6:00am- I wake up. I start a pot of coffee then wait for my first daycare client to arrive at 6:15.
6:30am- Husband wakes up. Daughter wakes up. I spend time getting my daycare client settled, getting her a bottle, etc. I cuddle my daughter, as she's slightly peeved at the daycare client's early arrival. My husband goes to work. I realize he's taken all the coffee for his thermos.
I look in the cupboard and see that the ground coffee has run out. We have a massive bag of beans in the back of the cupboard, so I take it out and put it on the counter.
Next thing I know it's 8:00am and my second daycare client has arrived. I spend some time getting her sorted, prepare everyone some breakfast. I notice the coffee beans on the counter. I search for the coffee grinder. Daycare client #1 spills cereal on the floor. I clean it up. Daycare client #2 needs a diaper change. I oblige. I look at the clock...
I get my kids dressed, clean up some milk from the floor, and notice that all the teddies of the whole house have been thrown down the stairs. I open the baby gate and go get the teddies. My daughter slips by me and hurries downstairs.
Now I'm not worried about my daughter going downstairs, she's two and a half and is in no danger. She, however, wishes I would show more concern and begins to call me from downstairs. I tell her to come up, she insists I come down and get her. We're butting heads. I begin to grind coffee. When I stop I notice a change in my daughter's calling, and take a look downstairs. "Mama! I peeeeeed!" Sure enough she had taken her clothes off and peed on two of the raincoats in the entrance. I get a towel and some cleaner, mop up, put the raincoats in the washer and retrieve my child. I look again at the coffee grinder.
9:00am- I once again resume grinding coffee. I'm insistant that this time I will have my cup of coffee. I grind away oblivious to sounds around me. When I turn around I notice that the kids have spilled red river cereal all over the floor. I ignore it, and crunch over it in my determination to make it to the coffee maker. I fill the pot. I put in the coffee. I press "on."
It occured to me that the nature of love changes after children. There are of course many kinds of love, and the kind of love that comes with children isn't always nice. It's not always lo-ving. It's not always kind. Sometimes it's quite fierce, as it is when one's child is threatened. Sometimes it's bone achingly sad, as when the parent must be seperated from the child. Sometimes it gladdens the heart, like a kite in the bright blue sky, but never is it carefree. Never is it without worry, or just an edge of anxiousness... apprehention, vigilance.
The nature of love changes, and the nature of love changes us. Like balls of twine we are forever bound to our children, like an oyster we ache after the release of a pearl. We're imprinted with their love, just like our windowpanes with little fingerprints.
Love with our partners changes too, we become less a couple and more a part of a story. We're the beginning- the "once upon a time," and we are the framework around the young lives which depend on us.
So this Valentine's Day I'm going to break with tradition and present you this valentine in the shape of a baby. It's a portrait commission, but I want to use it to wish a happy valentine's day to all the families out there. Especially those under difficulties or illness, or just those who stress too much out of love for their families. Love is for lovers, but it's also for families, and I mean families of all variations.
May you feel peace and happiness today.
These are questions that have no doubt plagued parents for a millenia... ok, maybe not all of them. They have however plagued me. If you have any Age Old Questions to add, please leave a comment!
- Why do babies wait until one is asleep and then wake up and start crying? Why do they take turns? Is it a sort of mind control? A way to get us softened up, compliant and open to suggestion?
- Why do toddlers insist on disrobing and going nude at EXACTLY the time you need to leave the house? OR when an extra stuffy guest drops in? Do they have prude- radar?
- After a c section, why do doctors suggest that you refrain from lifting anything over 10 Ibs? Do they forget that many babies weigh over 10 Ibs, or will soon? Do they suggest we leave them on the floor?
- Why do babies have pockets in their jeans? Is it to hold their wallet? If so, why don't they pay for anything? Cheap, I suppose.
- Why do Toopie and Binou encourage children to draw on each other's faces? In the episode "Tiger Hunt," Toopie draws tiger stripes on Binou's face with a black marker. Don't they realize how open to suggestion toddlers are?
- Why is the book series "Little Bear" so wonderful while the tv show is smarmy and sticky sweet? I haven't been able to pinpoint why, but I hate one and love the other.
- In the book Madeline by Ludwig Bemelman, why does Madeline appear to change her look? On the passage: "To the Tiger in the Zoo, Madeline said 'Pooh Pooh!'" Madeline suddenly goes from having a blond bob to having curly red hair. This doesn't appear to bother Erik at all, but it drives me insane.
- Here's a very disturbing one... Why is it that Max and Ruby have no parents?? Ruby does everything for Max, from cook him an egg in the morning to put him in bed at night, and puts up with all his toddler antics in between. Why doesn't their grandmother adopt these poor orphans??
- After childbirth many of us attempt to "get back in shape." What is this shape we speak of? Are we not all of some sort of shape, be it a little rounder than usual? Not to get too existential on you, but by being "out of shape," is it that we somehow cease to exist? In some circles you would think so, and in some people's eyes, perhaps!
- Why can the cat come into our yard, while we cannot go into his? Have you tried explaining this to a two year old?
- Why is "cat?" This was a question first posed by my brother at age two, and now was brought up again by my son. I really don't have the answer to this humdinger.
- Now the final question: How is it that food that is touching other food somehow becomes inedible? Is it that the molecules chemically react with each other and become disgusting to only a two year old's pallet?