Benjamin has been asking for months to go to work with Dan. We’ve stopped by a couple of times to visit, and I even dropped him off for a few hours once (so I could do his birthday shopping) but that isn’t what he wanted. He wanted to go in with Dan — to get ready in the morning and head off on the train with his dad.
Archive for July, 2011
I was outside this evening, around 6:00, and everything looked just a little bit off . . . like when it’s about to storm, but it wasn’t. The sunlight was different — it was subtler. Instead of bathing everything in bright light, it was just subdued enough to highlight and illuminate instead.
Fall is coming. It’s still July. I think we may have a long, dark winter ahead of us. I see a time, in my very near future, where I am kicking myself and eating every word I said about the long, hot days we’ve had so far.
On the plus side, the kids are sleeping later, and we’re getting them to bed earlier. And I love the fall, so if what we get is a long, drawn out period of beautiful light, warm days and cool nights, that would be absolutely fantastic. Today was absolutely beautiful — it was about 70 degrees as a high, and very windy – I actually ordered a hot tea at Starbucks and drank it inside, because it was too cold and windy outside for me to really enjoy myself (although I did try for about 20 minutes).
It’s JULY. Oh, dear.
Things can get crazy here pretty quickly. This afternoon, I had just made Benjamin lunch and set it on the coffee table when he asked me to identify something in a new book of his. I turned my back on the coffee table for all of (literally) about 30 seconds when I heard a crash and turned around to see Liam, covered in tomato sauce and Benjamin’s lunch (pizza) face down on the floor. The pizza wasn’t that hot (thankfully) so no harm was done, just a big mess and a need to reinvent lunch for B.
I picked Liam up, picked the pizza up, put Liam back down (he was covered in sauce, and I didn’t feel like smelling like pizza the rest of the afternoon) and turned around to get a napkin (again, maybe 20 seconds of walking from one side of the living room to the other to pick up a napkin) and turned around to see my very fast youngest child assaulting my computer (which, very foolishly, had been left on, unlocked and within reach of my kids). By the time I got to him (about 4 seconds later) my computer was covered in pizza sauce, he had completely changed the way my Outlook interface looks and started to compose a message to a listserv at MITRE. (I still haven’t figured out how to change the interface back, because babies have special computer ninja powers that allow them to access otherwise unknown features of applications and the operating system.)
My wonderful, sweet little boy. I am so happy to see you turn three years old. I’m sure I will say this every year, but I can’t believe that so much time has passed since the magical day that you came in to this world and I became a mommy. I remember every moment of that day as though it happened yesterday — it was the most important day I’d ever had. I am simply overjoyed to have you in my life, and to watch you grow and flourish and become even more fantastic all the time. I love you so very much.
Tomorrow, my little boy (well, the biggest one) turns 3. I know it’s a cliche, but I have no idea where the time has gone. (Although, at the same time, it seems hard to believe that 3 years ago I didn’t yet have any kids. Once you have them, you feel like you’ve always had them.)
Today, to celebrate, we took him to the zoo, and let him have free rein. (Pretty much: he wanted to go in with the elephants, and that’s where I drew the line.) He got to pick which animals he wanted to see, where we went, how long we stayed. We even let him pick out a stuffed animal from the gift shop. (He chose a snake. He was going for the panda and changed his mind at the last second. The snake is pretty cool.) Some of our friends joined us, to help us celebrate, and Benjamin really loved that.
I have not had an easy week. It hasn’t been a bad week, just very busy, with lots of stuff to do (and some weird and random things thrown in, just to keep it interesting) and it followed on the heels of having guests for over a week. Whenever I have a week like this, I struggle to keep my head on straight. It’s my natural tendency to succumb to the pressure of the stress and freak out — become irritable, short tempered, sad, anxious, angry. For reasons I don’t think I will ever understand, when subjected to more than usual stress levels, my brain somehow flips the importance of things — things that shouldn’t matter too much to me (like how clean my house is, whether or not I’m on time to a play date, or whether we got a chance to cook the chicken in the fridge before it went bad) become vitally important, and things that really ought to matter (like what kind of day my kids are having or whether or not I’ve eaten in the past 8 hours) threaten to take a back seat.
We had some friends of ours (a co-worker of Dan’s, his wife and their two boys, aged 8 and almost 1) over to our place for the first time yesterday. Shortly after they arrived, Paula looked at me and said, “I’m so relieved to see that it looks like you live in your house”, by which, she meant, that my house looks like it always does: it looks like people who have two children, a dog, and not a lot of time live here. I sincerely do my best to keep my house in reasonable shape, which mostly means keeping up with the mountains of laundry our family produces and cleaning up a ton of dog hair every day. Benjamin pitches in by helping with “clean up time” in the evening whenever the level of toy carnage starts to look like Santa’s sleigh had a tragic accident in our living room. But, for sure, my house looks lived in.
Oh, I am tired. What a day. It was a day full of very nice things, but I am worn out, and I have given of myself to a fault . . . which is not new, but the grace with which I did it definitely is.
The first part of my day was normal: feed kids, change diapers, try to make naps happen, play games, clean up, help make more messes, overfill the washing machine, clean the soapy water off the floor, keep the dog from eating B’s snack. Normal Thursday.
We have air conditioning. Dan went out and bought a one-room air conditioner with a big tube that vents to the outside. It’s awesome. Before it arrived, it got up to 91 degrees inside my house today. It’s now down to an amazingly comfortable 84 — it’s 88 outside, at 11 pm, as a comparison. (And to think, I used to feel so hot when I would visit my in-laws in Florida and they would set the thermostat to 78!)
There was record breaking heat in Vienna today. The boys and I made plans to meet a friend and her son (Benjamin’s age) to go swimming and try and beat the heat. Just getting all of our stuff together and getting out the door took just about all of the energy I had allocated for today. Then we took the wrong bus, had to walk a long way in the sun and the heat, and then, of course, when we got there, Benjamin wanted absolutely nothing to do with the water. Sigh. So, we stayed about 20 minutes and went back to my friend’s house (with air conditioning!) so the boys could hang out and play. By the time we got home, I had a coating of salt on my face from sweating. (Ick.)
We had a very nice (if very hot) day. The heat doesn’t last here the same way it does at home, though — less than 10 days ago, we had a high temperature in the 50s, and by tomorrow night, it will get down to almost 60, so I think we’ll be able to give our new a/c unit the night off.
I know, I complain a lot: it’s hard work being here, I can’t communicate with anyone, it took forever for us to get our stuff, I hardly ever get a break and it’s really hot. All of that is true, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t having a good time here. Generally, things are going well, and we are having an amazing experience. Most days, I’m really confident that we made the right decision, and I spend most of my time truly enjoying Vienna and my kids. Right now, though, I’m exhausted, and that’s making it hard to think about anything other than that.