now let’s see if I can fit homework in before the kid wakes up

I don’t like saying I’m solo mom because it sounds so…self-serving. Hello self, would you like a cup of tea? Perhaps a foot rub? But from 7 am to 7 pm (or so, depending on the day) it’s just me and the baby. That’s a lot of hours. That’s the number of hours in the Pinball song from old-school Sesame Street. Did I mention that I found an MP3 of that song, and that it’s by the Pointer Sisters? Dude, that song gets stuck in my head all the time. Onetwothree FOUR FIVE sixseven eight NINE ten eleven twelve.

Anyway, so it’s just me, the kid, and the Pointer Sisters for twelve hours every day, so you’d think I’d insist on some Me Time once Not So Cranky Dada gets home. The problem with that is a) I’ve forgotten how to do Me Time, what with all the spending nine months cooped up in the house worrying that something would happen to the impending baby and then the taking care of said baby, and b) I know that Not So spends those hours working hard to support us and I feel like he needs some Him Time, and c) I have the self-esteem of a…person who has very low self-esteem, and right now the only thing that makes me feel worthwhile is taking care of the kid.

All those things together and we get a night like last night. I’ll set the scene: I’m putting away laundry in the baby’s (woefully incomplete) nursery; Not So is downstairs doing dishes. Happy Fun Baby and I are playing this game where I announce each clothing item (“Oh my goodness! Could it be…pants?“) and he grins and bounces and generally is adorable. Suddenly Happy Fun Baby starts to laugh, and it’s the funniest sound I’ve ever heard in my life. He doesn’t usually give us more than the occasional giggle – I think it surprised him. Still, he was cracking right up (and yes, I realize I just changed tenses in the middle of a paragraph. Let’s all take a moment to mourn the loss of my grammar skills and move on), so I called Not So. Of course as soon as he came up the baby merely smiled tolerantly at me and the laughing episode did not repeat. Not So went back down to finish the dishes and I finished putting away the laundry.

I assumed Not So knew we were awake, and upstairs, and adorable. I hung out in the nursery with the baby for another half hour or so, thinking Not So would surely come back up (and feeling increasingly guilty for making him do housework, which is clearly my job because hello, SAHM?). Finally I went down to check on him and found him hanging out on the couch with his laptop. “Don’t you want to come play with the baby?” I asked.

He jumped up right away. “I was just decompressing,” he said. We played with the baby in the nursery for a while, and then the baby got kind of sleepy and cranky. Not So went back downstairs. I brought the baby into the bedroom (one of the incomplete aspects of the nursery: no crib) and snuggled him to sleep, which left me…upstairs, by myself, with a sleeping baby. Not much I could do other than sit there and watch HGTV, and after a day of doing pretty much just that, it wasn’t too appealing. Except, and here’s the thing: during the day there’s no one else here, and at night I could, in theory, at least be sharing space with my husband. I ventured downstairs (after clearing all the pillows off the bed and fretting obsessively about SIDS, as per my usual) and asked Not So about his not-coming-up-ness.

“I’d love to spend time with you!” he said. “I’m just not ready to be down. You guys seemed kind of down.”

“I’m not down!” I said. “I was trying to get the baby to be down. I’m up! I just didn’t say anything because I thought you might be having some You Time.”

“Well, I do like a little Me Time. That’s why I take a bath every night. It’s nice to have an hour when I can just relax, read a book, decompress.”

“Yes,” I said, all internally snark-a-riffic all of a sudden, “that does sound nice.” Then I went back upstairs to make sure the baby hadn’t spontaneously discovered rolling and rolled off the bed – but I did get some kissin’ from Not So, because it doesn’t do to wear our passive-aggression on our sleeve.

That was last night. Today I got a call from a tipsy Not So, wanting to know if it was okay if he hung out with his coworkers at the bar for a while…although he could come right home if I needed him to. I didn’t need him to, did I?

I looked at Happy Fun Baby, all crashed out in his Boppy, and I thought about how much I wish I could take a night off without someone needing me.

“Of course you don’t need to come straight home,” I said. “Have fun.”

Onetwothree FOUR FIVE sixseven eight NINE ten eleven twelve.