The Haps

Today my goals are: minimal laundry, finding a recipe for and making lactation cookies, and meeting the needs of the teething baby.  I figured I could make room to start at least a couple of posts about things like: Oscar’s 5 month stats, what all of the boys are up to these days, and some of my (encyclopedia worth of) thoughts and feelings about homeschooling.

So, the general happenings around here, boy by boy:

Isaac – He’s 6’5″ (haha, get it? like baby stats). His disgruntled attitude is even more enormous. He spent 6 of the 8 weeks since he got done with 10th grade at his father’s house, and seems pretty unhappy to be back with us – where video game time is limited to 2 hours per day and is contingent upon completion of chores and other responsibilities, where lying in bed all day is not an option on any day. We’re really, really struggling with this fella – the reality of being 17 years old seems very difficult for him to come to terms with. We feel that he needs to be a contributing member of our household, have a part time job, and do some reading of a book and some progress in an academic area each day. This is our basic contract for homeschooling him. He agrees that these are reasonable requirements when we discuss them, but when it comes to the daily application of them we are met with extreme resistance. So, that’s what’s going on with him for the last week, and I guess on any day for the forseeable future.

Being amused by his brother's antics. Also being scruffy.

Being amused by his brother’s antics. Also being scruffy.

Evan – is attending Drama Camp for the second week and loving it. This is his second year going, at the high school in our town. He spent the night with a friend who’s also attending, and then we all went over to their house for dinner last night, where we were informed that Evan and his friend had spent the entire day talking about girls from the camp (and watching Lord of the Rings movies). Funny. We’re looking forward to the performance he’ll give on Friday – he’s playing Bottom from A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a Magic Treehouse play.  He has to wear tights, which he thought was very exciting, and when I bought the tights last night he begged to try them on immediately. I helped my (stinky footed) ten-year-old son into the tights and he said, “These are amazing. So breathable and airy!” He’s currently reading The Princess Bride, after having just completed Lord of the Flies. He and Isaac are both using Khan Academy for their math this year, and he loves it and can do it for hours happily. While Grandma was here visiting this past weekend, he impressed her by teaching himself about positive and negative numbers in a matter of minutes and then doing all of the problems too quickly for her to try to answer one.

I do not love the effects my wife puts on her phone pictures, but I do love that this kid always wants to wear the baby!

I do not love the effects my wife puts on her phone pictures, but I do love that this kid always wants to wear the baby!

Asa – turned 8 last Friday. He had art camp at a local university last week, complete with a gallery show on his birthday. It was also his first birthday that he’s attended an organized activity all day, taken cupcakes, and had people say happy birthday to him all day long (poor summer birthday baby). He was gracious all of the times I heard it, replying with a bright, genuine, smiley, “Thank you!!” I wrapped all of his birthday presents individually and then put them all into the box from Oscar’s new convertible car seat, because Asa had acted jealous about the car seat’s awesomeness the week before. When he opened it, he growled like a maniac and told us it was a terrible birthday gift. Heather told him to open it up so he could sit in it, and of course he discovered his other presents and giggled hysterically. He’s home with us with no Evan this week, which is a heartbreaking tragedy for all involved, usually. We let him have a friend over to play all day yesterday, and today we’re letting him play Minecraft all.day.long because he speculated out loud yesterday that he wondered what it would be like to be allowed to play Minecraft all day long. We stipulated that he had to read a chapter of Little House in the Big Woods  first, and that he has to get up and run 5 laps around the house every hour, to which he responded, “That is not a problem.” I’ll have to write another post some time about his Minecraft playing, because it’s certainly unique. (Of course it is)

"You're kidding me, right? This is NOT a good present!"

“You’re kidding me, right? This is NOT a good present!”

Skate punk hat, blue blazer, monocle on chain and in pocket, blue suede shoes, dart gun.

Skate punk hat, blue blazer, monocle on chain and in pocket, blue suede shoes, dart gun.

