Back to School?

Today is August 7 which is the day the NYC school surveys were due back and supposedly the day Governor Cuomo will say if the schools will be opening at all. We all know that no matter what decision is reached, school as we know it is NOT happening in September. There will be no 5 days a week in person instruction where we can finally get rid of (I mean, send for educational instruction) these children. I don’t even know what the plan is at this point. Is it something like one or two days a week with rotating days and the rest remote? How will we know what days our kids go in? Will it be like The Price is Right where we all get to spin a massive wheel and scream if we get the days we want? YOU GET A TUESDAY! YOU GET A FRIDAY! No questions have been answered and every day there are just more questions. It is an actual shit show.

You want to know who isn’t bothered by any of this? If you guessed Charlotte, you are correct. Charlotte does not give one single you know what. I mean, how could she? She was only in her first year of every day school when the rona came to play. And because I was heavily pregnant for the majority of quarantine and now two months into new babyhood, let’s just say Charlotte’s life has been better at home than it was at school. The American Academy of Pediatrics would probably have a brain aneurysm and drop dead on my door step if they took a look at our screen time analytics. But my level of caring has dropped lower than I can even express. So the thought of setting her up for remote learning and one day a week in the classroom is daunting to say the least. For one, I’m going to have to get her to wear underwear again. I’m also going to have to leave her there which is going to be even more traumatic than it would have been because she has barely left my side for the better part of 6 months. And then I’ll just be at home worrying if she is keeping her mask on, touching things, crying, bored, confused, etc., etc., etc. So why not just opt for all remote learning, you ask? Because whatever was left of my patience has set sail and the thought of me having to teach her five days a week when there is the option to send her in is too good to pass up. The good thing is if she goes in I know she won’t bring any germs home on her clothes because she strips naked and puts her nightgown on the second she gets back in the house, which is good. And since the school plan looks similar to prison life I don’t see her interacting with other kids all that much. God this is depressing.

I really feel bad for everyone. For the parents having to make these insane decisions while worrying about how they’re going to be able to work like this. For teachers and administrative staff that have to figure out WTF is going on. I downloaded Hooked on Phonics for Charlotte, so maybe that will be her teacher. I’m tapping out, waving the white flag, raising the wine glass. I am done.

Convos with Char

Charlotte has been on a roll with the commentary lately. Here are just a few of her latest quips:

When I joked around and said she could stay with Mackenzie while Eric and I went swimming: “absolutely not! I have no milk in my nummies! How the heck am I supposed to deal with the crying with no milk in my nummies!”

While playing tic tac toe: “is there anyway to make this more interesting?”

When I told her my stomach was bothering me: “well maybe you need to stop with what you’re eating. You’re not supposed to eat cheese.” (I haven’t eaten cheese in a month but OK.)

When Mackenzie was fussy: “this baby is a terrible baby today and she really needs to get it together.” (This is said once a day.)

When she lost her stylus and I said I wouldn’t buy her a new one because she doesn’t take care of her things: “that’s fine. I’ll just ask nonna. She never says no.”

When she was watching an episode of Vampirina and one of the songs made her emotional: “the sadness is in me! I can’t take this song and the sadness is in me!”

“If I had a genie I’d wish for a pretty hot pink dress, a beautiful violet tiara and for pretty red shoes.” I asked her why she wouldn’t ask for coronavirus to be over and she said “well it isn’t like the wishes are coming true for real so I’m not wasting it on that.”

I’m currently typing this trapped under Mackenzie who refuses to be put down this morning without screaming like a banshee. I told her she has a half an hour to get herself together because as a second time mom I have less patience and also don’t care if she screams her head off while I make myself breakfast. Some may say that is selfish but if I don’t eat, she doesn’t eat, so there.

Anyway, how are things with everyone? What a silly question that is, everything is the same except also wayyyy worse in some ways? We can go out to eat outside and shop in some stores but the rona is running rampant in like 30 states or something so now we have the never ending fear that someone will start a new major outbreak here by coming in and ruining everything. Also there is no way school is opening in September so now I can figure out how to become a kindergarten teacher whilst simultaneously taking care of a baby. YAY 2020!

