The antedote to all my idyllic posts / by Christina Rosalie

Tonight I can't help wishing I had hired cleaning help, a clawfoot bathtub, a bar of chocolate, and a nice glass of merlot. Instead... when the bath drains the toilet makes gurgling noises. We ran out of toilet paper ENTIRELY. Of course I was ON the toilet when I discoverd this. And our house needs so badly Bean managed to eat an entire second dinner off the floor under the table.

I wanted to write all sorts of brilliant and reflective things in response to hanging out for four days straight with my friend Willow whom I’ve known since fifth grade. But instead I spent the night single parenting and ate cereal for dinner, so all insight has been shelved for some later date.

I have no idea other mamas pull it off with any grace at all. After just a couple of hours every surface in our tiny apartment is strewn with toys, or objects being rendered as toys (think spatulas, bowls). Actually that is an understatment. What I mean is our apartment went suddenly from livable to kick-it-when-you-try to-walk messy. The laundry is in a heap at the top of the basement stairs, and every counter top is covered with dishes.

In an effort to turn things around I washed dishes for so long my fingers pruned. In the past I’ve tried to be very zen about having to wash dishes by hand: it brings you into the moment, yada, yada, yada. But it doesn’t really. It’s less sanitary and a total waste of time that could otherwise be spent reading Bean a book. You can bet we already have a dishwasher picked out for our new kitchen.

The real trouble though is that DH has the stomach flu, and truly there is nothing nastier. It is so hard for me to take care of someone who is vomiting. I think of all the times as a kid when my mom held the bowl for me to puke into, and I shudder with awe, realizing the lengths mothers go. I suppose I would do the same for Bean in a heartbeat—but I can’t quite feel the same empathy for DH.

I couldn’t help feeling a little sorry for myself as he lay on the couch with a low-grade fever clutching his stomach, and I went through the motions of making dinner for Bean, feeding him, cleaning up. To my credit I did manage this more or less to myself, and instead of turning into a total harpie, I proffered ice water and a cool hand. All the while Bean was trying to stand hands free, narrating his progress with a series of high-pitched shreeks, and I kept wondering hell she does it with two little rascals.

There were no catastrophes, really, other than a solid stone rolling pin landing on my foot (clean up from gingerbread cookies I made earlier), but I couldn’t help feeling like I was flailing about in a rising tide. After such lovely days with an extra set of hands, and lots of laughter, it felt really off tonight to be down to just me and Bean. Now everyone’s tucked into bed and for some reason, though it’s earlier than I usually call it quits, I’m totally exhausted.