A Modern Girl's Musings

My earliest political memory is of my parents laughing at me when I asked if we were voting for Ronald Reagan. Even I could tell poor Carter wasn't looking so good. I was about five. I think the laughter was accompanied by something along the lines of "for crying out loud!"

Nevertheless I consider myself a Reagan Baby. Those eight years of my childhood were spent realizing that there was still a lot of work to be done, despite Dr. King, in addition to the Kennedys (a lot of them were still alive then), and hopefully including me (if my Quaker education by the hippies was teaching me anything at all).

So after Reagan, after Clinton, after hiding in those Bushes, I am still hopeful, I am still working on my addition, I'm still on my way to a new way of living in this world.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Me and Junie C., or, Where Was I Going?, Where Have I Been?

I have not posted in oh so long.

I dream up many posts in my head.

But they never make it through my fingers and onto my computer screen.

I will be honest.  My kids have stepped it up a notch in terms of their kidness.  This is what I have been telling people lately when they ask me how I am.  This is a safe and coy answer, as the real answer might lead one to believe I feel more as though I am held captive by my kids, than that I am happily and effortlessly engaging in some post modern June Cleaver fantasy life.

I will continue to be honest.  Before I actually had my kids I often engaged in a post modern June Cleaver fantasy life.  I think in many ways all of us have to, on some level, or else how could we ever take a gander at this having kids thing in the first place.  When you picture your family, whether you are twenty or thirty five or forty two, you picture the ideal, whatever that ideal is for you.  Maybe your ideal is that white picket fence and two story colonial.  Or maybe it is that you will have kids and still be able to use the bathroom without people watching you; or that you will still go to movies so you get the jokes on the Oscars; or  that you manage to clean the toilet on the regular; or buy magazines, or send greetings cards to people.  Whatever it was, here, with the actual kids running about, it ain’t.  Which leads me to what I have been up to as of late.

Which is.

That I have been in a strange and mystical place where unless I am sleeping (and I only do that for about two hours in a row these days.  They either wake up and are needing or I wake up anyway, wondering if they are needing, and once I get to sleep, they do indeed wake up, needing) I do not sit in one place with out doing something for more than five minutes.  I manage to shower, while inhabiting this mysterious space, but I do it while being watched and answering questions.  Or, if I manage to run in there and shut the door—cause let me tell ya, I have, I admit, resorted to setting up Legos or the play food in the playroom, getting people jazzed about playing with that stuff, and then shedding my ubiquitous bathrobe and other clothing while running through the apartment to the bathroom, where I take a shower until my lovelies have figured out I am gone—I usually end up making the shower pretty snappy as my son has learned to use his body as a battering ram and slam his nineteen month old self against the bathroom door until I come out and he can get a good look at me and make it known I had no right to wash myself when he needed some nursey.  Nursey days are drawing to a close, but I am pretty sure he realized weaning is going to require a store of energy I just do not have right now.  Huzzah, mommy, Hu-fucking-ZAH!

Because did I mention my kids have stepped it the f up?

They have.

My husband and I are exhausted. 

It’s almost like they are newborns, only, they are not.  They follow us from room to room and are eating us out of house and home.

They also have the sass.

If your baby hasn’t learned to speak yet, you are lucky, the sass has not come to visit yet.  But it will.  And when it does, you will realize parenting books are crap, parenting sites are crap, the only comforting truth is that there is whiskey and ice cream in this world and that one day they will have their own children and I can laugh at them the way I am pretty sure my mother laughs at me with her coworkers.

It began in January.

We had the fevers, and the snotty noses, and the snow.  And our balance had never been quite the same since the holidays, which threw us off child, Oh My goodness.

And around the end of this January, both kiddos kinda emerged.  H started becoming more of this world.  And less easily placated.  He is in to everything in a way that all my women’s studies courses would disagree may be because of all the testosterone he’s got compared to KK.  He is interested in many things but in particular drumming, dancing, falling off things, running into corners, and swiping knives from drawers and the dishwasher.  I got him a play sword for Valentines thinking, Well, it is not a gun and yay, he has an interest, maybe he will be a competitive fencer and it will pay for college.  I regret this choice because now I am worried he is a budding weirdo.  My mom says “no, he is just a BOY!” But. That does not make the title of weirdo inapplicable. Which I really would like it to be.  (I have hidden said Valentines sword, by the by).

Not to be outdone, KK has perhaps gone from preschool three to preteen “what did you just say to Me? Go to your room please right now”  She has taken up “humming”, which is really moaning just a pitch too high to be easy on the ears and just a pitch too low to be using her real voice.  She does it all the time.  It makes you want to pitch yourself out the window and hope you miss the shrubs and land right on the pavement.  She also whines.  It’s delightful.  The books say ignore it but the books must not have experienced this particular brand of vocal styling.   They are crap, see? And ignoring, I have learned, is either an invitation to keep going indefinitely or, to our sensitive soul, a sign you are not listening, don’t love her only H, and hope she would go away.  Yes.   She has said this.  In so many words.

