Sunday, November 6, 2011

Lies your friends will tell you

I have a confession to make.

I have been known to speak in encouraging tones of bright confidence to my friends who have small chirren, telling them how someday, the little buggers will sleep past the crack of dawn; indeed, they'll sleep so long, you won't be required to feed them either breakfast or lunch. They'll just stagger, grumbling, down to the kitchen in flannel pajama bottoms and big, lumpy sweatshirts and raid the cupboards and the fridge, eating up several key ingredients you bought to use in making various recipes through the week.

I've also told my friends, the mothers of young kids and desperate for sleep and the desire to pee without an audience, that things are just so much easier when all the little ones are all out of diapers and able to pour themselves a drink without flooding the floor in a sticky sea of cran-apple juice.

Oh, these things are true, they really are. But I've been shamefully negligent in sharing the other side of the story, which is that somehow, you'll find you're busier with your teenagers than you ever were with your babies. Looking back on it, I fondly recall the days I spent at home with Meelyn-the-toddler and Aisling-the-infant. I was babysitting back then for my longtime friend Beth's toddler, Allison, and another little girl as well, the daughter of one of my brother's high school friends. The five of us were a jolly little fivesome: we finger-painted and sang songs along with the Raffi cassettes and read stories (especially Madeline stories) and swung on the swings; I cooked carefully balanced lunches and set up a little Montessori preschool in our playroom. It was utterly lovely, all four of them in diapers at one point, and everyone went down for a nap at precisely 12:30. They were all champion sleepers and I got a blessed two hours to myself every single day.

When I think about "bad days" back then, the only thing I can remember with eye-bugging clarity is the time when I found a crate of eighty-five library books in the trunk of my car, books I'd meant to return, every single one of them overdue by two weeks. The money I paid for that fine financed the complete renovation of the New Castle-Henry County Public Library, including furniture and computers.

But now we're at these days, the days when Meelyn and Aisling can pretty much fend for themselves in the closet, the bathroom and the kitchen - although Aisling frequently claims that she can't boil water and needs me to make her a grilled cheese sandwich immediately, if not sooner. But somehow, we're busier. Both girls have jobs; I have several part-time teaching jobs. My husband has a different job that is thankfully closer to home and demands less hours of him. But it's still retail and there is still a lot of time involved. We're busy, busier than we've been before, yet somehow clutching every moment to us as precious as we get ready to set our little chicks free from the comfortable and comforting nest.

All this is to say that there are reasons why I haven't updated my blog in almost three weeks.

It wouldn't be because I'm, like, lazy or anything. Or playing a really addictive online backgammon. No, no, nothing to do with anything like that.

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