In all honesty if we were going to have a stomach bug while Z was out of town it couldn’t have happened in a better way. The boys didn’t puke at the exact same time. They spaced the puking so I had time to get laundry going and clean up before the next puke. T only puked once. Ten minutes before that puke he said, “Mom! I need to throw up! But not now. In a few minutes.” He was so casual about the whole thing I didn’t really believe him, but I got the bucket anyway. Which was good because a few minutes later he stood up and announced, “Now I need to throw up.” Which he did neatly inside the bucket. I asked him how he felt afterwards and he said, “I feel nuts!” Two hours after it began it seemed to be over for them. They were acting peppy and begging for food. They both ate and kept down dinner.
So when I started feeling sick around dinnertime I comforted myself with the thought that at least it would be short.
Both boys were down by 8:10pm and didn’t wake until 6am. They gave me 10 hours to be sick as a dog. Because it was not over fast for me. I was violently ill from both ends throughout the night. While I’d love to hash out all the details, and believe me I regaled family members with graphic blow by blows, I’ll spare you guys. Out of curiosity I weighed myself in the morning and I’d lost 5lb, that sort of tells you how nasty it was. Taking sips of water made my gut feel like it was being stabbed. The longest I’d slept at once was 50 minutes. I was shaking and weak and dehydrated and had a fever. When the boys woke I realized there were 13 hours and 20 minutes to get through until bedtime. Yesterday did indeed suck ass.
A babysitter was able to come from noon till 3:30 and I slept the whole time she was here. I spent the rest of the day feeling tremendously and indulgently sorry for myself.
Last night I ate some pancakes with the boys, which was a pretty big mistake. My stomach wasn’t ready for food yet, so I had a few bad hours, but this morning I feel better. Still weak. Would really benefit from a day of rest. But better.
I also feel ashamed. Last night I lost my shit on T when he wouldn’t stay in bed. I apologized to him, but felt like the worst Mom on the planet. Like I said I’ve thrown myself an extended and extravagant pity party. Z left Thursday at 7:20am, we got sick Thursday afternoon/evening. He isn’t going to be home until around 5:30pm on Monday. Five full days alone is hard for me. This is ugly and unfair, but I resent Z for getting the break. He is working, but he gets to go out for drinks in the evening. Every meal is at a restaurant. He sleeps alone for four nights. He gets enough distance to miss the kids.
If you are thinking I have it pretty rough, please. I don’t. From Monday to Wednesday he took the kids for the bulk of the day so I could do research for my term paper. I’m so freaked out by the amount of work that I have to do, so unsure how to make the paper happen that I squandered most of the time. Also, Z is an incredibly present and involved father. He encourages me to take breaks. He makes a huge effort to be home for dinner and bedtime, often going back out after the boys are down to fulfill work obligations. When he travels he wants me to get babysitters for a few hours.
Z doesn’t have a problem articulating his needs. He is supporting us, part of his job is a professional practice and research. This trip to DC? It’s helping his career. The time he spends in his basement shop making found object instruments and furniture? It’s helping his career. He attends conferences and recruitment events. It’s his job. He wants to relax and have fun so he started an all Ukulele jam session in town called Syrauke. It meets every other Saturday for three hours and it brings him a lot of joy. This guy packs more into 24 hours than anyone I’ve ever met, he still doesn’t have time to do everything he wants, but six days out of seven he is at home for dinner and bath and bedtime.
He wants to meet my needs as well. Last fall when I decided I couldn’t take a class because it met into the night and C wasn’t close to being weaned he called bullshit. He said we would work it out. C would live. I would live. I needed to do something for myself. He constantly asks me what he can do to lighten my load.
Hiring a babysitter? I can do that no problem without a lot of guilt. I’m paying her for her time. It isn’t a favor. But asking for help? Expressing that I need something? The words catch in my throat. I swallow them and they fester in my belly, turning into resentment until the kids feel like a duty. My resentment overshadows everything good in my life and I wallow, forgetting how lucky I am and how much joy is in front of me if I would bother to look. It’s a vicious circle and all I want is to escape.
Why can’t I just ask for help? It’s the anxiety, stupid. The anxiety has convinced me I am worthless. The anxiety reminds me that I am luckier than most-so much has been given to me how could I have the balls to ask for more? She reminds me I am a spoiled brat that only takes. She tells me that if I do ask people will begin to resent me. So when Z asks me what I need I look him straight in the eyes and tell him nothing, the whole time hating myself and him and the boys. The anxiety wins again. She has made me into an ugly person. She has made me deeply ashamed.
But. I am fighting back. I did take that class last fall. I took another this spring. I’ve gone to the movies alone several times. In April Z and I are going to a hotel in town overnight while his mom is here. We arranged for the boys and me to spend the month Z will be in Japan teaching a class with my parents. I’ve told Z that I’m frustrated and angry and that I need a fucking break.
I need help. There. I said it.
Sick as fuck.
Yesterday C curled up on the sofa with me and fell asleep. He hasn’t napped on me for ages and it was lovely.
I took C up to his crib and got a quick shower. When I came down I found this. T thinks he is a cat.