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The Return Of The Blogger

Art saved me; it got me through my depression and self-loathing, back to a place of innocence. ~ Jeanette Winterson

I haven’t written in a long time, have I? It feels like an eternity.

My depression is lifting. Little by little, ever so slowly. I’m doing much better.

And I want to write again. I think writing will help speed the process of healing — and if it doesn’t, well, it certainly won’t hurt.

I don’t want this to turn into a mental health blog. I want it to stay funny. But I can’t always find the funny right now, so sometimes you might have some more somber musings here. I hope you’ll all bear with me.

There’s been a lot going on here, with Loving Husband and Sausage and me. We bought a house, and moved into it. I was in a play. I won a gloriously strange mug. Sausage has learned new words, and how to manipulate me into giving him M&M’s. Loving Husband has gone back into the Navy for the next year. Lots of living has happened, with all sorts of things to write about. I’ll try to get to it all.

Thank you so much to those of you who sent me words of encouragement and love, through comments and through email. You have no idea how very much that all meant to me. You know who you are.

This is the blogging horse. I'm going to try to get back up on it, large, terrifying beastie that it is. (Photo courtesy of Stock Exchange)

This is the blogging horse. I’m going to try to get back up on it — large, terrifying beastie that it is. (Photo courtesy of Stock Exchange)

Sausage Practices Restraint

Like family, we are tied to each other. This is what all good musicians understand. ~ Billy Joel

After months of depression and inertia, it required something extraordinary to get me blogging again. Something so ridiculous, so unforeseen, that I just had to share it with the world. Something that would light a fire of absurdity under my ass, and get me tapping at the keyboard once again.

That something happened last week. On Halloween. Who would have thought that something interesting would happen on Halloween?

I made a lifelong dream of Loving Husband’s come true that night. (No, it’s not what you think it is, you perv. Get your mind out of the gutter.)

I bought him a lightsaber. (Again, not like that. You are FILTHY.)

Adorable, they are.

We dressed Sausage up as Yoda, and Loving Husband and I went as Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. We went out, not so much to trick-or-treat as to show off our costumes and drink beer.

Now, Sausage loves nothing better than to run. So we took him out of his stroller and let him run on the sidewalk, charging past people who were offering him candy, bouncing off the costumed legs of strangers. He loved it. He loved it a WHOLE. LOT.

But he refused to hold hands. He would scream and flail and hurl himself to the ground anytime we tried. That’s no good, especially when you’re in a city with traffic moving by only a few feet away.

There are no clear photos from that night, he was moving too damn fast.

Fortunately, he has really short legs, so we were able to keep up with him and grab him anytime he seemed about to veer off the sidewalk. But I had my heart in my throat the entire time. (Loving Husband was cool as a cucumber, the jerk. “He’s fine, I’ve got him,” he’d say. I would have glared at him if I was willing to take my eyes off of Sausage.)

So when we got home, I made a small purchase. Amazon has everything, you know, and sure enough, it provided me with exactly what I needed.

It arrived two days later, just in time to try it out on our morning walk.

It’s a child leash. A child leash shaped like a frog.

It needs a name. Larry the Leash? Terry Tether? Randy Restraint? No, that last one sounds too much like a sex toy.

My pre-baby self always swore that I’d never be one of those moms. You know, the ones who tie their children up rather than supervising them properly. I would never leash my child like a dog! I would hold his hand, firmly but gently guiding him away from danger while teaching him what he needs to know about the world around him. He would be disciplined enough to listen when I told him to stop, and would be happy to stay near me.

Yeah, right.

I guess I had it coming, thinking that way. Karma insisted that I end up with a little guy who is so fiercely independent, so stubborn, that at the ripe old age of 18 months he demands to run free. On the city streets. While giving his poor mother a heart attack.

So now I leash him. And he LOVES it. He can run ‘free’, with full use of both his hands, and I’m able to keep calm in the knowledge that he can’t get more than three feet away from me. Hopefully now I can also work on the hand-holding thing without all the pressure of what might happen if he should pull away.

This is one ridiculously happy baby right here, with his Grandma in tow.

So I’m trying to come up with a moral to this story. Maybe it’s that my version of attachment parenting involves actual tethering? Or maybe it’s that my pre-baby know-it-all self was kind of a judgmental asshole? I guess really it’s that Sausage is his own little self, with absolutely no interest in what I always thought my kid would be like. And that I’m going to have to deal with him on his own terms.

And his terms, for now, include leashing. Oh well. Maybe I could pass him off as some sort of a rare, hairless monkey. Then he wouldn’t be a leashed child, he’d be a fashionable and expensive pet.

Sounds good to me.

Part 4: Deus Ex Babies

If help and salvation are to come, they can only come from the children, for the children are the makers of men. ~ Maria Montessori

If you haven’t read part 1, After The Lights Went Out, part 2, Dystopia? Or Something Else?, or part 3, End Times, you should do that before you read this.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It’s all over. For us, anyway.

