Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cabin Fever

"Do you know what cabin fever is, Mom?" Olivia asked. 
"It is when you go nuts because you are stuck in the house for days in a row." I immediately responded. 
"Oh, It is also the name of Layla's library book." She said. 

Perhaps she had asked where Cabin Fever was.  Either way, a weekend of cold weather and a sick kid has made it pretty unnecessary to go anywhere. Not that we had a ton of plans. In the last couple years I have noticed how much less Saturday night means barhopping and shots. I have become more of a run to target and watch a movie on a Saturday night sort of a person. The most exciting thing I was hoping to accomplish was to run to Ulta and browse the lip glosses. I was not expecting two days of Olivia wearing the same silky Justice pajama bottoms and me leaving the house only to grab a movie at the Redbox (Dolphin Tale = super cute). Yesterday, I attempted to get dressed and ended up in a worn out V Neck Tshirt and a pair of black lounge pants. I got up and showered today and talked myself out of wearing the same outfit as yesterday. I opted for a button down instead of a T Shirt and a chunky sweater instead of a sweatshirt. It is the small details that are the difference between relaxed and frumpy. I needed to feel a little structure in my outfit since I had eaten a half a pizza between girl night movie fest and wasn't exactly feeling my smallest. I have a case of couch butt...which is when your butt feels like has flattened and widened due to too much sitting around. I was starting to get that numbness in my legs that comes with couch butt...the feeling that makes it impossible for you to move out of this position and you find yourself asking your sick kid to fetch your glasses. Its not like I love going places, but a wide open day at home lacks a certain purpose and structure that I desire. Pre-couch butt time..I was able to get the house cleaned to an acceptable degree and get some laundry started. Today, I finally cleaned off the Christmas pictures that were sitting on my camera and did some edits. 



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Shirt: Target (men's) via Marcs
Sweater: Old Navy
Leggings: Target
Boots: Keen
Scarf: Urban Outfitters (gift circa 2003)
Sunglasses: Walgreens

All of this cabin fever brings me back about five or so years when I had real cabin fever instead of a weekend at home. There is a specific type of cabin fever that many mothers can relate to. I call it my: I have two babies at home and I haven't spoken to an adult in six days syndrome. I can remember my stay at home mom days when the snow started to fall. "It is chilly outside.." The weather man starts, "The wind chill outside is below zero and the barometer is falling. Not that I would know, I haven't stepped outside in three days. I look outside at the beautiful snow piling up around my house and over my driveway. I would wait for my dad to save the day in his snow plow and clear my driveway..just in case I found somewhere to go.  It was early 2006, Layla had just turned three and we were still determining Liv's age by months...nineteen months. The were these little terror tornadoes running through the house. Liv was going through a needy phase and Layla was in her "color on the walls" phase. On my feet: one sock. I was just able to put on a bra and had been in the same pair of sweats for two days. Was it Tuesday? Was it Friday? I would start to unload the dishwasher and Liv would be shaking my right leg with her arms up. I would scoop her up and attempt to put some cups away with one hand until she would whimper. She had that tired but there is no way in hell I will nap look in her eyes. Where was Josh? working fifty plus hours a week managing a Bob Evans. His shifts were long..usually something like eleven to eight every day. When the snow would fall, the time he was gone seemed like forever. It would get dark at dinner time and the girls were not exactly the kind that went to bed early. During the warmer months, we had our outdoor play area that kept them busy and tired them out. The winter meant they would spend time watching cartoons or fighting over the exact same toy for twenty minutes straight. Winter meant more time for Layla to draw creatures on my walls and more time for Olivia to hang on my leg in the ever battle of holding versus putting down. I woke up to crying. The years following giving birth give you one benefit: the most healthy shiny hair you will ever have. The catch: it will spend its best times twisted up in some sort of messy bun on the bottom of your neck going from shower to shower in the same position. Makeup was saved for special occasions and you could barely get gloss over your chapped lips when a little face would appear out of the corner wanting to hold your favorite gloss in their messy little hands and put it on their slimy slobbery little lips..them selves. There was always the attempt to play in the snow. I would search every corner of the house for a missing glove that I swear I had pinned to their coat.  I get my count; four tiny gloves, four waterproof boots, four extra socks, two hats, two scarves, two pairs of earmuffs, two snow coveralls and finally two coats. I bundle them tightly and as warm as possible...partly for them and partly so they remain outside for longer than five minutes. I squeeze into my old snow pants...find a warm coat ( coats are not for fashion in early motherhood years), grab a pair of Josh's long johns. (nothing like a man's long john, with that exaggerated space for their package that bunches up under your sweats in an uncomfortable sort of way). I pump up some extra enthusiasm for the snow and cold so the kids don't loose interest and shuffle them outside. Layla loved the snow. She could play outside until her lips where bright blue and her teeth were sore from chattering. Liv would run outsider, roll around for a minute making snow Angeles and curiously try to lick her gloves. Of course she had to run, she never walked, even in chunky boots and snow coveralls. She slipped and face planted. Game over, kids inside. Layla was crying because she wanted to stay outside and play in the snow and Liv was crying because her face was cold numb. I would try to wipe off the snow with my ungloved cold hand which just made it worse. I would finally give in to both and let Layla play in the area where I could watch from the window while rocking Olivia. I couldn't leave the small area near the window while Layla was playing outside and after ten minutes of standing in the same spot in the kitchen, I would have to call her in out of boredom. Today was nothing like that. I looked in the living room to see a kid on each couch curled up reading. No one was crying, writing on walls or hanging on my leg while I attempted to go to the bathroom. Babies and winter can only mean severe cabin fever for Mom. 

 I am  adamant on putting on clothes I would leave the house wearing, even when I know I am not leaving the house. I owe it to my former 2006 self to take that extra twenty minutes in the morning to put on something with some shape and structure..and color. Getting dressed and ready for the day makes me a feel a bit more human and reminds me of how I survived those long winters with two babies. I miss how cute the girls were when the were that small...but I don't miss how much work they were. Don't worry new cabin fever moms...every year gets a little easier and you will not be wearing those sweats forever. 


Writing Prompt: Have you gotten cabin fever from something? How did you feel and what did you do to try to make it better? 

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