Monday, March 21, 2011

Working things through

I've been frustrated and anxious lately off and on, partly as the pregnancy hormones ebb and flow and partly as the cleanliness and functionality of the house does. (The bathroom sink drips, but I haven't been able to get it anywhere near our priority list, nor the paint the garage needs. The kitchen sink is leaking, possibly because we're having problems with plumbing in the basement. We had to have our furnace motor replaced. Box elder bugs are getting in. And so on. Whenever we manage to sell this house, we're just going to rent for the rest of our lives.) Someone once told me that her first pregnancy was all about waiting and her second was all about scrambling to get things done, and that's how I'm feeling too. With my projects behind and the house falling apart and the vacuuming happening maybe once a month with only one kid, how are we possibly going to keep this household running with two? I know people do it. They do it with three, four, five, more. I have my suspicions about what we're doing wrong, but working on the problems is taking time. And I don't have time. This baby is due in a month.

We went to our friends' two-year-old's birthday party on Saturday. Chloë had a great time playing with the balloons and the rubber duck favors and the unfamiliar toys and kids. I knitted, and commiserated with another woman due about the same time as me but more miserable--she's shorter, and I've been gifted with good pregnancy mojo; people at work keep telling me I only recently started looking pregnant, and aside from Chloë-induced backache, I haven't been having any real chronic problems, just acute ones. Eventually the noise and crowdedness got to me, and it was driving me crazy on both my account and Chloë's that we had no plans for dinner. So we left early, stopped at Panera Bread for dinner (note: their kids' grilled cheese sandwich is made with American cheese; Chloë turned up her nose at it), and went home, where Eric and Chloë went straight to bed and I sat up a little while to appreciate the quiet. I didn't do any work. Sometimes you can't.

Last night I laid in bed with Chloë, singing her a few songs ("Emmo dhong," she always requests, and "mohr Emmo," whenever I stop to draw breath. Luckily the songs from her Elmo DVD are very short. The theme song goes "La la la la, la la la la, Elmo's world/La la la la, la la la la, Elmo's world/Elmo loves his goldfish, his crayon too/That's Elmo's world!" Which is pretty sad when you think about it) and then talking about her day, which we've been doing lately to get her settled for sleep, which she persists in calling her "long nap." First we talked about Saturday's birthday party and about the walk we'd had with her cousins Addie and Rae, and how she had been allowed to ride Addie's tricycle ("A-ee. Bik. A-ee. Pee," because Addie has asked her to say "please" to ride the bike), and about the garter snake we saw on a different walk a couple of days before that ("Daw. Nake!").

And then we talked about the shopping we had done that day, and the shows we had watched and the coloring we had done, and I told her she had been a good girl, doing what we asked her and staying out of trouble, and I was glad she was a good girl and a happy girl. "Happy. Gul," she repeated. And then, "Mama. Happy?"

I wasn't quite sure whether it was a question or a comment. "Yes, mostly Mama is happy too," I told her. When I'm with her, it's not a lie. I haven't yet figured out how to fully integrate the happiness of being Chloë's mama with the happiness I had in my pre-Chloë life, which I think is part of the running-of-the-household problem, and I know that that conflict is going to get worse when the new baby comes. With luck, I'll get it together before they reach high school.

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