Sunday, February 24, 2013

I am not a cheetah

Last week, Randy was out of town, in Colorado.  Aside from the feelings of envy as my husband enjoyed the beauty of the Rockies in our 'home state', I was feeling overwhelmed by the reminder of what it was like to fly solo as a quasi-single momma.  Add in the horrible sinus infection I battled, and the 1-2 punch of an ear infection and two-year molars that Raegan was coping with, and you can imagine it was a pretty crazy week.

My dear friend Sue had visited last weekend for the holiday weekend, and after she left Tuesday morning, I made the executive decision that we would spend the rest of our week (at least until we felt better), holed up on the couch, enjoying quick and easy meals like french toast, hamburger helper (bleh), frozen pizza, and cereal.  Cleaning was on an 'as-needed' basis, Disney movies and the Food Network were at our beckon call, and boxes and bottles of medication peppered the countertop in the kitchen.  Ideally, it would have been a glorious couple of days where I could relax, unwind, read, snooze, and catch up on the list of shows in our DVR.

But when you factor kids into the equation, the glory days are over.  Sick and solo parenting isn't a 'new thing' for me, I've been down the road before.  But a solid week of sick and solo parenting after several months of not having to solo parent at all (save one overnight trip to North Dakota) can wear on anyone.

Any mommy knows that no matter how much you love your cubs, sometimes you just need to leave the burrow solo (or, go to a different part of the burrow) in order to maintain sanity.  With my own little personal velcro (a.k.a. Raegan), I find it becoming increasingly difficult to do that.  It seems the older she gets, the more attached she becomes (a phenomena I didn't think was possible, but her goal in life is to prove me wrong).  This past week was of course no exception, since she didn't feel well (strike 1), has never been what is considered a 'good sleeper' (strike 2) and was missing her daddy (strike 3--my sanity's out).

With the collection of sinus cold meds I was taking, and both of our terrible coughs, I felt it was easiest to let my littlest munchkin sleep with me while Randy was gone (plus, it's lonely on the first floor without him!).  ***I know this is the perfect opportunity for my mother to interject that I'm 'creating my own monster' by allowing Raegan to do this, but I also know that some day I'll miss this, so I'm playing the odds that I won't someday have a middle schooler who insists on a middle of the night bottle while cuddled in mom's bed.  (Although, I'm fairly certain that even then, I'd give in to her cuteness).

So with the entire day spent cuddling, couch sitting, and movie watching, along with the whole night spent cuddling, being kicked, and tossing and turning; I had no respite.  And any mom can tell you that with toddlers, using the restroom or taking a shower are no longer sacred activities.  Nothing, not a single activity, becomes a solo stint.  Even as I type this, all three kids are chasing each other through the office.

With Randy home, there's the opportunity to dash off to shower without the kids (ahem, Raegan) noticing my absence.  Otherwise, she's clinging, following, climbing my leg, or hanging off my hip.  While I love the fact that I'm pretty much the center of her colorful little universe...


When I'm sick, I'm one of those 'don't-touch-me-leave-me-alone-but-bring-me-soup-and-gatorade-and-crackers-when-I-need-them' sort of girls.  Raegan, sweet girl that she is, is the opposite.  And that's ok.  But there came a point on Thursday when I just needed a break.  She was happily entertained by Despicable Me on the tv, so I slipped off the couch to fold a load of laundry that had just finished it's seventh or eighth 'air fluff' cycle in the dryer (my saving grace for those times when pairing socks and folding superhero underwear sounds like some form of cruel and unusual punishment).  I quietly pulled the basket into my bedroom, clicked on the tv to something that did not feature cartoon characters, or mind-numbing puppets dancing around in random patterns.  I dumped the basket on the bed, figuring this would force me to complete the task if I wanted to sleep in the bed later.  As I sorted and folded, I plopped down and settled into the comfort of the perfect pillow arrangement I'd crafted from both Randy and my pillows (a bonus to having him out of town--sleeping in a virtual cloud of pillows).  I assessed the status of my appearance, and realized that the random mesh of yoga pants, cami, tee, half-zipped hoodie, pale and mascara-less face, and questionable hair 'style' (for lack of a better term) deemed me worthy of a shower and a fresh change of clothes (into sweats, of course).

That's when I heard her.


The dream of cleanliness and feeling a little closer to 'normal' evaporated as quickly as my desire to continue folding the clothes that littered my bed had.  I thought fast.  In one fluid movement, I pounced and landed at the threshold to my bedroom with hopes of arriving fast enough to close the door, and then retreat into my closet to hide, just for five.more.minutes.  My head nearly exploded from the combination of rapid movement and sinuses that were ready to throw in the white flag, but it was worth the moment or two I nearly blacked out from the pain to attempt my cheetah-esque maneuver and achieve a few minutes more of sweet, blissful peace.

