn't sleep unless she was no further from me than 2 inches. Further, rather than playing independently for a chunk of the day, she elected to spend most of the day with double fistfuls of my shirt and her face buried in my shirt. I did a bit while she slept on our bed next to me, but I could only do so much that way.

So when DH got home from work, I was rather counting on him to baby wrangle so I could have a few hours to finish my prep. He seemed a bit put out by this, which got my mom guilt going, but I had to get my work done.

When it was all said and done, and the Bug had finally settled to sleep, DH was watching some stupid Sci Fi show via Netflix, and when it was over (at around 11pm), he says "Well, finally, I got something done today," as though the entire rest of the day had been a royal pain in the arse and watching an entire TV show was a major victory.

I bit my tongue and went to bed. I did this because I didn't feel like having a stupid fight at 11pm. Because what I wanted to say was this:

Stop whining, you oversized baby. You think you got nothing done today? You're concerned about just one freakin' day. Try aiming to complete things every day and failing. Try getting to lunch time and realizing you probalby won't get a shower in because the has already gotten irretrievably away from you. Try not being able to do anything but cuddle a poor sick little person because there is nothing else you can do. I went to Costco today because I knew I could finish that, even with her strapped to me. I have crap on my todo list from August. So this one day things didn't go the way you meant them to? Then your wife wanted you to watch after your own off-spring instead of finish watching something that will still be there tomorrow? Yeah. Good luck with the pity party, 'cause I'm RSVPing with a big, fat no.

I didn't say any of this because the ensuing fight wouldn't have been worth it, and because the net result would be him telling all his buddies at work what a crazy bitch his wife has become since the Bug was born. I didn't want to give him that satisfaction.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Balance?!?!? WTF Was I Thinking?

So I'm working Mom now. 3 days a week, I venture out in the wee hours of the morning and impart wisdom on young minds. I teach them important things, although the recent batch of tests may make that statement appear to be untrue. At least, I stand at the front of a room and say important things. If they're not listening it isn't my fault.

And my life has swung wildly out of balance. I'm on the crazy-swing-ride that lands right in the middle of crazy town. I had finally found some sort of rhythm to the stay-at-home mama thing... I could balance most of what I wanted to do with the needs of the Bug and my DH's inertia. I'm doing all sorts of things I never used to do in my working life or my mom life. I'm letting the Bug watch TV to keep her busy, I'm not exercising, I'm eating fast food more frequently than I care to admit.  (I recognize that some of these are only contributing to the problem of lack of balance.) I'm burning the candle at both ends, and things are getting kind of toasty here in the middle, too. I get up at 5:30am, but I don't go to bed until midnight. I do work on weekends, and I'm fantasizing about a pedicure that I never seem to have time for.

In other words, this is hard, trying to be a good mom, while also trying to be a good adjunct lecturer. Both are hard by themselves. Together, I feel like the whole thing is held together with string, scotch tape and baling wire, and this is without making the time I need to get my research back on track.