I’ll save Oscar’s updates for another post, and just say that he really, really liked Grandma this weekend while she was here visiting for Asa’s birthday. I was surprised by this – he doesn’t really “go” to other people very well, and he hadn’t seen her since he was 8 weeks old (I think. Something like that, anyway.). It occurred to me at some point during the weekend that it’s because she “mothers” in certain ways that are very like Heather. I’m not sure Heather agrees with me on this, and I do not mean it at face value – Heather is a very attached parent, and her mother is a somewhat standoffish parent. What I mean is that Heather and her mom have certain mannerisms that are the same – ways they move, nonsense words they say, intonations…really subtle things that are probably not subtle at all to a baby. It was a surprise and a relief – both because I’d worried that he would act surly toward her and hurt her feelings and I would have to hear about that, and because it was a real relief to have someone else to hold him and soothe him. She actually successfully talked him out of a major car seat meltdown that he was planning on the way home from some yard sales on Saturday, and it was pretty great.

Big Grandma love.

Big Grandma love.

Oh, and what Heather is up to, for posterity: her tomatoes all have blossom end rot this year, which is upsetting her. She hatched out 25 (!!) ducklings the week before last (unprecedented – only 3 eggs did not hatch, and a 50% hatch rate is considered phenomenal) and we’ve sold 7 of them. She’s still needing to make Asa a cloak that he wanted for his birthday; she intends to finish it before his party with his friends next week. She watches this video I’m not kidding at least 3 times a day. She reports that she is missing working in OB but doesn’t want to commute to a hospital that has an OB department, that she wants to lose 40 pounds in the next 2 weeks(ish), and that not all of her tomatoes have blossom end rot, just most.

I think she was bored at work.

I think she was bored at work.

Duckies!!

Duckies!!

As for me, I just love all of these people. The realities of my day-to-day life are all about being on mommy duty literally 24 hours a day. I’m looking forward to the busy next couple of weeks: a baby shower, Asa’s friend birthday party, my niece and nephew coming for a visit, and taking a road trip with 3/4 of the kids while leaving the other 1/4 in charge of the homestead.

Trying out a new wrap with my little dude.

Trying out a new wrap with my little dude.

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The One About My Boobs

After a super scary, traumatizing birth experience that ended in a c-section, it was a relief for my breastfeeding relationship with Oscar to be, if not always comfortable, at least uncomplicated.  He latched on as soon as he was brought to me in recovery, and we’ve had no jaundice, latch problems, or plugged ducts along the way for our now 5 months of exclusive breastfeeding.  I am incredibly grateful for this, as well as surprised; because, before giving birth, I felt extremely apprehensive about breastfeeding, very worried about seeing it through, and somewhat under the gun to succeed at it since my wife nursed Evan and Asa for 2 and 3 years, respectively.  Before giving birth I felt extremely confident that I could handle the labor and delivery, and spent very little time worrying about negative outcomes in that area. Clearly, I had things very wrong.

BUT,

I did have a postpartum period after 7 weeks.  My wife, who’d birthed three kids and who is an L&D nurse, felt pretty confident that it would just be a fluke and that my cycle wouldn’t really return for months.  Exactly 4 weeks after that, I had a backache, bloating, and breastfeeding discomfort, and was sure I was about to have another period, but the symptoms went away after a couple of days.  Then, two weeks after that, I suddenly could hardly stand to nurse the baby.  Each time he would latch on, it would hurt in a way that made my primal instincts want to push him off instantly.  With my higher order thinking intact, obviously I still let him feed, but with increasing panic-like feelings with every passing moment.  This continued for two days, during which I also had the clearest, most powerful (and uncomfortable) ovulation symptoms I have ever had in my life.  The physical and mental discomfort subsided, and Oscar and I continued on our merry breastfeeding way.  Until two weeks later, when it all started again with three days of what I can only describe as nursing torture sessions, after which I had another period.

