The Cranky McCluskys

Posted: September 5th, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: Career Confusion, Husbandry, Miss Kate | No Comments »

Yesterday, man, were we cranky. I’m not sure who started it but Kate was not herself. Maybe teething, maybe just asserting an uglier part of her personality that thankfully has been dormant for much of her existence. And she didn’t take a morning nap and then I was jangled because it didn’t give me a break and then I was snappish with Mark and/or either he or I or Kate started it all and it unraveled from there. At any rate, there was not a lot of merrymaking at this house yesterday. Nothing too terribly miserable either–just cranky.

At one point we took Kate to a local kiddy park that a kind of crazy person in the ‘hood always talks about, and once we were there and Kate was on the swings for 3.5 minutes Mark and I looked at each other and wondered what else to do. Sometimes you just forget what to do with the baby and the time before her bedtime stretches on infinitely, like when you’re watching the clock at a temp job.

And during this jaunt to the park, in which we spent a sum total of 8 minutes (but were at least grateful for having used up that much of time), Mark said something about the four-day weekend and running out of baby-entertainment ideas. Even though I was right there with him–baffled as to what to do with her, with all of us, next–it was an interesting insight into what it’s like to have a job and not just do the Kate thing day after day.

This is of particular interest because I now have a job. Well, I got a job and I guess that means I “have” it, though it hasn’t manifested itself into something that I go and do yet. Right now it just exists in the abstract, and my attention is focused on telling my friends and family the “I have a job” story, and looking for a nanny.

I met a nanny today who I’d held out irrational hope for as being a perfect Mary Poppins. She was the first person I interviewed and even though she was smart and sweet and seemed to be someone who would be responsible and maybe even fun with Kate, I didn’t feel like she was The One. She didn’t sufficiently flip out over Kate’s beauty, intelligence, and charisma. And the fact that I didn’t love her, and either apparently did Kate, left me feeling like I might get to a place of feeling desperate or scared or having to make a childcare decision that doesn’t rock me to my soul with right-ness. Though really, I know Mark and myself enough to know we would never do that.

Today Kate exhibited more nap-refusal and crankitude that made me start thinking like Mark was yesterday. Soon there will be a day when I know that even if she’s having a rare grumpy day or even just an episode, I’ll have another place to go/thing to do tomorrow, and somehow that will make it easier to endure the fuss. (Of course, even having that thought made me feel guilty…)

It reminded me of the thing that you do when you’re moving out of New York City. (I did this, but I assume anyone who leaves there does it too.) So, when you move out of New York, in the time that you know you are moving but you haven’t yet gone, you let all the totally crappy things about living there seep into your consciousness. Actually, you not only let them seep in, you celebrate them:
No more urine drenched subway tunnels!
No more $17 omelets!
No more having your feet in your shower stall when you’re sitting on the toilet because your bathroom is so damn small!

Well, you get the point. There is no place like New York. The place you are going won’t have anywhere near the energy or the opportunities or the 4AM Indian food delivery. But you need to rationalize hard about how you are making the right decision.

With my return to work date looming, I’m trying to trick myself into this very headset. So I will be away from Kate for 30 hours a week. Well, I’ll have fewer stinky diapers to change! I won’t be calling Mark at his office when she’s cranky and I just need to vent for a sec because I won’t be there either! I’ll…

God, the fact is, it’s hard to even come up with the reasons why it’ll be good to leave her. So instead of thinking of all the things that suck about NYC, I think I need to focus on the good things that await me in the place I am going to.

And hopefully, I’ll have a much greater appreciation for all manner of stinky diapers, toddler meltdowns, and long days before bedtimes when I get them.

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