Friday, March 11, 2011


Generally speaking I find my husband to be a compassionate, caring, sympathetic husband. There have been 2 notable occasions during our parenting career.

The first was when Megan was only a few weeks old. She was sleeping in the c0-sleeper and, as new mothers do, I put my hand on her back to check that she was still breathing. My hand didn't move. I turned on the light, shook her (gently), called her name and generally tried to rouse her. I had just announced (rather hysterically) to my husband that Megan was dead and was reaching for the phone to call 911 when she finally came out of her deep sleep. In the morning, my husband said that I have given him quite the scare and to please be sure our children really weren't breathing before telling him that they were dead and/or not breathing. I, with great restraint, didn't punch him.

The second time happened yesterday. I set the children up at the table with their afternoon snack, stepped into the next room to retrieve a forgotten yogurt container, stepped back and had Charlie ask me who that strange man on the deck was. I asked a few brief questions hoping I had misunderstood and that it was a pretend man, an animal, his father, anything other than a strange man on the deck. As we live on an acre lot, there is really no reason anyone would ever wander so close to the house as our back deck, not that I can really think of any reason anyone would ever wander onto the back deck of anyone's house. My thoughts raced. We live in a very low crime area but we tend towards random, absolutely horrible occasional crimes. Last week there had been a man wandering around outside the high school with a shotgun that led to a lock down. I wasn't sure if he had been caught.

While it probably would have been a better choice to hole up in the bathroom and call 911, all I could focus on was getting the children away from the man. I shoved shoes and coats on the older two, picked up Noah and ran us all out to the van- just outside the kitchen door. I never knew I could latch 3 children in so very quickly. As I drove down our road, that never has any random traffic, being a gravel, dead end road, I looked around for any reason a man would be in our yard- meter readers, cable guys, anything. I saw a white pickup turning out of the street but for reasons known only to my subconscious, I felt confident that it wasn't a workman's truck. I'm pretty sure it was the man who lives at the end of the road. We drove to the police station where Charlie gave a description and then hung out at Chik-fil-a until my husband would be home.

I've been up off and on most of the night and that's saying something with the level of sleep deprivation I'm fielding. I've been trying to come up with what we will do today since I'm not comfortable being in the house alone with the children. I once had a psychology teacher tell my class that once you had children, your nightmare changed. Prior to children, your worst nightmares generally involved you being in danger or your death. After children, your worst nightmares generally involved danger to them. While I was only steps away and in sight of them for most of their encounter, I keep thinking of them being in danger without their first and most ardent protector, their mother. What if the man had waved a gun, broke through the glass, or done any number of other horrible things and I hadn't been right there to do whatever had to be done to protect them. What if they had been scared, or worse, and alone for however brief a time. How will I bring myself to leave them alone in a room again to do something as basic as changing Noah's diaper or go to the bathroom? I told my husband that I thought I would get over those feelings fairly soon. Probably by Monday, I would be ok in the house with the kids alone during the day. After all, it only took me an hour to get past the strong desire to own a gun which I would carry in a holster all day; prior to this I took the long way around WalMart to get from diapers to home goods so I could skip seeing the hunting rifle display.

My husband thinks he saw the strange man with a couple other people at our sort of neighbor's house. They are selling and their house is vacant. Our hope is that they were looking at buying the house but we still have no idea why they would come into our yard much less wander onto our deck. I'm hoping to call the realtor today.

The capping point is that my husband has to go out of town on Sunday. Things haven't gone well with trip plans this time. I really need help during the dinner, bath, bed sprint. It can be done alone but it's very challenging and if you're coming off a solo parenting day (and more so, a solo parenting night), it's just that much harder. The isn't a babysitter to be found on Sunday or Monday night. Megan has been having frequent night wakings for unknown reasons the last few days. Noah is still a handful and a half at night and isn't terribly happy with anyone but me at any time of the day or night. Charlie is learning how to read which is fabulous but whenever he is learning a new skill, his behavior and sleep fall apart- happily, he no longer loses all potty skills, too. Penny has yet another ear infection and requires drops twice a day. In short, I really wasn't looking forward to my husband's absence even though this was a short trip with a Tuesday night return. Add in "strange man on the deck" and it's become my own personal little vision of horrible.

I'm pushing for us to go on the trip as a family. It's within a 5 hour drive and near my parent's house. The children and I can stay with them while he does his thing. There are several snags. Noah continues to hate the car and car seat with the heat of 10,000 flaming suns. I generally find my mother to be roughly as stressful to interact with as any stress she's relieving and double that when we're at her house. My husband has to get home Tuesday night since he has a morning class on Wednesday so our driving home timeline has little flexibility to accommodate child bedtimes, etc. At the same time, no babysitter, no sleeping, and strange man... My husband is opining that I'm overreacting. I'm showing great restraint and not punching him.

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