Since then, I’ve returned to having a completely regular cycle*.  And, like clockwork, every other week, I’m enduring 2-3 days of grueling breastfeeding Olympics.  I should add that whenever I’m experiencing these symptoms, there is clearly something going on with my milk from his perspective, too, because he FREAKS.OUT. during those days.  He acts like no amount is ever enough and wants to nurse hourly instead of every three hours (which, when it’s excruciatingly painful is the last thing mommy wants going on), and he alternates between different angry behaviors at the breast – rooting and burrowing fiercely like he can’t get latched, clamping down as though it’s flowing out too fast for him, just screaming while latching on and pulling himself off.  Seriously, it’s a real picnic.

The PMS part of the cycle is upon us later this week, and I’m living in dread of it. The poor little baby is already teething (replete with 4 visible eruption cysts**) and already wants to use me as a chew toy.  I can tolerate it (easily, actually) with level hormones, but the results of the hormonal swings are just terrifying.

 

*I read the statistics somewhere, and it’s either 97% or 93% of women who do not get a period while breastfeeding around the clock. Very, very unlucky card to have drawn here.  On the positive side of things, ostensibly I could get pregnant again whenever we want, but if nursing is this uncomfortable in relation to a menstrual cycle, I shudder to think of what it would be like with pregnancy hormones on board.

**We are almost certain that he is going to have his top two canines first. So, we have been mistaken in calling him our zombaby, because apparently he is a vampire, not a zombie. Pictures to follow if we end up being correct.

Great Aunt

My Aunt Ellen, my mother’s only sister, left this morning to return to Tennessee after a five day visit here with us. I’m always a little sad when she leaves – we all are – but also so grateful that she came in the first place.

I have no grandparents to offer my children; they will all always only have Heather’s mother, which guts me to my core sometimes a hundred times a day. (To be fair, they did know my father, but only a little, and he was kind of a mess with his ALS during the majority of the time they spent with him)  The boys took to Aunt Ellen from the very first time they met her, on a fourth of July at her house out in the country where they were allowed to set things on fire and drink soda and generally rabble rouse for an entire day.  Over the couple of years that our visits to Memphis primarily revolved around caring for my father during his illness, she was always especially mindful to spend fun time with the kids, taking them to do things when she could, and just being present with them.  She has not spent as much time with them as their grandmother, but there are ways she already knows all of them better. She asks them questions, earnest questions that she really wants to know the answers to, and then she really, really, actually listens to them when they answer her.

They love her to pieces. Asa was so beside himself with enthusiasm that she was in our house that he could hardly stand to sleep.  Evan sticks to her like a shadow. Isaac bends her ear until it might break with his self-involved teenager monologue. Oscar would go to her and let him rock him for hours when he was only 6 weeks old and hadn’t really let anyone other than a mom hold him for longer than a minute.  She came to help me when Heather went back to work – well, the first weekend my sister was here, and the second weekend Heather’s mom was supposed to come, but she only ended up staying for one of the nights. Both of them – my sister and mother-in-law – left me feeling desperate and emotional in my postpartum state, certain that my baby was horribly difficult and that I was barely going to survive what was obviously colic.  Aunt Ellen walked through the door, gasped as though he’d taken her breath away, and said, “He’s beeeeeeeeautyful!” for the first of a hundred times.  She made me certain that he was perfect(ly normal), a tiny baby who needed his mommy constantly and was troubling in absolutely no way.  She washed all of our dishes and clothes and made us meals, talked through my c-section trauma with me, and healed my heart as much as she could from the wound of not having my mother meet my babies.  I boo hoo’d when she left. A lot.

This time I have things more “under control” if that’s a thing that things can be in a house/zoo full of children and animals.  I’m further out from my postpartum hormones, but even more emotional about her relationship with my kids. She taught Evan to play backgammon and several types of Solitaire, and how to “do the bridge” when he shuffles cards. He’s sososo proud.  I know with absolute certainty that years from now when Ellen is no longer with us, Evan will be telling his children that his Aunt Ellen taught him to do/play/know this as he is teaching them. Can you ask for anything better from the grandparent-like figures in your kids’ lives?  I think no.

