Wednesday, March 13, 2013

All Thanks to a Little Explorer

I have a confession to make today. For months now, I’ve been sleeping with a Mexican and a monkey.  It’s true, and I wish this were about to unfold as some tawdry, bizarre tale.  However, the truth is that I’ve allowed myself to become one of those mothers who allows her toddler to sleep in bed with mom and dad whenever she’s crabby or crying.  This is, of course, every god-damn night.  As my toddler is currently a highly fervent Dora the Explorer fanatic, her Dora and Boots dolls have also managed to take up space in our queen size bed, ensuring that I know longer get spooned by my spouse (a very sad actuality). 

Although I have increasingly grown to hate nights waking up with a damn Dora doll wedged under my back, I must admit that I am immensely thankful for that little explorer gal.  I would like to see Dora get some well-fitting clothing sometime soon so that midriff of hers isn’t always exposed, but other than this, she teaches many valuable lessons to my admiring toddler daughter.  At just over two years old, Emily uses Spanish words for colors and numbers on a regular basis.  I, myself, have actually learned more Spanish from hours of viewing Dora with my daughter than I ever did in high school.  My teacher at the time, a morbidly obese woman who did know the language quite well herself, just didn’t have the patience for all of us incompetent students and would thus often declare, “Stop asking questions! How can you not get this? You guys are so dumb! We’re moving on!” 
 Unlike my high school foreign language teacher, Dora is patient and encouraging.  She also has many other great traits.  She is brave and intelligent.  She’s a loyal friend and she never, ever gives up. Beyond all these qualities, though, Dora’s best attribute is undeniably her ability to transfix my daughter and possess her absolute attention, not veering away from the television screen for even a second.  Without this attribute, shit would not get done around this house.  Dora the Explorer allows me to do the laundry, wash the dishes, clean the floors, scrub the toilets, and dust the house (although dusting remains a rare occurrence as it’s my most despised chore).  If not for Dora, Boots, Isa, and that hunky Benny the Bull, we may be living in filth.   

I have loved Dora for her ability to allow me to still accomplish household tasks while raising two children under age two and working.  Yet it was my husband who proudly pointed out two evenings ago, when we managed to sneak away for some mommy and daddy time while the youngest napped and Emily sat transfixed to the television, a new reason to thank that young explorer.  While lying in bed together, wrapped up in one another’s arms, he asked, “Did you hear that?”  I smiled, satisfied, and asked him what sound he was referencing.  “Lo Hicimos! We did it! Did you hear it?  Dora’s over.  The show had just started when we came to the bedroom.  Damn! We’re getting good at this.  We managed foreplay, sex, and cuddling all within the span of one Dora episode!”  He beamed at this accomplishment and I got up to get dressed and return to our daughter. 

I’ve said this before, a true cliché of parenthood, but I’ll say it again: children change everything.  Never, ever, in my life would I have imagined feeling a sense of accomplishment for fitting in foreplay, intercourse, and snuggling all within the span of a child’s cartoon.  Life has changed indeed, but I love these children so damn much, and I wouldn’t change things back in a million years or for a million dollars.  I thank heaven for these children, and am just as grateful for Dora the Explorer. Lo Hicimos! We did it, Dora! The house is clean and mommy’s getting laid.  Thank your little monkey friend, too, but maybe you two can stop coming to bed with me. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

And There was No Wine

I sat on the couch sobbing, “I’m so sorry I ruined Valentine’s Day. I’m so sorry I ruined everything.”

We had a dinner reservation in a town about thirty minutes away.  My spouse had asked my mother a whole month in advance if she was willing to babysit. It had been months since the two of us had actually been out together.  Date night is a rare occurrence in our house as we have a two year old and a seven month old.  It’s also become a rarity as means to save money given my current unemployment.

We had to cancel those reservations because I was too anxious and depressed to even leave the house.  I felt absolutely desperate in this most recent depression, afraid that this one was so bad I may never come out of such depths of anguish and lingering gloom.  So, I wasn’t just ruining one meal together, but I felt absolutely sure that I was also ruining my life, our marriage, and our family's future.  I honestly believed all of these things in those moments of despondency. 

However, as I recently regained some clarity, I realized that the situation was never truly hopeless, and reservations could easily be rescheduled.  Our date may not have happened on the holiday assigned to love.  However, we can just as easily celebrate our love and additionally celebrate renewed clarity and hope on any calendar day. 

As a component of my enhanced clarity, I felt a strong desire to solve the riddle of such a deep depression.  My moods were cycling and this low felt far deeper and more abysmal than it had in years.  It was such an entrenched, serious low and one I never, ever want to experience again.  Therefore, I began to contemplate the source of such a deep depressive episode. 

Well, it was February … and February is a bitch of a month, hiding the sun away from those of us who desperately rely on her rays to make it through each day.  Furthermore, I had also stopped taking my fish oil during my most recent pregnancy as it upset my stomach, and I never resumed my consumption of this natural mood beneficiary. I was still ruminating over my job loss and the injustice of the whole situation.  Finally, the obvious culprit (once I had regained any sense of clarity) was my most recent medicine change.
I still felt certain, though, that there was even more to the mystery of such an acute episode. Suddenly, it occurred to me.  There was a reason our Valentine’s Day reservations were not in our own town.  That reason is because we had ran out of wine in the house about two weeks before  and there’s really no fine wine to be found at our local liquor stores.  However, the town we planned to dine in had an extremely fine wine cellar, and part of my Valentine’s Day present was for my husband to purchase me a new stock of wine. 

Alas! I had solved the mystery of this latest episode.  It was the wine!  Damn! I didn’t need a new mood stabilizing medication. I needed some finely fermented medication.   I feel quite certain the psychiatrist will agree with this analysis when I meet with her again tomorrow morning, right?  This girl just needs her god-damn wine. Next year, I shall ensure a sweet Valentine’s Day by staying well stocked throughout these long, difficult winter months.