Six years ago I was waiting for a baby and making some collages. January 17 was David's due date, and I still think about it as an anniversary of sorts.
I'm so happy I have these journal pages to look back on. I haven't had much drive lately to make work like this. I don't try to push myself, because forced work seems to lack a certain spark to me.
So yes. My son is almost 6. I've been a stay at home mom for almost 4 years. I feel like I'm at a turning point in my life but not sure where it's turning to. Maybe it's time to make some new collages and figure it out.
With 2 little kids in the house, there are days when I can't think of a single thing we've actually accomplished. Then, there are days like today, where I can hardly believe all the things we've crammed into a 12 hour time span.
(Side note: after I typed this all out I realized it's probably suuuuper boring to like 90% of my blog readers, but what the hell, it's mostly for posterity's sake, and maybe a reminder of why I only have time to post art projects like once a month.)
Here's the outline of our day:
6-7 am. Wake up. Children are already in our bed. David and Norah and I lay underneath the fluffy white covers (in our household this is referred to as being a "warm toasty cinnamon bun") while Mike takes a shower and leaves for work. I make oatmeal for the kids after I discover we're out of peanut butter for toast. Norah gets sent to her room for screaming about not having toast for breakfast. I make a big pot of coffee.
7-8 am. Breakfast. David watches "Chuck the Truck" while I silently curse Netflix for introducing lots of terrible children's shows into our home. I take a shower; both kids periodically break into the bathroom asking when I'll be done. I hear some screaming at some point but try to ignore it.
8-9 am. It's raining so we can't go outside like I had hoped. David decides to play pirates. We play pirates. We play firefighters. We play grocery store. We play pirate grocery store. This is really fun, actually.
9-11 am. Cajole children into getting dressed. Head out for the library. Play puzzles. Look for books about pirates. Read books about pirates. Norah runs around yelling and I decide it's probably time to leave the library.
11-12 am. Steer giant car cart through the grocery store: bread, peanut butter, blueberries, cookie ingredients. Home for lunch; PBJ for the kids, leftover chicken and potatoes for me. Norah is so tired she's falling asleep sitting up and chewing with her eyes closed. I invented a new word for this: xhungry. It means exhausted yet hungry.
12-2 pm. I read Norah a few stories and she falls asleep immediately. David watches a Veggie Tales video from the library. I do dishes, make the dough for Double Chocolate Chip cookies (based off this recipe), then spend some time scrolling through instagram while the dough rests. I imagine what it would like to be a real working artist. (Basically a daily daydream.)
2-3. Norah wakes up from her nap. We eat cookies.They are delicious but really, almost too rich and sweet to have more than one. This thought then morphs into a multi-levelled epiphany about my taste buds changing and this is probably why old people like weird sweets like butterscotch candies and gingersnaps. ANYWAY. Then I have to clip the kids' fingernails because there's so much melted chocolate underneath them a regular old handwashing doesn't do the job.
3-5 pm. We go to the playground. Play in the sand, chase robins. David decides the playground equipment looks like a giant dinosaur so that becomes an element of play. Also he wants us to pretend to be redwing blackbirds for some reason? THEN to a different park so that Norah can throw pennies in a specific fountain, her current most favorite thing to do. This park happens to be right next to the library. So we end up going to the library AGAIN, though it turns out to be a happy accident since we run into one of David's favorite preschool friends. When we get home Norah finds a tube of finger paint I thought I'd put away, and I have such a hard time turning down a request to paint, even though I know the result will be...
5-6 pm. Bathtime. Clean up fingerpaint fingerprints in kitchen and bathroom. Tidy the kitchen. Start making meatballs and assembling these sandwiches for dinner. Norah plays in her crib, David plays in the living room, and I hide out in the bedroom reading dumb stories on Buzzfeed because really, it's been a looong day and I just need to sit down.
6:20 pm. Dinner is ready. Mike comes home (hallelujah!). I pour myself a glass of wine and sit down to type this.
Norah turned 2 a few weeks ago. I think 2 year old humans are some of the funniest and strangest creatures on the planet. It's definitely entertaining to have one in our house again (okay, entertaining mostly, infuriating sometimes). This girl loves to be outside and moves FAST. So fast that you start taking pictures and realize they're all overexposed but that seems fitting somehow and you appreciate them anyway.
