Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Survivor Mom

Survivor Mom

This post is dedicated to Amy and all my other baseball fan friends

As I was saying last time, this time is different.  This time, the thought of the unexpected is exciting.  It’ll be like the urban version of Survivor Man, the show where they drop this guy into some ferocious wilderness with nothing but a videocamera and a bottle cap and he has to survive the week. 

If you’ve ever seen the show, you know what happens. The guy takes his bottle cap and carves out a teepee from wet bark and then uses it (pick your antecedent—either the bottle cap or the wet bark—they both work) to trap quail, rabbit and small fish.  The teepee blows over on Day 2 and none of the food he catches turns out to be edible.  On Day 4, sweating and shivering and cross-eyed from delirium, he looks into the camera and admits defeat.  He’s going to call on the emergency phone.  (Wait!  He has an emergency phone?  Isn’t that cheating?)  And then he passes out from dehydration.

But on Day 5, the sun comes out.  And Survivor Man realizes that the maggots feeding on the flesh of the small and dead woodland creatures are chock full of protein.  And then he sees that he can dry out the animal carcasses in the sun and build a new teepee.  Survivor Man does it again!

This is how I picture the next five to seven months.  Like Survivor Man, who just has to last out the week, I just have to last long enough to make it to Cousin-O-Rama on Labor Day weekend.  Even if it means that Matt has lost most of his hair and mine has all turned grey.  I call it Survivor Mom. 

Except that I won’t go at it alone.  Matt will be there.  Chiara will be there (granted, she is limited in her abilities but she will be able to say things like, “Mama!  Quick!  Chester’s rolling down the stairs!”).  And we will get help.  Lots and lots of live-in help. 

Pretty soon I will start shamelessly recruiting 5 months’ worth of family and friends to come stay with us and be part of the madness.  (email me if you have some dates in mind)

Can’t you hear it?  “If you build it, they will come.”

What have we built?  We bring you twin boys.  Not just any twin boys, but the fruit of Matt’s loins.  They will be big.  They will be strong.  They will eat wallpaper.  Come witness the madness for yourself.

Will they have the same cry?  Will they have the same eating schedules?  Will they sleep most soundly sucking on each other’s toes? 

Will you be able to tell them apart?

Most importantly, will you be able to last the week?

Will you fly in on Monday, brightly armed with a videocamera and a bottle warmer prepared to make a meal and do the occasional 2 a.m. feeding only to find yourself in inhospitable territory-- there's me, walking around in a daze in a nightgown (someone else’s nightgown, you realize).  Inside the boys’ room BPA-free teethers and organic cotton burp clothes fly around like that scene from Poltergeist.  Meanwhile, Chiara is at the top of the stairs swaying back and forth: “They’re heeeeeeeeeer-eeeeer.” 

You open the fridge and realize that the Kovacs have been eating recyclable cardboard and lead-free Melissa and Doug wooden picnic food.  All the furniture is covered in spit up and baby snot.

"What’s that smell?" you ask.

Matt is nowhere to be found.  Later you discover that he’s passed out (again) in the diaper aisle of a Whole Foods somewhere in the Bay Area.  In one hand he’s clutching a carton of Luna bars.  In the other, compostable baby wipes.  They found him (again) by following the trail of leaked Pedialyte.

Will your inner Mary Poppins come out and save the day?  Or will you call home on Day 4, shivering and sweating, covered in projectile baby fluids and admitting defeat?

You don’t know.  But I know you.  You HAVE to come and see.  At least long enough to find out what happens on Day 5. 
Can’t you hear it?  It’s Darth Vader’s voice from Field of Dreams : “Ray, people will come Ray.  They'll come to Oakland for reasons they can't even fathom.  They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it.  They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past.  Of course, we won't mind if you look around, you'll say.  People will come, Ray. . .  The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been babies.  America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers.  It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again.  But babies have marked the time.  This nursery, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray.  It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again.  Oh... people will come Ray.  People will most definitely come.” 

© 2010 Janine Kovac 


  1. How does all this roll off your pen? I found myself packing and then I remembered I was in my nightgown and it's still Week 23. So I unpacked so I could have something to wear today.

    You are truly funny and inspiring. Well, the maggots part was gross.

    Put me down for whenever. You are right: If you build them, we will come!

    Love, Nonna

  2. I am laughing out loud and praying out loud too, some good and heavy Curandera prayers. Fine prayers for you and your fine spirit and your wonderful family, all of them, but especially the Peas, and for strength and laughter and a road that has comfortably smooth bumps which will be easily overcome.

    Stay well and stay in touch with these awesome blogs. Love, Aunt Lulu.

  3. I'm always looking for a way to get to the Bay Area. And I say this KNOWING what's coming and I tell you, you have it nailed. I spent my entire twin pregnancy unable to let my mind "go there." However, the ignorance-is-bliss path didn't serve me so well. OMG, you remember what an antecedent is? I've retained nothing from high school. Or is that the result of being a four-time brain donor? Janine, you realize, you may not be as smart after this pregnancy... :-)

  4. This is hilarious. I almost packed, as well, and that's crazy because this is the first time I've read your blog. (I found you through Kara.)

    I look forward to reading more.