I sent myself to my room tonight. The children ate their dinner. They put their plates in the dishwasher. I took them to see "The Princess and the Frog" this afternoon (first movie in theater) and they were excellent. I got lovely cuddles for a good chunk of the movie from R, which put a smile on my face (especially in a sad part near the end -won't spoil it in case you want to see it!). Lots of reasons to hug my children and smile.
So why the long face you ask? Yes, why. Well, don't say anything, but I just am a silly thing sometimes. I went to the movies with a friend and his daughter. I had been asked to go with other friends, but he asked first and my girls hadn't seen his daughter in a while, so I thought "why not?". Why not indeed. I apologize, but a rant.
My daughters are barely 3 and almost 5 years old. My dear friend was concerned that my youngest might be a handful at the movies (note: she was the one cuddling quietly on my lap). A twinge of irritation in the far reaches of my brain, even though the possibility of her being a crank is not unfounded. She lay on the sidewalk outside grumbling and crying after the movie, to the mirth of passing strangers. So perhaps an example of what "he" was expecting. Fine, mixed point.
We decided to have them come back to our house for a play date, as the girls had not been together in months. The squealed and giggled in the basement. We could hear toys being tossed thither and yon from our perch upstairs on the couch. After I outfitted them with hot chocolate and cookies (perhaps why they were wired for sound?), I returned upstairs to find him chatting on his cell on my laptop. Not really a big deal, but I kind of felt like I should be quiet, so attended to other domestic chores around for a few minutes before joining him. My house right? Non-plussed, conversation did follow. Yeah, adult time! Until he fell asleep as I was asking him a question! What! Yeah, I can hear you. No problem. Pour myself a glass of wine and tend to the ham that will turn into sandwich dinners. My youngest appears partly clad in super hero princess gear (cape, skirt and nothing else) and rouses him from his slumbers. His daughter surfaces for a smooch from her pa and feeling like I had to kick them out or offer dinner, she quickly agreed to our fare. After prodding my youngest to ask "him" to gather an extra chair from the basement, then asking him myself after she was ignored, dinner was served. It was eaten by all, with less prodding than sometimes takes, but certainly with more noise. Guests always amount to dessert and "ice cream!" was suggested with glee. "Plates in the dishwasher" is a rule in my house, especially if dessert is warranted. My girls know this and comply readily, anticipation pushing them faster than they ever move. Our little guest was unused to this, but was shown by my two how it all works and eager smiles looked forward to their ice cream cones. As I turned for the ice cream I told "his" fleeting back that he had to scrap his plate as well. A barely audible grunt came from in front of the reignited computer. Grrr. Scoop, scoop. Smiles and sillys for ice cream. No help from my adult companion. The girls delighted smacked down their cold treats, got hands washed and disappeared back to the basement. I followed with a refreshed glass of vino, only to find my way barred by the contents of every toy container in the basement exploded into the middle of the room. No pathway to the couch could be met safely without steel-toe slippers. Not worth it.
I barked at the girls to put the toys away and stalked back upstairs. He looked up from the computer and out it came. It had been building and leaking, but irritation burst forth like the toys strewn around the basement below.
"You didn't put your plate away when I asked, even though all the girls managed to!"
Oh, do you need help? I can help you clean up.
"It is done."
No, I can help do something. I can help you finish up.
"If you want to wash the floor, that would be great, but it is done."
He moves to the kitchen and picks up a few scattered stickers. It is as done as it needs to be.
"I have enough to clean up after my own children. Perhaps when you were growing up you didn't have to clean up after yourself, but I do not need more to clean up after. I already yell at my children enough. The basement is a disaster and I just yelled at them now to do something about it." I don't need to tend to another child, my mind screams. I am shaking. My voice. My being.
I will go get the kids to clean up the basement. Why don't you have a glass of wine and sit down.
The remnants of my wine followed me to my room, but sat untouched. Small pattering feet came upstairs, but did not find me as I lay in my darkened room. I breathed. My mind formed things to say. I watched the Christmas lights outside my window flash and sparkle. Eventually he came back upstairs. He did not come and find me curled into myself on the bed. Of course he wouldn't. men don't tend to be good that way. Sorry. I sulked a little more and finally swung my legs over the side of the bed. disappointed sighs. Down the hall, disappointed looks. Clean basement. Bonus for me. Mostly for the girls when they want to play again. Did he see my flat eyes? Did he hear the flat tones? Perhaps. Good night to you. And you my reader, if you have gone this far. Sorry for the rant. the worst is that comments won't help, as they just make "me" feel bad, for putting up with disappointing behaviour. Me feel bad for not putting a final foot down. One day...