hair of the dog

Dan left last Friday for hunting. It’s archery season here in Southwest Colorado, that time of year that we send Dan off with his homemade bow, an insane amount of calories, and our fervent good wishes on pursuing his highest dreams, so long as he gets his ass back home in one week.

Just what it looks like: bacon, cheese, peanut butter and chocolate on an english muffin. Hunting food for the 2-night stints away from basecamp without a stove.

Kitchen crate for basecamp, for which Dan has packed luxuries such as garden chard and other scurvy-busting veggies, coffee and what…a pint glass? “That’s um, because it’s really nice to drink a cold Guinness out of a glass.” Dan tells me. You go, you classy mountain man.

The day of Dan’s departure is always hectic. Dan bustles around the house, frying bacon and assembling little tubes of camo face paint, which Rose mistakes for make-up and is found crouching secretively in our room, trying to jimmy the caps off. The kids are on high anticipation alert, asking about 50 more questions per hour than usual and flopping around as if their bones are slowly melting away.

And then Dan leaves, and suddenly everything is funny; funny like look how Col is eating breakfast standing up because he doesn’t want to displace the paper airplane on his chair. And wow, Rose is so thrilled to find the bottle of glue I bought for a homeschool co-op project that she’s glueing strange fuzz found on our floors to paper.

Uno solitaire, or something…

And sometimes nothing is funny. Sometimes we’re just trying to get through a trip to the supermarket and the kids are chasing each other through the aisles, shrieking, at a pitch that doesn’t even seem legal. And the dishes in our sink are like one of those trick candles that you can’t ever blow out, and one kid bit the other and left a bite mark and both kids are always asking me something, urgently, often something unanswerable, like “what song will come next on the radio?” And one of them is ringing this annoying bell repeatedly, scraping at my nerves, but I breathe and bear it because I’m sick of my own nagging voice, and the mathematical equation of how much energy I’m putting out compared to taking in would break a calculator.

But here’s the extraordinary thing, the thing that still boggles me: the solution is sometimes the same as the problem itself. It’s like the Hair of The Dog hangover remedy. Okay, you’re under-caffeinated and beleaguered by children? Take a small dose of joyful, delightful children who love you more than 200 bottles of elmer’s glue.

Because really, they are such good and kind and hilarious little people.

Col greets me in the morning, unfailingly, by throwing himself at me and professing, “I love you, Mama. Soooooo much.”

And Rose, in the middle of a 90F August day, shimmies into a 2-pound dress, all thick with black velvet and ruffled petticoats.”Okay, Mama. Ready to watch me? Wait, not yet. Okay now!” And she streaks like a victorian comet across our living room, with no reason not to believe that she is strong and divine.

Last week I took the kids to hear my friend sing in her all-woman wiccan choir and ever since Col’s been absentmindedly singing “I’m a wise, wise woman,” as he snaps legos together, which can lift me out of any nagging-induced funk.

When Karen heard last night that Rose had already been to her first day of homeschool co-op, she asked Rose when that had happened.

“Oh, tomorrow,” Rose replied.

“No Rosie, yesterday,” Col.

“Oh, right,” she said without a trace of embarrassment.

We went back to the grocery store tonight for cheesecloth and I told the kids to pick out a carton of ice cream, any kind, to eat when we got home, even though it was late, past bedtime. And then we danced in the parking lot while I sang Abba’s Dancing Queen, and the kids went all wide-eyed and proud like maybe I had been hiding the fact all these years that I was actually a rock star.

60 thoughts on “hair of the dog”

  1. My spontaneous squirrely moments are too few and far between. Pulling kids out of bed at 9pm to jump in the neighborhood pool with (gasp) our PJ’s on?!?!? Sitting in the kids swing set fort with the sprinkler on and fully clothed. Dance party in kitchen when we should be doing something responsible like cleaning up dinner. Why can’t I let go and do it more often? Are those crazy fun moments like making a deposit in the bank for when I actually have to be responsible and can’t (er, won’t) play? I just hope they can remember I was someone other than the nag lady.

  2. My spontaneous squirrely moments are too few and far between. Pulling kids out of bed at 9pm to jump in the neighborhood pool with (gasp) our PJ’s on?!?!? Sitting in the kids swing set fort with the sprinkler on and fully clothed. Dance party in kitchen when we should be doing something responsible like cleaning up dinner. Why can’t I let go and do it more often? Are those crazy fun moments like making a deposit in the bank for when I actually have to be responsible and can’t (er, won’t) play? I just hope they can remember I was someone other than the nag lady.

