My Fresh Hell
Life in Scribbletown.

Adventures in Suburbia


This weekend can be summed up by the tarot cards I pulled for each day.

Saturday: The Devil (bondage, ignorance, hopelessness)
Sunday: Two of Cups (connection, truce, attraction)

On Saturday, Red threw a day-long conniption fit. She spent a lot of time in her crib – "time out" – and things got so bad in the middle of the day that apparently she was spanked. Something neither my husband nor I had ever, EVER, hoped to resort to. It’s not how we are. It isn’t what we do. I say "apparently" because I was not home when the alleged spanking occurred (thank jeebus). I was having lunch with my writers’ group having a wonderful conversation about the many excuses we find to not write – some legitimate and many others...not so much.

Red began the day with a series of fits when she both wanted and did not want (at the same time) milk, water, Oatios, banana, and bagel with cream cheese. She was just beside herself with my lack of understanding of WHAT THE FUCK SHE WANTED and my refusal to give her things she could not have. Things like rubber bands and serrated knives. Call me a bad mom. Go ahead. Many others have.

She then spiraled into “mine!, mine!” arguments about things she wanted but were decidedly NOT hers and eventually she just lost her shit altogether so that she was unable to calm herself down and couldn’t even abide any comforting whatsoever. I began to wonder if she wasn’t sick or coming down with something. Grasping at straws, I was, to understand what was at the root of this meltdown.

Part of the problem was that I needed to make a black bean & corn salad for the above mentioned luncheon. So, I was unable to hold her while I was doing that. And she wanted to be held. Then, for some unknown reason (clearly I had lost my friggin’ MIND!), I caved into Dusty’s request that we put together the gingerbread house kit that I’d stupidly bought some time ago.

The gingerbread house fiasco requires its own entry. To quote Sally, "I demand restitution!" A letter to the company that makes Cak3 Mat3 will be posted here shortly.

When I returned from lunch – and buying groceries in the suburban hell location of my local grocery store (I’d forgotten that some women DRESS UP to shop. WTF?) where I was unable to find about ten standard items (figures), which will require me to go to my regular store today and pick them up – Red had not improved. I then learned about the spanking. Sigh.

I’m embarrassed to admit we’ve fallen so far from our self-authored parenting guidelines manual. I won’t dwell on this any longer; I’ll just depress myself. I also won’t go into the fact that it wasn’t ME who spanked her. No. There are limits to how much of my life I wish to expose at the moment.

Needless to say, Red went to bed early that night. It would be an understatement to say we were all a bit tired by 6:30pm.

On Sunday, I awoke about 7:30am, stumbled into the kitchen to make coffee, and heard Red in her crib singing and laughing to herself. She was pleasant all morning, agreeable to whatever food was placed in front of her. We looked at pictures of kitties and puppies in the coupon section of the newspaper. I read her some books.

She was happy and entirely content all day.

We went to visit Santa in Suburban Hell. The same area that I’d purchased groceries the day before. Dusty, who is trying to figure out her universe and is always asking questions about countries, states, cities, etc (and which fits into which category in a way I liken to a series of Russian wooden dolls that fit one inside the other - country, state, county, city, town, village, hamlet), asked where we were, if this wasn’t the city.

“No, this is the suburbs.”

“Well, why can’t we go to a mall that’s not in the suburbs?”

“Because, sadly, that’s where they put malls.”

Though Santa’s hours had begun five minutes before we entered the *shiver* food court*god-help-me-auuugghh!* the line to see him was already a dozen families deep. The man behind me – some oily shyster with WAY too much cologne on – drove me batshit crazy by saying to his two charges (I could find no evidence that he was actually their father; I never did figure out the relationship, though I wasn’t trying very hard), “Now what are we going to do after this if you all are good? RIGHT! Get ice cream! What kind do you want: vanilla, chocolate or strawberry?” Because apparently only those three flavors exist.

On the bright side, we saw Augustus Gloop!(Scroll down to the Michael Bollner photo.) A dead ringer if ever there was one. He was one of these giant children who look about a year older than they really are. He seemed to be about Red’s age but he was much less mature and unsteady on his feet like he’d finally just learned to walk last week.

He was dressed in a red sweater, red plaid shorts, white knee-high socks, and white ankle shoes. The kind my generation of baby would have worn. He had an enormous fat head – Dusty and I gazed at him as his mother fed him a ginormous bucket of French fries before they got in line – and was beginning to throw a fit seconds before he reached Santa Himself. He was so Germanic looking with that short wavy blonde hair. Incredible.

Red and Dusty were unbelievably patient during our 45 minute (!!) wait in line. They were good-natured and enjoyed people-watching with me. They sat on Santa’s lap, Dusty told him she wanted new dress-up shoes for Christmas (a wish he can thankfully fulfill), Red did not cry this time, and a beautiful picture was taken. I’ll try to post it tonight.

The rest of the afternoon was spent dancing to the Beatles: Sgt Pepper and Revolver. Dinner was eaten without much food being thrown. Red and Dusty played “Jump Off a Cliff” by jumping off my bed onto a pile of pillows and the hedgehog foot stool thingy. Red went to bed. Dusty watched an episode of “Electric Company” and peace reigned.

Another bright point: A CD of choral music from Harriet which helped calm me down on Saturday during my drives and set the mood for the season. It reminded me of the one thing I liked about church way back when: the music. I enjoyed being in the church choir. I never cared what I was singing about, I just liked the singing. The CD is lovely! Thanks, Harriet!



10:18 a.m. ::
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