Saturday, August 18, 2018


I'm writing this as one child sleeps upstairs and one child perches fifteen feet to my left, alternating laps of cheerio inhalation with sprints of intensive monkey role play.  There are monkey noises, some freeform preschool rap, the clink of spoon against bowl, brief expostulations of "MOMMY!!! WATCH THIS!!!"

This is what passes for peace in this season.

I wonder if I really will "miss this," per the pronouncements of the universe's grandparent-aged contingent.  I mean, I probably will, if only because the nostalgia is like a deep fryer, rendering palatable anything raised from its bath.  But is this really the crispiest, tastiest, most unctuously delicious time in my life, as the grandfolk imply?

And if it is, would I be the better for realizing what I'm biting into?

Friday, August 17, 2018


This is it.  This is my life.

Thursday, August 16, 2018


I used to wonder why parents gave in to badly behaved children.  I worked with kids, so I knew these parents were shooting themselves in the gut.  Show any sign of weakness and kids are on you like jackals.  Or, put more dispassionately, if you reinforce a behavior, you get a whole lot more of it.  

Now I understand.  It's a dose issue.  Eight hours of kid a day is one thing; 24 hours of kid is... three times that thing.  You have the potential to get ground down.  Add in exhaustion and distraction, water heater explosions and poop, and sometimes you crumble.

I'm still pretty good about not rewarding bad behavior, but my empathy has broadened; never a bad thing. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


It's hard not to be cravenly in love with the sound of the rain, even though, in adulthood, rain is an inconvenience- a hurdle or even a danger.  Will the basement flood again?  Will my flight manage to take off? Will I have to wedge my car onto the shoulder of the highway and sit frozen under thundering sheets of wet hoping other drivers won't be foolhardy enough to rear end me?

Rain, like snow, slowly converts from wonder to chore over the course of your lifespan.  It's the final stage in the hydrologic cycle, the one no one talks about: condensation-precipitation-infiltration-irritation.

But that sound!  Right now the rain is gentle and the wind is null, so it's a light tapping, a polyrhythm beaten against the lip of the window and the line of the roof and the flat of the ground and my skin when I sneak out for the paper.

Because I'm a fool, I've opened the window, so the sound has filled up the house.  Love may not be envious or boastful or rude, but it is slightly damp.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


One of us ate a lot of bad hamburger and was up all night puking.  The rest of us ate comparatively less hamburger and are on puke watch.

Does one ever get inured to life's unceasing waves of crisis? Small, moderate, large- they keep rolling in.

Monday, August 13, 2018


I thought the things we remember were supposed to be emotionally laden, shot through with fear or ecstasy,:what Virginia Woolf called "moments of being."  And sure, I've got memories of "being" my way through my children's births, winning things, hearing bad news, etc. etc.  But I also have all these sense memories of the mundane.

Why would I have retained running under that particular I-64 overpass in Richmond, VA?  What good does it do me to be able to revisit, with a clarity so exquisite it is almost painful, that one time I drove down Curry Pike in Bloomington, Indiana?   Or past a cheese mart in northeastern Ohio?  How about that random stadium in Cincinnati?

I don't understand the presence of these places in my mind, but I am not ungrateful.  It is reassuring, somehow, that memory isn't only a plot junkie, that it is capricious and perverse and, in the end, unknowable.  I find it oddly comforting that this particular sunrise might end up being as much a part of my remembered life as my first kiss or my son's first smile.

Half-hearted, today.  Clouds and a fine, humid tension to the air; cicadas and muted birds. Only a little pink to the sky, quickly wiped away.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

All By Myself

I am not going to be alone in my house until October.

For someone who believes being alone is to be savored, to be swirled and sipped and nursed like expensive whiskey, this is a very long time.

Solitude is among the signal sacrifices of childrearing, and I expected to lose some, but I hadn't quite mapped out the extent of my deprivation until yesterday.  My daughter will go to daycare when she's three months old, and until then, she or she and my husband or she and my son or she and my husband and my son will always be with me in the house.

It's true that, since this is my second tour of infancy, my standards have lowered, and that being with my daughter in the house, and no one else, feels far closer to being alone than being with my son did when he was an infant.  This isn't because my daughter is less demanding than he was (she's very slightly more obstreperous).  It's because the first infant takes up enormous psychological space, catalyzing anxiety and bombarding identity, whereas by the time the second rolls around you mostly just treat her as a sentient alarm clock.

Plus you've garnered some additional experience living with toddlers and preschoolers, and infants seem quite restful in comparison.

These are exaggerations, but there's truth in every exaggeration, the spear of wood at the heart of the popsicle.

Still, I miss being genuinely alone.  No one looking at me, no one looking to me, no interruptions dangling over me  like miniature swords of Damocles.  I don't require much.  A room, a window, a glass of water.