For a while it made me feel mighty. Packing everybody up on work and school mornings, in charge of every sock and toothbrush and lunch bag and favorite lovey. Or muscling us all back into the house after a trip to the grocery store, a toddler flailing under one arm and a week’s worth of groceries slung over the other. In private, I practiced my barbaric maternal roar. I can do this! By myself!
Then I got lonely. I require a lot of solitude, but by five weeks in I’d had my fill. I seized opportunities for conversation, chatting up store clerks and random strangers at the Y, and demanding the attention of friends: Don’t leave! Stay here and talk to me!
I noticed for sale signs on large houses and imagined buying one to start a commune in. Instead of fantasizing as usual about clean, empty hotel rooms where I could curl up with a novel, I thought about populating those big spaces with people who would become a family, cooking and gardening together and keeping each other company.
And now—just less than two weeks from the end—I’m starting, ever so slightly, to lose it. This has a lot to do with our new morning routine, done the past three days:
1. At 5:30, if not earlier, Iris wakes up.
2. I bring her into bed with me to nurse, hoping she’ll fall back asleep as usual.
3. Halfway through the nursing, Ingrid comes in and snuggles up next to me.
4. Iris finishes nursing and, though she seemed plenty sleepy a second ago, is so thrilled to see her big sister, she’s now all set to get up and play.
5. Ingrid doesn’t want to get up.
6. But she doesn’t want to stay there by herself. She wants me to stay with her.
7. Which I’d love to do.
8. But I can’t because Iris is trying to wrestle me out of bed by clocking me on the jaw with her forehead.
9. Ingrid has a huge tantrum about wanting me to stay in bed with her.
10. I finally drag myself out of bed to get away from the screaming.
11. I take Iris with me to the bathroom, and she starts crying because she doesn’t want to leave Ingrid.
12. As I pee and brush my teeth, Ingrid joins us in the bathroom, still crying, and they both wail until I’m ready to head downstairs for breakfast. Bathrooms: they have awesome acoustical properties.
It’s a super way to start the day. And then the past two mornings there’ve also been twenty-minute tantrums over getting dressed, because Ingrid Wants To Wear The Sparkly Socks (for the third day in a row) and Wants To Wear A Skirt (so you can see the sparkles) Even Though It Is Really Really Cold Outside, Too Cold For March In My Opinion. And Also That Shirt That She Believes Looks Beautiful With That Skirt, Even Though It Clashes And She Wore It Yesterday AND The Day Before And It is Covered With Play Dough and Avocado. Not To Mention It Has a Pumpkin On It and It Is MARCH.
This morning I had to turn on Willie Nelson’s Stardust just to remind myself there is beauty and love in the world.
Willie Nelson! At eleven thirty in the morning!
Good thing they’re so cute. Good thing we’ve only got 12 more days.