She is also very upset she cannot read and write.  Very upset.  But she is also stubborn so attempts to actually teach her to do so end in her telling me—and, I am a writer, you know.  I have agents.  Not to get all uppity about it but people have given me awards, okay?—that I am wrong and don’t know what I am talking about.  She is three.  This feels like arguing about homework.  Or Kant after she’s been away at college one semester and comes back thinking she knows everything.  She goes to preschool, not Exeter.  OYE!

I suppose I could abide this raising of the bar, if it were not affecting my mind.

Things came to a head when I missed a telephone meeting last week.  I thought I had written down the details of this meeting, but after I had missed it—and I realized it as I was walking out the door to go to the play space after a week of keeping them in from the extreme cold and tried calling all those at the meeting whom I had stood up while in  the play space surrounded by screaming kids and just as sleepy as me moms.  So yes, that went badly, trying to um make up those calls like that and sound professional and not like the resident soap flake—I looked at my three family/mom calendars where I write such details down.  One is covered now in scribbles, or, excuse me, CURSIVE!.  The dry erase has been slid down the fridge and well dry ERASED.  The magnetic one is covered with magnetic squares of holidays that have nothing to do with February (we sing a weather song every morning after breakfast but H is not satisfied until he has added holidays and activities on his own) And my electronic one has no record—no fucking record!!!!!—of anything on the 24th.

(As soon as those children were in bed that night I had a new, pristine, date book overnighted to me.  Its home is my desk and if I see even one jam fingerprint on it, heads are gonna roll!).

Oh, and this raising of the bar has also affected my living quarters.  I try to clean and my kids whip stuff out after me.

“They are like the Little Rascals” I said to my mom as she watched them in action.  “Yes!” she said.  But.  I could not tell if she thought it was funny or just sad.  That my panty hose from work that had been in my hamper was peeking out from behind my bedroom door.  Which is off the living room.  Which means when people come over they can, well, see my underclothes in plain sight.  Aces!

And as my kids get more kid like, the world is churning and chugging and actual revolution is knocking through streets and back alleys and capital buildings.  Revolution is the namesake of my blog and I am being clobbered by the laundry and the shopping and the cooking.  Shameful. 

So this is where I have been:  in the weeds.  Fighting like all get out to sit down and take showers without an audience and remember my professional obligations cause um, I have wanted this career for almost twenty years and that is not cursive and those parenting books suck and did I mention my deadlines? And I owe several friends emails and IMs and I have given up being able to call anyone except my mother and sisters ever again.

The weeds, my friends.  Where, luckily, me and June Cleaver get wi fi.


  1. Oh, Kirsten! You're not truly alone in the weeds. I promise. I'm there with you, although you can't see me. And, I know, so many others. I haven't taken a shower without an audience in five years. And I hate that my husband does not have this problem & can't understand why I want a lock on the bathroom door. My calendar on my computer has nine colors on it to track everything and everyone. Hell, the rainbow only has six! And yes, the parenting books suck because no one is YOU WITH YOUR KIDS! The dynamic is absolutely unique. My only consolation is that some of my childless friends who used to roll their eyes at me have just recently shed their childless selves & I can't wait to see them start pulling their hair out. A cruel pleasure perhaps but sweet nevertheless.

  2. Brilliantly put. I've been there. It does get better. A lot better. And soon, because they really do get older and start school. (It stays hard, but not in the same beat-you-to-a-pulp hard.)

    Ice cream always helped me, too.

    (If it makes you feel better, you and your work were mentioned with great affection quite a few times during the Boston Theatre Conference on Sunday and Monday.)

  3. we missed you at the meeting.. BUT - it was NOT NOT NOT the end of the world. We know you have kids.. and it's ok. :) My work notebook has scribbles all over it.

  4. I didn't know wheather to laugh or cry reading this post, but this is exactly my life.

    Oh, and I swear on all that is good and mighty that I raised my kids the same way and didn't let them watch any TV and was so careful about books they were read and things they were exposed to... and I ended up with Princess Ballet McMouthy, and Little Lord Boundless Energy McDeathtrap. He's 19 months younger than she is, and he's already taght her how to flush things down the toilet, climb up the bookshelf and jump on the couch, and open the back door and run outside. I'm even reading a book about how all these differences are socialization, an I want to throw it out the window.

  5. I have nothing to say except...see you in the weeds. You bring the whiskey and I'll bring the ice cream. Let's put it in our calendars...okay, never mind. Just know you're not alone.