Friday, October 20, 2006

Before and after

We've been painting our bedroom and bathroom recently, which explains my general absence from the real world lately. While taping around door frames, laying out dropcloths, applying primer to the walls, and then a coat of paint, and then another coat of paint, I got to thinking: this is something I might actually enjoy doing if it weren't for the fact that I'm doing it on borrowed time. Whose time am I borrowing? My own, permanently on loan from 13-month-old Miriam Damascus.

The only time I can paint is when she's napping, which is not often or for a very long stretch at a time. And I feel like such a martyr using up my only free time of the day to paint, aware that I'll have to stop, mid-roll, the second she wakes up. I can't even listen to music while I paint, either out loud (because it will wake her up), or on headphones (because I won't be able to hear her). At the end of the day, when she's finally in bed, I hardly feel human enough to go back there and paint again until it's time to go to bed myself. But I do it anyway because when else will it get done?

But before kids - what a joy that would be, just painting away with no regard for the schedule or sleep whims of a tiny person. Time to think, time to listen to music, time to zone out, whatever.

Of course, there are other things that seem that way now, post-kid. I used to hate transatlantic plane flights. Have my feelings changed? A little. Now I hate them even more because I have to entertain a toddler whose energy reserves know no bounds, the whole time, all without offending/accidentally flashing while nursing/getting dirty the passenger sitting RIGHT NEXT TO ME.

It makes me think wistfully of all the long flights I took before having Miriam D. Can you imagine 10 hours of straight free time, with meals served right to your seat and a movie screen right in front of you? What luxury! That's what I think
now, anyway, but I vividly recall getting so restless and bored on a flight back from Moscow in 2002 that I thought I was actually going to explode.

People always tell you your life will change when you have a baby. And so you think you prepare yourself for it, but nobody can ever tell you what it will really be like. They certainly don't tell you that you will start longing to take a flight over the ocean, sans offspring. But even if they did, I don't think I would have believed them. Would you?


Nancy said...

Maybe children are like cats and they entertain each other when there are more than one.

There's always hope, right?

Matthew said...

I can totally relate to this post! This has been the state of our lives!

Oh, and all those people who tell you that having more means they will play together are lying to you. It doesn't work that way at all. As someone with 2 kinds, my theory is that is it a perpetuated falsehood by people trying to take revenge for the fact that the lie was passed down to them.

Mind you, my kids are really great people, there just isn't any getting around the fact that parenting young kids is hugely demanding and difficult.

Bridget said...

Well, there goes the plan to adopt a 6-year-old to entertain Miriam. Blast.

So is the lie that multiple kids will entertain each other kind of like the lie I was told growing up, every time we left in the wee hours of the morning for a trip to wherever, that I could just sleep in the car? Because I never could, Mom. I NEVER COULD.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes you could & did. You only recall that one time you couldn't fall asleep.

I agree w/ Matthew, that raising a family is tremendously difficult (5 children here), but the most worthwhile pursuit. We found as the children grew, that at various times they got along splendidly with one or another sibling, then due to a mysterious personality adjustment, suddenly became best friends with another sibling. The beauty of having a little larger family was that there was always an ally and friend for each child.



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