Do You Hear That? Me, Neither

It’s like we turned a corner, suddenly found ourselves out of that sketchy neighborhood, and can now unlock our doors and sit up straight in our seats. It’s as if that awful fist fight between Ashton Kutcher and Wilmer Valderrama really was just a bad nightmare after all, and I’ve woken up to find that I’m not really stuck in the body of Topher Grace, and I don’t have live on the set of That 70’s Show with shag carpeting and tiny, tiny televisions.  I feel like the rain clouds have moved away, and I’m twirling on the mountaintop, arms outstretched, petticoat swinging, hurling my happy voice to the tops of the clouds and the floating birds.

The children are getting along.

Do you hear me, people?!  The children. are getting. along.  Getting along getting along getting along!!  They’re playing together and beside each other and in the same room and they’re GETTING ALONG!!

Hallelujah.  Let the choirs sing the glory, shall we?

Last week was what I would call a “lost week.” The kind of days where there’s no schedule, no planned outings, no places to be or go.  I was–am–stuck in the mire of post-holidays clean-up, which seems to be never-ending, especially since, as I move from room to room, tidying up and organizing and cleaning out, there are wee little children following behind, methodically taking stuff out, messing stuff  up, throwing things around.  I really don’t know why I try.  It seems like an exercise in madness research scientists would film to gauge just exactly how many pointless activities a parent can do in order to trick herself into thinking she has some sort of control over her life before she finally loses her mind, pulls out all her hair, and goes running out the door without any shoes on.

But the children. Our daughters. With no distractions except an endless stretch of day and a slew of new toys, they were so happy.  They played.  They talked to each other.  They lolled around on the floor, limbs splayed out, giggling just to hear themselves giggle.   There was very little yelling, by any female member of the house.  There was no ripping of toys out of a sister’s hands.  There was no biting (from Quinn), or shoving (from Saoirse), or banging (my head, against the wall).  It was just…peaceful.

I felt like tiptoeing around just so I wouldn’t upset the calm in the air.  The reason for the sudden accord could be because, yes, Quinn’s gotten older and is learning how to play without single-handedly destroying everything with which she comes in contact.  It could be that Saoirse’s starting to understand that if she shares her toys they will, in fact, not get sucked down into a black hole that eats Thomas trains, and she will, indeed, see her playthings again.  It might be because I’ve been so busy around the house that I haven’t been as attentive a mother haven’t monitored their interactions as closely as I normally do, and they’re learning how to work out their issues themselves.

Or, perhaps, they weren’t overscheduled.  I wasn’t stressed out.  Children were fed when they were hungry, naps were available when they were needed, baths happened or didn’t happen and DVDs were watched when a preschooler asked to watch TV for a little while.  Kids stayed in pajamas if they wanted, and got paint all over their play clothes, and ran around with hair that at one point closely resembled what I imagined the boys in Lord of the Flies to look like toward the end of the book.  David was around a lot, and the family was together, and absolutely not one family/educational/obligatory outing was on the horizon, for a good chunk of days.  It was, truly, a vacation.

We did take the girls to a local car museum to see a train display Saturday.  I mean, there’s only so much time you can stay house bound, after all (see my above note about pulling out hair and running around without shoes).  But it’s been nice.  Time-outs have happened less.  I don’t drink as much wine coffee.  And David is starting to think I have it really darned easy while he’s at work (okay, that last part’s not true, but still…this can’t start to be too easy, or I’ll start to lose my street cred).  It’s been a good week.

That being said, I’m off to the gym soon (yep, New Year’s Resolution, to get back into the consistent groove I lost mid-fall.  Mama misses endorphins), then to run some errands.  Saoirse goes back to school this week, and the girls’ activities start up soon, and I should probably start thinking about planning a get-together for SK’s fourth (fourth!?!) birthday.  So yes, life returns to normal.  But this has been nice.  It’s been sweet.

The other day, at lunch, Saoirse looked around and asked, “Why is it so quiet?”  We all stopped chewing for a moment, cocking our heads to take in the silence.  No radio on.  No one bickering.  No one was being admonished or nagged or annoyed.  The house was just still.  I kind of liked it.

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