Somebody’s Watching Me

December 10th, 2012

After years of feeling decidedly ambivalent about the holidays — wait, not ambivalent, STRESSED — I have come to love them. There’s something about a childhood spent shuffling back and forth to TWO Christmas dinners and TWO Christmas Eves and being stuffed like a Christmas goose with food because you don’t want anyone to be offended that you already ate that can be a bit on the yucky side. Growing up with divorce is hard, because no matter how hard my parents tried to make it NOT stressful, being a people-pleaser (I WAS BACK THEN, OKAY?) made it impossible. It wasn’t until I moved to Boston and started going to my sister’s instead — a tradition that has continued for at least ten years — that it became fun again. Kids! No traveling! ONE Christmas dinner, that I can actually contribute to!

This year is the MOST fun so far, because Sam actually gets it, and spends a lot of time screaming, “I LOVE CHRISTMAS I CANNOT WAIT!” along with naming EVERY item she sees to her list for Santa, including a package of scrub sponges at Target, at which point I had to say that no, really, not everything you throw out into the ether appears under the tree, and especially nothing made from Scotch Brite, mmkay?

We did the dreaded Elf on the Shelf, and though I am weary of all the Facebook pictures of the pithy things the elves are doing (pooping, really?), it is positively hilarious to see Sam wake up in the morning and look for the elf. I tell you, for a kid who is about as high strung as it gets, the relative ease with which she accepts a LIVE ELF* in her house, watching her, is fantastically awesome and out of character. Two thumbs up for the damned elf, and I never saw that one coming. I was a pretty emphatic elf-hater, in fact, but since she has deemed Delf (I know) a female, I am actually considering BUYING A SKIRT. FOR THE FUCKING ELF.

Unfortunately, Sam’s behavior has been quintessentially three-and-a-half, and that, combined with a staggering lack of sleep since the time change (FIVE AY EM sometimes), has made living with her a constant string of double-vodka evenings and, if I could, bloody mary mornings. Ergo, a second elf (we’d already had two due to overgifting last year) made an appearance to monitor her behavior and ALSO, I made a video from Santa on that genius little Portable North Pole, because that’s who I am now. I am the Santa Briber, but it’s either this, or Betty Ford.

Ironically, the Santa video FREAKED HER SHIT RIGHT OUT, because he knew her name and everything, but somehow a LIVE ELF* in her living room — I’m sorry, ELVES PLURAL! — does nothing to her delicate sensibilities. Even after Adam placed an elf on her dresser overnight. She woke up to a TINY ELF hovering over her face and she didn’t even flinch. But a pre-recorded Santa saying her NAME? JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL. Or sleigh. Whichever.

*I am aware that they are not Live Elves from a freshwater tank or anything, but Sam does not. I mean, kid legit believes there are LIVE ELVES (steamer fresh!) in our house, WATCHING HER and she’s fine.

Oh my God, this was a painful exercise in elfdom, and I am so sorry.

Moving on! *clap clap* And this is EQUALLY PAINFUL, but I have switched to cloth diapers after a series of bizarre issues with Allie and her specific tushie (Huggies are a no-go and I LOVED Huggies), and though I will not go into here (UNLESS YOU WANT ME TO HA HA?), I will say that a) it is not a big deal, and b) um, I get why people want to talk about them all the time. You guys, there are FORUMS UPON FORUMS of women who talk about this stuff all the livelong day. FORUMS. BLOGS. Now, color me crazy, but infancy is a finite state of being, right? One hopes that your child will, eventually, NOT be using prefolds with a Snappi under a Flip cover (SEE WHAT I DID THERE), so it seems rather, um, dangerous, to tie up a significant amount of your identity and time into being a “cloth-diapering mama,” because I anticipate that eventually you will be a cloth diapering mama who has no one to diaper but the geriatric bichon.

THAT BEING SAID, it’s stupidly addictive, like some kind of GAME, and even though parts of it have been utter hell (eat shit, microfiber. OH WAIT HA), I will admit to enjoying it immensely, although it is not the DIAPERING that I enjoy, but the folding of the laundry that I find so completely satisfying. Part of me just wants to run off and start a diaper service just for the fluffy folding. This fantasy quickly comes to an abrupt halt, however, when I envision dealing with the feces of a child who is not a member of my immediate family, so no.

A regular fluff and fold, however, is totally my jam. I will wash strangers’ underwear for money, apparently, provided they are also mixed in with non-underwear laundry, and that they let me use Tide. This is sounding terribly fetish-like, and it isn’t, it’s just that I find laundry very soothing. Send me your laundry. I’ll fold it lovingly and nicely, but not in a pervy way.

Well. This turned into something I didn’t intend. Happy Monday to you! Or wait, it’s Tuesday. ALMOST. HEY HO!


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Entry Filed under: Alex the Grace,Beeber McSteebs,Diapergate

52 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Amy B.  |  December 10th, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    What happened to making your own laundry detergent? I was wondering how if worked out or if it ended up a bust.

  • 2. jonniker  |  December 10th, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    Amy! It worked REALLY WELL until summer hit and our laundry room isn’t air conditioned and OMG, it was mildew stenchfest in there, and I had to REWASH all of our clothes in vinegar, because the washing machine just wasn’t getting clean and neither were the clothes. Humidity? I don’t know. Hard water? Maybe? So no. Tide. Lots and lots of Tide. Let’s suds that shit OUT of there.

