Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sixteen tons

I am probably going to take a break from complaining that my husband doesn't seem to do much around the house because he went back to work today and I realized exactly how much he had done over the past week. My lord, I am exhausted and it's not even 7:30 p.m.

Today was spent cleaning up after the holidays: Dismantling the tree, taking down garland and Christmas cards, putting up holiday scented candles and moving furniture (okay, a hope chest) back into the living room. It was spent cooking food - and realizing that this evening I must get myself to the supermarket as we are basically down to condiments - and cleaning - and realizing for the umpteenth time that my floors must manufacture dust when I am not looking because no matter how much I sweep, by the time I'm done it's pretty much time to do it again.

This afternoon, though, we ventured out into the freezing weather (and yes, I know this is New England and the fun is just beginning!) for Open Gym at Mary's preschool. This happens twice a week, from 3 to 5 p.m., and I rely on it like I rely on coffee and the Internet: Some days, it's the only thing that keeps my kids off of eBay. Today was going really well, except for some drama because Mary only wanted to wear her pink coat, and naturally The World's Best Mommy had left that in Connecticut when we visited my parents this past weekend, and that, my friends, is a fate worse than death. (I have no idea where she got the sparkly princess gene. Past photographs suggest I was more the sunglasses-shorts-wool winter hat type.)

I produced last year's pretty black wool dress coat and slipped it on Mary, who recoiled from the non-pink article of clothing as if it were riddled with pestilence. I cajoled. I shouted. I pulled out my trump card: "Anna is getting a treat because she used the potty (oh ho, I am so that mother) and if you don't wear that coat to the car and then keep it on your lap, you are not going to get to share it with her."

Guess what didn't happen? There were tears and shouts but I held firm and Anna, tiny little pot stirrer that she is, kept asking me "But I get a treat, right, mama? I used the potty!"


Some days, Open Gym is quiet, other times, a hierarchy akin to Lord of the Flies develops, with Mary, aka the Cruise Director, at the top of the heap trying to play with everyone and talking nonstop to anyone over the age of 20 who will stand still and listen, and Lily somewhere at the bottom, lolling on her blanket while I try to gently encourage and yet fend off curious two year olds (middle of the pack, noisy, somewhat sticky, ever so cute). This time Mary ensconced herself in the office, watching cartoons with Harry, son of Marsha, the saint who runs Open Gym, Anna commenced running around with no less than two sound making animals and half a dozen stacked mini traffic cones and Lily lolled on various objects and protested not being able to eat animal crackers, walk or crawl. We chatted with the nannies and moms, and I secretly envied those who had gone the "screw it, I'm wearing yoga pants" route. Lily ate and ate and hollered and grinned. Mary eventually got over her hatred of the black coat when she realized it was kind of twirly. Anna stole Mary's animal crackers and somehow, a war didn't break out.

And we came home, and made dinner, and I read lots of books in loud voices because that seemed to be the only thing that made Lily happy, and when Tim walked in at 6:30 and offered me a break before the kids' bedtime at 7, I made a beeline for the dark, welcoming bedroom, yanked up at least two blankets and buried myself in the first real quiet I'd had all day. Sure, I could hear the ruckus down the hall but they had their dad, who hadn't seen them all day and therefore reveled in their nonstop attention, whereas I was officially running on empty.

The baby came in around 7, the kids went to sleep, Lily drifted off and my husband and I finished putting away Christmas. The house is relatively still as I finish this up and cozy up to the Keurig, another day done (more or less).

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