I had the best of intentions when the new year began.I was going to blog early and
often.I was going to update my
look and my links.I was going to
But then, well, then I sank into a funk.The Boy hit 3.5 years with a
vengeance and though Moxie and Ames & Ilg assure me his vicissitudes are normal, they are soul crushing and
exhausting.Earlier this week,
when he wouldn’t leave the sledding hill (after much sturm and drang), I
threatened to throw his sled into the street to be destroyed by oncoming
traffic.It was a parenting high
I feel like a huge flop as a mother in almost every
interaction with The Boy, and I’m so angsty about that that I don’t spend
nearly enough Quality Time with The Girl who is growing up adorably and all too
quickly.And I’m embarrassed to
admit this, but I find myself longing, incredibly, for another child.It’s unspeakable, really.I feel like I’m barely capable of
managing the children I have, and yet there I am daydreaming about another.
This cauldron of emotions is difficult to blog through when combined with this other (incredibly
obvious) thing: I’m just not BrooklynGirl anymore.I’m not living in Brooklyn.With less than a year to go to my fortieth birthday, it's absurd to refer to myself as a girl.
I am thankful for the refuge this blog and this identity has
provided me in the five years (!) that it has existed, but I think it’s time to
close up shop.I plan to resurrect
myself as soon as I can figure out who I am. Or what I want to be. Or how to write about that journey.
Thanks for your friendship and support.I’ll post a new URL here when I have
one, and I hope you'll stay in touch.
In Those Years
In those years, people will say we lost track
of the meaning of we, of you
we found ourselves
reduced to I
and the whole thing became
silly, ironic, terrible:
we were trying to live a personal life
and, yes, that was the only life
we could bear witness to
But the great dark birds of history screamed and plunged
into our personal weather
They were headed somewhere else but their beaks and pinions drove
Yeah, I pretty much did C, D, and E (but minus the bloody Mary as I was getting over the stomach flu). I might have been more brazen (who am I kidding) if I had extended more energy cleaning up before people arrived.
I am not a tidy person, and I don't particularly care about a mess, as clearly, one must count on the generation of quite a bit of mess when there are tiny humans around, but this just seemed like a particularly brazen act of (non?)parenting.
Earlier this week I was running a tiresome but important errand with The Girl (also known as She Who Will Not Be Contained), and the only thing that would calm her down was a box of raisins. When she had the box, she was happy: she opened and closed the box, she ate some raisins, she chewed on the box, she showed off the box to anyone who looked vaguely in her direction. As a result, a fair number of raisins hit the floor (of a large box store). I dutifully picked up the ones I could find and would have apologized to the janitorial staff had there been any around.
After witnessing the display in my own home, though, I wonder if I'm being overly concerned. How much mess generation is acceptable for the 3 and under crowd?
More on the hosting dilemma tomorrow. In the meantime, let me repeat the following conversation which just occurred in BrooklynGirl's non-Brooklyn home after a morning in which I had indulged The Boy in his baser pleasures of chocolate milk and a special viewing of The Jungle Book:
The Boy (sighing contentedly): You're the best mama ever.
You are throwing a small Sunday brunch for some friends of your husband's and their families. It is an extremely casual affair--bagels, lox, some bloody Marys if you happen to have the ingredients on hand to make them. You don't know these friends particularly well, but you feel generally positive toward them, and you're excited that they're bringing their kids, which will give your kids someone to play with. Huzzah.
The friends arrive with their 3 year old daughter carrying an open, full size bag of Goldfish. Now, you are a fan of Goldfish, but owing to their capacity to crumble and scatter, you give them to your own kids a handful at a time that are consumed primarily at the kitchen table.
Within moments, the Goldfish are spilling out of the bag and onto the floor where they are being ground into your carpet as the kids scurry to play with one another. The child's mother appears to notice this, but makes no move to pick up the renegade Goldfish or suggest her daughter be more careful with the bag. You are looking askance at the whole situation when the child's mother catches your expression: "You know how it is at the holidays, all the rules go out the window!"
A) Say, "Not the rules of common decency, I hope!"
