Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Therapeutic Escape

I could see the headlines for Sunday...  

"Mother, 28, Beats Self Over Head with Frying Pan - Children Removed From Home"

...but luckily, it was still Saturday night, and I had time to change the future.

No, this wasn't some rejected sci-fi drama, it was the scene in my house prior to my potential breakdown.  You see, my oh-so-wonderful and popular children have a multitude of talents, one being an exacting ability to make me want to shave my head and beat people off with an umbrella.

 Oh, wait... that's not me.  I'd never shave my head.  But even still, I'd been feeling on-edge all week, and I could sense that impending crash coming if I didn't get a break from them.  Not a "let me take pictures for an hour" kind of break, but the kind where my husband and I get out of the house and let someone less impatient and better paid suffer through the evening. 

So how did I get to that point?  In a surprising and unfortunate turn of events, my littlest tyrant was (mostly) to blame.  Graham, being the second child that he is, was tired of being in the shadows of his older brother.  Ever since Father's Day weekend, we've been seeing small glimmers of his new personality-- one that I am expecting he will fully unveil right around his second birthday-- and those glimmers have been very bombastic. 

Sometimes funny, frequently naughty, and always bombastic.

My chief complaint is that he has bypassed the whining stage altogether.  When Graham scans a room and decides he wants something that is out of his reach or otherwise unavailable, he immediately explodes into a fit of tears and stomping feet.  Forget asking, pointing, or getting a stool; Graham uses the newest tool at his disposal, and that tool is the tantrum.

After several days of attempting to block it out, I could feel my own tantrum welling up, and I said to Joel, "I need to get out of here.  I need a night away from them very soon."

Three cheers for husbands that can foreshadow.

I was told not to make plans for the evening, and a few hours later a babysitter came knocking on our door.  I slopped a kiss on one wiggly three year-old, wiped tears away from a toddler in the middle of an early-life crisis and jumped in the van.  And for the first time in quite some time, I let my brain think about something else.

And that something was sushi.

Joel and I, being newbies (yet complete addicts) to sushi, take more time to order than it takes us to eat.

"Do we get sashimi?
"Which one is which?"
"Did you like the red snapper?"
"Or was it the tuna?"
"Should we get a roll?"
To the server, "No, we're not quite ready yet!"
"Are we?"
"Should we start over?"
"Don't forget the Alaska roll!"
"Does your pen work?"

I feel like a capable person in the rest of my life, but when it comes to sushi I'm like a nervous teenager kissing a boy for the first time.

Am I doing it right?  
Will he laugh at me?  
Do I have seaweed in my teeth? 

But using what we've learned from previous experiences, (like the fact that I would eat white tuna sashimi out of a trash can as long as it was fresh), we managed to pick out what we wanted.  Listed individually on a long paper, our choices seemed sparse on the sheet and like a smorgasbord on the table.

Halfway through, we were getting full and sensing a Triptophan-like sushi coma coming on.  But as long as there was white tuna on the plate and I was out on the town sans children, we weren't jumping ship.  We ate it all, and Joel collapsed against the wall in surrender. 

We waited for our check, and when it was delivered by our less-than-friendly waitress (who was probably incensed way back when it took us almost half an hour to order our food) we signed on the line and dug into our fortune cookies.  Now, I'm not a superstitious person, but I do enjoy seeing what bizarre or inaccurate wisdom the cookie gods choose to impart upon me.  Opening our cookies, we discovered that we had hit the fortune jackpot.  While only one was truly a "fortune", the two papers in our flavorless cookies were specifically tailored to our individual characteristics and desires.

But we picked the wrong cookie. 

I looked sideways at Joel when I opened my fortune and read this:

And Joel was less than inspired when he read his fortune:

So it looks like a future in writing isn't in the cards for me, but at least people will be upbeat in my presence.  That's just as good, right?

We got back in the car and, contrary to what I was expecting, drove to the movie theater for a showing of "Horrible Bosses".  Nothing can make you feel far away from your problems like going to the movies.  I paused momentarily before entering the theater, visions of multi-colored candy throw-up in my bra, but entered anyway.  We opted to pass on the concessions, though, so as not to tempt fate.  Fate might not mix well with raw fish. 

"Horrible Bosses" was everything it was cracked up to be.  I laughed from start to finish; the kind of laugh that relieves stress and cures ailments.  Sure, it's unbelievably crass and full of the obscenities my son would like to shout at me in code, but it made me feel better.  It was just what I needed.

To cap off the night, we turned to our dessert tradition.  For most of the six years we've been married, we've celebrated anniversaries and Valentine's Day with fancy meals out and desserts at Cold Stone.  We tried ordering gourmet desserts a time or two, but quickly found that they were spoiled by one of the following:  a serious size deficiency typical of really fancy food, a serious lack of sufficient chocolate/caramel/nuts/fruit/sugar/salt/you-name-it (also typical of fancy food), or a road block caused by my food-snobbism.  Any dessert I really want to try, I will learn to make myself, and any dessert I don't make isn't interesting to me.  And that's where Cold Stone and their creamy "cake batter" ice cream come in to play. I can't make that at home-- my chilled marble slab is in the shop.  Having somewhat recovered from our sushi-palooza at dinner, we found enough room to pack away our ice cream. 

I felt refreshed. 
I felt relieved. 

I tried to take a picture of the two of us and laughed so hard when Joel made goofy faces that I couldn't hold the camera still.  It was the perfect end to the evening; the perfect remedy for my mental state.  I'm so glad I could spend it with my favorite person, too.

He's an accomplished writer, you know...


  1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who really just needs to get away from her kid(s) now and then. Although, I still feel bad because I feel that way and I'm away from him for at least 8 hours most days. *slaps hand* Bad Mommy! :)

  2. Jackie- Anyone with kids knows that it doesn't take much to test your patience! You're not a bad Mommy... just doing what you need to do so that you can be ALL there for him when he needs you!

  3. Next time you're in the mood for sushi, come on down and have a double-date with us! We seem to go once a week to an awesome GF sushi place in downtown IC! We can't get out of there without a couple orders of spicy white tuna rolls!

  4. Maria- I'm in! Maybe in August we can work something out... I'm totally hooked now, and I feel like I could eat it every day!


Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.