31 January 2012

Bad Roommate

As we race toward a two-kid household—less than a month out at this point—and all the myriad challenges and chaos that will inevitably follow, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on the experience of having this third wheel, our little Doozer, under our roof.

He’s been around long enough now that our differences are pretty clear. Our lifestyle choices, hygiene habits, household preferences. In a way, it’s like having a really bad roommate, only you can’t move out. And neither will he. At least not for many years. How many it is currently too early to tell, and I shudder to consider all the potential increments. You’re stuck. It’s like when you get married or move in with your significant other. All roommates are annoying, but it’s not like you’re going to split up over toothpaste or dirty dishes or laundry.

It’s not like college, where you can just hang in there until the next semester and hopefully end up with somebody else. Or just find another place, like when you were single. And beyond that, you can’t establish normal boundaries the way you would with a regular roommate. There is no such thing as privacy in this situation, no unspoken agreements, as you might have with a college or single, twentysomething flatmate.

“Dada? Why is that sock on the door? What are you doing in there? Dada? Dada . . . ?”

So then, here are some things I don’t always like about my kid—let’s call him the world’s most annoying roommate—in no particular order:

1. Fighting sleep. And then getting super-cranky and overtired. There is a direct correlation there, kid. Figure it out already.
2. When he pretends not to understand me, though clearly he does. Stop being so wily. And crafty. I mean it. Stop.
3. Selective hearing. (See number 2.)
4. We’re still watching the Grinch on January 30.
5. He keeps bringing artwork home from preschool, and though it’s all kind of the same and now there’s way too much of it, I’m unable to get rid of it. The little manipulator is playing right to my pack-rat tendencies.
6. He just requires so much attention. When does he become self-sufficient, so I can just sit here and watch Justified in peace?
7. Diapers. Diapers. Diapers. (And pull-ups.)
8. Unnecessarily early morning wake-ups. Especially on weekends. (I’m pretty sure it's on purpose, though I can’t actually prove it.)
9. His stringent adherence to routines. I mean, stringent. I’m pretty anal, but he makes me look like a Hell’s Angel by comparison.
10. His toys are everywhere. Literally everywhere. If he’d stop being so damn adorable, maybe I’d stop indulging him with all these amusements.
11. Constantly preventing me from listening to songs, or watching shows/movies that feature objectionable material or profanity in his presence.
12. The repeated insistence on hearing five particular songs on extended rotation, ignoring the thousands of others recorded throughout the history of music.
13. I have only seen four out of nine films nominated for Best Picture. (Totally his fault.)
14. I always really miss him when he’s gone. (Jerk.)
15. Repeated, strategic deployment of cuteness to make me forget about all the things that bother me about him.

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