The Hangover (Part 1)
Oh yeah, I was feeling good. The music was great, mommy had makeup on and a strapless undergarment and I was out without kids on a Saturday night. Tucked in the back of my brain, was the reality that tomorrow morning I was going to have to wake up to my kids, but that wasn’t going to stand in the way of being first at the vodka luge, or reaching out to the bartender for another shitty well-vodka drink, or a glass of wine or more shots later. I was not a mommy at that moment, I was a girl in an LBD. So I drank and I danced and I had a great night with my friends and my husband at a glamorous party where I was able to not wear my uniform of black leggings and a Lululemon top.
We get home around midnight, not super late and the babysitter has managed to get both my kids to sleep. I stumble into each of their rooms, just to check and make sure that they are alive, breathing and in pajamas and then I careen into a wall. Oops. I was definitely more than buzzed, but who cares, I had fun! I dug into their stash of cookies and chips. “What are you doing?” Matt asks as I am caught eating a bag of animal crackers, the best I could come up with from the pantry. “I am hungry,” I slurred. “I need something to cushion the alcohol.” I realize at this point that I am pretty drunk, actually more than buzzed, but I also realize that there is nothing I can do about it at this point. So I reach for a Tylenol and a bottle of water and put my head down on the pillow. Makeup still on, hair still sprayed stiff with hairspray.
As I drift off to sleep the room spins a little and I realize I am fucked. I fall asleep dreaming of my bed in my old sorority house, the trashcan placed next to it, just in case I had to wake up and puke. I picture waking up around 11:30 and walking down the street in Ann Arbor to Amer’s to get bagel and scallion cream cheese. Back in college, hangovers were de rigour. The recovery was painful, but short-lived and we were back at it that night or at least ready to go by Monday night at Rick’s. But times, they have a changed and the second that the room started to spin I knew the Commander and the TIT 6th sense would kick in.
I swear, they know, every time I drink or have one too many “mommy juices”, or stay for one more song; they know. They talk telepathically in their sleep. “Let’s fuck with them,” the Commander beams to TIT. “Game on,” TIT responds. And they plot as their dueling music machines pump out peaceful ocean sounds and they sleep angelically in their matching giraffe pajamas. They make their plans of destruction or world domination and just really fucking with mommy and daddy.
It wasn’t enough that two pregnancies have reduced me to ordering a good pair of Spanx for Saturday night events or that every time I sneeze I pee myself a little. The Commander and TIT wanted to make sure that if I ever had an ounce of fun ever again, that I would pay and that I would pay dearly. They were put on this earth for that very purpose.
At 2 am, just as I was lulled to sleep by the motion of my bed, the TIT starts screaming from his crib. I ignore. I build the screams into a dream, or more likely, I am just having a nightmare where there is a baby crying which is de rigour for this point in life. Finally, I hobble my way out of bed and into the TIT’s room. He’s standing up and crying. I am too tired and at this point hung-over/drunk to deal, so I sit in the chair in his room hoping that my mere presence and his sound machine will force him back to sleep. He stops crying, which is great, because I am pretty sure that I am going to have to go puke any second. I am thinking it may make sense to puke because the animal crackers weren’t cushioning the cocktails, they were only adding a more solid mixture to heave up later. Maybe if I puked, then there would be less alcohol and then in that case, less of a hangover. I am contemplating this logic as I rise from his chair, thinking the TIT didn’t have what it takes to really bring me down and I head to the bathroom. But TIT surprises me, he is more man-baby than I gave him credit for and as soon as I stand from the chair, he is back yelling again.
At this point, I think it makes a lot of sense to bring him into my bed. Yes, that’s the solution, I think as I go and pull him from his crib. I will bring him into my bed and he will cuddle up next to me and drift back off to sleep. He just wants the warmth of mommy’s body. So I carry TIT into my room and put him next to Matt who has managed to sleep through all this so far. At first, TIT looks like this was going to appease him and rolls a few times coming to rest face down between the two of us. But it was only a momentary diversion. Seconds later, TIT slides down to the foot of the bed, scoots off and heads for the Commander’s room. Fearing that it would be an all-out overnight battle if the Commander were to be awoken by TIT, I grab TIT and take him back to his room. I give him Motrin. For no other reason then I hope that whatever woke him up would be soothed by 1.875 ml of the good grape flavored goo.
I manage to fall back to sleep for a few hours, but it’s horrible sleep and not even really deserving to be called sleep, more of just an unconscious state which is neither restful or restorative. Around daybreak, the Commander comes flying into our room. On any other morning this would have been a battle won, because it usually occurs closer to 3 am, but not this morning. “Your turn,” I say kicking Matt. So Matt falls out of bed and takes the Commander into the living room to watch Cailou or Duck Dynasty or whatever the fuck we can put on and will keep him quiet. There is silence for a few minutes and I dive back under the covers and try to close my eyes for a little bit.
And then the real nightmare begins, the one that happens only when you are awake at 6 am and severely hungover….and only happens to us.
