OK, I want to be watching 30 Rock and play Angry Birds, but I wanted to get a post in this week. It’s gonna be quick.
We recently joined the Y. This has changed my average day because there is a child watch room. Yes, for an hour a day, I get to workout while someone else keeps the kids alive. I don’t have to get up before the garbagemen to run. I have discovered water aerobics along with all the retired teachers in my hometown. I don’t know why everyone thinks it is only for people with arthritis. It seems to me if you workout in the water as opposed to the gym in your thirties you could keep from getting the arthritis in the first place. Let’s be proactive, people.
Anyway, there is a flaw in my plan. That flaw manifested itself in the form of a stocky, curl-haired toddler around whom my world revolves for the other twenty-three hours of the day. CJ does not appreciate my hour as he is not spending it with me. The room full of toys and kids and snacks and nice women who love his curls and dimples is no substitute for his mother who may or may not cry because he kicks her when she tries to change his diaper. So most days I get a report that he would be OK for a while then get fussy and cry and need comfort. Sometimes he would go to Leila for a hug which everyone thinks is really sweet. True it is. It would be nicer if he didn’t need comfort at all. The staff in the child watch room changes daily, so some handle it better than others. Some say he was really fine. Others say we almost came and got you. But all of them understand how important an hour it is, and no one has ever come and got me out of my class or the gym. So the level of guilt I felt was not too bad. Oh, wait. I should explain something here. You are probably thinking I feel bad that my son is so upset. OK, that is never good, but really, he’s fine about two seconds after I walk in the door. By the time we get to the car, he’s giddy. No, I feel guilty that other people have to deal with my fussy kid. I have THAT kid. The kid they probably all hate to see coming. That is what I am afraid of and where the guilt bubble originates. This is what keeps my eye on the door waiting for the interruption that never comes because all the babysitters feel sorry for the mom with two kids seven months apart.
Then came Tuesday. Tuesday, CJ had a great day! He didn’t fuss at all. Huzzah! Freedom was in my grasp. So when I dropped him off today, I felt better. Maybe I would get a class in without looking at the door. Then he melted down before I even shut the door. It was not a great day. It may have been his worst yet. One step forward and all that.
Maybe Monday. I may have guilt, but I also have hope.
Last Wednesday, John and I went to a Tweet Up. We had lots of fun with a couple of fantastic ladies. There were also other big in real life meetings happening in my Twitter timeline. For whatever reason, friendships that are started online or even only in cyberspace are not to be taken seriously. There is a smirk that seems to appear anytime these relationships are discussed. It makes me wonder why when you meet someone online, it has to be less than a friendship you make in person. Seeing how everything I hold dear in this life has come to me because of Match.com, I have a fondness for cyberspace, and I am a little tired of the belittling of the relationships that can develop there.
Yes, I have dear friends in this world, some I am related to even, to whom I will always turn in hard times while I will always seek them first to share the good stuff. (This list includes John, who is now blogging at daddyrunsalot.com. Go check his writing out.) Seeing how none of them are home all day like me, I end up talking to a lot of voicemails. So I’ll tweet something and/or post it on Facebook. And within minutes, people I have never met or some I haven’t seen in a while, are there with their support or just joy in sharing in my happiness. It is totally awesome and can make a hard day easier or a good day better. I think that deserves more than a smirk and an eyeroll.
Ultimately, we want the same thing from any relationship we are in, understanding. We want the people around us to understand what we need, what we like, what we want. We like them to know when to listen and just sympathize or when we really need some advice and help. We like to make them laugh and have them make us laugh. We want to be close to other people. That doesn’t always have to be physical proximity. “Luminous beings are we. Not this crude matter.” The soul travels even in cyberspace.
(So I am surrounded by piles and have a mental list of things to do that makes me panic, but the kids are napping at the same time. This usually only lasts for ten minutes, so I have to be fast. They don’t let me get on the computer when they are awake, so I am ignoring everything else to write. I am determined to get myself blogging regularly, so my creativity doesn’t atrophy. It was bad enough when eighth graders were rotting it away. With toddlers and Elmo, I practically feel my writing ability pouring out my ear.)
We joined the Y as a family. John’s swimming to train for an Iron Man, and we’re taking the kids for parent/child swimming lessons. So there are lots of benefits to a membership. One of them is childcare while I workout. No longer do I have to get up hours before the sun to run. There are people, usually other moms, who care for my children while I workout. Huzzah!
I have been to the Y twice and discovered that I like water workouts. Somehow I think they have gotten a cheesy reputation, maybe because the average age of participants seems to be 70 (Good for them, I say.). But I have found both of my classes to be full body conditioning and cardio. I am sore in the right muscles afterward, and my heart rate was up. And no sweat! Well, yes, sweat, but hey, I’m wet anyway. It is totally less gross.