  3. hilarious. all of it. and so, so great. it reminds me of when i’m feeling testy and Avi begins (for the zillionth time), “Mama?” and I cringe to hear my tone when I reply, “What?” and he responds, “I love you!” Melts the yuck every time, snaps the funk right out of me and there I am in the midst of these two fabulous little beings! Lucky us!

  4. hilarious. all of it. and so, so great. it reminds me of when i’m feeling testy and Avi begins (for the zillionth time), “Mama?” and I cringe to hear my tone when I reply, “What?” and he responds, “I love you!” Melts the yuck every time, snaps the funk right out of me and there I am in the midst of these two fabulous little beings! Lucky us!

  5. I am a bow-season widow too. My man deserts us every day from about 4-9. And I’m pretty sure he is going to be gone all weekend. Our conversations go something like this: “Have a great time, babe. I can’t wait for you to get back and build that hot tub deck and clean out the chicken coop. Good luck!” After all, it does make for some nice negotiating leverage, me thinks….

    1. 4-9 pretty much constitutes all the useful hours of the day, right? I do hear you on the leveraging, that works well round these parts too. Good luck to your man on his bowhunt!

  6. I am a bow-season widow too. My man deserts us every day from about 4-9. And I’m pretty sure he is going to be gone all weekend. Our conversations go something like this: “Have a great time, babe. I can’t wait for you to get back and build that hot tub deck and clean out the chicken coop. Good luck!” After all, it does make for some nice negotiating leverage, me thinks….

    1. 4-9 pretty much constitutes all the useful hours of the day, right? I do hear you on the leveraging, that works well round these parts too. Good luck to your man on his bowhunt!

  7. Okay, you’re under-caffeinated and beleaguered by children? Take a small dose of joyful, delightful children who love you more than 200 bottles of elmer’s glue.

    Yes. Thank you for that reminder. I must write it down somewhere so I don’t forget it….

  8. Okay, you’re under-caffeinated and beleaguered by children? Take a small dose of joyful, delightful children who love you more than 200 bottles of elmer’s glue.

    Yes. Thank you for that reminder. I must write it down somewhere so I don’t forget it….

  9. thank you for the gut splitting out loud laughs. tears of hilarity and understanding are streaming down my face. love it, rachel!!

  10. thank you for the gut splitting out loud laughs. tears of hilarity and understanding are streaming down my face. love it, rachel!!

  11. I was trying to explain this concept to Trevor today…then I read your post. Parenting is as challenging as it is rewarding…and it is EXTREMELY rewarding

  12. I was trying to explain this concept to Trevor today…then I read your post. Parenting is as challenging as it is rewarding…and it is EXTREMELY rewarding

  13. Love it! This was us last week, except instead of singing wiccan choir songs, we twirled. My husband and I were talking today and he mentioned he wanted more than 2 days to hunt mule deer this year. I reminded him that a) I haven’t had a non-kid vacation in 3 years and b) the only time I’ve ever been away from my kid(s) overnight was the night Hazel was born. Anyway. He’s making big promises for an unknown time when Hazel can live a day or two without boob. I’m not complaining, I LOVE MY LIFE, I’m just saying…..

  14. Love it! This was us last week, except instead of singing wiccan choir songs, we twirled. My husband and I were talking today and he mentioned he wanted more than 2 days to hunt mule deer this year. I reminded him that a) I haven’t had a non-kid vacation in 3 years and b) the only time I’ve ever been away from my kid(s) overnight was the night Hazel was born. Anyway. He’s making big promises for an unknown time when Hazel can live a day or two without boob. I’m not complaining, I LOVE MY LIFE, I’m just saying…..

  15. Gawd, life at your house sounds awesome! My favourite, actually laugh-out-loud bit of this post was about Col singing, ‘I’m a wise, wise woman’.
    Also, I’m intrigued by the all-woman Wiccan choir!

  16. Gawd, life at your house sounds awesome! My favourite, actually laugh-out-loud bit of this post was about Col singing, ‘I’m a wise, wise woman’.
    Also, I’m intrigued by the all-woman Wiccan choir!

  17. I confess I reread this particular post on occasion because there is so much in it that fills and breaks my heart all at once in the most satisfying way.

  18. I confess I reread this particular post on occasion because there is so much in it that fills and breaks my heart all at once in the most satisfying way.

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I love hearing from you.