  • 3. Katy  |  December 10th, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    You should so come over to my house. I have essentially an entire loveseat completely full of unfolded laundry, and it just keeps coming. One time I mentioned out loud that i was considering cloth diapers and my MIL was like, “oh no. You have too much laundry as it is.” And she’s right.

  • 4. el-e-e  |  December 11th, 2012 at 7:26 am

    I love the extra Santa/elf usage for bad behavior. Once, when AJ was about 2.5, I “called” the North Pole and asked to speak to Mr. Claus. That kid’s eyes were as big as bagels and he straightened right the heck up. Hahahaha. I loved that trick. Might have to check out Portable North Pole, for his 4y-o sister who’s a grand champion whiner lately.

  • 5. shin ae  |  December 11th, 2012 at 10:20 am

    I grew up completely convinced that elves watched me, but in my mind they all looked like the (rather diminutive) UPS man, because one Christmas he told me he was an elf.

    I have to be the obnoxious suggester for a minute, because I want to tell you about my personal journey with my front loader. It sounds like you’re fine now that you switched to Tide, but my front loader wasn’t fine with ANY liquid detergent. It smelled like mildew and I cleaned the (rubbery) gasket thing every day; ran bleach, vinegar, and dishwasher liquid (at the suggestion of the washing machine repairman) through it regularly; ran it hot; ran it cold. It was seriously ruining my life. ANYWAY. I was reading some forum and people were posting that the problem was solved by using powdered detergent rather than liquid, and LO AND BEHOLD it handled our problem, too. Store-bought powdered detergent, not homemade. So.

    I hadn’t made the cloth diapering-laundry connection, but now that you’ve made it for me, OF COURSE this is perfect for you. How great!

  • 6. jonniker  |  December 11th, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Shin ae, that is not obnoxious at all, and in fact, made me laugh out loud at “personal journey with my front loader.” HAHAHAHAHA.

    “It was seriously ruining my life.”

    HAAA. I love you.

    So get this: I have a top loader! A water-guzzling TOP LOADER. BUT BUT BUT! You are right about one thing: liquid detergent doesn’t work on diapers because it leaves a film behind, and I’m wondering if the same theory applies to a front loader AND was contributing to our summer mildew issues. Like, it’s more clean-rinsing?

    I really wish I were a chemist. So I use powdered Tide, which smells just as fresh, but gets those suckers CLEAN.

  • 7. Christine  |  December 11th, 2012 at 11:47 am

    I freaking HATE laundry – or at least the folding up and putting away of laundry, which is why all the clean clothes live in the basement next to the dryer in a bin. So if you ever want to move next door to me, I will totally pay you to fold and put away my laundry. If you want to wash it too, hell knock yourself out.

  • 8. Erica  |  December 11th, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    You’re lucky I’m too lazy to brave the post office this time of year or else a big ol’ box of underwear (and non-underwear items, FOR NORMALNESS) would already be on its way to you.

  • 9. KeraLinnea  |  December 11th, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    I have so much laundry to be folded–if you are ever in the Seattle area, do drop me a line. I like loading the washer, but everything after that? No thanks.

    I am kinda bummed out that I either didn’t know about the Elf on the Shelf, or that it didn’t exist back when my kids were little. Sounds like fun. Of course, I would eventually forgotten to move the little guy and ruined Christmas, but still.

  • 10. EmilysHollow  |  December 11th, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    I am the worst at folding laundry. THE WORST. Except for when it’s diapers. Then I love it. It’s the cuteness I love. Folding up those covers and patterns and knowing that it’ll go on tiny little bums? I’m a sucker.

    My issue with microfiber is that, SOMEHOW, Xander was “allergic” to it? Or something? No matter WHAT detergent I used, or how many times I stripped, he got red IMMEDIATELY upon peeing. It was absurd. I switched to natural fibers (cotton, mostly) and he was FINE. And, of course, I was the moron who didn’t buy lots of different kinds, but blew my entire wallet on effing BG and FB.

    Anyway, I’m still anti-elf, but Xander is only 2.5, and only barely registers that Santa = presents, so maybe next year I’ll have drunk the cocoa, or whatever.

  • 11. Jesabes  |  December 11th, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Laundry is my favorite. When I babysat for a family in college, using their laundry machine was part of it and I’d often take laundry from several people in my dorm hallway because it was free (as opposed to the laundry room) and I…love laundry. (I don’t think anyone ever sent underwear with me, though.)

  • 12. Megan  |  December 11th, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Laundry is my favorite around the house chore…until you get to the part where you put it away. It is a very satisfying activity.

  • 13. Shelly  |  December 12th, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Oh, this whole post just made me love you more.

    “It’s either this or Betty Ford.” That perfectly sums up how I feel this morning. My solution was coffee and pumpkin oatmeal, but the sentiment holds.

  • 14. HereWeGoAJen  |  December 12th, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Diaper laundry is the very best laundry. And I will talk about cloth diapers with you whenever you’d like.

  • 15. Jeanne  |  December 12th, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Our elf is named Pelf (which obviously means he’s a boy). There have been times when I forget to move him and my excuse is that Dad must have stayed up too late for him to have time to get to the NP and back by morning. My daughter is 10 (!) now and still buys into it. It breaks my heart, but I think that next year when she’s in middle school I’m going to have the break it to her that Santa isn’t real. My poor naive child is going to be devastated.

  • 16. Livia Labbe  |  December 13th, 2012 at 1:34 am

    No traveling! ONE Christmas dinner, that I can actually contribute to!

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    I was so not going to cloth diaper but now…. I’m kind of thinking… please list your favorites.

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