Mackenzie is still an absolute delight. She has her moments but for the most part she is just my butter ball of love. She is smiling now and that has started a competition with Charlotte on who can make her smile the most. Charlotte is still pretty taken with her but we have the same fight every day which is us telling her she can’t squeeze her face or her head or her stomach or her ears or any part of her body and she NEVER LISTENS. She told me she can’t help herself because Mackenzie is too cute, and while I understand that I really need her to cut it out. My biggest challenge is really not losing my patience every day with Charlotte and let’s be honest, I’ve lost my patience every day since quarantine started back in March so why stop now? It’s difficult because during the week it’s just the three of us and Charlotte still expects me to be able to play with her and feed her whenever she asks me to so when she has to wait because I’m tending to Mackenzie she acts out like a jerk. I just keep telling myself this too shall pass, and then I think about September and I get a migraine from stress.

I try to ignore all of the impending doom that seems to be heading our way and just focus on the good things, like the fact that I have an excellent freezer stash of pumped milk, so when the state shuts down again in September I can drink a handle of vodka and give the baby a bottle without a problem. Everything is fine.

Tummy Trouble

As I mentioned earlier, I stopped eating dairy because I noticed Mackenzie had similar symptoms to Charlotte when it comes to milk intolerance. She’s no where near as bad as Charlotte was, thank the Lord, but it was enough to make me stop. I do miss pizza. And grilled cheese. Oh well.

Anyway, earlier before (we’ve been up for a while) I told Charlotte the baby was fussy because her belly is bothering her a little bit still. Charlotte looked at me and said “well maybe you should think about eating healthier.” I told her I was eating healthier and reminded her of the giant salad I had for lunch yesterday. She responded with “well it isn’t working. Mackenzie doesn’t like what you eat and now we have to listen to this crying.”

I love the attitude. Not.

Hello there!

It has been quite some time since I last posted. I think we were in week 9 of quarantine and I’m not sure what week this is or if we are even technically in quarantine anymore but it has to be like week 20? Who knows. Anyway, I had another baby! Family of four up in here! Pandemic pregnancy is over!

Mackenzie Mae was born on June 9 at 12:43 AM. She’s officially 3 weeks old today and is a dream baby. I am hesitant to even write that down because I am still waiting for her to betray me, but she is the complete opposite of her sister. And by that I mean she sleeps and rests and doesn’t scream in my face 24 hours a day. PLEASE DO NOT LET HER BETRAY ME!

Giving birth was definitely a different experience this time around. I mean the general experience was the same in that it felt like my bottom was going to explode for 4 hours and pushing a kid out really isn’t any fun, but getting to the hospital and all the covid protocols were definitely weird. I feel for all the moms who gave birth at the height of this virus because it was probably 150 times more stressful. The covid test is also a damn nightmare and caused me to bleed PROFUSELY, so much so that I needed a new mask because I bled into mine. And yes, we had to wear masks. If I can wear a mask while having contractions 2 minutes apart you can wear a mask to Costco. That’s all I’m going to say about that. Anyway, she came out fine, I experienced my 11 days of baby blues and here we are. Still basically in quarantine, except with less sleep and a new baby.

Charlotte has been wonderful. She has basically kept to her own routine and occasionally asks to hold or play with Mackenzie. She hasn’t really thrown any jealous fits and is generally helpful when I ask her for things. I do allow her a lot more iPad time than before but that’s because there is only one of me and I’m usually nursing every two hours so WHAT ELSE CAN I DO. She’s watching Elena of Avalor so she’s learning Spanish. Education.

I’m a lot more calm this time around and I don’t know if that’s because macaroni girl is more chill or I’m more experienced. Either way I’m enjoying her and not stressing about every little thing. I’ve given up dairy again like I did with Charlotte because I think it bothers her stomach but I’m not even that upset this time around. Also, not being able to go anywhere or really see anyone kind of let’s us just hang all day every day without any expectations which has been good. I do want to go out now though and I do want to see people. Enough with the Rona. ENOUGH.

Also I’m almost done with It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – I forgot how much I love maternity binge watching. I’m going to watch all of the Marvel movies in order after this. Screen time for the entire household!!!