She tells them stories about their Nana they never met, and their mom when she was a sassy six-year-old.  Last night I told Isaac that Ellen was the first person who ever let me drive on the highway, and that my mom was so mad when she saw me get out of driver’s side of her minivan.  Ellen reported that she was also the first one who fed me solid foods, and the first one to get me to poop on a potty, and that my mom was mad about those things too.  I can see her and my mom, pretend fighting about these things, loving each other like they did.  Another amazing part of Ellen’s presence in my kids’ lives is that she is one of four, like they all are.  When she was here for our baby shower, Asa was making it pretty clear that he was feeling threatened by the impending end of his “baby” role in our family.  One night when she was tucking him in for bed she exclaimed that something had just occurred to her, that she is the third of four children and now Asa would be too!  Oh, my heavens, he was just thrilled.

I sent my uncle a text message last time when she left, thanking him for letting us borrow his wife for a few days, and telling him it made me miss my mommy a little more and a little less all at the same time, if that makes sense.  That’s pretty much where I’m hovering right now.  I miss my mother so much it steals my air and burns my throat and stings my eyes.  I’m endlessly grateful that Ellen loves my kids and makes time and space in her life to travel and be with them.  I love her so much.

Oscar playing with the Curious George brought to him by Ellen.

Oscar playing with the Curious George Ellen brought him.

Just One Day

This is probably not interesting to other humans, but I wanted to record a day in my life right now, as accurately as I can, just to remember it more clearly in the future.

I go to bed shortly after midnight. Nurse the baby at 1:30, 3:30, 5:30, and 7:30 (give or take 15 minutes on either side). We are up for the day at 7:45 when he hears his mommy come in from work. He lies in bed with her squeaking with delight and telling her about his night while I get coffee. Asa jumps in the bed while I’m gone to talk to them, Evan I think is reading Lord of the Flies. I bring diaper changing things to the bed and Asa acts like I am crowding him in MY bed. I send him to eat yogurt so I can drink coffee, change the diaper, and have potentially the only conversation I’ll have with Heather all day. She tells me our sweet friend with a toddler has broken her foot the previous evening, which vexes us both to a teeth-gritting degree. I don’t really ask thoroughly about her night at work, because I am so preoccupied.

I try to get her to brainstorm meals for the week with me – I am feeling slightly stressed about the necessity of a grocery trip with all of the little children, but she is too sleepy. She says like 10 times, “I’ll cook whatever you want.” And she says she thinks the baby is getting ready to roll over soon (he’s been rolling over for a lot of weeks). It is funny. I’m pretty sure Evan came in at some point wanting to kiss the baby. I smooch her off to sleep and bring Oscar to the living room to the boys and my Aunt who’s here for a visit.

Baby plays with Aunt Ellen until his brothers overstimulate/annoy him to the point that I must take him back for more nursing, while taking meal suggestions and making a grocery list. The boys go off to finish making and eating their breakfast, get dressed, and brush their teeth. I need to boil eggs for our dinner tonight at that point, so I toss and wrap the baby onto my back and get those started.  Evan helps me pack the diaper bag, talking incessantly. It should be noted that both he and Asa are talking nonstop through any part of this that they are awake, which was before I got up until 8:30 pm. I mean, barely breathing. “Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, Aunt Ellen, mom, mom, mom, Aunt Ellen, mom, mom…” Like that.