“He just shit on the floor!” Matt comes in and screams at me. He looks frantic and slightly green. I am confused. For a moment, I think Chief, our 200lb incontinent English Mastiff has returned from the dead. “What?” I say. “What is going on?”
I run to the hall bathroom and find a pile of diarrhea on the floor. And this shit; I am not prepared to deal with. Literally and figuratively. “What the F happened?” I ask Matt. I remember even in this moment to say “what the F” and not “what the fuck” and I impress myself. “He was standing up to pee and then this.” He points to a pile on the floor. The Commander looks distraught, who wouldn’t be and I don’t want to make a big deal out of this because this shit can scar a kid. So I try to pretend it’s no big deal and diarrhea happens to everyone and who hasn’t crapped a massive pile of steaming poop all over the floor? “You clean it up,” I say to Matt who is looking at me like I just asked him to eat a live goldfish covered in the diarrhea.
“No way! You clean it,” he comes back with, but I pull the trump card that I use every time there is a situation like this. “I carried both these children for a combined 18 months of my life. I gained a combined 64lbs to produce these children. I had my abdomen cut opened and had two children pulled from it. This shit: this is your job. I am taking my timecard and punching out right now.” With that, I take the Commander into the other bathroom with an iPad and bring Matt a roll of paper towels and 5 bottles of Lysol, bleach and any other thing which says disinfectant on it.
I hear Matt ganging in the bathroom. “I think I am going to puke,” he says from behind the closed bathroom door and I am kinda jealous because I still think if I had puked at 2 am, then I would not feel as shitty as I do right now. There are many things which do not go well with a hangover, but cleaning up human feces from the floor may be the worst of them. Secretly I am hoping that the Commander will be slowed by his current stomach condition. He’s seated on a toilet playing Angry Birds and pooping which resembles mud shooting out of a canon. I am wishing I didn’t eat animal crackers, but very glad I didn’t eat anything chocolate. By 7 am, the diarrhea has passed and the Commander was dressed in a Darth Vader mask tearing up the living room completely oblivious to the fact my I was scrubbing shit out of the grout in the bathroom tile. Because there is a god, TIT still was asleep so Matt and I just diapered the Commander up and tried to come to grips with the reality that was going to be our day.
“We need a sitter,” he says. “We can’t go all day like this. We aren’t going to make it.” The Commander shows no signs of his earlier ailment and by this point is building a space shuttle out of my shoes and last night’s dress. So I am trying to find someone at that hour to come for a little bit so that we could sleep off some of this hangover when the TIT wakes up. I don’t even ask Matt to get him; he now owns the trump card for the day. I sold my soul to the devil and for the rest of the day, I am going to need to do everything and the first thing I need to do is get a babysitter STAT. Any sitter is fine, anyone without a pedophile record would do at this point. I take a huge swig of my coffee and another Tylenol and I go bring TIT out of his room. I swear, he looks at me with delight when he sees the hangover, my eye makeup crawling down my face like a spider race, and he makes his evil plans for the morning.
First starts the screeching, even louder than usual. Next on tap, TIT decides to pick a fight with his brother over the magna-tiles which the Commander had started using as missiles for his spaceship. After that war subsides, TIT decides to pull out the heavy artillery and turns on his toy vacuum cleaner that hums a loud and annoying buzz at the same time, he pushes Sing with Me Elmo’s foot, 11,000 times in a row! Each time I try and turn it off, TIT screams louder and turns it back on. I hope Elmo dies or I die first to end this suffering. I look at Matt and we just give up. They broke us. They knew we were weakened. They knew we had fun. They will not rest until they have destroyed us, broken our will and all of the furniture. As I consider what I always consider on mornings like this (giving up drinking forever and hopping a flight ALONE to Aruba), a sitter texts me back that she can come over at 11am. Matt and I high-five and decide to approach the next three hours with as much stamina as we can muster.
We give the Commander some bubbles to blow which amuses TIT. And we think we are winning the battle because they are entertaining each other and we are nursing our hangovers. It doesn’t last for long because TIT gets a hold of the bubbles and dumps it all over the floor which enrages the Commander. How it is possible to shit an entire TCBY pile of fudge-colored yogurt and a few short hours later rebound well enough to beat up your brother, escapes both of us. And before we can even give it further thought, the saint which was our sitter arrives.
We don’t go into detail. We don’t explain the shower curtain which is missing from the bathroom in the hall, or the giant trash bag filled with fecal stained paper towels or the litany of chemicals which are lining the counter in the bathroom. We don’t mention the hangovers that may destroy us if we don’t sleep it off. “Just don’t let him eat anything odd. He had some stomach issues,” I say. “We will be in our room if you need anything.” Matt and I get into bed. We don’t bother to wash our faces or brush our teeth. We don’t speak. We cheers with our bottles of Poland Spring to never drinking again or at least better planning and having a sitter come at 5 am! And I am grateful that tomorrow is Monday and that the Commander will be in school and for the moment, while my head blissful hits the pillow, I forget entirely the storm which is coming that will yet again cancel school!