The Great Divide
Yesterday was a count-down day--the kind of day when you count down the minutes until DH gets home. I had a zillion neighbor kids at my house, trashing my basement, and I had been dealing with other people's children all day long. I've come to a realization. I don't like other people's children. That said, I was desperately waiting for DH to come home so that I could effectively say, "Family time- GO AWAY!" to all the other kids. DH pulled in right when I had expected him too, dinner was in the oven, ready to be eaten in 5 minutes, and I heaved a huge sigh of relief when he walked in the door. His first words were, "Ugh", and he tossed his obviously heavy laden briefcase on the couch. A sympathetic wife would have said, "Tough day at the office dear?" A good wife would have sat him down, and rubbed his tired feet. A loving wife would have listened quietly and reverently as her husband ranted and raved about his evil boss, the never-ending rat race, and the snotty teenagers on the subway who drive the regular commuters crazy. I was not feeling sympathetic, good, or loving. I responded to his, "ugh" with a shouted, "Hey kids, Jacob's Daddy is home! Time to go!" and I ran down to the basement to corral them and GET THEM OUT of my house. After long protests, whining and crying on their part, and some downright physical coercion on my part, I cleared the house of small children, pulled out the beautiful homemade pizza dinner from the oven, and we sat down as a family to eat. DH said, "Um, hello." Jacob: "Thiz hot. Mommy, blow on it." Me: (intermittently blowing on pizza) "Hmm. What do you think I should do about these kids trashing our basement? Should I set stronger rules about clean up? Should I tell them that they can't come over if they don't help clean up? Sometimes I just feel like I'm a free babysitting service!" DH: "I got consulted on a death penalty case today." Jacob: "I want my drink!" Me: "I mean, what are the parents thinking, that I have all the time in the world to take these kids to the park, while Jacob is dying for a nap? And that's the other thing, those kids bang on the door while Jacob is sleeping, and then they wake him up and he's grumpy the rest of the afternoon. Could you get him some juice?" DH: (pouring a drink for Jacob) "It looks like an interesting case." Me: "I should put a sign on the door that says, 'Baby sleeping. Knock and you die.' Hey, did you buy vegetables for stir-fry like I asked you to? I didn't see any in the fridge or the freezer. I wanted to make stir-fry for dinner tomorrow." Jacob: "I'm drinking my drink. Mommy, you drink it with me. NO, you drink your drink all gone WITH me. Ok, let's drink it all gone!" DH: "It will be a great break from the document review that I've been doing for the last 4 months." At this point, I stop drinking my drink all gone, and look at him and say, "What are you TALKING about?" DH: "My case--the death penalty case I told you about?" Me: "You're working on a death penalty case?" Jacob: "Mommy, I'm done. I don't want more pizza. Will you play trains with me downstairs?" DH: "Jacob, Mommy is still eating. Yes. I just told you that. A case in Tennessee." Me: "You're going to Tennessee!?! You didn't tell me that!!" Jacob: (whining) "But I need you to play trains with me, Moommmeeheee!" DH: "No, I'm not going to Tennessee, the case is just in Tennessee." Me: "Jacob, go play trains downstairs for a minute, and then we'll make cookies for Family Home Evening." (We had to move FHE to Tuesday this week.) Jacob: (jumping up and down)"Cookies! Yea!" Then he ran to drag his trains up from the basement and into the kitchen, and then came up to me with something behind his back. "I have a present for you, Mommy." Me: "Well, would you keep me appraised of what you are doing at work? I like to know what's going on in your life, please." Of course, as I said this, I thought, 'But you haven't said anything about what I went through today!' DH: "Hey, Heather, Jacob's talking to you. Would you acknowledge your son, please?" It was not like this when I was working. I would come home, tell DH about my day, he would tell me about his day, and we would have good, meaningful communication (most of the time, anyway. Often times his mind would be fried from studying, and then really, at that point, the only thing to do is just to write the conversation off and turn on Buffy!). But throw a kid into the mix, me at home all day, and the little booger interupting everything every three seconds, and our communication sometimes gets shot to hell. I'm not really sure what to do about, either, short of muzzling the small child. I think I used to be good at communicating, but somehow I've lost all sense of the art since having a child. It's pathetic. Anybody else have similar problems? Is there a Great Divide at your house, too, or are we the only ones talking past each other? Now if you'll excuse me, I have some vegetables for a stir-fry dinner to buy. DH informed me later that no, he didn't buy them. Were they on the list? OF COURSE they were on the list! Weren't you listening?