They are asking Aunt Ellen about her kids and whether either of them had kids, and one of them does have a daughter whom he’s never parented (What’s the politically correct term for “illegitimate”?)  This leads to my fielding a couple of unexpected “my dad” questions from the boys (blog post of its own) Then Evan asks if we could go to one of the two museums in our town. Um, not today? We’ve just laid out the agenda for the day here, kid, have you met your carseat hating brother (also blog post of its own)? It’s going to take a while…

Eggs boiled, lists and sacks compiled, children and Aunt prepared, baby changed again and sung into the (Devil) carseat (from Hell), we commence our journey to the city 30 miles from where we live. I stop for a snack in a town 7 miles away because I realize I have not eaten breakfast. Evan sits next to Oscar in the van, because he takes his baby tending job extremely seriously, and vigilantly shakes rattles and replaces pacifiers, whereas Asa tends to gaze out the window and scratch his nose while the baby screams bloody fucking murder. Our next stop is a gas station because I need cash and it is the nearest ATM, and the baby is starting to freak out a little. I get him out of the hot seat and carry him in to get the money, change his little butt again, buy the boys some Tic Tacs to break a twenty (they are obsessed with Tic Tacs. Like, obsessed. It’s because of the movie Juno).

I decide I don’t want to nurse the baby in the seedy gas station parking lot, because our next stop is to pick up a wrap on a nice mama’s front porch while she is at church, and it is less than 5 minutes away.  We get there, I get the baby out, but, oh, shit, we’re at the wrong address! Baby back in the carseat, now flipping out, Evan is asking me if I buckled his carseat straps. I say yes. He says because it doesn’t look like you did. (I didn’t fasten the chest clip, we’re driving 5 mph eight houses down) I’m getting pissed, but saying, wow, thanks for looking out for your brother. At the correct house, I do say EVAN loudly as I UNbuckle the carseat straps. I nurse the baby, grab the wrap, leave the money, put the baby back in his torture chamber, and am instructed by Evan to play the white noise now. So I find the app on my phone and play over the van’s stereo system what is actually a combination of “Large Fan” and “Brown Noise” and “Air Conditioner” and “Heavy Rain” and who knows what else, and the baby goes to sleep.

Next stop is the farm store for chicken food, but I go in alone since I have another adult to contain the mayhem to our own vehicle, and the baby stays asleep. We move on to the grocery, where I pull into a parking slot just as Oscar loses his shit again. I put him in a baby carrier and we’re off. The grocery trip is actually uneventful. It takes forever, but we are all content and conversing. “Mom, mom, mom, Aunt Ellen, mom…”

I decide that lunch is in order before the drive back to our own town. We go to a restaurant, and it’s pretty enjoyable, aside from some mild scolding of the, “Please don’t do that with your food” variety. Actually, at one point, I told them to act their age and not their shoe size, which they thought was a.) ingenious and that I had thought that up on the spot, b.) completely hilarious, and c). so spot on because they are almost 8 and 10, but their shoe sizes are 1.5 and 3-4. Go me! I do more nursing and changing of the baby, and he is super sleepy because he’s missed many hours of napping at this point. I need to pee, and Aunt Ellen wants to hold the baby for me, but I know that he’s going to freak out (blog post of its own about his mommy-only ways. Boo.), so I just take him with me. As I’m peeing with him on my lap, I think about chimpanzees and how I’m pretty sure mama chimps don’t get to hand off their nurslings to their female relatives  or anyone else, ever, for any reason. And I feel a little better, because we’re all animals, like the Kimya Dawson song we’d heard shortly before this in the van.

We drive home. Evan asks me on the way if I will help him create a logon for an online gaming site, and I respond that it’s honestly not my top priority because I really need some time where I can rest and not be having a conversation. This makes say mom slightly less often, and the white/brown/fan noise is playing, so it is quieter, and the baby sleeps. Although, Asa did sing the theme from “Reading Rainbow” for at least half of the drive home. Oh, and Evan hears Aunt Ellen talking to me about how “the days are long but the years are short” (ironically), and pipes in, “Like Mercury.” Which he says every time he hears that expression. Because, on Mercury one day is actually longer than one year. The time it takes for the planet to spin on its own axis is longer than it takes for it to orbit the Sun.

