Mar 15 2012

Bye bye baby

My littlest little, Teagan the 19 month old, starts “preschool” this week.  And I am le sad.

I know that she’ll have fun; she loves people and songs and books and playtimes.  And the school–the toddler counterpart to my son’s Montessori preschool–couldn’t be better.  I know that she’ll learn lots and make friends.  I know that on the days that I don’t work at the library, I’ll be able to write and hopefully cut out the number of nights I work in Starbucks until midnight, freezing and yawning and listening to off-key homeless banjo playing.

I know she won’t resent me for having two jobs, for working to further my career, for choosing a safe place for her to explore learning and new faces.

I know this is the next stage for our family.

I know all babies grow up, even dimple-cheeked, feisty blond ones.

But she is my last baby, and leaving behind this last year and a half spent nursing/cuddling/crawling/playing is harder than I thought it would be.  Don’t get me wrong — I don’t want another baby.  It’s just that I want more time with this baby.  This blue-eyed, squishy, noisy, climby baby that wraps her arms around my neck like a koala bear whenever I pick her up.  This baby that says “mom-EEEE” like a mantra and mine and no and whoa as many times as she can breathe.
I wonder if she’ll miss me with half the intensity that I’ll miss her?

Sep 9 2011

Drafting again

After three years, two major revisions (which each time involved deleting about 40,000 words,) and a more normalized revision with fleshing out characterization, world building and narrative threads, Landry Park is now in the hands of my critique partners.  While I’m waiting for their disgust suggestions, I am working on other things.

At first I thought I would just flesh out notes on some ideas that have been swirling around in my brain for quite a while.  Three years is a long time to work on one project (although much of that was taken up with school, and gestating and birthing two babies) and even though I am religiously monomaniacal about finishing a project I’ve started, my brain tends to wander after that much time.  Plus, as a mom, I have a lot of dead time in the car, or while the kids smash Play-Doh into the walls, or while I’m waiting for my son to finish on the potty.

That’s right.  When you have a toddler, hours of your life will be dedicated to watching someone poop. Waiting for them to poop.  Begging them to poop so you can go check on dinner or the infant that’s started pulling laundry out of the hamper.

But, when I started fleshing out notes, the stories started getting more compelling.  The characters became more vivid.  And I could resist opening a new Scrivener file and starting.  And after gut-wrenching revisions, filled with massive cuts and hours of fine-tuning and fiddling, the feeling of a blank screen and infinite possibility was amazing.

In drafting land, there are no mistakes.  There are few agonies and even fewer minor frustrations.  You are walking along with your main character, learning as they learning, meeting new people as they meet them.  I love this part, just spending time with your protagonist, because on the long road ahead, you need these happy memories to keep going.  It’s a lot like marriage, really.  Or watching a tiny person poop.

Sep 1 2011

Just so you know…

…why it is next to impossible for me to get anything done when my kids are awake, I’ll share a little scene from tonight.  So I had eaten some bad Chinese food, which is something I do periodically to myself out of self-loathing, and was predictably sick afterwards.  Luckily, the baby was in her crib asleep, but my toddler son was wide awake.  I turned on Nick Jr. to distract him, and shivered my way through some stomach cramps on the floor.

So, once a month, there’s this time when I take lots of ibuprofen and tylenol, and I’ve told my son that it was for my tummy.  He got really jealous about my tummy medicine and started BEGGING for “tummy medicine” night and day.  Finally, out of sheer desperation, I gave him some fish oil and told him it was tummy medicine.  He stopped complaining and now he asks for an extra dose of DHA a few times a week.  Win/win?

Except, tonight when I was curled in a ball, sweating and retching into a bowl, he took it upon himself to give me “tummy medicine.”  He even broke open the capsule so that all the dead fish goodness could ooze into my mouth that much faster.  Since I was sick, fish oil sounded like the last thing in the world I wanted to taste, but my son stood in front of me AND WATCHED ME SWALLOW IT like I was Angelina Jolie in Girl, Interrupted.  I choked it down, because he was being so sweet and concerned, and then was sick again.

Then–and I am not joking–he raised up my head and said completely seriously, “Mommy, I want you to run in circles.”  And I answered, also completely seriously, “No.”  Then he started yelling, “PLEASE RUN IN CIRCLES PLEASE RUN IN CIRCLES PLEASE RUN IN CIRCLES,” and I was terrified that he was going to wake the baby and then I’d have two crazy kids to deal with while I was vomiting while my husband was working the evening shift.  So I ran in circles with the bowl in front of me.

Then he starts whipping at my ankles with a pajama shirt, roaring, “Faster! Faster!” like we’re in the Bataan death march, and trying to jump on my back like he’s Bella Swan from Twilight and I’m Edward, about to run through the trees.  I did this until my husband got home and I could go die in the bathroom in peace.

My life as a mom is so busy and so staggeringly insane that it’s a miracle I get even manage to get dressed or take out the trash or remember to say “hello” to my husband every day.  Although things would probably be easier if I laid off the Chinese food.