B) Laugh collegially and say, "Well, I'm the stick in the mud enforcing the rules in this house--no Goldfish in the living room!"
C) Suggest the child share her Goldfish with your kids and offer them bowls in which to keep their 'fish at the kitchen table.
D) Say nothing and alternately seethe and attempt to pick up Goldfish before they are ground into the carpet.
E) Pour yourself a bloody Mary and worry about the mess later.
I still have to buy something for my sister in law, and I have no idea what to get her because even though I've "known" her for almost 15 years, I don't really know her, and it makes me sad that we've lived in such similar orbits and yet are still basically strangers to one another, but even though it makes me sad, I have neither the energy nor the inclination to do anything to change it so, once again, I'll get her some crappy present and feel bad about it.
My parents, who were no shows at my house for Thanksgiving, have followed through on plans to visit my brother and his family for Christmas, and I'm irritated that this irritates me, but it does.
We exchanged Christmas gifts with our sometime babysitter today, and The Boy so didn't get the concept of giving gift to other people that he pitched a fit when she left with her present. Christmas could be a disaster.
Our plans for Christmas are mellow--maybe too mellow. We'll open gifts at home Christmas morning, make blueberry pancakes, and then go to Christmas dinner with some of my husband's extended family. It doesn't feel Christmas-y enough. I'm toying with the idea of taking The Boy to the family Christmas Eve service at the church where he has pre-school merely for the spectacle of it, but that feels spiritually dishonest.
Happy holidays to you and yours. May your cups of eggnog never run dry.
When your daughter is recovering from the stomach flu--nay, when you think she has recovered as it's been 4 full days with no vomiting and 3 full days with no diarrhea and she has been happily ingesting all sorts of BRAT foods--you may want to wait a few more days before you let her have a hot dog with dinner.
In a similar vein, over the last few months, I've been (re)connecting with people on Facebook: friends from high school I haven't seen since graduation, colleagues from abandoned career paths, and various and assorted folks from other points in my life. Trying to neatly encapsulate who I am and what I've been up to has been...humbling. The least subtle of my correspondents asked (to paraphrase somewhat), "What happened to you? You used to be a serious person."
Um, yeah. Putting aside for a minute the assumption that being the primary caregiver for 2 kids is not serious work and the arguments about that assumption, I have to admit there is a lack of rigor to my life these days. The all consuming kids are a perfectly valid reason that I haven't recently read anything approaching literature or looked at the newspaper or posted on my blog--and then let's not even talk about the career repercussions.
Still, there's a certain amount of convenience to the excuse: at a certain point wanting to read the newspaper but not having the time morphs into not wanting to read the newspaper.* And believe me, friends, I have morphed.
*The newspaper is really just an example. NPR was my primary news source well before the kids were even imagined.
The apartment closing was today. I am no longer a resident of Brooklyn in even the vaguest sense.
We went back to do a final clear out of the apartment on Sunday, and I was surprised by how hard it was to say goodbye. So much of my life was lived in that apartment. That was where we decided to have kids, where we learned having those kids might not be so easy, where we drowned our sorrows or celebrated our victories with barbecues in the garden, where we learned how to hold a newborn baby, where we folded mountains of newborn baby laundry, where the babies learned to roll over, to crawl, to walk, where someone called me Mama for the first time.
Someone else has the keys to the apartment that holds all those memories. I hope she enjoys it as much as we did.
Of course, I did A, and that, friends, is why I remain strictly junior varsity when it comes to parenting. Here are the mitigating factors: The Boy had fallen at school the day before and hit his head and the teacher made a fuss over him (even calling at home in the evening to check on him), and just moments before impact, a neighbor stopped by to witness the whole event and she kept volunteering to watch The Girl if I wanted to take The Boy to the ER.
More than that, though, The Boy (who is fine, by the way--this happened last week) was on my last nerve that morning, and my first thought when he fell was not, "Oh my God, I hope he's okay," but "Oh my God, I hope he can go to school." That seemed to invite such bad juju upon The Boy that I just couldn't bring him to school.
So, be honest, am I just a little crazier that you thought I was before you read this post?