My moves were surprisingly fast enough, despite my horrendous state of disrepair, and the door was clicked shut before she entered into the hallway leading to my room.  But she was gaining speed, and hearing the click of the door was a solid giveaway as to my location.  I thought fast.  The closet was an obvious spot; she's found me sitting cross-legged on the floor many times, continuing phone conversations that had previously been cut-off by her incessant whining.  So, I did what any cheetah would do: I camouflaged.

My sloppy and hap-hazard appearance matched well with the random array of clothes strewn across the king-sized bed.  So, I hopped on.  I pulled my hood up and sank down into the plush arrangement of pillows.  I 'fluffed' the clothes that I actually had folded (crap, now I have to re-fold), and lay still.  My breath was shallow as the door clicked open and a little, dirty blonde head bounded in, giggling with each bounce.  She ran past the bed, rounded into the bathroom and headed toward the closet, shouting 'Mommmmmayyyy!' in a breathy, cough-laden way.

When her search proved fruitless, she came back through the bathroom and stood next to the bed.  Her tone changed, and, although I didn't see her face, I knew what it looked like.  Her pouty, lower lip was sticking out as her shouts quieted to a questioning little whimper.  "Mommy???"  She was concerned, worried that her other half had gone missing; lost like a sock in the dryer.

Ugh.  Tug at my heartstrings, would ya?  She whimpered one final, desperate plea for my return, and with that, I caved.  My creative (and successful) new hiding spot was exposed as I sat up and pushed the random clothes aside.  The squeal of delight as she discovered that in fact I had not disappeared' from the face of the Earth pretty much made up for the fact that I had given away a pretty awesome spot to escape when the mood strikes.  As I pulled my little munchkin up onto the bed to give her big hugs and be on the receiving end of a snot-filled kiss, I realized that although my moves were fast enough, and my camouflaging spot-on for hiding in the 'wild', my mommy instinct overtakes my ability to be still and wait patiently.  I could never be a cheetah.


Randy arrived home late Friday evening to the squeals and delight of everyone in the house, but none so much as me.  As stoked as I was to see my handsome hubs, I was equally excited by the fact that I now had an opportunity for some 'freedom'.  So, Saturday morning, I made an appointment to get a more-than-embarassingly-so-needed haircut.  I don't have a single clue as to where to go for a reputable stylist, and I knew I didn't want to dish out a huge chunk of change since we're being money conscious (not to mention that since I've become a full-time mommy, my style of choice usually integrates a little black elastic in some capacity.  (On my 'less-than-fancy' days, I don a stylish hat and two low pigtails.  Those days were becoming more frequent as the search for a hairstylist stretched on).  

Based on the week I had, and the feelings of desperation that surged through me as I ached for some alone time that didn't involve hiding in a pile of clean laundry, I relied on Yelp to guide me to a reasonably priced, positively reviewed spot that was just up the road in the shopping center I frequent. How I'd missed this place before was beyond me, but I kind of wish I had seen it beforehand to give it the 'once over' to see if it's a place I can see myself frequenting.  But, I had none of that, so I just relied on the words on the screen of my iPhone and made an appointment.

I won't say that I had an awful experience, nor did I receive a terrible haircut.  It's not like I wanted anything fancy...just a trim and style to clean up the stereotypical SAHM look that I swore I'd never let myself fall into.  (Calm down...not bashing SAHMs...just acknowledging and finding humor in the stereotypes that develop from the nay-sayers of the job).  I am saying, however, that the search continues for a place I can call 'home' in terms of my haircut-and-color needs.  It was an interesting experience, one where I quickly had to adapt the way I described my desired look to someone for whom English was not their first language.  Communication has never really been a problem for me, however I could not get the stylist to understand what I was saying, even with the use of the picture I had pulled up on my phone, courtesy of Pinterest.  Thankfully, one of his co-workers came to his rescue (actually, my rescue) and described what I wanted and his look of confusion relaxed into a slightly more comfortable expression.  He motioned for me to come over and sit down in the chair.  As I walked past other clients, each in their various states of beautification--wet locks having their ends snipped, wild and messy tresses being blown dry, or alien-esque hair being tinted with color and wrapped with foil--I took note of the fact that each client's cape featured some sort of animal print.  Zebras, giraffes, and tigers flanked the walkway back to my chair.  As I sat down, the stylist spun me around and draped my cape around me, so he could begin his work.  I was just wrapping up a text to Randy while he did this, so when I looked into the mirror at my reflection, I had to laugh out loud.

I was a freakin' cheetah.

this momma cheetah and I are kindred spirits

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