i’ll go days and days without being able to hash out any time to sit down and write something. staying up late doesn’t work. at the end of the day, i am drained and even if i manage to pry myself out of ruth’s bed from putting her to sleep and actually stay awake for a time myself, it’s the kind of time spent watching movies, taking a bath, or, if i’m really ambitious, cleaning up the fallout from that day to some extent. it’s not the time for writing. i can usually only do that in the morning with a steaming cup of joe before me, the house still, the day not yet begun. but, lately, mornings are more like a minefield and are tricky to maneuver. joel is always touchy to sound and can only be guaranteed to sleep those first four hours after falling victim to comatose for the night. any time after that, it’s anyone’s guess and he has been known to wake up at dawn and stay that way. perhaps this is his best creative time too. then, there is ruth.
“people are liars,” i spat bitterly at greg the other morning, “when you’re pregnant with the second and you ask people who already have two kids how they do it, they make it seem so easy. as though the first child just matures overnight and immediately stops all of their baby-ish behavior, accepting that things are different now: there is a new baby, i’m a big kid…and all that hogwash. hogwash, i say. when is that going to happen for us?” (he probably didn’t answer and just became very preoccupied with drinking his coffee). not one to abdicate her throne so easily, if anything, she clings to me more than before a lot of times, won’t let greg help her with much of anything, from shoe-tying to bum-wiping, to helping her eat her dinner, and has become even violent in her steadfast demands upon me. needless to say, this includes bedtime, when only mom can be the one to lie down with her until she falls asleep (never mind that it is also mom who needs to nurse a five month old baby). no. then, where we, for a time, had ruth not only sleeping through the night, but in her own bed, all that has changed. one bout of fearful waking from a dream led us to invite her into our bed for the remainder of the night’s sleep. “greg,” i said the next morning, “i’m afraid we may or may not have created a monster.” well, we, of course, did create a monster (by the name of ruth. just kidding. mostly.) and now, there is nary a night that she doesn’t wake up at least once, more likely two or three times crying and i will either need to go and lie down with her, or if joel isn’t already in our bed, she comes and sleeps with us. all this amongst joel waking every few, sometimes every single, hours to breast feed. each night is an endless shuffling of people, beds, blankets, pillows. like pieces in a chess game. does anyone ever win? not that i can see.
in any case, ruth is also extremely touchy in the morning hours and the slightest sound can stir her. and then you can just forget about your blog post, your coffee, and time to just sit and be. you’ve got to lie with her, be the warm body she snuggles against, and don’t even think about trying to escape. at that point, she’s like one of those garage motion sensor lights. one slight movement and she pops up, wide awake.
all this goes on, of course, with little assistance by or even knowledge of by, greg. he mostly sleeps through the musical beds. after all, he’s not the one with breasts or the one ruth clings to like a barnacle.
my point in all that was simply to say, it’s hard to find time to write this blog any more.
what i actually wanted to say, i haven’t had time to sort out of the jumble of things clanging around in my noggin these days. there is always a lot clanging around, but sometimes nothing coherent enough to actually write down. the only thing that seems to be forming a cohesive thought is the solid idea that i have become a cynic when it comes to children. any time i learn of someone who has just gotten pregnant or who has just had a baby, i find myself thinking bitterly, “just. you. wait.” it’s terrible, i know, to silently curse other new parents in this way instead of just thinking pleasantly upon all of the love they will feel as they watch their children grow. but i can’t help it. i laugh mirthfully and think to myself, “now you’ve done it” and, “you don’t even know…” and “well, you’ll find out…” i could say these things out loud, but i’ve found it’s a terrible faux paus. plus, people just don’t believe it. it’s their biological clock. it’s lying to them, telling them lies, placating them so it can move in for the kill. (“ah-ha!!,” your body says later, “you fell for it!! you totally believed it! april fools!!”) seriously, people. we’re not just making conversation, filling the time with garble. it really is freakin’ the hardest, most demanding, draining and challenging thing. ever. you’ll be stretched to your limit and they will keep coming at you. you’ll be shriveled up crying in the corner by the time your kids are done with you. best part is, they do it all unknowingly, innocently. just by their very natures. so unless you really want to live with clumsy, accident-prone, crazy, bipolar people who can’t feed themselves, need you to wipe their ass, and solely rely on you for emotional support, don’t have kids.
that said, yesterday, the four of us were sitting on the couch together, watching a clifford halloween movie, and the world felt so completely complete and whole you wouldn’t believe it. all three of us kept leaning over and kissing joel on his head, ruth was on my lap in a good humor, and for five minutes, maybe ten, the world was utterly beautiful and full. so…are the bad times outweighed by the good? ask a parent of grown children, and they always say “yes”. ask a parent of young ones, and we’re not so sure.