I was washing the dishes (I could seriously start every. single. blog post. with that sentence. You know it). Friends who had stopped in for a visit had left an hour or so before, and dinner consisted of reheated quiche and grapes and maybe a cookie or two, because it’d been a long day. For the kids, too, I mean. I discovered this morning that Saoirse, in fact, does absolutely hate her swim lessons, the realization of which was accented by her sitting on the edge of the pool, looking at me, tears filling up her goggles, lower lip jutting out, quivering, as she pleaded, “Mommy. Please, can I come see you?” before Coach Mike pulled her back into the water. (“I’m going to let you go, now,” I heard him say, “and you’re going to swim on your own.” “You shouldn’t,” replied Saoirse, right before her head went underwater). And then my friends came over, and we had lunch, and then SK screamed for a few hours because Quinn was playing with her toys (somebody help me before I quit this job, yes?), and then Quinn cried like I was breaking her heart, because all she wanted to do was climb all over me, but when she was up, all she wanted to be was down, as long as she was touching me in some way, shape or form, and I was about to search for ear plugs and a tranquilizer gun. For me, of course. Sheesh.
This is right around the time I texted David, asking him to pick up a bottle of wine on the way home.
So, there I was washing dishes, while SK took herself to the bathroom upstairs to do whatever very long business 3-year-olds do before calling for their mothers to intervene. Quinn was now crying because she’d managed to crawl under the dining room table. She’d pulled herself up to standing, legs on one side of the support bar that runs across the bottom, splayed out wider than what should really be comfortable, even for a 14-month-old, and was braced by her hands against the opposite chair. She was absolutely freaking out. She was stuck. She couldn’t go up, couldn’t go down, was just sort of in limbo, hanging across space by her fingertips. I should develop this into some insightful metaphor for the frustrations of full-time parenthood, but frankly, I don’t have the energy.
Instead, I did what any good mother would do, and chuckled. And then I went to help her. I could almost hear her sigh in relief, followed by her little voice saying, “Hi. Hi. Mom” before Saoirse started hollering for me from her position upstairs. I rubbed my eyes, gave Quinn a pat on the head, and was trudging up the short flight of stairs right around the same time David walked in the door, already removing the wine from its bag. He loves me, after all. He also understands the importance of self-preservation. For himself.
But I learned a couple of things today. They are as follows:
1. SK’s swim coach is making her swim on her own for three seconds at a time. She kicks like a wild woman for the first second. By second 2, her head is slipping underwater. By the last, she’s fighting her way up, I’m kicking off my shoes to jump in, and Coach swoops her up for a hug, a pat on the back to force up the inhaled water, and another go. I’ve never felt such a strange mix of pride and oh, crap. She’d better not drown.
2. My kids like gruyere. You know, the cheese. SK wolfed down her wedge of that quiche, and Quinn–the mighty Quinn!–went through two people-sized slices. Who’da thunk. Liver pate might be next.
3. SK will pull a full tantrum with highest-decibel screaming, even with guests present. Yay, me.
4. SK, if she likes you, will also invite you to her room to meet Blanket. Then she will have to pee, and make you stand sentinel until she’s finished, even if you’ve only met this child once before and are no more familiar to her than Sir Topham Hat himself. My friend is pregnant with her first child, and I’m willing to bet she’s never felt so uncomfortable in her life. At least I saved her from having to help “wipe.”
5. When I ask Quinn if she’s hungry, she says “nyum” in response. “Nyum” is her word for food. I throw this in here only because THAT IS SO AWESOME.
6. A child learning how to walk will not sleep.
7. The parent of a child learning how to walk who does not sleep will also: not sleep. Actually, let’s narrow that down to the stay-at-home parent, because the breadwinner parent never seems to hear a child attempting to climb out of her crib. Especially at 2:55 in the morning.
That is all for today. Enjoy your weekend, and I’ll see you Monday. Like a toddler straddling air over a dining room table, let’s hope this weekend is the bridge between a complain-y story and a “Whee! Parenthood totally ROCKS!” story (never think an English teacher can avoid a good metaphor. Except that was a simile, wasn’t it?). Meanwhile, I just heard the sound of a cork pop. My wine awaits.
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