There are so many reasons I’m glad I have this little corner of the internet. I’ve spent more than 5 years of my life writing things down in this space, and I’ve written myself through a number of hard transitions and some of my happiest times, too. But I also love that things are written here at all – because otherwise I’d forget them.
Like when it’s the end of July, and the kids are going a little nutty, and it’s hot as Hell outside, and part of me is scared for summer to end, but the other part of me is ready for a schedule again and just generally feeling exhausted and languid and unmotivated compared to usual me. I think we’ve all gone completely nuts and that this is like no other year ever in the history of mankind until I look back to see that this is every year. Every July. Forever and ever, amen. So that makes me feel better. It’s just the general late July insanity back again as it always is.
I joked last night that my week included 3 bee stings, a trip to the periodontist (with a recommendation for an expensive and unpleasant surgery), an escaped pet worm, and an emergency that required 4 staples in Norah’s head. Every last bit of that and more is true. It has been A WEEK, y’all. To say the least.
Jude has been enrolled in “Nature Camp” at a local nature preserve close to home, and he loved it! I’d pick him up each day at noon covered in caked-on dirt and gabbing about the size of a dragonfly’s mouth or the responsibility of picking up litter or what kind of art you can make with pine cones. Norah and I filled the time doing a few things at home, playing at a playground where I got stung by a wasp, and eating donuts not once but twice this week.
On Wednesday, we got together with old friends of mine who now have kids of their own so our little group has grown to a big group and babies have grown to kids and it’s crazy. In the best way. But it’s crazy. We never finish sentences. Or food. Or remember to leave with whatever belongings we arrived with because we are so busy tending to questions or to cries of “maaaa-maaaaaaa” that we all turn our heads to because we can’t tell whom that voice belongs to. Jude also got stung by a wasp that day – two tiny side-by-side stings – and I know it hurt. I do. But when I asked if I could rub in a little first-aid cream my kind friend offered, he ran and screamed and looked so fearful, like I had dynamite in my hand and I was asking him to hold onto it. Frantic “NOOOO! Mom, NOOOOO!” and full on running. So we ditched the cream and opted for Lego distractions instead, and he was fine.
Get home to rinse, repeat for the next day – and nature camp leaves him dirtier than ever before, but he had fun. I persuaded the kids to go for a drive and head to a farm about an hour away to get peaches and blackberries, and it was our one moment of zen for the week, I think.
It was cloudy driving up, and we got inside just in time for the perfect summer afternoon rain. Heavy downpours, but sunshine peeking through, and the doors of the market were open so that you could smell that summer rain smell and feel it blowing in a bit. Add boiled peanuts and homemade ice cream we bought there, and it was perfect for a few tiny moments.
Once the storm passed, I loaded both kids in the car with our peaches, cherries, plums, and the best blackberries I’ve ever had. (I’m rationing them from the fridge now that we are home, wishing I’d bought more.) I gave the kids the quart of boiled peanuts to split among them, and we headed home. One hour trapped in a car with two chatty kids on a summer afternoon is both hilarious and ridiculously annoying – if I am being totally honest here. “Hey, mom. Did you know it’s not littering to throw peanut shells. We can do that. Let’s roll down the window.” [Cue the window rolling up, down, up, down, up, down. Each time they have a tiny shell.] Sister laughing hysterically, steamy wind and searing heat pouring in the car because seriously July in Georgia is almost miserable. Fast forward twenty miles or so, and Norah accidentally dumped the rest of her boiled peanuts in the car floor, and I am not ashamed to tell you most of those are still there now.
We get home, and Jude flies outside to get his neighbor friend to play, and they both come back to my house for a game of hide-and-seek until they get bored with it and decide to opt for an iPad. Somewhere in here (not sure when) Jude’s pet worm escapes, and we discover him hours later in the kitchen floor.
Norah asks if she can watch Mother Goose Club which if you don’t know what that is, you can see it on YouTube when your kid is not near because they will develop an undying loyalty for it, and now Netflix carries it much to the dismay of at least one million parents out there who have to hear it every night like I do. So I’m starting dinner, and I see her dancing on the couch and at least three times I tell her to get down and be careful, and I probably should have been more forceful about it, but it is 6:30pm of a very long day, and I am making dinner and it’s a couch and we have carpet, what can go wrong, right?
I’ll spare you the details – screams! blood! traumatized neighbor child! – and I’ll tell you that she is fine but has four staples in the back of her head.
The doctor asked her what happened, and she responded that “the hard floor fell on my head.” Which I guess is pretty much the same thing as “I was practicing ballet on the couch and got carried away and lost my balance.” For the record, she did not flinch a bit when they inserted the staples, and she woke this morning to ask if she can “do a flip on the couch? Please, Mom? Because flipping is not the same as dancing, right?”
We are fine, all of us. The last day of nature camp was today. It’s 10pm and both kids are asleep, and my floor is cluttered with Legos and naked baby dolls. But we are fed and happy and loved and had some fun moments this week, despite the insanity. But KIDS! Motherhood is no joke, is it?
I follow Momastery on Instagram, and a few weeks ago, she said something that made me laugh and also made me nod my head, “I spent time in a mental hospital, and I am here to report that every single one of the beautiful folks in there with me was more reasonable than the small people I live with now. Truth. YOU ARE GOOD AND REASONABLE AND NORMAL. IT’S THEM. The crazy is not in your head. IT’S IN YOUR HOUSE. We have to wait them out. We just have to smile and wait them out. We have fought too hard for our sanity to lose it now. Repeat after me: It’s not me, It’s THEM.”
Many days, it is all I can do to smile and wait it out. So much of my day is spent directing them or correcting them or putting smiley faces on a calendar chart just to make bedtime happen reasonably smoothly. Or making dinner and sitting down to eat only to hear “I’m not hungry.” They are crazy little people, and it is never boring. But I’m keeping my head above water over here somehow – knowing I will laugh and look back and wonder how on Earth I managed keeping my sanity and their safety and my house intact in these years. But also knowing I might look back and miss some of the insanity. So much life in these little people. So much surprise.