The side benefit is what really has me hooked. In some of the exercises, my ears go underwater while my face stays out. Suddenly the world is muffled, not just the physical one around me, but the one in my head as well. Somehow it seems to be connected to my auditory sense just like physical hearing is. For those moments, I can think about what I want to think about and not what I need to think about. I think we can all agree that this is platinum. It’s not something we get to do a lot in the world of adult responsibility. And it’s not about shutting my brain off and not thinking. That’s something else, and something I am not good at and really don’t need. Part of me stays focused on my body, making my muscles optimize every movement, feeling my heart pump to help them. Then the other part stops worrying about how fussy the kids are in the childcare room and what chores I have on my list, and just thinks about stuff. Writing this blog, working on some fiction I will get to again someday, movies, tv, books, anything I want. Superficial is OK. Deep is OK. But need goes away. Want stays.
Then my thirty seconds are up, and we are on to the next thing which might not be as cocooning, and that’s fine. I find I don’t need a lot of these moments. As much as adult responsibility can be heavy and wearing, I chose it because it is absolutely the most fulfilling. There is nothing I will do in my life that will make me as joyful and content as being a wife and mother and dog and cat owner and daughter and big sister. These roles fulfill these needs because of how important and meaningful they are. They are the big moments that need me as much as I need them. But I like my little moments of want too. They make me want the need.
My kids are 17-months and 9-months. I am going to pause while you do the math if you are new to my story….
Yep, 7 months apart. Short version I was 8 weeks prego when we adopted our son at his birth.
And before you say it, yes, I have my hands full like any other mother.
They don’t talk. I hate that. I think babies should learn language while in the womb and come out communicating. I’ve spent the better part of 2 years playing charades with someone who is really no more intelligent at this point than my dog. For a solid year at least, I am pretty sure the dog is more intelligent.
Of course you learn the signals and the subtle differences between the Woman-I-Am-Hungry-Why-Aren’t-You-Feeding-Me and the I-Am-Tired-But-Am-Too-Stupid-To-Figure-Out-Sleeping-Will-Make-It-Better and finally I-Crapped-A-Lot cries.
Now if you are a parent chances are that at this moment, you are chuckling or at least nodding your head if you think I am too cleaver for my own good. If you aren’t a parent you are shaking your head thinking why would anyone do this to themselves.
Here’s why. Because the one thing these kids really know how to communicate, despite not knowing how to stop themselves from drooling, is how much they love you. The first time they reach their arms up and wrap them around your neck, you are done for. You will put up with so much more than explosive diarrehia when they do that. Then they learn to drool all over your cheek as a form of a kiss. If I have been away, my daughter grins, claps and does this intake breath kind of an exclaimation when she sees me. My son runs pell mell into my legs and locks his arms around my knees, grinning up at me, dimples ablaze. I can’t imagine what I will do when they actually learn to say, “I love you.” I may just buy them a pony.
Maybe I should let the kids cry it out. Maybe I should nap. Maybe I’m too busy to go back to school. Maybe I worry too much about what I say and not enough about what I do. Maybe the laundry can wait another day. Maybe I’m not at creative as I think I am. Maybe I am a great big joke. Maybe I am the funniest person ever. Maybe my kids aren’t as cute as I think they are. Maybe they are even cuter than I think they are. Maybe I am not good enough. Maybe I am perfect. Maybe I really wish I could make this blog into something people would read. Maybe that is a pile of shit, and I suck and no one cares. Maybe I really do have the time. Maybe I have less time than I think. Maybe that shouldn’t matter. Maybe I need more sleep. I know I need more sleep. I know I want to blog more. I don’t know if anyone cares or should. I know I need to stop now.
This is the CJ we all know and love. The unruly curls are so adorable, aren’t they? Such personality on that wee head. That is until you try and get a comb through those suckers. It was becoming a knockdown, drag out, no holds barred Ultimate Fighting cage match every morning. And I can’t say I blame him. He wakes up with dreadlocks, and try as I might, I could not keep from yanking his poor little scalp despite a lot of detangler and patience. During each battle, I would think, it is time to get this mop cut, but then it would be so cute and fuzzy when it was all done. He was my baby.
But finally, I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I had to let my practical mommy brain get louder than my STOP-GROWING-UP-SO-FAST mommy heart. So I called my hairdresser and made a double appointment. Momma’s gotta look good too.
Leila had a nice visit with her Thi Thi while CJ and I went to the hairdresser. CJ didn’t quite know what to make about leaving his sister behind. He kept looking over at her car seat. Mommy heart squeeze right there.
Barb, the hairdresser, is a fantastic lady and very good at her job. CJ and I both got a cape, and he sat on my lap. We jumped right in with what I was afraid would be the big scary clippers. CJ though had no problem with them at all. He got his very serious I-Am-Watching-Everything look and was glued to the mirror. He was amazingly good. Surprisingly it was the scissors that scared him a little, but all he did was turn around and hug me. Sigh. So finally, here is the end result.
And he is still so adorable, but it is now a little boy adorable. I can no longer pretend he is my baby boy. It is the way it is suppose to be, but some days it feels like each milestone goes by as quickly as each curl was cut and fell.
