Monday, June 20, 2011

Atlanta Traffic – or – The things I used to do….

It’s 8:15am, I am driving home from dropping Matt off at the airport in Atlanta, he’s on a business trip to Texas again, I will be alone with both boys for three days. Going 80mph in a 55mph area, not because I like to speed, not because I’m in a hurry, but because that’s how people drive here. I don’t even know what highway I’m on, the GPS speaks and I listen… I’ve lived here for only a month and a half and I have no idea how to get around. I can get to the grocery store and back and that is the extent of my knowledge of my new surroundings. Traffic is bumper to bumper, the heart-stopping brake-lights flashing intermittently – I’m trying to concentrate on what the GPS lady is telling me to do, while simultaneously begging my almost three year old, Shea, to please be quiet and watch his movie, and please stop poking your three month old brother in the face and please stop whining, no I can’t put Blue’s Clues on right now, Mommy is driving, Oh God, did I just hear Kellan poop?, no we’re not getting McDonalds, for the love of Jesus Christ please SHUT UP!!!! … Oh my god, did I really just say that? I did, I totally just screamed “Shut Up” at my three year old. Call CPS, surely someone driving past heard me scream at my kid and now I am officially a terrible mother. How did I get here? What happened to leisurely car trips? To putting in my favorite CD, rolling the windows down and just driving, knowing how to get where I was headed? Hmmm….
               New List…. Things I used to do:
               1. Cook.
I used to have fun cooking. Now I feel like I am a contestant on Hell’s Kitchen, but instead of the blond Gordon Ramsey screaming at me and calling me a donkey, it’s the blond three year old screaming at the top of his lungs for I can’t even understand what while I desperately try to throw together a semblance of a meal while bouncing an infant who is teething and cranky AND fighting the urge to hit myself in the face with the frying pan I am using.
               2. Go to the bathroom.
I used to be able to shower and use the toilet whenever I felt the need. Now I have spectators. Shea insists that he accompany me on these trips and I don’t dare leave Kellan in the living room alone with Shea. I have come out from the bathroom or laundry room, to find him with a sucker being shoved in his mouth or on occasion, covered in Hot Wheels cars.
               3. Eat my own food.
I used to be able to grab a snack, or a quick lunch, sit down at the table, or couch and consume said food in its entirety. Now I have to sneak like a ninja to the kitchen with a plan in place, I have to KNOW what I want and where it is. Once I make it to the kitchen undetected, I have to stealthily open a cupboard or fridge door without making a sound. One wrong move and out of nowhere, a little voice behind me says, “Can I have some?” ….sigh….Yes, Shea, you can have some. EVERY time there is food in my hands, “Can I have some? Can I have some?” I’ve even tried saying, “No, you can’t. This is mine” Which elicits glass shattering shrieks, tears and convulsions. I’m actually surprised he doesn’t weigh 300lbs. The kid eats his own meals and snacks and usually half of everything I dare to bring out of the kitchen. On a positive note, I am losing weight….
               4. Play the guitar and/or sing.
Since I was 12 yrs old I have been playing the guitar. I would play for hours until my fingers were so sore I physically couldn’t play anymore. I even used to open for local bands (back in Michigan) and would pack the coffee shop downtown. Now, when I’m feeling the musical urge, I will wipe the layer of dust off of my Alvarez and start playing a song that reminds me of my youth only to be told, “Mommy, be quiet, I can’t hear Dora!”
               5. Balance a check book with two hands.
This task is now done with one arm holding a writhing, whiny three month old while trying to get him latched on to nurse and the other hand trying to write legibly and work a calculator. I am the master of multitasking… This could also be filed under the “Things I now do with a boob hanging out” list….
               So here I am…now at a standstill in traffic on, Ah! I-285… see I’m learning!, I feel horrible for telling my kid to shut up, he’s pouting and making me feel worse. Kellan is starting to fuss, my stress level is now through the roof. But when I really think about it and put it all in perspective, I realize I wouldn’t trade it. Not for a second. These boys are my heart and soul and I’d give up all the “used to’s” in a heartbeat for them.
               “Shea, mommy is sorry. I said a bad word to you and I’m really sorry. Do you want mommy to put on Blue’s Clues when we get home?” He looks up from his pout. “And I’ll get you some Teddy Grahams?” His pout pulls up into a half smile. “And we can play outside after lunch.” He’s beaming, but I know I had him at “Blue’s Clues”. “Ok,” he pushes “and we can play Rock Band and sing Lady Gaga?” “Sure thing Buddy, just let mommy concentrate on getting home, Ok?” He’s ok with that and I feel a little better. Kellan is back asleep and traffic is moving again. GPS lady tells me to exit the highway and I’m back on a familiar street, I think I can get home from here without her. Breathe, breathe, breathe.

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