La Cucaracha

Are you all sick of reading about COVID and corona and whatever else we’ve named it?  Are you tired of the lockdowns and the never ending misery of self isolation?  Well do I have a new nightmare for you!!!!  No, I’m not talking about the newly discovered murder hornets, but I bring you the tale of the tree and the roaches.  BUCKLE UP MY FRIENDS.

If you are someone who is afraid of bugs, then this story may not be for you.  But I promise it will take your mind off the pandemic we’re currently facing.  Saturday was the first time I didn’t think about corona since this mess began in March.  Silver lining!

So, my neighbor right next door to me, who is basically family at this point, was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad tree taken down from her yard this past Saturday.  I cheered this decision, because I really hate nature and trees, and this particular tree was a problem because it had ivy growing on it.  Ivy usually isn’t bad, but we shared a fence that had ivy growing on it when we moved in, and we mutually agreed to rip that shit out because bugs like ivy, and bugs got in our homes.  This is why I hate nature.  Anyway, the tree guys came on Saturday morning and Eric made the decision to stay awake after work because nobody sleeps when a tree is being taken down outside your bedroom.  No biggie – he’s been up for long periods of time before.  THANK GOD HE DIDN’T GO TO SLEEP.

A few hours into the tree demolition, we hear screaming.  And then my phone starts blowing up with text messages from my neighbor.  The ivy that was on our fence a year ago wasn’t the problem my friends.  Oh no, the tree was the problem.  She explained to me that the roach motel was discovered inside the tree.  I thought, OK, thank goodness it has been found, it’ll be over forever now.  I tell Eric they found a nest of roaches and Eric goes to the window to look outside and then he begins screaming.  Friends, we were under attack.

UNDER. ATTACK.

There are truly no words for what the next 4 hours of our lives were like.  I want you to picture a horror movie of roaches and then multiply it by 12.  This was the reality my neighbor and I faced.  I want you to now envision what was happening outside our homes.  Eric was outside with a huge spray wand of poison, spraying and dancing like a tap dancer to murder the enemy infiltrating our home.  I was running up and down the driveway in my sleep shorts and a tank top with no bra, HEAVILY pregnant, holding two cans of Raid like they were guns in my holster, screaming at every bug.  Charlotte was screaming from the closed screen door, “GET THE COCKAROACHES!!’ and my poor neighbor was running up and down with various cans of poison hysterical crying and apologizing profusely.  The tree guys helped by getting a leaf blower and proceeding to BLOW ROACHES EVERYWHERE.  And in the midst of all this?  Our other neighbor two doors down was having a first birthday parade for her dog.  So there was a dog AND car parade as we ran around in our roach war.

When I tell you Eric was outside for 4 hours killing roaches, I am not exaggerating.  Our homes looked like roach graveyards.  He must have killed 500 just by his tap dancing.  He swatted them off the sides of our house as they tried to climb the walls.  The exterminator came to take care of the rest, Eric went to bed at 7 PM and my neighbor and I cried together multiple times.  But we didn’t think about corona!!!

So far since that day, the only roaches I’ve seen are dead in my pool.  Now that the tree is gone, hopefully our bug problems are too.  Or the roaches that escaped will never forget they lost this war and come back to fight us again.  I’ve got my raid bitches.  I’m ready.

 

Week 9 and Feelin’ Fine

HA.  Far from feelin’ fine, but at least it rhymes.  How are you all doing out there?  Have we gotten used to this yet?  Have we all accepted this is literally it for us?  I haven’t written in weeks, and it isn’t because I haven’t had the time.  All we have is time now.  Every day is Groundhog’s Day.  It’s just that most of the time I feel panic and I don’t want to write something stupid such as, “at least I can drown myself in my pool.”  Some days I wake up and feel comforted by this routine Charlotte and I have created, while other days I am in what I call “the hell zone” and wonder how the actual hell we can continue to live like this.  I miss people.  I miss Target.  I miss relish trays at the diner and bread baskets.  DO YOU GUYS REMEMBER BREAD BASKETS?  WARM BREAD AND BUTTER?  I miss having something, anything, to look forward to.

