We went to the San Antonio zoo yesterday. In 101-degree heat. With a four-hour round trip drive. Does that sound challenging? It was. However, it was all worth it to meet up with the other Kidsave families — who are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met — and to see how excited all the girls were to be there. My kids liked it as well, although as it got closer to naptime and they began to look more and more like angry tomatoes, the excitement of the exotic animals began to wear off for them.
Also, in the “scary things that bite” sections, I was trying to get the kids excited as we walked past rattlesnakes, poisonous spiders and scorpions but it kind of fell flat when I announced, “Look, kids! It’s…a bunch of stuff that you can find in the back yard.”
I have a new job description for myself: wife, mother, writer and Hannah Montana English-to-Spanish translator. Rita is absolutely enchanted with this show but doesn’t know a word of English, so I narrate each episode in bad Spanish.
It’s a good thing she has the peppy visuals, because my descriptions alone make the show sound Kafkaesque. “Hannah without the hair is Miley…the friend does not know that Miley is famous because is secret that she is Hannah…and the father of Miley is mad…because she wants to sing and not go to dance with the nice boy…” I can only imagine the plot summaries she’s going to recount to her friends when she returns to Colombia.
“You’re letting her watch Hannah Montana?” you say? I know. Early on I tried to avoid it, but 12-year-old girls have Hannah Montana radar, and when I was flipping through the TV menu she spotted it immediately. Trying to steer her to something more enriching, I suggested that we watch EWTN in Spanish instead. “Look!” I announced, “A movie about Maria Goretti! How lovely to watch a film about a saint.” About thirty minutes into the movie I learned that I should do a little research to make sure I know about a saint’s life before encouraging children to watch movies about them. Just before the assault scene I switched it over to Hannah Montana in a desperate attempt to put on something a little more light. We’ve watched it daily ever since then.
Earlier this week we toured some amazing caves in our area. The tour was fascinating. It was so weird to look up at the top of the cavern and realize that we were standing right under the highway. The craziest part was when they turned out the lights to let us see the total darkness of the cave. The guide told us to close our eyes while he turned off the lights; when we opened our eyes again, there was no difference. None. Just complete darkness. I waved my hand an inch in front of my face and couldn’t see any trace of it. So creepy.
That experience made me realize that it takes a special type of person to be a cave explorer, that type being “not me.” I have a newfound fascination with people who are able to do that. Anyone know of any good books about cave exploration?
What are we going to do about the lack of a gender-neutral singular personal pronoun in the English language? Saying “he or she” all the time is way too clunky, but just using “he” or “she” often comes across like you’re trying to make some kind of political statement. Is there someone we can petition about this? Maybe we should just riot? Maybe we could all just agree to use “them” in the singular sense and fie on anyone who says we’re using it incorrectly. Who’s with me?
A huge “THANK YOU!!!!!!” to those who recommended duct tape in response to my feces apocalypse post. Putting a couple layers of duct tape across the flaps on my daughter’s diaper is a new part of our naptime and bedtime routines, and it’s had a 9 out of 10 success rate. Granted, 1/10th of the time it’s still pretty grim, but it’s a huge improvement.
A few people have mentioned that I seem stressed lately. My friend Elizabeth said in an email the othe day, “You sound SO incredibly tense and stressy-filled lately on your blog.” I found that interesting since I have been especially, ah, “challenged” lately but I didn’t realize it was so obvious.
I’ve been thinking a lot about why I’ve been having a tough time, and I think that 95% of it simply comes down to not having much “introvert time, ” i.e. time when I don’t have to be “on” at all. I haven’t felt comfortable enforcing that with a guest in the house, worrying that it would be rude to essentially say, “Now that the kids are down for naps and it’s just you and I…I’m going to sit alone in my office. See you later!”
Though I technically knew that that was how I recharge my batteries and de-stress (I talked about that some here), I had no idea just how much it impacts me when I don’t have time like that. Even the slightest things leave me feeling like I CAN’T. DEAL. Nothing about having Rita here has been unmanagable in and of itself, but all the activity and responsibility + almost zero alone time has left me running in the red zone lately.
What I’ve realized is that when you have a guest staying with you for five weeks, you can’t be in “guest mode” all the time — you have to relax around them the way you would around family. Starting today I’m going to make it a high priority to get back to having daily introvert time. I’ll be interested to see how much it helps. I’ll report back in next week’s 7 Quick Takes.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
NOTE: Normally this isn’t a big deal, but because we’re going to use this list for something on Monday, this time I will need to delete any links that are not to the specific 7 Quick Takes post. If your link gets deleted because you accidentally entered the main URL of your blog, please re-submit with the link to your 7QT post. If you’re not sure how to do that, this post offers a great explanation. Thanks!