Thursday, August 11, 2016

There's always something happening and it's usually quite loud

My friend Rachel recently asked if I'd been working on my book this summer.

Honestly, I don't even know anymore if I have it in me to write a book. But that's a whole nother topic.

In any case, I said that not only had I not been writing anything at all, but being at home with the kids, I don't blog, and I barely answer email. I can barely think.

She nodded. "Summer is like a dumpster fire."

Yes. She nailed it.

With kids, summer is like a dumpster fire.

I don't know about yours, but my kids have this uncanny ability to know when I have focused my attention on something of particular interest to me.

And they appear.

I can be cleaning, putting away dishes, whatever, and they will evince no interest, or sometimes even recognition that I'm there--even if they're playing right beside me.

But say they're in another room playing Lego or doing a puzzle or watching a show, and I decide to sit down and read a book. Or answer an email.

I swear. It's like the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. They're all, "Mama is reading something. She's totally engaged. I can smell it."

Their little noses twitch, they detect my interest, and they come running.

"Mama mama mama! What are you doing, Mama? Mama play with me Mama!"

India will wiggle into my lap, inserting herself between the book and me. Between me and the screen. "Baby pictures! I want to see baby pictures!"

This is always her demand. Me. Make it about me.

And then eventually I go back to doing something utterly banal and am all, "Hey! Wanna help me clean out my closet?"

Ha. Not so much.

Sometimes I keep that up for like five minutes and then sneakily pull out my book or laptop and see how far I get.

But it's joyless when it's so brief and furtive, so I've mostly stopped bothering.

I'm an introvert. And the lack of time and space to be alone in my head is hard for me.

Sometimes I just want to be all, stop touching me! Stop talking to me! Stop breathing at me! Stop it stop it stop it!
And then your kid winds up with your socks in her drawer.
But on the other side, I must say that I feel so grateful that I can be home with them for these long summer days. I do.

Jordan has started choosing to read on his own. He picked up Nick's old Calvin and Hobbes book the other day, and he is now hooked. It's delightful. He loves to sit on or curl up in my bed and read.
This wouldn't happen if we didn't have all this unscheduled time.

Most days we have no agenda. We go to the pool almost daily, and that is perfect. It has been a hot hot hot summer. We love to swim and jump and do somersaults. It's really fun. Plus, all of that makes my progeny tired and more tractable come bedtime.

We wear a lot of sunscreen. They get annoyed by all the sunscreening, and I am all, listen. Mama has many spots and wrinkles and regrets her foolishly unsunscreened, if lovely, youth in South Asia.

Here. Wear some zinc SPF 5 million.
And look both ways before you cross the street. Stop, drop, and roll if you're on fire. Don't drink and drive.

In July my dear friend Wendy invited us to join her wonderful family in the Outer Banks. I got to hang out with Wendy and her parents, and our kids adored each other.

It was magical in so many ways.
(Also: Duck Donuts really are all that. I was previously indifferent to donuts.)

And now, I must admit that in desperation I've let my children watch a few too many mindless videos.

The other day India came in my room when I was taking off one dress to try on another and she said, "Oh! Are you changing your look?"

Where'd she hear this? Barbie. This is Barbie-speak.

Occasionally they discuss Barbie and her friends as if they know them. And then one day when I came in to turn off the TV, Jordan said I was killing their vibe.

So, yah. There you have it. That's my current shame.

It's a dumpster fire.

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