“I’m trying to jump out the window!” She kicked the screen. I grabbed her and held her back. I got my arms around her body and dragged her — shouting “Noooo!” — to her room and wrestled her onto her bed. I lay there with her, telling her this would pass and we’d have to wait it out. “I don’t care!” she said. “You don’t care about me! I wanna jump out the window!” I held her down as she cried and fought me.
It all started two weeks ago. My husband got a new job that came with a new commute. His old job had him working at home. I liked having him home. We had a good morning routine. We got the kids out of bed, dressed them, got them breakfast and then we’d all eat as a family. Then my husband would walk my daughter to her bus stop and I’d drive my son to preschool.
The new commute would change all of that. My husband had to leave earlier, so no more family breakfast, no more teamwork in the morning. Sort of. These days we divide and conquer. My husband wakes my three-year-old son early, gets him dressed and takes him to school. I wake my daughter, get her dressed, have breakfast with her, and get her to her bus.
It would make sense for me to handle both kids, because I’m home, but we decided on the new routine for two reasons. First, my son is potty training and he always has to poop right about bus time, and if he had to wait, either he’d poop his pants on the way to the bus or my daughter would miss the bus waiting for him to poop. Second, whenever I brought both kids to the bus stop back in Seattle, my son would drag his feet and cry and carry on all the way to the bus stop. My daughter was always lucky to catch the bus.
I dreaded my daughter’s return. I had just exchanged emails with her friend Olivia’s mom and we had canceled their after-school playdate. My daughter had anticipated this playdate for weeks. The girls had originally scheduled a playdate themselves, and the day before that one, we had to tell them it didn’t exist.
My daughter didn’t react to that news very well. She got mad and she cried and cried. I tried to comfort her with the news of the real playdate we’d scheduled, but six-year-olds aren’t big on delayed gratification. When she did calm down, she asked about the new play date. “How many sleeps?” she asked.
Now that we’ve lived in Southern Maryland for three months, we’re reminded of the area’s unique charm. So here is Hereditary Insanity’s list of eighteen ways to tell that you’re in Southern Maryland. Props to my husband, Matt Fisher, for his help.
- “It’s in a big white farmhouse” isn’t a specific enough direction.
- Neither is “Turn right at the old tobacco barn.”
- Nor is “It’s off Old Solomons Island Road.”
- Your kids are calling adults “Mr. or Miss (first name).”
- You can’t get beer or wine in the grocery store but you can get liquor at the drive-through.
- You have to drive 20 miles out of your way to get around the river or the bay, or 30 miles to the closest bridge.
- Kids get two snow days and a two-hour delay for every predicted flurry.
- A background check to volunteer at school takes longer to complete than a top-secret government clearance.
- Every menu lists at least four crab dishes: Whole crabs, crab soup, crab cakes and Crab Imperial.
- You pass slow drivers on their right using the turn lanes.
- Snow one day and seventy the next is perfectly normal.
- You can hit rain, snow, fog and sun within a 10-mile radius.
- If you work in DC, you get buzzed by Air Force One on your way to work.
- If you’re wearing blue and gold, someone will undoubtedly ask, “Which boat did you serve on?”
- You can buy crabs, hay and produce at the same roadside stand.
- If you miss one roadside stand, there’ll be ten more on your way.
- You can’t spit without hitting a sculpture made of crab pots.
- Crab pots are readily available at Walmart.
Before I go on, I want to make it clear that I am grateful for everything he’s done for me and everything he left me. Really grateful. Believe me. But sorting through it is another story.
Take his house. Please. He left me his house in New York – the house I grew up in. I definitely didn’t want to live there. Too many bad memories. So when he died, I put his house up for sale.
On the way back to Seattle, I got a text from my Realtor. None of the keys I’d given her worked in the locks. She wanted my permission to hire a locksmith. So we did. He broke in and changed the locks. Fine.