Notes from Mother’s Journal

This morning I had a shower. It didn’t help. My hair has done that thing where it grows an inch overnight and goes from adorable shrubbery to overgrown lawn animal. Plus, on Sunday I dyed it and it is MADDDDD at me. Whoa is it mad. Refuses to do anything cute at all. Luckily today it is colder so I could wear a hat.

We went to the park, Queen’s Park, after much negotiation. Trombone likes to negotiate. I think it’s the age, I don’t really think he will be a lawyer someday; not that that would be the worst thing in the world. So you say, What should we do today? And he says, let’s go to the park! and then you spend the next 45 minutes trying to get him out the door.

I want to read this book
don’t you want to go to the park?
then come put your socks on
but I want to play with Fresco!
lots of time for that when we get home
so come put your socks on
maybe after I cook some cookies in my kitchen / sit on the potty for half an hour / oh and I’ve always wanted to read Proust.

About a block away from the house, I notice that Fresco has already lost his hat. This is the 4th hat he has lost in the past let us say month and be generous. It’s ok, he has a hoodie. I pull up the hood. He pulls it off. Says, “MAwwwww!” Whatever. Get a cold head. What’s going to happen – you gonna get SICK some more? Silly baby, sickness doesn’t come from bare heads! It comes from the library! Anyway, your sickness doesn’t scare me. We’ve been healthy for three days; right now I am expecting the next virus to pop out of the bushes like a cartoon pervert.

At the end of the block we see the woman I like who walks her old, black dog at the same time every day. I like her because she always says hello and because back when we had three feet of snow on the ground, she plucked her dog’s pile of steaming poop from out of a rather awkwardly placed snowbank. I like her old, black dog with the grey around his mouth. He always barks at us in a friendly way. She has a partner who is friendly too. And he used to drive a yellow VW Rabbit but I haven’t seen it around in a while.

Trombone walks behind me as I push the buggy up the hill. He sings, “walking up the hill / walking up the hill / walking up the hill / and I am eating raisins.” We pass some women on their way down to the swimming pool. One compliments his hat. It is the chicken hat his grandma made him. I love this hat also and often borrow it because he and I have similarly sized heads despite our 32-year age difference.

At the entrance to the park, the sidewalk switches to forest trail. Very tall trees sway above us and there are lots of squirrels eyeing the buggy for crumbs. Fresco loves trees. He makes noises of amazement at them and if you pull a branch down for him to grab, he laughs. When we walk around our little townhouse complex, he stops and pats all the shrubbery and pokes all the plants.

Trombone picks up a stick with some greenery at the end of it and bangs it against the ground, shouting, “Whack! Whack!” Fresco dissolves into hysterics. The squirrels head off for friendlier ground.

We play on: the swings, the teeter totter, the firetruck and the things on springs that you rock back and forth on. We do not climb up to the tower where the slide is because someone is sleeping up there.

There are very few people in the playground. It is a cold day and this park is often colder because of the tree cover. I give Fresco my hat to wear and it comes down to his nose. He takes it off. I put it on. He takes it off. I put it on and pull his hood over it so he can’t get it off. He admits as how he does feel warmer and thanks me by saying, “MAWWWwwwwww!”

I think about how convenient a location this would be for a coffee cart. Just a little one, nothing fancy. (I have recently discovered – or admitted to myself – that I am officially addicted to TWO cups of coffee in the morning. It used to be one. Now it is two.) There is a snack bar that is open in the summer, with the water park and the petting farm. But in the dead of winter (OK, early spring, but still) there is nothing. The closest Starbucks is pretty far. On the other hand, the fire station is just across the street. I wonder if they would give me coffee if I went in and asked for it. Maybe if I had better hair.

A few people arrive and play and leave. Preschool is out and everyone is heading home for chicken soup and grilled cheese. Least that’s what it sounds like.

This woman that I have seen “around” since Trombone was a month old strikes up a conversation with me. She picks it up like we just left off talking a day ago but I’m certain I’ve only ever exchanged passing hellos. She tries to straighten Fresco’s hat for him and he loses his shit, starts screaming. Stranger anxiety, I am guessing. He pulled the same thing when we met elswhere yesterday and she is about the nicest stranger ever.

When we get home, I see Fresco’s hat on the floor. He had taken it off before we even left the house.

We eat lunch. Fresco has discovered that if he rocks himself back and forth in his chair-top booster seat, he can move the chair forward. One minute he is where I left him and the next he is at the table reaching for his bowl of yogurt. Aaaand dumping it on his head. I consider the possibility of another high chair. I reject it. Trombone eats his alphabet noodles with butter and parmesan cheese, then a bowl of yogurt because Fresco is having yogurt, then more alphabet noodles. I eat nachos. Both children think I am insane for this.

Loud, emphatic protests greet my suggestion of an afternoon nap, but when Trombone is done stomping his feet and turning his back on me to indicate his anger (just like a cat!) he does get into bed and agrees to just put his head down for a minute to see what happens. That was 70 minutes ago.

Fresco is convinced to sleep within 15 minutes and requires only some maintenance in the form of rocking at the 45-minute mark to get him back to sleep, hopefully until 3:30. 3:30 is today’s goal for everyone’s naps. Says I.

I just realized that I have not made shortbread this month. It is the 25th of March! But I do not have enough butter to make shortbread today. Perhaps after naps we will make a trip to Safeway for butter.

Not all days are like last Thursday. Some days are a great deal more peaceful and mundane. It averages out.

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