Wednesday, April 7, 2010

On the Third Day

It is raining, and I have pushed back my chair from the dinner table and gotten into bed. The noise machine is on to block out the noise of the girls in the bathtub - splashing, giggling, talking, not-listening to Jason - and Nigella Lawson's Feast (borrowed from the library; checking out cookbooks is my new obsession) is lying next to me.

I am completely out of steam, and I know I am lucky that Jason walked in the door as I was just about to lose it. This is his third week in a row of working 8 to 5, which really means 7 to 6, which really means that I have to hit the ground running in the morning and be 100% on for eleven hours straight. I have taken for granted the many mornings when Jason is around, helping, until 9:00 a.m., and even though he often gets home much later on those days, things are easier, somehow, when he is here for those first bleary breakfast moments.

Annie is on spring break, and we have had fun. On Monday, we walked down to the track and ran laps together, blew bubbles outside, played with neighbors, and met kindergarten friends at the park for the afternoon. Yesterday, we had one of Annie's little friends over for the morning, then went to the pool in the afternoon. We baked my favorite banana bread. We took walks during breaks in the rain and stopped to smell every daffodil, hyacinth, and flowering bush along the path. We sat on the floor and read Olivia and Madeleine and Fancy Nancy. It was good.

Today, though. We had to be out the door early to get Jemma to gymnastics. I packed Annie lots of fun activities for her one-hour wait in the lobby with me, but she chose the moment I tried to call a source for an article I'm writing to start pestering me for a snack. (It was 9:15 a.m.) I planned to bring the girls to a fun kid-geared ballet afterwards, but drove downtown and talked it up to the girls only to discover a sign on the door saying all performances were sold out. We regrouped, headed home for an early lunch, then hit the cheap theater to see The Princess and the Frog. I thought it started at noon. It started at 12:35. So we sat in the theater for an extra 40 minutes, the girls growing more and more ancy, more and more tired. And by the time we got home, it was too late for any semblance of quiet time, so the afternoon devolved into grumping and bickering and rainy-day boredom in spite of the puzzles, board books, cardboard and glitter glue I pulled out in desperation.

I hear them again right now, reading bedtime stories on the couch, and even though I've been sitting here recharging for less than half an hour, I want to go to them, snuggle in to make the threesome a foursome and hear Jason read Stellaluna. It's the catch-22 of parenting: when they're good, you want to be with them, but when they're bad, they need you even more.

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