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I don't want to speak too soon, it could be just because Dan's been home for a miraculous four-day stretch thanks to hurricane school cancellations, but it seems like our children are entering a new phase where they actually play together. Well. In the house.

Even with competing illnesses vying for space in my lymph system, even with an extra impulse to lie down whenever possible, I found myself thinking at various moments this week, "What am I supposed to be doing now?"

Did I already put in laundry?
Did I already empty the dishwasher?
Did I fill the dishwasher?
Did I pick up toys?
Everything except what they're playing with.

What am I supposed to be doing now? They usually interrupt me every few minutes and I spend all day trying to finish the most basic of chores. Now I'm, um, sitting around wondering why no one is asking for a book. Wondering if I should go scrub something.

I thought this was the moment I'd been waiting for for the past 17 months... the moment I break out and pursue hobbies, or find something to do for money, or self-actualize some other way. Why am I not more excited? Maybe it's because I've spent the last 17 months telling myself, "I don't need anything else. I don't like hobbies, or working, or working out. I don't like anything but being with my kids."

But my kids were playing fine on their own today. Dan was reading a book. I stood in the living room and shouted, "Doesn't anybody NEED me?

A few minutes later Zion came over to ask for nursing. So there's that.

Of course my kids do still need me, specifically at night, at least every two hours. Maybe this can be my new scapegoat. If my mantra is no longer "I can't get a break during the day" maybe I can complain, "I never get to sleep at night and that's the reason I don't have energy to scrub the toilet."

There's an insanity in spending months and months dreaming of putting the baby down, and then when he gets up on his cute little legs I only scream, "come back! come back!" What I mean to say is, Dan has this wonderful ability of saying "This phase is nice," and then "This phase is nice," and he's really happy with whatever way things are, while I only find things to lament and fear. Maybe this is an illness thing, a bad attitude caused by constant nagging discomfort. But more likely it's an illness of character, like I never learned to be happy on my own and now I'm taking it out on my family.

I no more know how to fix a character illness than I know how to fix my ear infections. Constant berating myself does not seem to be helping, event though I suddenly have more time for it.

Oh, and since we're talking about developmental milestones, I should mention that Zion has started to smile on command. Here he is posing in a hayride he made in our our red wagon. The hay was purchased for the chickens and the garden but in an effort to recreate the haunted hayride a lot of it ended up in the street.

Zion in his own hayride


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