In two days of caring for sick kids and a husband, I ate an entire small pie, a la mode, keeping it safe from prying eyes/sharing by stowing it in the oven no one but me knows how to turn on. I'm not sorry.
How often do your kids get sick? Our pediatrician insists that 4-6 times per year is normal for healthy children. Unfortunately, cold season is upon us in a serious way. My husband, who got this year's flu shot, is the single largest spreader of cold germs in our family.
And I hate him for it. Like, really, really hate.
Because I did not sign on for three children. The largest one — the one who only sleeps wherever he goes in the house, the one who took off Friday afternoon so he could "help" me by taking one nap in bed and then one on the couch, the one who sleeps in each morning and takes an afternoon nap long after the kids wake from theirs — that guy can go on home to his own mother.
That guy aside, it's been two long days of the toddler nose-cleansing sneeze, and I am quite tired of boogers.
“I am quietly hoping you’re still my friend despite the lack of all forms of contact that has lasted… well, at least months but probably years. I miss you.”
I could cut and paste the above statement into Facebook accounts, texts and emails and it would be true at least 29 times over. I’d probably receive sympathetic responses, and maybe even start up new correspondence with old pals. But I won’t do any of that. Why?
Because what I have to give, not that you have asked, is all seven minutes of my free time per day, usually during naptime and only if the napping overlaps. I am not a phone person. I’m no longer even really an email person. Or a letter person. Or even a Facebook person. I am the person who thinks fondly of you (to herself) and then doesn’t let you know in any way, at all. I’m smiling to myself right now and it’s about you.
Would I prefer to use those minutes to prep dinner and ward off the nightly, knee-screaming crabbies? Yes. I’m sorry. Please take issue with my skewed priorities. I know I do.
Clearly, my narrowed friend circle has something to do with my kids. I mean, I have little time to spare for myself (or “self-care,” thank you media), and I do not spend it on developing or renewing friendships, even though I could use a hug myself. Instead, I read cookbooks, which I adore, drink tea or tidy in order to see the floor on my office, thus boosting next week’s productivity.
What I need are new friends with the same teeth-baring pygmies in tow and a few similar priorities.
To that end, I’ve begun a neighborhood mother’s group. Starting in January, I organize at least one low-stress outing per week. I’ve tried an in-home play date (no one showed up), coffee (no one showed up) and walking (too windy – no one showed up). I realize it’s only been two months, but if I hadn’t had a successful meet last week (three other moms!) I might have quit. It’s too discouraging.
Instead of finding neighborhood moms who can walk the same routes I do, stroller in tow or balance bikes up ahead, I’ve found women willing to drive great distances to connect with another mom. Not surprising.And, despite my initial sadness that none of my members live in my zip code, I will try to be that mom. If my gift is planning get-togethers, I’ll plan. I’ve always excelled at having people over, accruing people and organizing them, often feeding them as well. It’s also what I enjoy.
I wish my old friends lived much, much closer. I still miss you. I’m not moving on, filling my roster with new Jenneys and Cinnamons. But I am adding friendly faces, unlined with our girlhood memories but wrinkled with a familiar sleeplessness, one I recognize completely.
New favorite challah recipe! The Balaboosta cookbook is awesome, even if I do not cook a single meat-based recipe in there (and there are quite a few). I've made the challah and plan a repeat already. Also flagged: hummus and the falafel, dotted with kalamata-olives (!!!).
Book Three of this smart youth series, The Crow by Alison Croggon, explores the Hem's story in the world of Pellinor as the battle begins against the Dark. Croggon doesn't oversimplify and the entire series is thoughtful, well-written and fully imagined.
While The Girl You Left Behind is the second book by NYT best-selling JoJo Moyes, it's the first novel I've read and I can see why she's so popular. The Girl is well-plotted, the pacing incredible and the story sticks with you. I'll be picking up anything else Moyes writes.
Zetta's favorite, favorite book — and not just at bedtime — is this short board book that features Snuggle Puppy and a cute little ditty (you provide the tune) that ends with a big kiss.
Now exploring his fears through stories, Wilder's found a safe place in Snicket's The Dark. Like the book's character, my son wanders the darkened house with a flashlight, though the dark never deigns to talk to him.
Matthew Van Fleet's Heads must be read at least three times at each sitting. House rule. The book includes pull tabs that move animals around on the page — the current favorite is the elephant sneezing onto a monkey.
This trio of tales echoes the sweet pictures you'd imagine when your mother told a story of her girlhood. Maudie and Bear play dress up and tell stories and have picnics and won't annoy you enough that you pretend it's overdue at the library.
Both of my children are enamored of The Story of Growl, enough so that Zetta practices growling daily and both growl along with the story. Growl, a small purple monster, doesn't like to do much else but growl, though her neighbors dislike the noise and eventually ban it altogether. But when Growl's growling proves useful, the neighbors growl together. Aw.