When you are lost in a string of terrible, dark days, it seems the light will never shine again. 4 am will last forever. This endless day turned to week with its screaming and shrieking and the tugging at both of your pant legs at once; this is the day, the week that will be repeated until you are inching toward your grave, just trying to get some rest, those kids still tugging, pulling you back.
Then the light days come. Everything aligns; the sleeping, the sunshine, the good health and excellent humour and you see that, of course, silly woman, darkness can not last forever. So you write it down in case you forget. It is likely you will forget.
This morning, after the baby’s nap, we headed to Queen’s Park, about 3 blocks away. Trombone walked, something he doesn’t do very often with me because it often suits both of us that he ride. Usually when I have the kids in the buggy it is because I want to go somewhere. As in, I want to actually GET somewhere. Toddlers, they meander. But today meandering was in our favour as we had no other plans, plus walking wears him out which equals longer nap, so he walked.
Aside: I do overschedule the children. Not in a “ballet class at 2, playgroup at 3” sort of way but in a “we are going to Safeway now to buy ginger because I need to get out of the house” sort of way. I schedule for me, not for them although I think they do benefit from a routine. And I schedule for me because otherwise, the days just float around, refusing to settle, like clouds of smoke above my head. I need something tangible taking me from 6:30 am to 6:15 pm or odds are good I will despair. Will the day ever end? Who knows!
Back when I was first at home every day with two kids, it was summertime. We’d get out of the house by nine, wander around the neighbourhood, spend 2 hours at the water park, whatever took our fancy. It wasn’t easy by any means; I still had an infant strapped to me and a toddler who wasn’t able to put on his own shoes or climb into the swing by himself. But it was easy because we just put on our pants and went. Days went by, seemingly at the speed of light. There was no clock watching.
Well, hardly any.
Then came Fall. Rain does not deter me but it started to deter Trombone. Suddenly, Why is the slide wet? I don’t WANT to go on the swing. No, your toweling job is NOT adequate. We began to spend a lot of time at the library and at the drop-in gym. Not coincidentally that’s when we started getting sick all the time.
Winter? Housebound for 2 weeks because of unshoveled walks and messy streets. It is to weep.
My schedules went out the window. The days dragged and were dark and mean. We spend most of our time on our main floor, which is the kitchen and living room and those four walls have never looked so much like the bars of a jail cell. In the past couple of weeks, Fresco has started climbing the stairs whenever he is put down. Up, up and away; get me out of this room and its terribly boring EVERYTHING, I HATE IT.
Then, this week; sunshine. Warm. The baby sleeping. The toddler a genius. My hair atrocious but – oh well. Suddenly, I sniffed spring when I opened the front door. I sniffed Hope. Thank goodness I thought, now at least we will be outside again.
Then I had a flash of memory from last summer, a mom at the playground saying sympathetically, “I was you last summer. It is so much better this year.” Hey, my “this year” is almost here! I am entering spring with a one-year-old and a three-year-old, not a two-year-old and an infant. (Please don’t tell me what happens with the 1 / 3 year olds, I prefer to be surprised.)
I had not considered that just as the seasons have changed, so have my kids. They are older, smarter, more mobile, more independent by the day.
* I must break to address that this really had not occurred to me and THAT is why I am NEVER having any more children. I need the fifteen brain cells I have left just in case I want to get a job outside the home some day.*
There we were at the park, where we had not been since early Fall. Trombone ran, he waved sticks, he chased squirrels, he climbed up and climbed down and went away from me and came back. I didn’t have to lift a finger. He is almost 3. The last time we were there he had just turned 2. There is a big difference, I am noticing. He was mostly baby; now he is mostly kid.
The baby just watched and laughed and clapped his hands.
Me? I stood there and marveled at the difference a few months and some sunshine makes. I didn’t have to lift two children at once. I didn’t have to haul out a boob to freeze off while the baby changed his mind about being hungry. I didn’t have to sniff anybody’s butt in public to determine if mine were the stinky ones.
I did have to use my shirt sleeve to wipe two noses because I am an idiot who leaves the house without a tissue or wipe or piece of spare cloth to her name. However.
Best of all? With Trombone walking, it takes a half hour to get to the park! With me walking & pushing the boys in the buggy, it takes 7 minutes. That means when I get back to overscheduling our days, that’s 23 minutes I don’t have to schedule for. 46 if you include the return trip.
At some point I will be nostalgic for those dependent days, when no one went anywhere without my say-so or my boob in his mouth. Because we have been inside so long, the change feels more a transformation than a transition, like we are beautiful butterflies emerging from cocoons; what I see now is so much better than where I’ve been. Like going from impatient, grumpy pregnant lady to beaming mother of newborn, I am high on the richness of the experience. I will come down eventually.
But I really do think it is going to be an excellent spring and summer.
* except that I just figured out why the baby is finally sleeping normally. Because daylight savings time is 2 weeks away. Graaaaaaaah.