parenting right now. Which is to say, 5am.

It's a tough little season we're living through right now. I can tell from my frequency of peeing in the shower. This is to say that I've peed in the shower three times in the past two weeks, as compared to zero times in the previous entirety of the rest of my life. I guess I never entertained the thought before, never experienced a moment when I said to myself, "The distance between the shower and the toilet is too great to cover in my current state of exhaustion." When Zion was the age Elijah is now I dreaded my hair to better cope with the morning routine. While it doesn't have the same effect on my outward appearance, peeing in the shower is pretty much the eliminatory equivalent of dreading my hair.

Which is to say, if you think I'm gross you are probably right. And I can't really summon the energy to care.

Elijah isn't sleeping well. It's exiting the sphere of normal first-year tiredness and entering the realm of "behavior" that we need to make "decisions" about how to "influence." Which, you know, is always fun. No matter how many children I have I will never be a sage decision maker at two in the morning. Though I should say that in the daytime he's great. They're ALL great. Harvey is learning like gangbusters at homeschool. Zion is peeing in regular toilets. If only he wasn't openly crapping his pants twice a day or if I got three hours rest to string together I might be composing odes to my children.

A beautiful ray of hope during this intense time has been the Early Intervention developmental specialist who comes weekly to play with Elijah and coach me on my parenting. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have someone following his progress every week, giving me suggestions, and kindly supporting me in the effort it takes to care for a 30-pound seven-month-old who mostly wants to be held all the time. I have a friend who warns me that sharing about Elijah's delays will consign him to life of shame and teasing. Perhaps she's right, or perhaps the cyber bullies of the future will hone in on the more shaming revelation that his mother pees in the shower. It is an open question. His identity 15 years from now, the incredible young man he is to become, well, it's a thing to consider and wonder.

Because I know it will go by all too fast. Each day will be long, excruciatingly long, and I will wish for many nights to end sooner. I will have moments when I don't think I can make it another step, when I pee standing up because the toilet is too far. Somehow I will make it through a decade of these challenges and other challenges I haven't yet begun to imagine. One day I will look at my boys all grown up, my three beautiful gigantic babies, and I will cry over their lost littleness and wish I could do it all over again.

Time waits for no mama. They all grow older THANK GOD and also a little bit WAIT GOD, WHAT? Here is a little reflection I posted on facebook last night:


I'm holding in my hand Harvey's baby tooth, such a tiny little thing which, when he knocked it out of his mouth today while wrestling, he held out for me to take. This was the tooth that nipped at my breast when I was four months a mother and made me cry. And then Harvey cried and Dan offered to take him but I said, "No, this is our fight and I'm staying in it." And I vowed to love you, Harvey, even if it made me bleed. This is the same tooth that bled when it came out today, and Harvey held it out as if to say: Here Mama, put this somewhere. My babyhood. My tininess. Find a place for this; I don't need it anymore.

I will always be a safe place to store your baby teeth, Harvey, for they have bitten straight through to my heart.

All of them right now, Harvey with the blood and Zion with the poop and Elijah eliciting shower pee... I love every drop of my disgusting children with every drop of my disgusting self. Let that be added to their online record. My gross messy love, for all perpetuity.

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fall tropical

We've had a couple frosts here, so the big plants in the garden are pretty much done. The funny thing is that the very late stages of our growing season are the best time for harvesting warm climate crops like hot peppers and tomatillos. Not that they like the cold weather—they just need a long growing season to really get going, and now after three or four months they're finally hitting their stride, just in time to be killed by the cold weather. Oh well. It means that garden cleanup in October brings in a big pile of tropical Mexican produce!

brief riverine excursion

Harvey and Zion posing in front of the Old North Bridge

old north boys

We took a quick trip yesterday to the Old North Bridge.

the boys climbing on rocks by the river

mostly sure-footed

Even though the weather was in the process of turning colder, the water was an irresistible attraction for the boys. Sadly it was a little too deep to wade all the way under the bridge. While we big boys played, Mama and Lijah got some much-needed resting in, in recovery from a night of disputing nursing frequencies (and in preparation for another such).

Mama lying down by the river with Lijah sleeping on her stomach

restful

There was some disagreeable behavior leaving home, and more as we headed back to the car, but the hour we were at the riverbank was an entirely pleasant time: just what we needed!

Zion, with his hood up, smiling at the camera

good times

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this moment

Harvey and Zion picnicking on their tree house platform

new tree house? picnic!

A (belated) moment from the week.

this year's Honk!

the boys watching the parade, band in background

leftists on parade

This past Sunday we headed into the urban jungle for another year's edition of the Honk! parade. We got there plenty early—by design, because for the boys the wonderful playground on Cambridge Common is as much of a draw as the music and anarchy. And they made the most of it, playing so independently that I didn't even manage to take a good picture: they were too far away! Of course, the parade was awesome too.

tall bikes in the Honk! parade

typical extravagance

Besides the bands there were puppets, protest groups, adults and kids on stilts, and of course tall bikes. It was everything a parade should be, and totally unlike the Bedford Day parade, which is also everything a parade should be. (That statement could stand to be examined further in another blog post.) Actually, there were a couple commonalities: both parades have a big kid component, and new this year Honk had a unit throwing out candy. Just a bit, but it was enough to cement the boys' understanding that all parades everywhere should give them candy.

After the parade we headed into Harvard Square, where we had lunch with some friends sitting on the thin end of the traffic island splitting the two lanes of Mass Ave in front of Harvard Yard. Car-free streets are great! Of course, while they were car-free the streets were totally and all-encompassingly choked with people, so Leah was quickly overwhelmed; and, truth be told, it was even a little bit much for me. But I wanted to take more music, and so, surprisingly, did Zion. And since he could go on my shoulders he was the only one of us who could actually see the musicians the first couple bands we found.

members of the New Creation Brass Band playing

pizza party

There are a lot of fun and interesting bands involved in the festival, but I wanted to hear some real good music so I was happy to find the New Creation band playing an un-advertized set on the sidewalk. The boys and I were even able to find a spot where we could see, and we happily enjoyed a couple great examples of modern New Orleans brass band music. Leah indulged us and waited patiently. I could have sat there listing for as long as the band kept playing, but let no one say I lack consideration entirely! I also found a back way out of the festival throng so we didn't have to struggle through the crowd again, and a quiet bathroom in a Harvard library (though Zion preferred to pee outside, on the library's bushes), so I'm not totally useless as a provider either.

All in all it was an experience, and we're already looking forward to doing it again next year! Just maybe slightly differently.

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