They are immensely helpful at bringing in and putting away groceries, and then ask if they can watch a movie in their playroom, which, hell yes. It’s after 3 p.m. once I’ve gotten things situated, fed the baby again, and go into our bedroom to put him down. Heather wakes up, gets up to pee, comes back and says funny sleepy stuff to me – she doesn’t know what time it is, and I get in a dig about the many hours she’s been sleeping in a completely quiet house with zero interruptions and how I am jealous. I tell her I love her and she says I love you too and I say I really love you and I’ve been missing you. She pokes me in the ribs and snuggles me and reminds me I’m “supposed to” (I offered to) stalk the Tula wrap conversion stocking at 5 (whole other blog post, but not from me because poo on that). I set an alarm and then can’t really go to sleep because I feel under the gun to take a nap in the hour and fourteen minutes that I now have.

I wake up to the alarm and sneak out of our room, sit on the couch in the living room refreshing the computer. The whole point of this is to be fast, because these things sell out in a matter of seconds, so I cannot do anything else for a few minutes. During those minutes, I hear the boys having altercations about farting on each other’s heads, saying I’m going to kill you, and other extremely very naughty goings on. Also, OF COURSE, the baby wakes up. Screaming his head off. Mommy-only situation. Chimpanzee. Not cool.

This is a thing he does sometimes (its own blog post). He is so pissed that his idiot mommies did the wrong thing that he must now read me the baby riot act and refuse to nurse until he feels I have felt enough of his wrath. Then, he’s sort of done, but nursing, nursing, nursing. I talk to Heather and Ellen. The boys are having a thinking moment until I can address their shenanigans. The baby wants to go back to bed, but only for like two minutes. I’m serious, this is a thing he does. Then he will wake up and pretend that his giant tantrum never happened and be the happiest baby in the world.

I run downstairs to talk to the boys about saying terrible things to their brother and putting body parts on one another with murderous intentions. Disappointing choices, etc. Baby wakes up a new man, spends the next two hours singing happy baby songs, playing with Ellen, hanging out in his swing, or with me in a ring sling. Evan and Ellen play backgammon on the deck. Asa helps Heather make dinner, with actual help and contribution. I put away forgotten things, tidy up, change the baby. We all eat dinner. Heather is running late, which means I have to tend to some things she’d normally do.

Heather gives me and the baby a quick kiss and is off to work. The baby wants to take his short evening cat nap. In the thirty or so minutes he sleeps, I rush around like a mad woman to complete necessary tasks. Turning duck eggs  in the incubator, chasing chickens and ducks back into their pen for the night (this takes Evan, Asa and I all three together), watering my wife’s dozens of tomato and pepper plants, switching out some laundry, putting away food from dinner. The boys ride their bikes and show off to me, “popping wheelies” (they don’t actually get any air) and turning their handle bars around backwards. Asa looks beyond adorable with his helmet and his new glasses, and I make a mental note that he needs a strap to keep his glasses on his face.

I wash my hands just in the nick of time to pick up the baby. I nurse and watch a short TV show with the boys before they go to bed.  I have to trim the baby’s fingernails, and I cut the top of his thumb and he cries and it sucks. Ellen tries to hold him while I say goodnight to the boys, and he’s freaking out, and she thinks it’s because he has a wet diaper, but we cloth diaper and she can’t figure it out. That’s not his problem, anyway, it’s the whole mommy-only situation, so I take him with me to lock up the chickens and ducks for the night. Then she and I give Oscar a bath which is completely sweet and hilarious. He stomps his foot constantly and splashes water all the way across the kitchen.  He never wants to get out of the tub, and I tell him that all good things must come to an end.

I give him a little massage and put on his jammies and nurse him again, more for my comfort than anything else. Goodnight, sweet baby. It’s 9:30.

Ellen and I talk for an hour, about baby wearing and car seats and how different things are now than when her kids were babies. About my parents and me as a baby and my worries about Isaac’s impending adulthood. She goes to bed at 10:30.

