The Pterodactyl likes to draw in the sand. Yesterday at the beach, he suddenly expressed terror at the 5-inch waves smashing into his ankles, and decided to use the beach as his canvas.
He drew a fabulous portrait of his dad, and an equally fabulous but enormous portrait of me looming over his dad, which WAS NOT indicative of the vitriolic verbiage that had spewed from my mouth all day. Or might have been. Then he drew a heart with an “M” on one side, for Mom, and a “D” on the other side, for Dad, and a zigzag line down the center dividing the two initials. What the hell? A broken heart? Had he noticed the invisible electric fence I’d recently built around myself to set fire to any adult who invaded my aura? Or was he just using some creative license?
The Diva and Hot Firefighter Husband took a break from boogie-boarding to study the artwork. “Wow,” said Husband. “What’s with the heart?”
“I know what that means,” the Diva said. “It means Mommy and Daddy are SPLITSVILLE.” I have no idea how she knows the term SPLITSVILLE, unless she visits some sort of 1970s-era secret time travel portal.
Husband and I pretended to like each other and started shouting, “HA HA! THAT’S RIDICULOUS! THAT’S NOT WHAT IT MEANS! IT’S JUST A DECORATION FOR THE HEART! HA HA!” By this time the Diva had already lost interest and was back in the water, and the Pterodactyl was staring at us because he didn’t know what anybody was talking about, and the Tyrant was being physically restrained from her new goal of walking all over the artwork and making her brother cry, which she does at least once every day.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I must explain here that Husband wasn’t mad at me. I was mad at Husband because I thought he was mad at me. He denied acting like he was mad at me, but admitted to being stressed out, but I was mad that he hadn’t told me he was stressed out before I got my feelings hurt about him being mad for no reason, which contributed to the overall madness tone of the day. Week. Whatever.
The fact is this: we were fighting, and we had not communicated about said fight because were too busy doing things like installing deadbolts on the laundry room door so we can put the kids there for timeout without them running away to Target, which is where they’d like to live.
We think our children don’t notice when we fight because we hide it cleverly by, say, clenching our jaws when we say mean things. And giving each other air kisses, like the ones I give the dear old aunt who always called me fat as a child. The cow.
But kids are smart. They notice stuff. And I think the older children noticed that their dad and I were engaged in a mutual freeze-out.
Studies show that most couples argue mainly about money and sex. Okay, so “most couples” is my new middle name. Actually, we don’t argue about sex so much as we argue about not having sex. Well, we don’t even argue about that. I think we argue because with three kids at home for the summer, Husband working two jobs and me teaching five fitness classes a week, we’re too exhausted for anything more intimate than eating food off each other’s plates, which has led to a considerable buildup of sexual tension. I think that’s what’s happening, anyway.
But the real source of stress right now is money, or more accurately, the lack of it. So actually it’s just like arguing about sex.
I suspect the reason we’re fighting about it is that I am uncharacteristically apathetic about our money situation and I’d rather not get involved. Seriously. Listen to that: I’d rather not get involved in my own financial affairs. Who knew I could channel my inner June Cleaver on demand? But I do, and I think it’s the result of how little money I contribute to the family bank account these days. I have three part-time jobs: two of them pay pitifully, and one job actually costs me money. That’s fucked up.
Husband and I had a long talk last night and resolved our issues, and agreed to lovingly rework our finances together and set a better example for the children so they won’t toss around words like SPLITSVILLE. And because I’m an all-or-nothing kind of gal, I’ve been online for hours already looking for a part-time job that will pay me $50,000 a year while allowing me to work from home. Please email me privately if I should send you a copy of my resume.
In the meantime, I’m going to start clipping coupons, because Husband has reminded me that a penny saved is a penny earned. Maybe tomorrow night I’ll use some half-priced generic Benadryl to get the kids to bed early so Hot Firefighter Husband and I can have sex. I’ve decided I like him again.
Then all will be well for a while.