Out, damned spot!

Nugget continues to be pitiful about going to school, whimpering to break your heart all the way there about why he can't stay home with me. My certainty that this is what is best for him and for me is unflagging, but that does not make it easy. And while I maintain I do not feel guilty, it should perhaps be noted that when I picked Nugget up today (early), we went straight to Wal-Mart (sigh, shoot me, I know, but this is a small town and I don't have a lot of options, ok?), where I purchased: Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, a Cat in the Hat movie (the one with Wayne Campbell), cinnamon graham goldfish, a goldfish-shaped goldfish dispenser, and whipping cream to put on our strawberries.

And then a dinner that can only be described as trying, except to the extent that it might also be called tedious, reminded me why I don't have what it takes to spend 24/7 with a toddler. It's not that he is a picky eater. God knows I can thank karma for that one. (Hmm. I'm not sure that sentence is consistent, theologically speaking.) It's that he forces us to stand on our heads and juggle to get him to eat even when he likes the food. That's the part that drives me crazy.

To the extent I have any guilt about daycare, I would argue that it is due to my failure to use my free time appropriately, not to the existence of said free time. Even without any napping or novel-reading or tv-watching, today felt unproductive. Yet when I tallied it up like I was billing my time it wasn't a bad day at all. (See? this is why I miss it. Writing down everything you do in 6 or 15 minute increments can be surprisingly satisfying.) I went to the post office and the bank, finally rolled my 401k over, finally canceled my recurring contribution to Chicago's NPR station (plaintively assuring the lady on the phone, who did not care, that I moved and I really do plan to support my local station), finally replied to some week-old emails, researched local estate planning lawyers (finally getting around to a will ...), looked into transferring my vehicle registration (I'm still driving around with Illinois plates; which did prove useful when those people outside the post office with their unbelievably offensive Obama-with-a-Hitler-mustache (this is somehow linked to that ridiculous birther thing? I don't get it) poster didn't bother trying to talk to me; although the growly stinkeye I gave them probably helped), paid bills, created a chart to analyze our household cash flow (that's normal, right?), did laundry, flooded the laundry room twice (ok, three times. but more like two and a half), cleaned the laundry room (not by choice, clearly), and probably a few more things I'm forgetting (and/or are not interesting enough, even for this catalog of domestic minutiae). Here's the thing: I'm not convinced all that would not have gotten done with Nugget in tow. I don't need daycare just for that.

(Did you ever hear that story about the man who came home to find his house a mess and his kids eating cereal? His wife was in bed with a book, and when he asked her what was going on, she said, you know how you asked what I do all day? Today I didn't do it. Yuk yuk, stay-at-home moms work too, and all that. The thing is, families with two parents working outside the home do manage to get along somehow. You find a way to get things done when you have to. Qualitative differences and lifestyle choices aside, I hasten to add.)

Anyway, the point is, I really need to sit my butt in a chair and stare at a computer screen putting words on paper for a few hours every day if I'm going to be able to justify to myself sending Nugget to school. Even on days like today, when it felt like the domestic minutiae awaiting my attention was piled too high to be ignored. (Is it still procrastinating when you procrastinate by doing things you've been procrastinating about?)

It would also help if Nugget would hurry up and realize that other kids are way more fun than I am. Not to mention a dog and a rabbit and an orchard and a pumpkin patch. All I have is a recurringly flooded laundry room. And if you think I'm going to let you put on your rain boots and splash away in there with a toy boat? Hello. I'm your mother. I don't think we've met.

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