Heather texts me from work telling me that another of our friends, also with a toddler, has broken her ankle.  I send a message to the first injured friend, another message to one of Oscar’s donor siblings’ mom (blog post of its own), and one to a lady who wants to buy some cloth diapers from me (only, actually she wants to trade really bizarre things for my cloth diapers like Transformers toys and a mirror). I start writing this blog post, and eating snacks because I haven’t eaten nearly enough during the day. I take a bath. I literally stare at a wall for ten minutes, just thinking, which is glorious. Before I know it, it’s 1:06 a.m. and whole new day.

Dr. Who Are You?

Asa turns 8 at the end of this month. My sister emailed today asking for gift suggestions, which reminded me we should probably get in gear ourselves. I’ve been keeping an email thread to myself about things they tell me they want.  So we checked in with him today and discovered that his wishlist really, actually does consist of items such as: a blue blazer, a cloak, shiny black dress shoes, a monocle, and a black locking diary. And a suitcase. And a microscope. Oh, and a Nerf gun that looks like a machine gun (sigh). The thing he wanted most in the world until recently was a briefcase, but he found a backgammon set for $.75 at a yard sale that apparently is suitable.

He’s had a dress up/costume obsession for quite a while now, and has always used this activity as an outlet for EXTREME creativity – as in, he’d never just wear one costume, it would be a Thor helmet with Wolverine gloves with some ninja robe with camo pants and a dinosaur tail. And then he’d stand in front of a full length mirror doing poses literally for an hour. Literally.

Lately, though, he seems to be honing in on a particular look. Maybe a cheesy door-to-door salesman from another decade? I’m unsure.  He’s spent his own money on two different business suits from rummage sales.  Heather just told me that earlier he had her help him put on his muscly Iron Man costume under one of the suits, paired with a fedora. So maybe he’s Tony Stark? I asked him if he was trying to look like Dr. Who with some of the things he asked for, and his response was that Dr. Who does not wear sunglasses.

Here’s a look he was sporting at 7-something a.m. one morning recently when Heather came home from work and found him playing his drums in the garage: 

Image

But The Days Are Long

The days are long but the years are short. But the days are so, so long. And yet so, so fast. This is life with children, growing and changing so fast you can watch it happening, yet exhausting you with their day-to-day sameness. I’m only 35 and both of my parents are dead and gone, at ages 54 and 68. I appreciate full, long days and fear the speed that the years are passing probably slightly more than the next person, while still being a human thing who occasionally yearns for a stretch of time in which to relax, read, navel-gaze, or, you know, sleep?

It would be comically ludicrously impossible to chronicle thoroughly even one day in the life of our raucous family of two moms and four boy children. It would be heart-achingly negligent of me not to try.

SO,

for today,

Heather is mowing the lawn. I am having a go at the blog I’ve been encouraged to write for so long by so many. I am in the living room, which I picked up-folded up-put away-cleaned up a bit ago while simultaneously scooping cat litter, changing the sheets on our bed, supervising the boys picking up their toy room, breastfeeding, wiping off their chalkboard wall, turning duck eggs in the incubator, doing loads of laundry, putting away last night’s dishes and washing today’s, bouncing the baby, taking out garbage, and probably other things I’m forgetting during that hour. I am watching the baby nap via our Big Brother baby surveillance device. Evan and Asa are also napping – an imposed session brought on by mommies who want to remain patient and kind combined with children who stay up late and wake so so so so early.  Isaac is not here – which is a can of worms, frankly. He has so far spent the time since the end of his less-than-successful tenth grade school year avoiding all responsibility and scurrying off to his father’s house, where he can play unlimited video games and keep whatever hours he pleases. We are underwhelmed by his choices at the moment, while admittedly relieved by not his absence but the momentary absence of our obligation to steer him into an adult life with what we hope will contain more meaning than playing video games. Well, not so much the obligation, but the enforcement of the steering, I suppose.

That’s the six of us for this moment on a Saturday afternoon in July, only now Oscar has joined me, needing to be fed.