Today I had a meeting for my new consulting gig. I got up, tried on my suit, felt briefly elated at how well it fit until I realized it wasn’t my sleek, fitted, pre-child suit, it was my fat suit. The post-partum-and-early-pregnancy one. Still, it looked pretty good. K. packed the kids off to school and daycare and I enjoyed a rare few moments alone drinking tea. Not wanting to show up for my meeting with icicle hair, I spent some time tracking down the hair dryer. It was at my next door neighbours’ house and had been for quite some time without being missed. Hair dry, quick polish of the shoes with a diaper wipe and I’m out the door.
I got home at noon with no particular plan for the afternoon. I’ll admit I was feeling rather pleased with myself having landed a consulting job and organized the part-time child care required to carry it out. This will be, I hope, the start of a new rhythm of work and parenting for me. I’ve done all or nothing on both sides: full-time work and full-time childcare, no work and no childcare. I’m edging my way toward something in the middle.
So, I got out of my suit and took the kids skating. They were amazing. Akka can really wobble along and Malli picked up quite a bit of speed pushing a chair. They were happy and excited and full of energy and lovely and encouraging with each other. They invented falling-down games and chanted “falling is part of skating!”. They slid in the snow piles and then walked all the way home kicking chunks of ice until they disintegrated under their boots.
At home, Akka and I made two sock puppets. This is how we occupy socks that have lost their mate.
Malli played doctor. He donned his stethoscope and wandered about looking for hearts to listen to. He’d walk up to K. and say “this is going to hurt a little bit. A teeny tiny bit. [poke, poke] … How old are you? … ok. Where is your heart?” He’s not quite cardiac surgeon material yet.
Lying down with both kids in bed, Akka asked me to tell her a story from when I was a little girl. She often asks for these and I usually conjure up an image from childhood and just describe it to her. They’re not stories, really. I always try to think of myself at her age and see what I can remember from that time. Today I told her two stories:
- When I was a little girl we went to visit my grandparents in Florida. They were my Nana and Pappa. The grass outside their house was different – it had thick blades and didn’t really stick up – it grew close to the ground. There were big round white stones in the grass that made a path. I used to jump from stone to stone and try not to touch the grass.
- When I was a little girl and we were in Lesotho we went for a walk one day along a river. My dad carried me. We had to stop and wait our turn to cross a little bridge and when we stopped, my sister looked down and saw a baby cobra right in front of her foot. The cobra stuck its tongue out because that’s how snakes smell things and it licked my sister’s toe.
Then I told the kids I’d had such a good afternoon with them. Akka snuggled in and asked me “are we the best kids you’ve ever had?”.