I was recently at the playground with a friend and her 5 week old, and almost started to complain about being tired all the time. You know, 5 minutes after she told me that her sweet girl had slept for a record 5 hours straight. I stopped myself just in time, laughed, and told her that I had no business complaining about being tired to a new mom. Her reply?
"I don't doubt that you're exhausted - He's so busy!"
It's true. We go to the playground and he spends half of the time racing toward the dog park/parking lot/door. There are 3 slides, two tunnels, 2 sets of stairs, sketchy lilly pad stair things (thanks, Big Kids, for the demonstration!), several steering wheels, etc, and I spend most of our time there trying to get him to play with that plethora of objects built just for him.
A few weeks ago, my husband came home from work and the house was a full-blown disaster: laundry in various states of completion spread around the living room (Please, Lord, grant me a legit laundry room in our next home!); groceries only half put away; dishes galore; the crumbs from what appeared to be an entire box of Ritz on the kitchen floor; annnnd the toys. Always the damn toys. Oh, let's not forget that I was completely frazzled and probably in sweats with a glass of wine in my hand. Parenthetically - usually, he calls before coming home, and I use those 20 minutes to make the house as pandemonium-free as I can; I know that walking through the door to a visual to-do list is draining, so I try to reel it in for him. That night, though, he didn't call first. There was no putting the zillions of ziplock baggies back in the drawer or changing into actual pants for the first time all day. Later on that evening, I apologized that he came home to the peak of chaos. His reply? Telling me that I shouldn't ever worry about it and:
"You do way more just chasing around our little guy - He's so busy!"
The verdict is in: he's busy.
(Not quite The Most Accurate picture, but close)
A few days ago, he woke up suddenly in the middle of his nap. Usually, there's some light fussing about an hour in - I'm not positive that he's even awake when this happens - and then he sleeps for another hour or so. This time, though, he was hysterical. I gave him a second to see if it was just a momentary thing, but he only got louder. I went in and picked him up, which usually calms him down immediately, but he was so distraught that it took me several minutes. He clutched onto me long after he stopped crying, occasionally making the post-sob whimper. The whole thing was heartbreaking.... especially because I was a little irked when I opened the door - he was cutting into my quiet time, after all; I hadn't even gotten around to showering yet.
I realized that day that I spend a lot of my days just surviving: trying to keep this busy boy occupied so that I can do luxury things, like wolf down toast without having to share, or pee without seeing little fingers stretching under the door (what does he think is going to happen? That he's going to melt into goo like one of the villains on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ooze under the door, and then immediately regain his original shape on the other side??). Even trying to do the dishes without a small child shimmying up my leg - naturally, he does this most often when I'm hand-washing the knives - takes a minor miracle. I find myself impatient when he won't entertain himself, or when he continually pushes the buttons on the stereo even though he knows that it's a no-no.
Surviving is a good thing - I did a lot of surviving during the husband's deployment. I survive during colds and teething. There are times for surviving, but I'm not sure it's the way I want to parent. I want to be a place of comfort, a get-on-the-floor-and-wrestle momma, who celebrates little moments and milestones alike, notices silly things, and laughs easily. I'm not saying that I'll never hide on the other side of the kitchen island while I devour some Dove chocolates, or never get a babysitter, or never delay rushing in to scoop the boy up from a nap when he starts fussing after an insufficient 17 minutes; I need those things to be the momma I want to be. But what I am working on is embracing these days: these messy, chaotic, overwhelming, busy, busy days.
With 6 full paragraphs as an intro, here, as promised, is The Most Accurate Picture Ever:
This picture absolutely reflects how our lives are: he moves so quickly that he's blurry in 80% of the pictures we take, the house is littered with toys (thankfully the pile of unfolded laundry on the couch didn't make it into the background), but in the center of it all is a precious moment with a happy boy.
.... And that's all the emotional energy I have for the week. If you'll excuse me, I'm off to eat chocolate and watch some TV before naptime ends. Ci vediamo!
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