February 23rd 2014
Wilder is 17 weeks old.
I’m pretty certain that every parent has felt this at least one time, but honestly, my son is so fucking cute I can hardly stand it. Even though we have surely entered the pre-teething stage which is accompanied by tons of drool and intermittent crankiness, I’m still head over heels. His newest maneuver is an attempt to roll over. It consists of a lot of wiggling and turning, but a full roll has yet to be achieved. He is also very interested in music and singing. He loves to watch anyone sing and he’ll often sing along with coos and squeaks. Every day when I leave for work I am fearful that he will have big experience that day. It’s an interesting case of parental fear of missing out, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous that Andy and Lee Kyle get to spend a lot of the day time with Wilder.
I started getting up super early this past week in order to make it to the gym before work. I know that I have more physical determination in the morning than in the afternoon. Losing weight has always been a struggle for me, but now I have even less time to myself that can be devoted to exercise. As much as I love sleep, I also love being able to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes, so I know that getting out of bed is a requirement. Also, pre-work gym time tend to make me less likely to snap at a co-worker. It’s a win-win situation.
Jennifer Jane came over for dinner this week, and as always it was a pleasure to see her. She and Andy began talking about Dexter and although I haven’t seen the show it was quite comical to watch them get into such an animated discussion. We drank wine and ate delicious snacks. All the while Wilder hung out with us, just content to be listening to our conversation. I’m thankful for friends who love our son and don’t mind boozing it up at our house every once in a while.
I had been thinking a lot about the prospective of Andy moving upstairs into the main house with me (as opposed to living primarily in his apartment downstairs) and it was giving me some anxiety. I attempted to talk with him about my feelings, but unfortunately this coincided with a time where I had drunk a few glasses of wine. What I meant to say was, “I am nervous about you living in this part of the house because we have never co-habitated and I know that I can be somewhat unreasonable when it comes to my expectations of cleanliness.” But what I actually said was, “I don’t think I can handle this living together thing. You don’t mind living in complete filth and it drives me absolutely insane. Your dogs are ill-behaved and I’m afraid that if we live together I will resent you and we will never have sex again.” He reacted the best way he could, which included acknowledging my concern and saying that if needed he would move out of the house altogether. Not exactly how I wanted that to go.
I know that I’m fucking cuckoo when it comes to cleanliness. I get this trait from my mother. People joked that having a baby would mean that my house wouldn’t be as pristine, but they were wrong. I can’t relax in a dirty house. I’ll skip meals, writing, even sleeping if the house isn’t in order. In my personal view of things, I think I have become a little more lax, but for Andy (or just about any other sane individual) my need for extreme cleanliness can be overwhelming. This is the #1 reason why I have preferred to live alone. Followed by my need for time alone. When I’m out and about it is a surprise to no one that I like to be the center of attention, but in my home, I like to relax. I know Andy doesn’t care if I walk around in my underwear, in fact he’d probably prefer it, but some days I don’t feel like being watched when I do a naked rendition of Patsy Cline’s “South of the Border”. Since Wilder’s birth, Andy has basically been living in the spare room, mere feet from my own bedroom. It really shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but the thought of him making the actual move into the upstairs, is still very daunting. We don’t need to rent out his apartment, but nothing would make me happier than to have it available for Cathy when she comes. Truth is, perhaps Cathy can move in with me and Andy can stay downstairs. Sometimes I wish I was needier, like the majority of my female friends who crave sleeping with their significant others. I don’t want that. Never have, and I don’t expect it to change anytime soon. If Andy does make the move to the upstairs of the house, we will still maintain separate bedrooms. What difference will a few small flights of stairs make? Maybe we will find out.
The day following my verbal assault on Andy’s cleanliness I felt badly about my choice of words. Whenever I feel guilty about something I’ve done to someone, my first thought is to apologize and then follow that apology up with a gift of some sort. There were years during my vodka/Xanax phase that this tactic nearly bankrupted me. Andy’s not huge on receiving gifts, but with his birthday approaching I was able to make a few big purchases under the pretense that they were birthday gifts and not guilt purchases. I bought him some new bedroom furniture with the understanding that he would use it when he moved upstairs. I also purchased two large dog crates, because, well, I’m no fool. He was happy about it, and in the light of a new day we were able to have a much more meaningful conversation about him moving “in”. For the time being, we aren’t going to make any changes until after Mardi Gras.
On the evenings that Andy works at Flanagans, I get to have time alone with Wilder. I cherish these moments when I act like a complete idiot for his entertainment. I make up songs about everything, from poopy diapers to poor Lady Edith on Downton Abbey. Wilder is mesmerized by my idiocy, which only makes me want to make him giggle more. I adore cuddling with him and rocking him to sleep. I know the time will come too quickly that he won’t need these things from me, so I try to enjoy every moment that I have with him.
