Thursday, November 25, 2010

let's give some thanks, shall we?

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Good food, good company, no consumerism, and thanks. Here's what I've got to give thanks for today:

Good health, strong marriage, sweet children, clean water, cuddling in bed with my husband and kids while I type this, coming snow, that my husband has the means to support our family plus something extra to save and give back to the community, and the sweet bare curiosity and honesty of childhood.

I'm also extremely thankful that some things have changed. I find myself suddenly in a different space--where I don't long for the relief of a sitter or Mitch's getting home at night, where I look forward to hanging out with the kids, letting Frances help me make the cranberry sauce or Clark help me do the laundry. I'm aware that it was a mere three weeks ago that I thought I couldn't be around them at all. So what changed? it is me? Is it them?

More on that later. For now, just thanks. And off to a hike with my sweet husband, my shrieking son, my cooperative daughter, and our funny dog. Happy day of thanks to you too!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

the moments to see

Ages ago someone posted an anonymous comment on the blog that just said, "You sure do complain a lot." Most likely some random surfing bloodshot human, probably childless, but it bothered me a good bit. I conjured up responses in my head like, "the blog is, after all, about the challenges of being a mom..." In the end I just deleted the comment.

Today, though, I gave the blog address to a new friend, and just this minute I took a look at the blog and read the last few posts to see what she was going to see when she looked it up. And damn, I sure do complain a lot.

That's unfortunate.

Because there are certainly lovely moments. There are transcendent moments. Moments when the light comes in all soft around the edges. Another blog I won't post a link to writes about exactly those moments, and I will admit that when I took a look at it (having been directed there by its being voted one of the top 50 mom blogs on Babble) I almost laughed. Yes, it's sweet, and grateful, and celebratory of life. But it also seemed like a bunch of crap to me, somehow. Not that I believe the blogger doesn't experience things in that light, (though, does she, really?) but why do other people want to read about it? I don't know... I feel like the transcendent moments are more private. The crappy ones are the ones you need company for. They're the ones we need to share so we don't feel so alone in our frustrations. Hence this blog.

However. One might argue that it's good to fine tune the focus on those sweet moments, let our eyes go lazy and our gaze drift on the more challenging ones. That would be nice. An nice way to live, to pay more attention to the laughing than to the yelling. Okay, perhaps I could use more of that.

Yet it's the challenging moments that call us, that ask of us the most that we have, ask us to look hard at the things that need seeing. Isn't there some danger to putting them aside? We can't live our lives in soft focus. (And who knows, maybe she doesn't. Maybe she just wants to capture those moments in the blog. Yet I have to ask: why? Why do you want to share them? Is it a kind of art? Capturing the sweet? The dainty? What about the powerful? No judgement, though.) It is a spiritual journey, after all. It's also a nerve-fraying-screaming-and-petrified-cheese-under-the-carseat journey, which makes us forget it's a spiritual journey. Perhaps we could remember if we could hear ourselves think.

Or maybe the moments that try us are just more interesting. They show us our mettle.

Moving on.

My new camera is lovely. Here is its rendition of JOY, or what we did Saturday morning:

And here's LOVE:

This is Leo. He lives across the street. He and Frances love each other. Love. Like the real, true, affectionate, whole kind. He's moving away at christmas, and my heart will break for her. For now, though, here they are. Happy. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Turns out that particular freak out had much to do with hormones. Did I mention I got the IUD with the hope of eradicating PMS? Oh well, it's early; my body is still adjusting. And currently I blame the IUD not only for the hysteria itself but also for its wacky intensity, because it was way wackier than my usual PMS episodes. Hormones are strange things. Anyway, things are much improved over here, and I'm a much saner person.

In other news: Clark has a stutter. It's kind of cute, though am I allowed to say that? It started maybe 2 weeks ago and the past few days have actually been better. It's only the first sound of a sentence, and as he tries and tries to get it out, he gets louder and louder until he's shouting and red in the face. After about a week he realized he could speak clearly if he whispered, which I found to be pretty nifty of him. But then he started to stutter in the whisper.

It's a normal thing for kids to go though, I know. They say there's only need for concern if it goes on 3 months or longer. I'm not worried.

Also, Frances is a gem right now. Which is particularly fabulous given the terror that is my son. She's so helpful and patient when I have to deal with him. She's also very very affectionate, kissing, hugging, generally wrapping herself around me, telling me she loves me, wants to play with me, wants me to be with her. Aaaah, at least they're not horrible at the same time. (I probably shouldn't write that. My next post could be about what kind of padded cell they're going to put me in since they've both become intolerable.) For now, though, I can at least see that my patience comes and goes, rather than is gone. I was really worried for a minute. Thanks for all the concern and the love. It helps--really.

