Things are getting tougher around here. The way I can tell is that I am doing unusual things like getting out of the car to go inside the house, but the car is still running, and then today I took a stack of recipes to Manny's preschool and left them in his folder for the teachers and then spent an hour looking for them at home. Boy was I surprised to find them when I picked him up. I am glad I got them back before Miss Eve discovered them. The children baked pretzels on Tuesday and I wouldn't want her to think I was criticizing the simplicity of her choice by leaving her recipes for Orange Pan-Glazed Tofu and Sun-Dried Tomato Cottage Cheese Muffins.
Last night, Sam and I shot another bullet into the chest of minimalism by putting up loads more plastic sheeting and zip ties all over our main floor railings (which are a big feature, in case you haven't seen our house). Not since the eight panel plastic monstrosity baby corral I bought (and have hardly used) has there been such ugly childproofing. Now the minimalism resides in our living room furniture, which we keep evacuating to other crevices of the house because the children can turn absolutely anything into a lethal danger. It is a talent of rare proportions. Our living room would look empty if it weren't for the giant cardboard box and the loads of toys I never get around to picking up. It makes me laugh to think about the goal I had to relegate toys to one area of the house so that the living room would always look ready for company. And it does. Toddler company.
We went to our last Queen Anne Farmers Market of the year today. It was chilly, blustery and on the edge of really raining. We visited all our favorite vendors and I was thrilled to see that even on the first day of October, they had raspberries. Golden ones. Like little jewels mushed in the hands of babes.
Sarah at the fruit stand gave Manny a ripe pluot and he sat on the curb, next to the guy doing his extremely repetitive Dylan-esque banjo thing, and ate every last bit of fruit off the pit. I was glad he was wearing his red jacket so that the juices mingled with his fleece perfectly, leaving no trace of his first whole fruit free-for-all.
After he was done, I bought a mini Butter Toffee Crunch ice cream from the Parfait truck. Holy Moly. I almost turned my back on the kids and ate the whole thing myself. They would have screamed their heads off, but I might not have cared, it was so good. But instead, I was the only who didn't get a last bite. And I was okay with it. This is a clear example of how parenthood makes you a better person.
When we got home, Sam was still on the road and it was time to make dinner. I don't think that people should have to risk their life to make cauliflower, but that's what it felt like with three little people trying to scale the stove and yanking on my legs for the duration. I am amazed that we make it through some of these moments without injury or bursts of insanity. My favorite moment of the haze was when Manny rushed after Glory into the family room, pushed her, came back out to the kitchen, heard Glory crying and then ran back into the family room to say, "It's okay sweetie." Talk about mixed messages.
I was relieved and happy to arrive in the girls' room for bedtime. Elena sauntered over in her diaper to smack me in the head with Goodnight Moon, which is her way of politely asking if I will read her a book. I paused, thinking I should find the comb because her hair looked like a Richard Nixon toupee, but instead we found the comb in the book and said Good Night to it. The girls did their nursing/poking each other in the eye/sticking their fingers in my mouth and laughing thing that they do so well, we read Goodnight Moon again and I made my exit.
The days are so full of joy, laughter, snuggling and peril. Glory almost got hurt so many times today. I took the girls to the community center open gym and Glory loves to ride in this Fred Flintstone like car that has a handle for the parent to push. I thought I was so clever that I could push Glory and keep an eye on Elena until I realized that Glory had slipped under the steering wheel of the car and was trapped, about to be run over by her doting parent. Coming home from the farmer's market, all bundled in her new winter coat, I only buckled the top part of her stroller straps. I realized not a moment too soon that she had slid underneath the buckle and half of her body was hanging off the stroller. Last week on the way home from the Farmers Market, Manny fell out of the stroller. And he still greeted me with a huge leg squeeze when I picked him up from preschool today.
That is grace.
I think I'm going to go eat some chocolate chips. That is grace too.