Where did I leave off? Oh yes. I’d just received a rather nasty bump on the head. I’m still not sure what hit me — whether it was a decaying fist, or a brick, or maybe I hit myself with my own spade. It could happen.

Anyway, I lost consciousness.

The babies had been frighteningly quiet throughout the hiding, the arming, the barricading — the whole desperate final stand. I don’t know if they sensed that there was a need for silence, or if maybe they were a little bit in shock. Either way, they were quiet right up until Sausage saw me go down.

According to B, as soon as he saw me fall, Sausage started screaming like a banshee. This woke little S out of her stupor as well, and both of them finally let loose the screams that we had been expecting this entire time. Ear-splitting, terrified toddler screams erupted, in stereo, into the confines of the basement.

And the zombies’ heads exploded.

Apparently, the peculiar pitch of the screams was too much for the damaged, desiccated skulls. Each zombie head that pushed its way through the window met with the same fate — it burst, flinging putrid flesh and bits of bone all over us, the walls, and the babies.

This made the babies scream even louder.

As I regained consciousness, I blearily noticed that the remaining zombies were hovering anxiously outside the window, too afraid to come in and meet the fate of their fellows. As long as these babies screamed, we were safe.

B helped me to sit up and tended to my head while C and Loving Husband, in their testosterone-soaked protective modes, formulated a plan to find help. Clearly, we had to keep the babies screaming long enough to get somewhere safe.

B and I looked at each other. We knew exactly what to do.

While B and I kept the babies screaming by repeatedly walking into and out of the room, saying things like, “Oh! I forgot something,” and “I have to go to the bathroom,” we sent the men to gather together all remote controls, cell phones, and handsets in the house. “Why?” demanded Loving Husband. I shouted at him, “Just do it! Now!”

We strapped the babies into strollers. We didn’t dare to hold them too long, as it might comfort them — as much as we both wanted to comfort our children, they were our only weapon against the ravenous horde. Once we had all the gadgets that could be found in the house, we took deep breaths and removed the barricades from the front door.

C opened the door while B and I implemented our plan — we both held up remote controls in front of our offspring, telling them “No!” as we did so. This prompted a new round of screams, and we all hurried into the street.

Photo by dshen02

We kept in a tight knot, the men pushing the strollers, the women waving forbidden objects with flashing lights in front of our babies. The screams, no longer echoing off of cement basement walls, were less effective outside — zombie heads no longer exploded, but they clearly couldn’t come within two yards of us without suffering great pain.

We moved as quickly as we could toward the local post office, figuring that it was the most defensible building within walking distance, and therefore the most likely to house police or National Guardsmen who might help us.

We were right. Unfortunately, the horde had discovered the place as well, and at least fifty zombies were making a concentrated effort to batter down the doors, in spite of the efforts of police snipers stationed on the roof. We were afraid that we would be unable to get through.

Then B had an idea. She held up her iPhone in front of S and started to make it ring, and beep, and buzz, flashing colors and making icons move. S simply had to have it, and her screams at finding it held out of reach were as piercing as I’ve ever heard. I held out my Android to Sausage and followed B’s lead, and soon we had two furious babies, reaching and clawing for the forbidden, smartphone fruit.

We ran toward the horde, babies screaming, men shouting to the snipers not to fire upon us.

At first, the zombies in back seemed confused by our onslaught. What would an undead mind make of two grown men, pushing baby strollers as fast as they can, yelling “Don’t shoot! We’re alive!” This accompanied by two women running alongside the strollers, playing with smartphones and yelling “No!” repeatedly at their infants? Not to mention the furiously wailing children who in their tantrums were producing decibel levels that are unsafe even to living ears? Very quickly,  the zombies found themselves clutching their heads and backing away from our tiny, noisy instruments of death. The horde parted like the Red Sea in front of two screaming Moseses.

But the doors were still closed.

We knew that we couldn’t keep the kids screaming forever. We could see police officers through the barricaded, glass door, wide-eyed and unsure of what to do. We pounded on the door, frightening the babies into continuing their tantrums, until one young policewoman took the initiative and started removing the barriers that had been set against the door. The others pitched in, and within a few seconds — which felt like hours — we were inside the building, the doors shut and re-barricaded behind us.

Safe at last, B and I nursed our irate children while C and Loving Husband explained everything to the police sergeant who had taken charge there. Within hours, using police radios powered by the post office’s generator, word had spread that a way had been found to destroy the zombies. A team was dropped in by helicopter to record our babies’ cries, and by this morning the police and National Guard had begun driving through the city, playing the recorded screams through enormous speakers, killing or incapacitating the zombies.

Photo by mschadee

Every radio station in the region has made announcements about how to drive back the zombies, and several have been playing Sausage’s and S’s screams non-stop all day. Hopefully, any poor souls who are still trapped in their houses have heard the message and are now able to protect themselves.

We’re fairly comfortably ensconced in a back room at the post office, feeding our babies whatever can be found in vending machines, marveling at our experience.

We survived. Our babies survived. And because of them, the Zombie Apocalypse will not spread beyond Baltimore.

All is well.