Still those, the hair is so freakin’ cute.
I am not by nature an obsessive person, at least on the compulsive level. I like my house tidy, but I don’t think about what you don’t see. If dust bunnies under the bed don’t bother me, I don’t bother them. I don’t need to have pens lined up or my kids’ toys stored exactly the right way. My time is better spent playing with my kids than worrying about the carpet fringe.
I have found some odd habits forming since becoming a mother. First, I started counting bottles. There are eight. At all times I must know where each bottle is, and nothing makes me happier than having all eight clean at the same time. I actually get a little annoyed with my kids if they decide not to finish one, and I have to store it in the fridge instead of washing it.
And now this has transfered to my daughter’s binkies. Our son used Soothies, all rubber pacifiers. These things seemed to disappear on a daily basis or show up in bits if the dogs found one. I would just buy another pack. And then he stopped really being interested in them around four months.
My daughter is different. She didn’t like the Soothies. She likes the Mams. Mams have these plastic knobs on which the company often places cute pictures such as a baby angel, a heart, or a seahorse. Also they can be pretty colors like pink. We have seven of them. We have always had seven of them. I am obsessed with not losing one. I have made myself late looking under the sofa and crib trying to find one that is missing even though I don’t need it to go somewhere. I have the other six, you see. I will mentally go over where each one is at least twice a day. Pink and white in the crib. Angel and heart in the diaper bag. She’s sucking away on the all pink one right now.
I know it is a relatively easy issue to psychoanalyze. The bottles and pacifiers are something easy to control, and in a life with two children just seven months apart, there isn’t much I can control.
Someday, one of these binkies is going to go missing for real, hidden under a rack of baby clothes at Target, or will experience death as a chew toy.
I hope my sanity will survive.
I, like many people, am a worrier. Now, my worrying is not the what if kind of worry. What if the car crashes? What is my cough is really cancer? What if I get fired? These are not the questions that keep me up at night. My worry is more guilt based. I have been known to drive from one end of the guilt turnpike to the other because someone didn’t like the movie or book I recommended. I wasted his/her time, you see.
I will often leave social settings and spend the drive home over-analyzing minor comments I made or someone else made thinking that it wasn’t as successful a fun time as I thought at the time. I have taken this one so far as to really think that my closest friends only tolerate me because they don’t know how to break up with me.
My family isn’t even safe from this crazy. I make myself responsible for my family members’ moods, especially my husband. Now since he came into my life, my guilt issues are not nearly as debilitating. My husband has a very logical side that enables him to end my guilt trip with one mild statement of common sense. It has been one of the most wonderful gifts he has given me. However, sometimes it can still sneak up on me. Somehow I become responsible if he has a bad day. If he is still carrying a bad mood from the day, it is now my duty to fix it. At this point I start to watch him for every little potential change in mood status. Better mood, yay me. Same or worse, all my fault. Poor guy.
But once the kids are in bed, and it is just us, in the dark, skin to skin, the layers of guilt fall off my shoulders along with my clothes. We know each other so well when the eyes are closed and the lips are open, I can not question anything. When there are no words, my mind stops yammering and just feels. It’s quiet. And finally when I lay there, thanks to my husband, yet again, I realize how pointless guilt is.
And it’s been almost ten years that we have been together. The guilt has reached such a low simmer that mostly, I can ignore it. And what I can’t, I have awfully good help dealing with it.
I am an NPR junkie. More years ago than I am comfortable sharing, I completely gave up on popular music radio. This was in the dark ages when your only alternative to radio was a cassette tape. As someone trying to become an adult type member of society, I gravitated to NPR on my commute. Sometimes this is a bad thing. During the 2008 elections, starting in 2006, I often ended up at school in an irate, Americans-Are-Too-Stupid-And-Idiocracy-Is-Happening-Now mood. My eighth graders did nothing to dispel this mood.
But one thing did.
The Daily Show.
It is the Prozac that tips my scales back into a slightly optimistic balance. It makes me realize that there are millions of like minded people out there laughing at the nuts in the world. Laughing at them is much better than being scared to death of them.
If I stay up for the first airing of a Daily Show episode, I usually end up listening to just a part of it from the bathroom. We all have our schedules. So this entry is just to give you a little idea of where I stand on politics.
I am one of those left leaning centrists that always has shit to do that Jon Stewart is always talking about. Hence, I will be watching the Rally to Restore Sanity on TV instead of being there.
I think the way I see the heath care issues in our country is a good example of where I usually fall.
I have no problem paying more taxes for an institute that will be a trade off for another bill like health insurance, especially if it means that there is health care coverage for everyone. This is how most of the first an second world countries do things. However, I do not feel that the partisan bureaucracy that is our current federal government is capable of running such a system efficiently. Though I know that the insurance companies and medical conglomerates are doing a terrible job, so I’m willing to give someone new a chance.
And I think when the only way you can turn people off of an idea is to make them afraid of it instead of using legitimate arguments, it’s a better-than-average idea.