This past Saturday was a busy day. We started with Wilder having his first taste of baby food. He tried carrots and seemed to enjoy them after he understood what was happening. He was quite confused at first, as to be expected, and some of his faces were hilarious. He didn’t have any type of reaction so it looks like carrots are a go. Yummy and they stain everything too! Lee Kyle stayed over to keep an eye on Wilder so that Andy and I could see part of the Chewbacchus parade and then go to the Apocalypse Ball. It was fun to get into costume and Andy looked amazing as always. He is so much better at doing theatrical makeup than I am. Between him and Lee Kyle I often feel like the ugly duckling. We had fun at the parade but it was cold outside and there was a long stall. After staring at the sub crew of Dr. Who for 45 minutes we decided to head over to the ball. The ball was a blast. Easily one of my favorite Mardi Gras activities. Reminds me of MOMS ball but smaller attendance and more people that I like seeing naked. We stayed a few hours but neither of us drank much because we didn’t want to be hung-over for the Barkus parade the next day.
This was Harlow’s first year as a marching member of the Barkus parade and she was very excited. The theme was Dogzilla and she and Andy went in costume. Unfortunately it rained most of the morning and early afternoon, so her march was a wet one. Andy said she kept trying to run into people’s homes on the route. He ended up carrying her part of the way, which is no easy feat with a 55 pound pit bull. Even though the weather was atrocious, Wilder and I went to the parade. Lee Kyle was kind enough to drop us off and pick us up later so we had curb side delivery to Flanagans. Amanda met me at the bar and we had a few cocktails before opening up our umbrellas and heading over the few blocks to the parade route.
We were the only people standing in the street waiting for the parade because it was pouring down rain. As the parade began to near, more people huddled under their umbrellas in the street. I had picked a prime spot because I wanted to get a few good pictures of Andy and Harlow, perhaps with the baby. I was doing great, despite the weather, enjoying the parade with Amanda and Jennifer Jane who had showed up. Out of nowhere this rather large man makes his way through the crowd and stands right in front of me. Trying not to be that girl, with the baby no less, I stepped to the side of him where I could easily see again. Moments later, obviously oblivious to the people around him, he steps in front of me again. On my third blocked maneuver, I gently tapped his shoulder and said, “Hi, I’m really trying hard not to be a cunt here, but you keep stepping directly in front of me and it is getting to be frustrating to say the least.” He looked taken aback and then immediately retorted, “I live here, right down the street and I’ve been here all day.” I told him that I didn’t give a fuck where he lived and that he hadn’t been there all day unless he had a fucking invisibility cloak because I was the only motherfucker standing in the pouring rain when the parade started. As I was saying this, Amanda calls over my shoulder, “She has a baby, so you need to shut the fuck up.” I couldn’t help but laugh at how the situation had developed and how it became immediately apparent that I, Wilder, alcohol and parades are a bad mix.
After Andy passed and I was able to get a few photos, I stepped out of the crowd and began making my way toward the bar. I saw the guy I had briefly argued with and tried to extent an apology for the way things had escalated. He once again pulled the “I live here” card. I told him that just because he lived in the quarter that didn’t guarantee him a spot at the front of the crowd for every event in the neighborhood. I explained that Andy owns a bar and that I don’t have any entitlement because of it. On the streets, we are all the same. He pointed out that Flanagans was one of the bars he frequented and that Andy was a close friend (though I’ve never seen him before). Then he refused my apology, and stormed away claiming I ruined his entire day.
I felt bad, but I had tried my best. In reality, the guy was an asshole. As we were watching the angry man storm away, an older gentleman who looked like Santa walked up to join the crowd. He smiled at Wilder and we started chatting with him. Amanda has an affinity for old men; she loves talking with them and will often end up in deep conversation on the street or in a bar. Turns out this guy is an independent Santa. He looked very convincing in the photos he showed us. He asked about Wilder’s age and if I was a first time mom. I answered his questions, to which he replied, “Can I give you a bit of advice?” Now normally I’m not too hip on taking advice from strangers, but this guy was Santa, for God’s sake. Of course I wanted to hear what he had to say. He got a bit misty-eyed and said, “I had a son. He passed away at the age of nineteen in an automobile accident. The most important thing I can tell you is to cherish every moment you have with your little boy. You never know when it could be the last.” Of course, I stared to tear up, as did Amanda. We hugged Santa goodbye and headed back to the bar. When Lee Kyle picked me up I told him the story and he was overcome as well. A little later after being home for a while, I still felt a tinge of guilt over the way things went down with the angry man. Perhaps I should buy him a present. Nonetheless, a rainy parade presented such a bittersweet reminder to love the ones you are with.