Monday, March 22, 2010

One Little Thing

"I. Just. Can't."

I said these words in response to a request for cups with lids. It sounds so silly to me now but I just could not transfer the orange juice to other cups, could not argue about why putting orange juice in a water bottle is a bad idea, could not do another single thing.

The whole day had been either a series of frustrating and annoying events or perfectly nice, depending on your perspective. Ian and Mira were sick, they were and crabby in a completely understandable but nevertheless fairly trying way. Ada had a friend over, which is less work than Ada not having a friend over, but still not effortless. The girls made a wreck of the playroom (to be expected) and shredded paper which lay all over the rug (infuriating). They also played in Ada's closet and drew on the walls with a highlighter from my desk (completely annoying, especially because Ada knows that is not acceptable behavior). The weather was great, and the girls finally went outside for a while. I saw them digging in the garden, which is fine with me. Then I went outside and learned that they were planting peas. As in, planting them willy nilly all over the garden. I know this is really no big deal and we are talking about maybe $2 worth of peas, but for some reason this had me on the verge of tears. I managed to contain myself when I reminded Ada that the peas need support to grow and that planting them all around the yard was unlikely to get us many pods. (Luckily we'd already planted peas by the trellis, so some of the seeds will hopefully grow.)

I can't even type this little scene without wanting to erase the whole thing out of embarrassment about what a non-issue this is. Even hours later I see how uninmportant the loss of a half package of peas is, but in the moment it felt like part of some death-by-a-thousand-cuts torture. It isn't the peas, or any of the other little annoyances really. It isn't the babies' crankiness and general sickness-induced neediness. And by now I should be used to the all consuming boredom of feeding, changing, soothing and entertaining that is life with young children. It is all of those things together. There is no end to the work, and though none of it is very onerous, taken together it sometimes feels crushing.

This week I have felt a strong urge to make something again. The return of good weather has me considering a skirt for myself (I have some great octopus fabric I bought when I was pregnant) and this has me suddenly dying to make mustaches for myself and my family. I remember this feeling from when Ada was a baby. I was so tired of doing things only to have to do everything again. With babies there is no "done." You feed them, only to have to feed them again in a few hours. Clean diapers get soiled, noses continue to run after being wiped, naps begin and end, necks become food encrusted even though you just wiped them. You get the idea. I started sewing when Ada was a baby because once I finished a project, it stayed finished. The skirts did not have to be remade and stuffed toys stayed stuffed (for the most part, at least).

So here we go again. I am going to find myself a project and carve out a piece of the dining room table to make it happen. It may happen slowly, but it will happen, and once done, will stay done. Until the next project, that is.

 ** * ** * **

As I sat down to write this, I saw a woman walk up the path. My heart sank as she knocked, knowing that I would have to interact, that she would want something from me. I opened the door to a well-dressed woman introducing herself as a financial adviser who just opened an office nearby. "Are you familiar with Edward Jones?" No, I said, but I just put babies down and I have just 20 minutes to myself."

"No problem," she said. "I have three myself. Have a good day." And she waved and walked back down the path. That little thing might be enough to salvage the day. And it might be enough to go see this woman for the financial planning help Chris and I sorely need.


  1. Yes. All of it.


    I'd like to shake that financial adviser's hand. Solicitors in my neighborhood are not so easily deterred.

  2. I know exactly how you feel.

    With Jon gone so much, sometimes there is such a groundhog day feel to my life. Wake up, morning scramble, work all day, cram running into lunch hour, pick up kids, make dinner, clean up dinner, play with kids, put kids to bed, chores.

    Sometimes I want to break free because of the mental boredom and busy-ness.

  3. Oh! How I know this, and I only have the one.

  4. these days (months) consume us, don't they?

    i call it depression, but really it's just sahmotherhood. and drinking before lunch only makes it slightly more bearable.

    i can only encourage you to leave the house whenever you get the opportunity. when i'm feeling this way, it's hard to even leave the house given the chance. isn't that SO sad? so very sad.

    found you at diagnosis urine. i very much like your blog. nice clean design and practical, real writing.

    hope the funk is just passing through.

  5. OH! This drives me crazy, the constant neediness. Yes, OK, they are children, they need stuff. But the unrelentingness of it all ... it's crazy-making.

  6. That was such an unusual moment of sensitivity in someone knocking at your door.

    I know exactly what you mean about the little things that shouldn't matter but just drive you to teethgrinding insanity. It's like that every morning round our house at the moment between 8 and 8:30. Wish I could get a handle on it.

  7. Oh, God, YES. Going into week 4 of solo parenting while preggo and I so hear this. I can't cope with one more inappropriate thing put in his mouth, one more failure to wash hands before eating, one more refusal of a food he has specifically asked for or that I know he likes...or rather, I can deal with them but not with any kind of grace or aplomb. I. Just. Can't.

    I hug you long-distance.

  8. That is the kind of advisor I like! One that leaves you alone when you ask. :-)

    You are never done. That is a good way of describing my days. Never done.

    Hang in there.

  9. Sounds like that advisor is the perfect match for you.

    I am shocked you haven't written this post before now...whenever I feel sorry for myself, I think of you. Simultaneous neediness in the twins and crazy preschooler neediness yarrrrrr! it makes my head explode. You are doing so well, doing what you need to do to get through it.

    I know, too, the grasping at projects for sanity thing.

  10. Oh how this post brought back this time in my own life. Hang in there. These days have a lot of stuff in them, but they will pass, and before you know it, you'll have 3 teenagers! ANd that doesn't have to be all bad. My oldest, now 14, surprise cleaned the entire house the other day while i was gone--dishes done, floor swept, laundry collected, beds made. He even tidied the bathroom counter!
    This is supposed to give you hope, not depress you further ;) Hang in there.