April 19th, 2013 § § permalink
Mostly, it has been too cold and wet to get out. But when we can, we do. I like few things more this time of year than throwing stones in the river. But card games and coffee will do this chilly April.
Many things I would like to do that require two hands and a whole brain do not get done. Most of these involve writing. A number of lists have sprung to mind this spring. Lists I would like to write, but cannot devote myself to. Like 100 Rules of Dinner (always have good cream on hand, add more pepper…). Things to Teach my Three Year Old (the trees in our neighborhood, bird songs, War, how to crack an egg…). Rules for Life with Young Children (eat well, plenty of fresh air, babies should nap outside as much as possible, say yes more…).
Lists will come, writing will come, summer will come. All in good time. I haven’t even ordered my seeds.
April 11th, 2013 § § permalink
I drove, today. A car with a backseat that was full. And our house is full. And I like the way that feels.
Today was my first day on my own with three children. The naturalness surprised me. The first child is a sweeping change. The second is a transition. The third folds in so easily. It’s like that point in making mayonnaise- after the careful whipping of yolks and dripping of oil- when you drizzle the oil in a “steady stream” and the magical emulsion sticks.
That’s life with Margot. That’s today.
January 21st, 2013 § § permalink
The children are old enough to adore and imitate each other. And mostly, they do.
They play in the bath together, a warm afternoon bath on a frigid day, while I type away here beside them, fat with a third baby. They play and annoy each other, but mostly play. Helen is still petite and plump with rolls and dimples that by next winter will have faded. She plays wildly, decidedly, and with all her heart. Reed has the long, lean body of a young boy, and seems built for long walks and good books. Helen has a way of “cracking puzzles” that frustrates Reed, and the boy will be obtrusive now and again when his sister is trying to do something. But one gets the impression when talking with Reed and flipping through old pictures that, in his mind, life didn’t really begin until Helen was a part of it.
The children now. In the bath. Discussing elephants. ”This is a trunk. A trunk.” Filling canteens and pouring them out. Singing a little. Babbling along. Hugging an alligator. ”Chomp chomp chop.” The elephant drinks from the canteen.
January 14th, 2013 § § permalink
The New Year has come, and we are all settling in to Just Winter. Just Winter is a comfortable place. We all have our hats and scarves and mittens close at hand and are accustom to bundling up in them before our (short) walks, scraping down car windows, shoveling sidewalks, wearing socks, and other things still foreign in November. We drink lots of tea, eat big roast potatoes, and find refreshment in winter sun and winter air. We also make a lot of ice cream, which is not very winter-like, but what happens when I get an ice cream-maker for Christmas.
Just Winter is never as long as it used to be, and I enjoy it more with each passing year. Whether this is because of its brevity or because I have growing children to experience it with or because one enjoys things more as one gets older, I am not sure. But I do. I enjoy everything more. Except sweets, I suppose (sweets never taste so good as they do when you are young). And television. And sick days. And surely a handful of other things. That may be a good idea for a list: Things I Enjoy Less as I Get Older (Mid-Twenties Edition). To be continued. Meanwhile, what do you enjoy less and less? Or more and more?
December 31st, 2012 § § permalink
The day Christmas passed, I was ready. Ready to take out the tree and rearrange the living room. Ready to trade gingerbread for Vietnamese food and egg nog for tea. I adore the holiday season, but I am ready to fold up all the shimmer and traditions and let it just be winter. Welcome, New Year.
I am irresolute and always have ambivalence toward resolutions, but the other strand is this: I don’t want to lose 10 lb. I don’t want to exercise. I don’t want to be kinder or more generous or smarter. In fact, I don’t want to see this year as an opportunity for personal betterment at all. I have always been so bent on self-improvement, and I suppose I still am, in a way. But for now I am more inclined to see the year ahead as a gift, something good and given freely, something I have never earned and never will. And instead of resolving to be more or better, I feel more like giving myself a gift. Like resolving to have ice cream at least once a week. Or resolving to go outside early in the morning, even just for a minute or two. Or resolving to drink more (were I not pregnant) or keep a vase of flowers on the table or take the kids out for croissants on Wednesdays.
These are resolutions that I can get behind, can drum up some enthusiasm for. Welcome, 2013.
December 26th, 2012 § § permalink
December 15th, 2012 § § permalink
The tragedy in Connecticut (one of many yesterday) has hit this country hard. I, like everyone else, have been seeking to make sense of it all. I want to understand the motive of a man who could kill so many so young. I want to know what kind of guns he carried, what sort of home he was raised in. After a warm winter evening’s walk to buy ice cream and look at Christmas lights, I finally turned on the news. We sat for a while, watching Scott Pelley, eating dinner. And A. said, “Let’s turn it off. After a point, there’s nothing more to say.”
There are real conversations to be had of course, conversations about the country I live in, mental health care, gun control, and hopefully much more. Violence that cuts so deep cannot be swept away. I hope that in the wake of such horror, we face these conversations as fellow human beings. None of us wants to see our child covered in blood. None of us wants to a child’s blood on our son’s hands.
December 10th, 2012 § § permalink
This is a photograph from the last time I had finals:
This time around, my bed isn’t littered with papers. For one, I share that bed. For another, I rarely bother to print things off, it being the digital age and what not. And somehow, despite two kids to tend, this time it is a little bit easier, a bit more fun; I find a lot of things are as I get older.
November 28th, 2012 § § permalink
As she turns 15 months, Helen is:
-the most fun-loving person I know
-not particularly concerned about impressions
-taking those first independent steps
November 25th, 2012 § § permalink
As this Thanksgiving weekend comes to a close, let me just say that I have a million things to be thankful for. I feel dopey naming them, as the dear ones are the greatest cliches: people to love, an able mind, hands that can work, work to do with them, kind days. It has been a good year and I am grateful for it all.
Let me also say that I am grateful for that wonderful pop! cranberries make when they are boiled in sugared water into sauce. And I love the feel of pecans under the knife. It is a good, good time of year.