The smart and prolific Eva sent me these super interview questions. If by some chance you have dodged this interview meme thing so far and you want me to interview you, I’d be honored. Send me an e-mail or comment and I’ll ask you some things. Here we go:
If you could “unknow” one thing you know, what would it be?
This question deserves a more profound answer, but what I’d like to stop knowing is how to fix the copier in my office. What bliss to be able to honestly plead ignorance when the fourth person that day wanders in to ask for help clearing a paper jam.
What characteristics about yourself do you want to pass on to your daughters, if you can?
I want them to love to learn. I hope they end up being better talkers than I am, but I want them to be able to let there be some silence. I want them to know how to listen. I want them to think deeply about the big questions—why we are here, what we should do—and find answers that can power their lives.
More selfishly, I hope they grow up to love doing some of the same things I do: reading, running, spending time in the mountains and near the ocean. That’d be icing on the cake.
What’s the most recent surprising thing your husband did or said, and why?
Yesterday he told me that for our anniversary he’d like to give me some new clothes, and that he would gladly come with me and take care of both kids suitably far away from me while I shopped to my heart’s content, and would bring Iris to me when she needed to nurse.
Our anniversary was Thursday, but is to be officially observed on some yet unscheduled future date. And I need new clothes. Badly. Am still wearing gross, awful maternity clothes and, occasionally, the largest of my “regular” clothes, which show some (newly weirdly textured) tummy if I lift my arms. Yeah. I need clothes two sizes bigger than “regular.”
Anyway, this was surprising to me. Both in the sense of, “Why darling, what a thoughtful anniversary gift!” (really) and also, at the same time, “Huh. You just offered to get me fat clothes for our anniversary. I’m not sure how I feel about that.”
So we spent the afternoon at the giant semi-suburban thrift store of my choice, and I found some good stuff. It was nice to have the peaceful shopping time, and I’m glad to expand the wardrobe a bit. But I can’t quite shake the (both pleasant and unpleasant) oddness of A’s involvement in it.
What do you love about where you live? What do you dislike?
Are you asking this just to find out where I live? That’s ok. I live about a half mile from the Mississippi River, in the largest city in the state in which that river originates. Got that?
I love that this city is so green: there are tons of parks and patches of nature, right in the middle of the jumble and stress that is urban life.
The things I don’t like about this place have to do with it not being my home. I grew up in the Pacific northwest (and points north), and I miss the ocean and the mountains. The thing that bothers me the most is cultural rather than geographical: lack of frankness. There is, among natives of this place, a hesitation to express opinions, and this is a problem for me: I am a little socially dense, and I like to have things spelled out (if I offer you coffee and you decline, I don’t want to wonder if I should ask again on the assumption you’re just being polite). And I like to know where people stand on issues larger than a cup of coffee, as well. Keeping quiet about what you think makes for lousy conversation, at best.
How does raising a second child differ from raising a firstborn for you?
So far, it differs in that while Ingrid never slept for more than two hours at a stretch for at least a year, Iris, at the ripe old age of two months, is ALREADY SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT! WAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Really. About half the time, the sleeps for a stretch of six or more hours at the beginning of the night. Each time this happens, I wake up with her at 4:30 (or whatever) so thrilled and blissed out by having slept that long that I can’t get back to sleep. I cannot, absolutely cannot overstate the impact that having solid, uninterrupted sleep has on my mind, body, soul, spirit, general health, happiness, etc. etc. I even find myself, during those early morning feedings, thinking how sad it is that these quiet, sweet nighttime moments of just me and my baby will not go on forever. The very sentiment that, a year ago, caused me to throw The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding across the room.
So, yeah. Sleep is important. And of course there are a lot of other differences, some rooted in being better rested this time, and some not. I am much, much calmer this time. Less obsessive. Better able to see what she needs. More stretched, trying to meet both of their needs. But more confident.