Sunday, April 19, 2009

Nanny 602

In the middle of my children's Spring Break week, the stomach flu hit our house. Here's what happened. First I left the house knowing my daughter had a stomach ache. I knew my husband would be home, but it turns out he came home and stayed in the garage fixing the outside refrigerator. Daughter comes out, tells him she's thinks she's going to be ill, so he sends her in to the bathroom but she doesn't make it there.

I get home and because I'm the mom and the dad is spending hours outside trying to fix a sixteen year old refrigerator I start cleaning. Well, first there's the mopping. Then I get to throw away the rugs daughter destroyed. Then there's the sponge-mopping with anticeptic cleaner, then there's the crawling around and cleaning all the collateral damage. Then there's the nursing.
The next day I have it. The day after that, son, a.k.a. Bar Mitzvahzilla, has it. Today I feel a little punchy again but I must have gained a little immunity from all the cleaning of all these years of being a parent because they definitely get it worse than me.

But for 4 days I am laying on my bed, which is apparently the only place my kids can convalesce, with a sick kid - first one and then the other, and then the well one who feels like he or she is being ignored so they have to pile on too, and then the husband because no one's in the rest of the house so it's like the sun has moved from its spot in the sky. But we're looking for something to watch on TV and we watch Nanny 911 twice - which I've never seen before - and I'm chagrined to find that I'm every woman, so to speak. I'm not exactly those women, but there are certain similarities, things I'm not proud of, things that Nanny would give me a stern talking to about and a swift Mary Poppins kick in the behind about if she descended on my house.

In the first show the mom was a perfectionist, unable to enjoy her children because she was so busy nagging them about cleaning up, about all the stuff they were leaving out, destroying, etc. Check. The second time I watched the mom wanted the kids to be independent and grow up yet kind of didn't; she wanted them to glom onto her, to need her enough that she would kind of ruin their relationship with the dad so she could make herself the most-loved parent. Checkmate.

Well. I kind of wish I had just left the station on HGTV. Decorating I can handle, but here was my life, my glaring errors up in front of me. Have I walked through the house noticing only what has been left undone? Have they cleaned and then had me wondering why there was still filth everywhere? Have I created a close relationship with my kids at my husband's expense? I never have these kinds of revelations after watching Househunters.

So without Nanny coming to visit, without Nanny 602, so to speak, coming to visit Arizona, I've seen myself in the face of every mother who's ever slipped and slided. I'm good at this in so many ways, but surely I can bring the things I'm bad at up a level, at least to "fair."

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