My skirt came back from the dry cleaner with a tag on it. It read ‘This garment is stained. Attempts to remove the stains have been unsuccessful, and further stain removal attempts could cause lasting damage to the garment’.
My baby is almost one and a half. She is my only daughter, and I feel an allegiance to her in this house full of boys. I am torn between wanting her to stay small and wishing she would hurry up and get big so we can start having some real fun (no disrespect, ring-around-the-rosie). I have elaborate daydreams of afternoons spent leisurely window shopping together with cups of hot chocolate, and girls’ nights out where we see movies in which there is no blood or dead bodies. These fantasies make it imperative that she grow up to be someone who I really like to be with; someone who is talented, freethinking, kind, enthusiastic, and intelligent. So as we go about our day I often check her progress against this weighty list.
There is a Happiness Maximum in my family. This means that at any given moment the available happiness is divided, often unequally, amongst the six of us. The parameters of the equation make it all but impossible for each of us to be feeling entirely happy at the same time. This explains the Bad Mood Principle which accounts for the fact that no matter how much fun we are having, one person will always be flirting with, if not entirely subsumed by, a bad mood.
Sometimes I give my daughter a cracker for getting in the car. It’s an activity that she does not particularly enjoy which we have to do several times a day, and I find that if I sweeten the deal with a saltine she is a much more pleasant passenger. Say what you will about bribing children, munching is preferable background noise to shrieking.
My husband went on a quick business trip last week. I hate it when he goes away. I miss having another rational human being in the house. Sometimes my favorite thing about him is that he is older than 8. But the upside to his being gone is the sense of power I develop at being able to run my household entirely on my own. I can get everyone up, dressed, fed, out, cleaned, carpooled, entertained, comforted, etc. all by myself. And even though single parenting makes for hectic times, I always feel supremely capable and accomplished by the end of the day.
There is so much to love about Chanukah. The continuous celebratory atmosphere, the way the candles look reflected back at us through our big living room window, the expression of joy and power on my kids’ faces as they get their first taste of pyromania. I love that it is 8 nights long, and while I recognize that there are historical and esoteric reasons for the length of the holiday, I take it as tacit acknowledgement from on High that sometimes it takes 8 nights to get it right- the candles, the singing, the dreidle, the latkes, the spirituality, minus the fighting over whose Chanukiyah is taller or whose dreidle could fit farther up whose nose.
I caught a clip of Barbara Walters interviewing Barack Obama in which she asked him what superpower he would choose if he could have only one. He answered that he had discussed this question with one of his daughters and they had agreed that flying would be pretty cool. Without getting political, I happen to think that ‘flying’ shows a lack of imagination on behalf of our Commander-in-chief.
My daughter has taken to waking up at 5 AM. 5 is a great hour for people that like to seize the day. I am more of an anti-seizure gal. I prefer to greet the day once it has had time to brush its teeth, have its coffee, and check its email.
I am the type to make New Year’s Resolutions. I once heard that it is a good idea to make a resolution during the Jewish New Year in September, and then use the secular New Year in January as a check in point to monitor your progress. But this becomes a study in depression as I am also not the type to keep a New Year’s resolution. I have never lost 10 pounds without having a newborn to show for it, I have never grown 5 inches, and I have never developed more patience for whining children despite my repeated attempts at exposure therapy.
Out of nowhere my boys have entered a most wonderful phase where they can play together for significant amounts of time without fighting or gravely injuring each other. Don’t be overly impressed, ‘significant’ can mean 3 minutes, which is sometimes all I need to read an email, change my clothes, or hide in the closet and eat chocolate like a crazy person who will be damned if she has to share.