Saturday, December 30, 2006

Time well spent

Today has been a good one. The holiday season has finally succeeded in loosening my grasp on the passage of time, so that I have to keep reminding myself what day it is, even though there is no real need to know as we have no plans. Even though days without plans now are hardly as unfettered as they were before we became parents, my sense of appreciation for them has never been so keen.

This morning, as per our normal weekend/holiday morning routine, I went to retrieve J from behind the gate in the doorway of her room (You know, the one that allows me to sleep at night secure in the knowledge I won't hear her tiny, confused voice echoing up from downstairs in the middle of the night, much like I did the night, not long after making the leap to the big girl bed, J discovered we weren't latching her gate after checking on her one last time? Right, that one.) when she called for me and brought her to our bed to "watch somefing." After about an hour of valiant but vain attempts at grabbing just a few more minutes of precious slumber while being used as a human jungle gym/trampoline, she and I came downstairs for breakfast. We left MOMD in bed to sleep off last night's poker triumph - I'm rarely so generous, being as I am of the mind that we got in this mess together and if one of us is suffering for it we both should be, but I had plans to head to the gym later so my time was coming. I haven't exercised since a very short-lived attempt at training for a 5K just before we got pregnant, and I was hoping that the associated endorphin release would help me overcome the crippling fatigue I have been dealing with for the last few weeks. It seems to be doing the trick, helped in no small part I'm sure by the cat nap I was just able to sneak in while J is asleep and MOMD is visiting his dad in the hospital. I came home from the gym to a yummy lunch of grilled sandwiches, courtesy of MOMD's proficiency on the griddle and my rare presence of mind to stop at the store for fixin's on my home, and then cleaned up the kitchen before heading upstairs to lounge on our big bed and make a little headway in the latest issue of Oxford American before nodding off.

No big deal, no great accomplishments checked off my to-do list, but I had an epiphany of sorts this afternoon that though I may have less time now to spend however I want, what I have more of is time well spent. As much as I may fret over the loss of entire weekends stretched before me with no commitments and no responsibilities, if I'm honest about it I appreciate the structure motherhood as brought to my life. I can barely remember what I did with all that time, but I suspect it was a lot of nothing - too few books read, too few words written, too few trips taken, and too many hours with an unread magazine open on my lap and a rerun of some insipid MTV offering on the television. Not that I didn't enjoy that time, I've just been given a greater sense of appreciation for the promise of "time to myself."

Which is what brought me down here to write for the last few minutes of naptime instead of continuing to stare at the spindly winter shapes outside the bedroom window. My father is constantly on me to write a book - my mother has not once mentioned as she is fully aware of the demands - physical, emotional and temporal - of raising small children. And aside from the fact I have zero brilliant ideas around which to craft the Great American Novel, nor, I fear, the patience to sit down and hammer it out, I just don't have the time. I am paid to write, and I write on a variety of topics for a variety of clients. I think I am good at it, and the fact that I often have more work than I can keep up with is seeming testament to my abilities, but in my heart of hearts I don't consider myself a "writer."

To me a "writer" is someone who spends his or her days reading and learning from great writers, and simply writing for the sake of writing, in a sunny, well appointed room dedicated to writing, surrounded by all the pretty, pretty things in the Levenger catalog purchased expressly to support the business of writing, and I have neither the time, the space, nor the supplies.

BUT. I know that one day I will have that time. Soon enough my children - the one here now and the one not yet born - will no longer need me as they do now, will be off playing with friends on weekend afternoons, off to college, {sob} off on their own grand adventures, and I will be left alone with nothing but time. And what I am learning now, is how to grab that precious gift of time and wring out every last drop. And one day I will. I just hope Daddy is still around when I finally get there.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Things we don't want to forget

MOMD asked me this morning if I was keeping up with all the funny things J says, because as I mentioned in an earlier post she figures out the right way to say things much too quickly. So in the interest of preservation...

  • When she wants to do something independently (which is pretty much all the time now, and since I am officially great with baby #2 (yay!) that suits me just fine when it comes to climbing stairs, etc.) she says, "I do it my byself."
  • Up until yesterday, when from the next room I heard the Little People Preschool bringing down yet another toddlerism, she pronounced twenty as "twent," a pronunciation I like to think came from the fact that she learned to count in English, Spanish and French simultaneously and that "twent" sounds suspiciously like "vingt." But now she's seen the light, and this morning when MOMD asked her what comes after nineteen she said "twenny."
  • Her breakfast of choice is usually "eatmeal." That's one is still going strong and MOMD is going to be heartbroken when she figures it out. He even corrects me when I say it correctly in a last-ditch effort to hold onto it.

That's all I can think of at the moment - except for the fact that she constantly amazes us with her ability to retain and communicate information. At 28 months she speaks in complete, detailed sentences, and for the most part structures her sentences properly. We were musing the other day over whether she would be reciting the Gettysburg Address by age 3, and MOMD said, "It wouldn't hurt to start teaching it to her." Um... ok.

We had a fantastic Christmas (and Thanksgiving for that matter). J really got the whole Santa Claus thing, and it didn't hurt that the soot-covered one brought her the rocking horse and bunny she mentioned every.single.time someone asked her what she wanted. (And Mommy wasn't sad about the fact that the rocking horse was already hiding upstairs before she mentioned it the first time.) And since MOMD participated in the Christmas shopping this year the number of gifts was much more reasonable and much less overwhelming. After J perused her Santa stuff we took turns opening gifts with her so she had a chance to really check everything out instead of just blindly tearing open packages. Of course, as the day wore on - with two more Christmas celebrations with the grandparents - it became more about the pursuit of the next package, but all in all it was a great few days, even without naps!

We are slowly recovering from the overstimulation, and J and I are both quite ready for preschool to reconvene next Wednesday! Not that I haven't enjoyed a whole week of not having anywhere to be (although my grand vision of using this time to conquer potty training have not exactly materialized - methinks someone has dug in her heels, so I'm backing off for a few weeks), but it will be nice to get back into our routine. Not to mention the fact that pregnant Mommy is EXHAUSTED. Bring on the second trimester! I seem to remember feeling like a whole new woman when I hit that mark the first time around, and I am ready for a transformation.

There's so much more to say, but J has surrendered to peaceful slumber - with only one request to "sing Frawsty" and no false potty alarms to get me back upstairs(!) - MOMD is playing poker with the neighbors, my Gamecocks are quite close to winning the Liberty Bowl, and my devil pizza has arrived. So I must away before the grease causes the delivery box to disintegrate. Yum.

** I can't believe I forgot this one - it was the one I was thinking of when I sat down to write this post. J can sing the entire opening verse of Frosty the Snowman, and most of the others with a little prompting, but the first is by far my favorite because of her own edit:

"...with a co-rn pipe and a but-nun nose,

and two eyes made out of corn!"

We like her version so much that we've started singing it that way ourselves, inevitably to be corrected, "No, Mommy, iss not corn, iss coal." But then she'll go right on singing it her way the next time. Kids today, I suwanee!

About Me

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Southeastern, United States
34-year-old freelance writer/mommy of one, married to S who loves his work but is gone too much