Monday, September 20, 2010

It's the Little Things

When taking care of three infants full time, adulthood can go flying out the window. Our living room and dining room have become playrooms, our bedroom a nursery, and our bathroom ... well ... it's just become filthy. I always promised myself that having kids would not steal away my identity as an adult, but that was easier promised than delivered. All my clothes are stained with baby carrots and vomit, I had to cut off my hair because the kids were pulling it out, I can no longer wear jewelry or my glasses, and I often catch myself, while standing alone, rocking back and forth. I'm hoping that's because I'm so used to rocking babies, and not a sign that soon I'll be in a tin-foil hat, rocking softly, speaking to the squirrels and eating dandelions. But I'm not certain.

Anyway, one thing that is keeping that string tied between myself and sanity is a focus on things that are fun diversions. These are things both little and big, funny and serious, personal and public. Everyday, I can have something that is an indulgence, that spoils me a bit, and allows me a chance to re-boot, if only for a minute. I hope that in this way, I can be a more patient, attentive parent. Here are a few of these little things:

National Geographic Channel's "Air Emergency"

I seriously love this show. I shouldn't admit that I am fascinated by plane crashes; this might just be tempting fate a bit too much. But, I do watch this with sick enthrallment. It's on Tuesday mornings at 9 a.m., a busy time, so the kids rarely let me actually watch much of an episode. However, even a few minutes gets me my fix.

Taco Bell's Cantina Tacos

So these little nuggets of greasy goodness will surely be just a temporary addition to the Taco Bell menu, and, admittedly, they aren't exactly gourmet fare. However, everything else at Taco Bell tastes EXACTLY the same. The tacos taste like the burritos taste like the Mexican pizzas taste like the nachos. With cantina tacos, I am paying $4 for what I get for $11.95 across the street at the Mexican food place. The key is lots of fresh cilantro and CORN tortillas. Yum.

Pampers Good To Grow Points

This wonderful scheme to enforce consumer brand loyalty has me smitten. Inside every pack of Pampers are hard-to-remove stickers with, like, 48 letter/numbers printed on them. One goes to, and, after wading through some of the slowest loading pages on all the web, enters these painfully long, nonsensical letter/number combinations into one's account. Then they are awarded "points" that can be redeemed for stuff. The point value you receive is about 1 point per dollar spent. The value for redemption is about 1 point = 1 cent. Not much of an ROI, but then again, after spending 27 cents on a diaper only to have it filled with poop, I have learned to take these little victories anyway I can.

Besides, points can be spent on Starbucks gift cards. And that leads me to:


This corporate behemoth owns me. It has for years. I find a great deal of solace in an afternoon latte from Starbucks. And, yes, I know how much this is costing me. But, forgive my Northwest snootiness, Starbucks is our very own trailblazer which led the way for all the other coffee companies which now claim to be better than 'bucks. What I find amazing about Starbucks is a double tall, non-fat, no foam latte ordered at the flagship store in Pike Place Market will be the same as that drink ordered in Tucson, Fargo, or Boston. I'm not an everyday visitor to the holy temple of coffee. But 2-3 times a week, this gratifying, overpriced little treat resets me like nothing else.

I certainly don't need anything to feel great about the way things are. I have an amazing life with a wonderful family. But just like Drew has her blankey and Delaney has her binky, these little security objects link me to my selfish inner child. They are just some indulgences that I find amusing and, oddly, satisfying.

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