I've decided my impatience is directly related pretty much solely to Clark's screaming. This is an interesting revelation.
The last Friday of vacation was a gem of a day. I was patient, the kids were in good moods, my offer of candy provided there were no fighting or screaming during the grocery run was highly successful. I also didn't feel any pressure to get anything done. No laundry, no cooking. No headache. I spent the time doing puzzles with them on the floor, or just lounging around. It was lovely.
At first I thought the big deal difference was that I felt great: no headache, no headache hangover from headache yesterday, no being tired from getting up the night before with the kids, good exercise (finally!) after being out with Terrible Illness. I'm a considerably (understatement) more patient person when there's no screaming. Plus, we got out of the house early, grocery shopping complete before a 10 a.m. playdate. AND Frances's playdate came with a mom - a playdate of my own! Interaction with actual adults! But it occurs to me now that perhaps the most relevant detail is simply that Clark wasn't screaming.
Yet today there was just so much. Sigh. Why must there be so much?
On another note: I think the babylust has passed. What a relief! A couple of things happened: 1) I held a sweet cuddly newborn (so warm!) and he smelled like spit up. It's different when it's your own's spit up, your own sour milk; 2) I found an old video of Frances and Clark. She was just barely three and he was 19 months. I've so longed to remember what they were like, had a kind of pain inside that I can't bring them up in my mind. And there they were! There in our driveway in early fall. Frances was riding her trike, her pigtails streaming out behind her. Clark was pushing around the orange Little Tykes car, ramming it into the garage and then shrieking because it wouldn't go. Actually, that part was particularly interesting to watch, since I see the same exact physical movements in him still. Frances was such a willing helpful sister, cheerfully hopping off her trike when I said, "Frances, can you help your brother pull the car out?" He didn't want her though. He wanted Mama. MamaMamaMama! And the video ended. It reminded me with sharp clarity how maddeningly boring toddlerhood can be. Fun, full of exuberance, but also quite tedious. Thank you, modern technology.
I find this part much more interesting. Also more daunting and complex... My friend Emily, whose kids are 4 1/2 and brand new, said the other day, "Should it really be this hard?" But it is. If you're paying attention, anyway. No offense to those who aren't paying attention, of course. Or those who bizarrely find parenting easy. Don't know what you're smoking in your pipe, but it ain't from the same plant as mine. Which is why I savor the easy days. The days when the light falls just so through the window, when there's no headache and no screaming.