Mom blog: Going back to the office

I haven’t worked outside the home for two and a half years, and being as how I’ve been in this office, two and a half weeks now, I thought it was time for a little review of how we’re doing in the morning is appropriate.

This has happened several times because I’ve been so exhausted that I’ve fallen into comalike sleep while reading Luka a bedtime story. One minute I’m reading right along with Max and Ruby, and then I can hear gibberish coming out of my mouth that has nothing to do with anything “Mummy, why are you talking about the lawn?” Luka asks. “Ha! I don’t really know, sweetie, but won’t it be nice when you can play on the grass?” I can tell by the look on his face that he’s not buying it. “You’re falling asleep!” he says accusingly. “No, no, mummy was just thinking what fun, well, OK Mummy is so tired. Why don’t you try to read the story?” Sometimes, he’s up for the challenge, other times a back scratch and a leg scratch sound far more attractive, and I can scratch a back in my sleep, so we both doze off.

Well, since my lifetime pattern of night owl (I used to be pretty smug that Martha and I both required only three or four hours of sleep, year in, year out) isn’t working out with the new job, I’ve started another timetable: up at 5:00. The people on my radio alarm are just as witty/annoying at that time, and the house is quiet, save that infernal hamster Nibbles and her training for the Boston Marathon on her squeaky wheel. I stumble over kids books, Lego, a Ninja Turtle chair (soft foam, don’t despair me breaking a limb) and make it into the hallway. I open the 13-almost-14-year-old’s door to see yes, for the 800th night in a row he has gone to sleep with all his lights on. My eye is drawn to his window ledge, where a black furry thing is curled up. Our cat is fawn and deep brown, our Nibbles is greying. This black fur thing is moving, so it isn’t stuffed. With my blurry morning eyes trained on it, my mind leaps around—the window is open, I can see the edge of it, the screen behind the animal is all chewed up—oh my god there is a squirrel in my son’s bedroom.

Rocky the Squirrel was one of my childhood favourites. “That trick never works” he always said to that goofy Bullwinkle. Well, dancer daughter and her wee brother feed the squirrels in our neighbourhood, so we have a couple—Cheeks and Baby—who shamelessly lounge on our front step waiting for peanuts. Last year the front glass panel was broken out of our front door, and in came Baby one morning, ripping around the living room, racing up the curtains, across the curtain rods, flinging herself from chair, to shelf, to piano and back to the curtains. It was tons of fun, but I had an interview for a job that very morning, and was running late already. It wasn’t one of my best moments, wrapped in a towel, making a trail of peanuts and almonds down the hallwayway, then holding the front door open and pitching nuts one by one down the steps, making as much peanut-hitting-concrete noise as I could.

But that’s last year! Right now, there is a squirrel sleeping in my son’s bedroom. Where are my glasses?? In the bathroom—I dash there and find an electric shaver there, out of the case, still plugged in. DEJA VU! Who is shaving in this house?? My 13 year old?!? Who gave him permission to do that?? And what is that really weird smell? And where are my glasses?

1) My glasses were in the bathroom, in the sink. Nice. Speckled with tiny hairs. ICK!
2) The shaver really was a shaver, really was plugged in.
3) The squirrel isn’t in his room, it is all curled up just one unlocked window pane away from inside. The little dear has shredded the screen and burrowed in. He stays there for another half hour, despite morning hollering and hip hop music.
4) I find out soon enough 13-nearly-14-year-old son is the shavee. His eyebrows, but only the ouside half on one side (oh, that’s SUCH a relief!).
5) The weird smell? Nibbles. I swear I heard her torturing that squeaky wheel in the wee hours while I was on the computer, which would mean she’d only been “gone” a few hours. My daughter discovered her, and it was a very teary morning. I let her stay home from school. No matter the size of a friend, unconditional love and dependence deserves to be properly mourned. Dancer girl made a memorial photo album online of all of Nibbles funniest shots, and wrote in one of her blogs.

I was sad too, for the death of little Nibbles, for the fact I am working in an office, and a few short weeks ago I could have consoled my 15-year-old-baby, and made her tea and listened to all the sad and happy stories about Nibbles, her bravery when having her ear eaten off and her brain exposed, her goofy runs up and down arms, you know, all that stuff you don’t talk about until someone dies. Even if the someone was only three inches long.


One Response

  1. There is nothing quite like the smell of a dead hamster decomposing –

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