It was 4:30 p.m.. I was sinking into the cushions of our family room chair. Saoirse was perched on the ottoman in front of me, Quinn lay curled against my potruding belly like a yin around a yang. I was supposed to be putting laundry away, or starting prep for dinner, or finishing paying the stack of bills that had arrived while we were away. But I’d hit the wall. Quinn had just gotten up from a late nap, and frankly, I just wanted to sit for a little while. You understand, don’t you? Even when you don’t have a growing baby doing jumping jacks and burpees inside your uterus all day (ALL. DAY.), sometimes you just need to sit. There is no true break in the day anymore–Saoirse used to be a much more independent child when she was our only child. That, and she napped. Oh, how she napped. Now I get her to watch a DVD during an hour after lunch (David just asked me yesterday, “Does she watch TV every day?” Yes, David. Yes. That rule got broken the instant she said “Mom, I don’t want to take a nap anymore.”), because after that it’s “Mom, can we play hide and seek? Mom, can we play a game? Mom, can I paint? Mom, why are you hiding under a blanket in the corner and mumbling about silent retreats?” I love the child, you know that. I love spending time with her. But sometimes Mama’s gotta sort the paperwork and fold the laundry and maybe check out a gossip website once in a while, you know?
But back to that afternoon. We we were all splayed out in front of Barefoot Contessa. One cooking show, I told myself, and then I’d start dinner, or put away the laundry, or buy tickets to that retreat. Saoirse is all about cooking shows. We watch, we discuss recipes, we decide what we’d want to make one day and what looks gross. It’s actually interactive TV-watching with her, and it’s so much fun. That, and I don’t have to hide my pregnant self in any overstuffed while she counts to 20 and tries to find me.
That day Ina Garten was making an orange-chocolate mousse (“Mom? Can we have that someday?”). She was just starting on the whipped cream topping when Saoirse turned around.
“Mom. You’ll get a headache doing that.”
I was silent for a beat, trying to understand. “Why is that, Seersh?”
“Because that’s headache cream. She’s using headache cream, and you can get a headache from that.”
Did you know you can cry while laughing silently? You can.
“Actually, sweetie, I think she’s using something called ‘heavy’ cream.”
Saoirse looked at the TV screen for a moment.
“Oh. Well, you can get heavy using that.”
I told you watching cooking shows with her was fun.
Saoirse was home sick from school today, which meant no basketball practice for her tonight…
“Hey,” I said to David on Saturday. “Let’s try to…