When I say this, people respond with “but you will have the baby in a  few weeks! That is something to look forward to!”  But seriously, look at your current state of affairs and throw a newborn into the mix.  Would you look forward to a newborn in a pandemic?  No family and no friends and awkward conversations explaining no visitors.  Showing off the baby on FaceTime and drive by’s like she is Simba in the Lion King.  Maybe I’ll organize a new birth parade and everyone can roll down the street honking their horns as I sob into my mesh underwear.  It’s just going from one type of quarantine to another.  I’m very much looking forward to NOT being pregnant anymore, because this child is destroying me, and of course I cannot wait for newborn snuggles and all that shit, but I have a brush with PPD and I don’t really think social distancing and lockdowns are good for that?  Maybe I’m worrying about nothing, but I’m very good at that.  If I’ve learned anything during the pandemic, it’s that I am EXCELLENT at worrying about things I cannot control.  It’s like my very own superpower.

Also, thinking about September gives me full body hives.  We’ve all been hearing our kids probably won’t be going back to school so I guess I should brush up on my kindergarten lessons so I can spend my maternity leave teaching Charlotte?  HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? WHY GOD WHY?

In some good news, (do we get good news anymore?) we opened our pool, so even though it’s been 60 degrees outside (again, WHY?) and the water is cold enough to facilitate hypothermia, I have something pretty to look at outside.  It will be good for Charlotte this summer even though I won’t be able to go in because birth takes away so many things from mothers, including chlorinated pools for 6 weeks, but at least we won’t be stuck in the house screaming at each other like we have been.  I’ll stick a fan on the baby and FaceTime a lifeguard for Char and pray for an end to this madness.

Hang in there everyone.  We’re all in this together, wash your hands, wear your mask, blah blah blah.  I can’t wait to friggin’ drink.

Week 5

It’s officially been a month since we have been housebound.  No work, no school, no nothing.  It feels like SO. MUCH. LONGER.  If you think about it, doesn’t it feel like you’ve lived several lifetimes since the beginning of the year?  And we’re only in APRIL?!  It boggles my mind that we are in our 5th week of social distancing/isolation/quarantine/torture.   Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?  WILL WE EVER FEEL JOY AGAIN?

We will.  I know we will.  When times get really tough and I start to feel like jumping off my roof is a good idea, I think about the day the restaurants open again and how I will probably weep when the waiter asks me what I’d like to drink.  By the time that day rolls around I won’t be pregnant anymore, so I will order alcohol and it will be joyful.  I think about the day I can stroll the mall and take Charlotte back into the Disney store to tell her she can’t buy whatever she wants because money doesn’t grow on trees.  I imagine going to the zoo, the carousel, a concert.  All of these things I took for granted! Now I’d just like to go to the grocery store without a mask and gloves.  I don’t think it will ever feel normal to go out into the world and see EVERYONE with masks and gloves.  I feel like I’m on a movie set every time I step out of my house (which is literally once a week, if I’m lucky).  I can’t wait to watch Charlotte play with her friends again.  All of the progress we’ve made has been undone with this quarantine.  And by that I just mean she’s naked all the time and thinks bathing is optional.  (I mean, if we aren’t going anywhere, isn’t bathing optional?  Nevermind.)

It is the strangest time of my life.  I think it’s the strangest time of all our lives, no matter the generation.  Is it nice to spend extra time with Charlotte before her sister comes in two months?  Sure.  Do I also want to send her to a Corona camp to get one damn minute to myself?  Absolutely.   I’m so thankful I can work from home when so many people can’t, and since I’m not commuting anymore my pregnant body doesn’t hurt as much as it did.  But I even miss commuting.  I miss the quiet of the bus ride, stopping at Starbucks, walking with my head phones in.  I miss my life.  I miss human interaction.

One day we’ll get back to where we were.  One day we won’t be wearing masks or gloves or obsessively wiping down groceries with lysol wipes that we’d gladly pay double for.  While we’re waiting I’ll just make a list of the places I want to go eat and the alcohol I’m going to order and hope the day comes sooner rather than later.

The New Normal

Hellloooooo there!

How are we all doing?  We’re on day 13 of social distancing, quarantine, self isolation, what have you, right?  I don’t even know what day it is!  I can’t remember when my last day at work was, to be honest.  Everything feels like such a blur, yet also feels like it has been years since anything felt normal.

I will say that this week has felt more normal.  This week has also gone faster than last week.  Last week I was a MESS.  I was filled with crippling anxiety and cried on an hourly basis.  But this week?  I think I’ve only cried twice!  I’d say that’s an improvement, no?