Plus, I bought a big fancy camera. Results to come.
Top 50 mom blogs... vote for your favorite (or for mine. :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

my undoing

I have no dishwasher and no camera. Damn the modern need for this gadgetry! It turns out I live in a very fragile and procarious tower (midieval stone and tiny window variety) where one brick goes and the whole thing tumbles down. I'm falling apart over here. I couldn't even get it together enough to go vote. And I really wanted to vote.

At first I thought it was the dishwasher that put me over the edge--the final straw--, or simply the snowball effect of sitters who cancelled and Mitch's migraine that put him completely out of commission for bath/bedtime routine the night before my embarrassing emotional collapse in the middle of the gym (while on a machine, no less. I had to flee to find a more discreet place to disintegrate). But it wasn't the dishwasher. It's Clark. Clark Clark Clark, who used to be my sweet baby, my agreeable one, the easy going, the less intense, the one who could adjust and flex and roll. I somehow thought his personality would allow him to bypass this developmental stage. How silly of me.

Let me be clear. He is no longer a sweet baby. He is two and a half, and he is a monster. MONSTER. Perhaps we are at the height of the thing? The most intense it will get? Perhaps he's not still building to his full monsterdom? Oh please let that be so. For everyone's sake, let that be so, and let this peak not last long, let us soon come down the other side oh so gently.

A MONSTER. It's gotten to where I don't want to go anywhere--the library or the carousel at the play museum or the hardware store--because there is a 100% chance he's going to be incredibly difficult about something. Getting in his carseat. Getting out of his carseat. Which carseat to sit in. Which song is on. The fact his blankie fell on the floor.

He's got a terribly traumatic life.

But the thing that undoes me is the 100% chance that once we get to the bagel shop, farmer's market, grocery store, he's going to throw a fit about something he absolutely cannot touch, climb, hit. Mr. Destructo coming through! I simply cannot take it. So we go nowhere.

He still throws fits at home, of course; about my telling him he can't throw Little People at the dog, or hit the cat with the wiffle bat, or climb daddy's dresser. Today we had a fit with Every Single diaper change.

It exhausts me.

It's not that I'm embarrassed about his displays in public. It's not that I feel like an incompetent parent because he's delivering them. I know it's a stage and it will (eventually...!) pass, but somehow the shrieking or the flinging--or something--has tripped my panic button and I don't know how to turn it off. I feel like a crazy person. (A couple of days ago I seriously wondered if I could come back from it, thought maybe we'd have to hire a full time nanny for a month or so, so I could lie in bed and read The Age of Innocence and the New York Times Magazine. I'm way behind on current events.)

I'm trying. I'm doing all the right things; going to the gym, being social, doing laundry. I have absolutely no motivation to organize and prepare food, and that's a bummer for everyone. But a few dinners of mac and cheese never hurt any kid. And a few dinners of cereal for mom and dad never did either. Hopefully the tide will turn and my energy will come back, my motivation will return. This hideous gray rainy weather isn't helping I'm sure. I'm holding out for the pretty white snow...

Monday, November 1, 2010


I've lost my camera again. Or more specifically, Frances has lost it. Just so you know. No pictures anytime soon, unless I cave and go buy the big fancy one I've been wanting. Which I just might do.

what is there to fear?

Boy, I'm really having trouble these days getting to the blog. Part of that is because in my free time I go to the attic, to my new painting studio, with which I am in love. This is a good thing, of course, but I also need this blog; I need it for for me, for me to process and record and extrapolate, to make some sense and order of the disorderly world. And I apologize to those loyal followers who check back often: YOU! You are some of my favorite people, the ones in it with me.

Sometimes I feel like all I do it try to get breathing room. Each art activity, trip to the park, sitter I schedule, space I declutter, are all done with the goal of feeling calmer, more organized, revived. I can't seem to revive.

But it occurs to me that there is no point in revival, just like there's no front of the line of traffic on the highway; there's always more traffic, and always more space to declutter, sweaters to mend, laundry to fold, dinner to cook. There's never going to be a time when it's all done and I can sit and read my book (or write on my blog) while feeling free and relaxed.

There are things I want to do with the kids--projects--but it's like I can't get myself rested enough (emotionally, physically) to put them together. If I wanted to make excuses we could talk again about my headaches... And it's true; much of the time I'm so depleted from the migraine and hangover after that I'm a success if I get people fed.

I feel like I'm waiting for the storm to pass, hanging on. But the truth is that there is no storm, and there is no passing. It's just life. Instead of hanging on and waiting, I should be letting go--falling falling, and enjoying the wind and rain.