Monday, September 1, 2008

OUT

We got a babysitter.
For three hours!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, it might be my journalism background, but usually overuse of the exclamation point offends my sensibilities. Just like huge fonts in banner headlines, it must be justified.

Let me assure you, the punctuation is warranted.

We had. A. Terrible. Terrible. TERRIBLE weekend. Three days of terrible, of LABOR, thanks for nothing federal government. Today?

ROCK.

BOTTOM.

Very bad.

The brink.

You could sense the hopeless by NINE A.M. yesterday, with still a day to go. And we are morning people. By ten, I looked at my husband and said, "CALL THE SITTER. Text her. Tell her we'll take ANYTHING. We'll pay ANYTHING. Beg, if you must, but please CALL THE SITTER." He texted her to keep from frightening her with the combat noises in the background and negotiated enough to arrange for her to come today at 4 p.m. We quickly did the math and realized we had a long way to go, so we tried all our best tricks.

By today, I had such an upset stomach I considered going to the E.R.

But four finally came. In the last forty minutes, I managed to hide most of the evidence...er, clean up a little, make the kids' dinners, lay out their supplies, write the sitter a note, prepare Peaches to like the sitter who had only previously watched her brother alone, pack lunches for tomorrow, and take off the filthy clothes from spending a day with snarling beasts...er, my kids.

Four came, and so did the sitter. I warned her, I thanked her, I prepared her, I encouraged her, I told her she was saving our lives, not just our sanity. I promised to be home on time, seven sharp. I admitted we had no idea where we would be, just OUT, and I promised to have cell phone in hand at all times.

I kissed the snarling... I mean darling... children, and I ran.

The cell phone rang after an hour. It rang as we sat eating cheap comfort food that was too spicy for my still knotted, rotted, throbbing belly, and I knew when it rang who it would be. After all, most of our friends have all but given up on calling me. I knew who it would be, but still I had a shock in store...

The sitter called to say: he fell asleep. The rooster went in his room and put himself to bed. At six p.m. Right after biting his sister -- hard -- on her hip, he took a bath, got out, and cratered, completely unprompted.

She wanted to know: should she wake him? Good Lord, when the child who never slept for the first three years of his life VOLUNTARILY goes to sleep, I imagine he MUST BE TIRED, so I said thank you, thank you, no. Please let him sleep. I knew he'd wake before we returned, and then a little Melatonin would help him get even more rest.

At seven, we walked into some strangers' house. Looks like ours, but quieter. Subdued. Like ours, two kids live there, but these two clean smelling souls wearing matching pajamas spoke to us quietly before politely saying goodbye to the sitter.

The sitter, by the way, thinks I'm just a crazy drama queen. I actually love that. Otherwise no way on earth could I afford her.

It seems both children slept a little in our absence, and it had done them a world of good. (We tried so hard to get them to nap all day that we even drove them up and down the freeway -- forgive us, Earth -- in holiday weekend traffic in one of the most trafficky cities in America, with books on tape and everything short of a swinging pocket watch, to no avail.)

With three hours of normalcy, of being able to look one another in the eyes and be a couple, of being able to debrief and comfort one another, of being able to BREATHE, my husband and I also came back a bit restored.

At seven, we all settled down together for story time. The Rooster's scary voice had been replaced by the voice we cherish, and after Peaches showed us her bite booboo, everyone seemed mollified. We got through the nighttime routines without blood shed.

So what I'm telling you is, we made it through another day. I can read the words of wisdom in the comments and in my email and feel the welcome support and contemplate facing another day again tomorrow. I'm not looking for an open window...

Because WE GOT A SITTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, you go get one too, you out there who needs one. Sell something on EBay if you have to, but get out for three hours. And keep passing open windows.

(Special loving gratitude to J and Friends of Rooster; you know who you are.)

4 comments:

Niksmom said...

grinning from ear to ear for you! whew!

Holly Nappi Collins said...

Yes, bribe, steal, con--anything and everything you must do to get away for a few hours...then you come home human! Ah, I remember it well--the good old day!!

Holly--fearless females

Joeymom said...

That's fabulous. Wish we had one of those.

redheadmomma said...

Here's a novel thought: could it be that you all just need a break from each other from time to time? Brilliant, no? Run with it, babe! Get that B-sitter back! :)