Even Charlotte seems to have accepted this new reality.  She still asks me why she can’t see her friends or go to Target, but she’s kind of put herself into her own routine, which is nice.  I’m not being a nazi home school teacher, because 1) I don’t think pre-k aged kids need it and 2) I am not a teacher, but the resources her teachers gave us have been super helpful and enjoyable.  She’s still coloring and drawing and doing little projects I give her.  She practices her writing and uses ABC Mouse and all that jazz.  It is what it is, right?  On my very good days I am happy for all of this extra time we have together before her sister arrives.  On my very bad days I want to set up a Corona Camp and send her there.  It is really a LOT.  Eric is still working because he is ESSENTIAL, so it’s me and Char, all day, every day.  And because she comes into my room every damn night,  it’s all night every night too.  So there’s only about 3-4 hours out of a 24 hour span that she isn’t near me.  Or speaking to me, because she talks in her sleep too.  UGH.

I think the worst part of all of this is not knowing when it will end.  Will it be weeks, will it be months?  Will I be able to go back to work before my maternity leave begins, or will I be house bound until I have an infant?  Will my husband even be allowed in the delivery room with me?  Am I going to have to labor with a mask on my face?  There are just so many questions that can’t be answered and for someone like me, who likes answers and likes them now, it isn’t a great combination.

But I am learning to let go of things I can’t control, which is pretty much everything going on right now.  I am trying to exercise every day, whether it be on my TV or a walk outside on a nice day.  I’m trying not to eat mindlessly because there is nothing else to do (some days are easier than others) and, most importantly, I am rationing out my viewing of Tiger King on Netflix.  Because it is the only thing that matters.

Check in with your neighbors and your loved ones.  Check in with the moms in your life.  We’re all going a bit crazy.  FaceTime dates with family and friends save us daily.  I pray this ends soon!

I have started writing and stopped countless times.  We are self isolating, like so much of the world, and today is only day 2 of no school.  I have been working from home since Friday and will be home until further notice.  I think the scariest part of all of this right now is the unknown.   We are all going into the unknown.  Literally and figuratively, since I’m sure we have all watched Frozen 2 with our kids 750 times since Disney+ surprise released it for desperate parents.  NYC schools are closed until *at least* April 20, with the possibility that they won’t go back at all.  Thinking about this makes me cry immediately.  To think of Charlotte just not finishing Pre-K breaks my heart.  To not see her friends again, or her teachers, or have graduation.  I know it’s worse for so many others, like special needs kids and seniors in high school and college who are ending such important chapters on such shitty notes.  But I’m still sad.  I didn’t lie to Charlotte and I told her we are home to keep everyone safe from the coronavirus.  She already knew about it before shit really hit the fan.  But she’s 5, and she doesn’t fully grasp it.  The past two days she’s asked me when she can go back to school and when we can go to Target.  She wants to know why we can’t go out of the house to go to Egger’s for ice cream or to call her friends for play dates.  She doesn’t want to do the lessons that have been given online because it isn’t the center time she is used to.  I’m so afraid her socialization is going to suffer with only me to talk to.  And I am not acing this crap either., so I’m not very fun to talk to.

I’ve seen the meme 100 times saying “Our grandparents were called to war, you’re being asked to sit on your couch.”  And I get it, but I don’t 100% agree with it.  I can’t just sit on my couch and catch up on every show on Netflix.  I have to work and I have to parent and I have to do it mostly on my own because my husband still has to go to work, which infuriates me because then my isolation feels pointless because I am being exposed anyway.  I have to worry if I’m going to be able to go to a grocery store if I need to, if anything is going to be available or if I’m going to be spending all of my money on take out.  I’m also 6 months pregnant, so my hormones are screwed up to begin with, so it is very easy for me to cry over the smallest thing.

BUT.  With all of this, I am trying to be calm.  Trying being the operative word.  I’m safe at home, I’m healthy, my family is with me.  I’m trying to focus on all of the positives even though I don’t know when all of this will end.  I never thought I’d live through anything like this.  It sounds dramatic, but I think this entire situation is warranted for dramatics.

At least we’ve got the memes.  The memes are some of the best and they are all that we have.