Before I get caught up with the blog…
Entropy, or the concept that time moves in only one direction, has been a minor distraction of mine for the entirety of my life. I find it fascinating that we can physically move in many directions in space, but only in one direction in time. So I love fiction (and non fiction) that talks about wormholes and time travel and other time-bending/reversing theories. The first chapter book my dad read to me was HG Wells’s The Time Machine. Good stuff, even if I was only in second grade.
And so, here I sit, marveling at how precisely and fluidly time has marched forward, plucking away, while life happens. I am particularly aware of time’s effects when I look at our not-so-little Annie! Annie constantly grows and changes imperceptibly over the course of a day, but it isn’t until I look at pictures from a few months ago that I become aware of how she is no longer an infant and is verging on toddlerhood.
Speaking of Annie…
Annie is ten-and-a-half-months old. If we were to assign labels, I would call Annie my “chill” baby. She slept through the night at two months, rarely cries and loves playing little games with me. Her favorite is when we grunt back and forth at each other until she dissolves into giggles. As the designated “chill” baby, she is taking her time with mobility. A mighty-fast army crawler, she refuses to pull herself up on anything unless she feels the reward is greater than the risk. She will walk assisted, but prefers to be on the ground, stealthily getting into things and finding little treasures (lint, dustbunnies). With a mobile baby, you can never vacuum or sweep enough – so – my new mantra: why bother?
Annie is eating table foods with ease, enjoys a good sippy cup every now and then, and is transitioning to reduced formula levels. She loves to give “noseys”, but nose-beware: she is aggressive with her affection and has no fear of breaking a nose – yours or hers!
She is a dancer in the style of the groundhog from Caddy Shack, grooving in a herky-jerky rhythmic fashion while balancing on my knee. She rolls with most things: no nap, no problem!, but occasionally develops a strong preference that she makes known. Recently, she has developed a strong dislike for her “cage” – an open-air baby-safe area that she can roam around in our family room. Girlfriend knows her mind!
So that’s Annie the Awesome.
Her twinster sisters are four, which means, thank goodness, they are no longer three. Three was a little bit of a debacle. Considering the major changes in our family, it was actually not terrible, but three year olds certainly have an opinion that they enjoy sharing all-the-time.
At four, they are more reasonable and really quite smart. They love talking about the natural sciences with Frank (how does the sun work? where does it go at night?) and ask surprisingly detailed follow up questions that demonstrate that they are trying to learn a topic. While they need frequent reminders about manners and tidying up, most of the time they have it down right. My current quest is to help Carrie word statements so they sound less like accusations (“Apparently you forgot to tell us what the day of the week is, Mom”) and more like reminders (“Hey mom, can you tell us the day of the week please?”). I have a feeling that mastering this skill will be super useful to her in life – especially marriage.
We just had the girls’ parent-teacher conferences and it was interesting to see how the girls’ personalities come to light differently in the world than they do at home. Carrie has always been a dynamic little personality, but in the past year she has really blossomed and has been identified as a leader in her classroom. She is encouraged to allow other children to also lead, but her teachers said that the other kids are quite happy to do whatever she suggests. It will be interesting to watch that skill unfold and be refined. At home, Carrie is often the laid-back kid who would prefer to sit slack-jawed in front of the TV for hours if we let her (we don’t let her!).
Ellie, who often instructs Carrie in what to do at home, is a little bit more introverted in the classroom. She is also quite smart, grasping skills and concepts quickly. She loves to take some time to herself to read a book while at school, but then is also happy to go play with her friends. At home, we’ve seen her working on her teaching skills with Carrie and some of her other friends. It’s quite cute to see her kneel down to instruct another child on how to do something. When the other child accomplishes the tasks, she is so encouraging saying, “That’s right! Good job!” It’s really a joy to watch!
As far as staying at home – the short response is: it’s good.
The longer response is:
It is both what I imagined and nothing that I imagined. I’ve kept busy with some free-lance projects and volunteering, but I’ve also loved just being with the girls to hear about their days and to go on little adventures. Like many mothers before me have noted, it’s frequently hard to know where the day has gone. I rarely find myself just sitting on the couch or with free time to write, which is contrary to how I imagined it would be. I can appreciate why so many stay at home moms feel under attack by others who question “What did you do all day?” There is a lot of time and energy that goes into keeping the operations of our household running, but the actual tasks are often not worth noting. I cleaned a toilet. I fed the children. I paid some bills. I researched a project. I did some work.
I can also appreciate why some moms are totally unstimulated by staying at home. Repetitive tasks like dishes and laundry have become monsters in their own right. Boring, tedious monsters that scare – not by jumping out of dark corners when I least expect them to – but by just sitting where they are, staring quietly with eyes that plainly say, “Sure. Fold me/Clean me – I’ll just be right back here in a matter of hours or days. Try me.” These monsters are unrelenting in many ways.
Of course, these monsters existed even when I worked, but let’s be honest: I rarely cooked when I worked so we ran the dishwasher once a day (maybe). Now, I run that sucker two or three times a day. And when I worked, I had a lot of dry cleaning and only had time for laundry once a week, making it feel more like an exciting event. Now with five people in our family, laundry has to be done twice a week or we will drown in laundry. Literally.
To finish my evolution into a complete cliche, the twins will start soccer in two weeks with one of their buddies down the street from us. So yes, I will be rolling into soccer practice in our minivan, drinking a half-caf latte and wearing yoga pants. It’s going to happen and there is nothing any of us can do to stop it. So I say, embrace it!
Over the course of my existence, I’ve come to realize that nothing lasts forever. I know that this stay at home mom experience is just a season of my life. I am doing this for now, and I will do something else later. In spite of the laundry and dish monsters lurking at every turn, I am trying to put into practice the concept of being content where I am and enjoying this season of life.
So that’s it. I think I’m caught up now with the blog. I am hoping to write on a few more topics in the upcoming weeks because so much more has been happening in the K-House than just laundry!
2 thoughts on “housekeeping”
Watching personalities emerge over the years has been a mostly joyful experience. The not so joyful part is realizing that personalities seem pretty hard wired in a child. Our younger son has “hated” things, all kinds of things, from his earliest days. He once said, “I do hate lots of things and I hate that I hate things.” At 14 this is still true. He is sounding more and more like a right-wing talk radio personality.
And thanks to your post, I now know what yoga pants are!
You are doing good work, Emily. Enjoy each moment. Your mother looks at you the same way you look at your daughters. It does go that fast. But how wonderful life is!