Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I can't think of a title and every counter space is covered with dishes so I must press on. Tomorrow is Sam's morning to sleep in until 6:45am and mine to get up whenever the bells toll, so to speak, so I cannot linger over the sink too long. Sam and I just finished re-watching the final episode of Lost: Season 5 while we ate dinner and I almost wept again when Juliette was pulled down the hole by an ungodly magnetic force to her doom. I don't watch much TV and more often make fun of it, but boy can I get sucked in (sorry Juliette, no pun intended). If it wasn't for the purple Listerine commercial that came on immediately afterwards, I might have been a complete puddle for the rest of the night.

Maybe Untitled is more appropriate than I originally thought. I have had trouble putting words to most everything lately. Every day, I have elaborate plans to clean the house, get physically fit and write my first novel as soon as the kids go to sleep. And every day, the kids go to sleep and it's like my battery has run out and I need to plug into the charger for a few hours before anything of note can occur. But hope rises triumphant each morning. My friend Nikki suggested that maybe this is preparation so that when the time is right, I will be eager and ready. I like my friend Nikki a lot and I like this idea so this is what I will tell myself when the temptation looms to feel that F word coming on. And no, I'm not talking about the expletive I said forty times under my breath yesterday when I closed the garage door on the back door of the minivan while the kids were flipping the hazards on and off. I suppose I should have heeded their warning. No. This F word is really so much more damaging than that one. Failure. Maybe failure and I should become friends. Not the backstabbing kind of friends, but the kind that can offer and receive constructive criticism. Maybe then when she comes around, I won't feel like I am 31, going on too late.

I only think about such things in the dark hours, the hours where the children are asleep in their beds and I am racing around the house folding, washing and twittering (not literally- you know, the way we used to mean it) and the hours pass by so quickly, only to begin all over again. When the children are awake, they fill each moment with meaning and help me to lose myself in this life we are making together.

Last week, I was changing Elena's diaper in the family room. Our family room is huge and yet, there was only one tiny pocket of space where she could lay next to one of the wardrobe moving boxes that Mike turned into a coffeeshop, now spaceship for the kids. I had just finished removing her poopy diaper and was working on wiping when Manny catapulted off the huge box onto the poop, coating the bottom of his foot to the sounds of Louis Armstrong crooning, "And I think to myself, what a wonderful world." Come to think of it, I was so taken by the moment, that I didn't properly wash his foot and he may not have had a bath that day. I was telling my grandma last night that every night we do a bath, I take the girls back to Manny's room in their towels, and without fail, one of them piddles a little bit on the carpet before I can get both diapers on. I just rub it in with my sock so there won't be a line. One can only be so on top of things and by that time of night, I reassure myself with a promise of future carpet cleaning and ironclad immune systems.

Today, I was preparing a marinade for tofu and Manny snatched my ginger and took off running. I caught up with him and broke off a little piece for him to keep. I went back to the cutting board to continue my work and he was right behind me asking questions about the strange thing in his hand. Me, trying to be a good mom and engage every opportunity for learning, said, "Wait! Do you want to smell ginger in a different form?" I pulled the ground ginger out of the spice drawer. Manny took a whiff and said, "It's bad?" "No," I chuckled. "It's not bad," and continued to drone on about the merits of ginger while I peeled and minced. I could see motion out of the corner of my eye and stopped to look. Manny was rhythmically hitting the side of his head with his piece of ginger and said, "Hurts your head?"

Manny has begun to sing. Not a lot. But some, and if I ever ask him to be quiet for any reason, it's like I've stomped on his foot while he's trying to run and play. It just squashes his joy. So, during the girls' nap, we were in his room and Elena had just recovered from a mid-nap crying spell and I was trying to play it cool and not care that she might have only napped for 45 minutes, even though my heart was beating fast and I totally did care. Manny chose that moment to start repeatedly screaming the word "Heap" to the tune of Jingle Bells. I could hardly stand it, but decided that if Elena woke up and was a mess the rest of the day, that was better than giving Manny the message that he cannot fully express himself in my presence. After several minutes, I began to rethink and started to sing Jingle Bells softly, thinking that might change the game. Manny immediately stopped and whipped around to face me, telling me in no uncertain terms, "Mama! Quiet! That's too loud for the babies!" and immediately went back to "Heap, heap, heap. Heap, heap, heap. Heap, heap, heap, heap, heap...."

It's an amazing time. The kids amaze me, I amaze myself and Sam amazes me, but that last part is nothing new.

Two things I am learning. One, if your oatmeal tastes like poo, it's time to take out the kitchen garbage. Two, there must be a zero tolerance policy for unattractive pants in your closet, because inevitably they end up being what you wear more often than not because of their ugly, comfortable, you haven't done enough laundry powers. 31 is too old for pants that don't fit and unkempt hair. Somehow at 20, anything could be cute. Now, I just look like I belong in the classic SNL "Mom Jeans" commercial, but worse, because at least those women blow-dry. As I look back on 2009, I have gained a lot of wisdom, but these two lessons will carry me through the rest of my life.


Carmen Goetschius said...

LAUGH OUT LOUD!!!! Literally! This post is so tender and hilarious.... A grand sigh from your friend in Philadelphia. Good lessons. I will think through my own today. Like, sometimes you just gotta drag a chair into the bathroom and sit in front of the radiator and be thankful for heat and burnt grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. We are too young for ugly pants. Here, here. And our rears (you know the real word I meant here) deserve some hot jeans as well. Here's to us, and to our lives and living the opposite of miserly, in love and gratitude for every gift!

Mark said...

You're not a failure. Some of us in the room are failures, but you're sure not. Keep up the brilliant blogging.