My cute husband and I have this shorthand we use, which is “feel my thirst”. It comes from that classic scene in White Men Can’t Jump in which Gloria (Rosie Perez) is lying in bed with Billy (Woody Harrelson), and she tells him that she’s thirsty. I couldn’t believe that this clip wasn’t on Youtube. The best I could do was an itty-bitty audio clip (it’s the 2nd one on the list, if you follow the link) and a copy of the script itself (which is all over the internet):
Gloria: Honey? My mouth is dry. Honey. I’m thirsty.
Billy: Umm… [ Water Runs ] There you go. honey.
Gloria: When I said I was thirsty, it doesn’t mean I want a glass of water.
Billy: It doesn’t?
Gloria: You’re missing the whole point of me saying I’m thirsty. If I have a problem, you’re not supposed to solve it. Men always make the mistake of thinking they can solve a woman’s problem. It makes them feel omnipotent.
Billy: Omnipotent? Did you have a bad dream?
Gloria: It’s a way of controlling a woman.
Billy: Bringing them a glass of water?
Gloria: Yes. I read it in a magazine. See… if I’m thirsty…..I don’t want a glass of water. I want you to sympathize. I want you to say. “Gloria. I. TOO. Know what it feels like to be thirsty. I. TOO. Have had a dry mouth.” I want you to connect with me through the sharing and understanding the concept of dry mouthedness.
Billy:….This is all in the same magazine?
Anyway, now, when W or I will be ranting or complaining about something, the other spouse will often respond with, “Wait, I’m just feeling your thirst, right?” rather than launching into advice and solutions.
Phewww. . . that was a long introduction to my intense desire to complain for just a minute. You don’t have to stay. You can click away and come back to me when I have fabulous weekend plans to share. My point was, if you choose to continue reading, do you promise that you’ll just feel my thirst? Thank you.
So, my five-year-old, J, has been climbing into bed with us. At first, I just let it go, because the alternative was that she would wake up several times at night crying for me, and I’d have to get up and go to her because I am a member of the Bleeding Heart School of Parenting. So if she wanted to pad in her little footy pjs into our room at 4:30 am and snuggle in while I was fast asleep—-well, that wasn’t so bad. Even nice. She always started–and still starts–in her own bed. But she’s had this long, lingering cold. I’ve been to the doctor–nope, nothing serious. But it’s made her extra clingy, day and night. Yesterday she had a tantrum because she wanted me to carry her home on our very short walk. She was sobbing so hard that I briefly thought that she was going to throw up. She stamped all the way down the sidewalk, wailing. She continued to shriek and plead for me to carry her while she stood in the driveway, a few feet from our door.
As part of this trend, she’s been climbing into our bed ever earlier. Last night I was already in a rotten mood because I’ve unwittingly committed myself to a volunteer gig that is more demanding than I thought it would be. I was still wide awake when she climbed in. Plus, she loves to press herself against me, even draping various limbs over me or picking up my arm to try to rearrange me into an ever more ardent embrace. So there I was, lying on my side (less mattress space), with W pressed against one side and J pressed against the other side and, due to colds, they were both snoring loudly. In disgust, I decamped and went to J’s bed.
In the morning I woke up (refreshed? not really) to find J pressed against me in the twin bed. When I got out of bed I woke her as well. We are both grouchy morning girls, so her first words to me were a reproachful: “When you got up, you woke me up. You always wake me up.” To which I responded, “I always wake you up because you are always sleeping with me. If you stayed in your own bed, you would be able to sleep in.” Her eyes filled with tears and she said, “Sorry” as if her little heart was breaking. And I was still so pissy that I didn’t even give her a hug. Moments later I was in the bathroom and she was knocking on the door. I really thought that we’d passed the era when I couldn’t get two minutes to myself, but it’s here again, apparently.
Update: So, J and I had a heart-to-heart over lunch today. It sounded quite a bit like a very sensitive break-up (“I can’t go on like this.” “But I love being with you. I want to be with you all the time.” “I love being with you, too, but I need some space to take care of myself” blah, blah, blah). Our conclusion is that J will get to put her princess pull out sofa next to my bed and I will hold her hand until she falls back asleep. And meanwhile, an hour later, she said her ear is killing her. So it’s back to the doctor’s. Again.
I started this update as she lay on the sofa with the heating pad pressed against her. She’s since perked up and she just came in and asked if she could print out a coloring page. I told her that I wanted to finish what I was doing on the computer, but I could print one out for her. No go. Then she climbed onto the chair I was sitting on and started hissing “coloring page” into my ear. Argh. I turned, and in a tremendously patient voice, I said, “That isn’t very polite. If you would ask me nicely, I would be happy to take a break and cuddle on the sofa with you, or I could even use the other computer so that you can print out your own coloring page. But I can’t work with you squishing me out of my chair, and I don’t like it.” She burst into tears. “Never mind, NEVER MIND!” And I said, again, “I really would like to help you, but I don’t understand if what you really want is time with me or the computer. Can you please just tell me what you’d like to do?” More sobbing. Jeez louise. She is really making me claustrophobic these days. And I honestly can’t tell if she is Deeply Sensitive or just excellent at Making Mommy Feel Crappy for Sport.
Okay, thank you for your patience.