She looks at the birds and the sky and likes to "help" me do yardwork. She loves her tricycle even though she can't ride it yet, she just wants to sit on it and put her special toys in the basket: her blankie and the little Woody and Jessie from Toy Story figurines that she carries everywhere these days.
Her hair is a mess but I don't want to cut it. It's usually in 2 curly little pigtails with pieces falling out all over. I love it.
She got this purple dress from my mom for her birthday. She calls it her "ballerina dress" and wants to wear it all the time... even when it has macaroni stains all over the front and grass stains all over the back. As you can see, in these pictures she is wearing it over her regular clothes. Because I'm not into having fights over the little things that make her happy.
She has discovered the magic of the words "no" and "yes" and uses both of them equally though seemingly at random. When she says "yes" it sounds like "esss" and she nods her head and smiles an adorable teeny little. When she says "no" it may or may not be accompanied by an ear-piercing shriek. We take the bad with the good on this one.
Our sweet Norah. We are so happy to have her.
You probably know I'm big on life lessons and this past month felt full of them. Okay, some of them might have just been mistakes that I'm attempting to gain something positive from. But some were pretty sweet things to learn, too.
1. Sometimes your kids just cry and whine a lot. It's probably better to stop trying to analyze it and just move on. (See above. Norah has been fussy lately. Lesson 1a: at least when you hold your 27 pound toddler half the day, your arms get a pretty good workout.)
2. Roller skating is fun. Parades are fun. Roller skating in a parade is really, really fun. (Watch a video here and look for me at 0:59 and 1:53.)
3. Don't leave expensive and fragile items laying around if you're going to accidentally take a nap and the kids are playing nearby. Like say, the $500 glasses you just bought 4 months ago. D'oh.
4. But then also: Never underestimate the importance of threatening to take your business elsewhere. When Lenscrafters tells you there's nothing they can do about your broken glasses and you're just going to have to buy a new pair, tell them you'll probably buy something cheaper online. Then the glasses lady will be all "Well... maybe we can sell you an insurance plan and then say your glasses were covered previously." Still a ripoff, but not as big of a ripoff. Or maybe the lesson here is that I should have just bought cheap glasses online in the first place?
5. If you're in a weird March cold snap but it's above 35 degrees, make your kids play outside anyway. Because you never know when it's going to get even colder, and on those 0 degree windchill days you'll be pretty happy you haven't already been stuck inside all week.
6. And last but not least, when you take jumping photos, make sure to bend your knees. It makes your vertical look a lot more impressive. This is totally not photoshopped, and yes, I'm about as shocked as you are that I can jump this high.
(the morning light in our kitchen is pretty, don't you think?)
In the past few days Norah and I have been battling a pretty gross virus. You know the kind of sickness that makes you feel like your soul is trying to escape your body via any orifice available? Yeah... that kind.
When you spend a lot of time laying around doing nothing and not leaving the house for days, it makes a lot of time for thinking. And I just wanted to share a few of my thoughts/observations.
1. It's always good to take the long view: there are people in history and in this world currently that have it a lot worse. Sure, I got puked on about ten times Saturday night. But! At least I'm not some pioneer woman alone in the middle of nowhere during a month long blizzard! At least I'm not a homeless third-world person after a natural disaster! I still have a house and clean water and a washing machine. It might be not very much fun, but I know this will not be my fate:
2. I'm starting to think there are some kind of immune system-weakening properties in Norah's shrill, whiney scream. She's in that pre-2 phase when they figure out that being REALLY LOUD gets them noticed quickly. But I swear, anytime she starts in, I just feel like all the energy immediately exits my body.
3. I realized I have nothing to wear while sick. My wardrobe is pretty much just nice clothes, or workout clothes and pajamas, with not much in between. If I have to run out for bleach and ginger ale, I'd like to have something to wear other than skinny jeans or my roller derby tights. What do you wear when you're sick?
4. As soon as I'm feeling 100%, I'm going straight to Dunkin Donuts to reclaim all the calories I've missed.
5. And last but not least: being a stay at home mom can be really lonely and discouraging. I know I've tried to be funny here, but the past few days have been a struggle. Just wanted to put that out there in case anyone needed to hear it. I'm doing fine. But it's hard.
pigtails. runny noses.
long hours playing outside on the unseasonably warm days ("mommy! stop taking pictures please!!")
long baths when I can't think of anything else for us to do.
art projects that are really more about making a mess. and then eating paintbrushes. and then having a meltdown when I take the paintbrushes away. sigh....
and that's what we've been up to the past few weeks.