Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Flashes vs. The Whole of the Moon

Yesterday was one of those manic motherhood days. A few of my close friends came over around noonish, which is huge deal, because it is hard enough to make plans to get together with one of them, let alone four at once. All six of us is an even rarer occasion that requires all sorts of planets aligning and stars exploding and schedules rearranging. We settled the kids on the couch, ordered Thai food and picked up right where we left off, which we have been doing for almost thirty years now.

But Madeline, who doesn’t quite grasp the need for adults to bond and my need to use my adult words, would have none of it. Oh no. I HAD to be with her, not with my friends. She cried and screamed and pulled me to the living room. She even went so far as to dictate exactly where I sat. So I sat out there, while my friends laughed and complained and shared stories over Pad Thai and spicy basil friend rice in the kitchen.

I tried to be okay about it, but I was annoyed. I could have let her cry it out, but I know that won’t work, and I don’t have the heart for it. And in the meantime, she would make it impossible for the us to talk and would eventually disrupt the other kids enough to create pure chaos. And the others were doing so well. So I sat in my Maddie-assigned seat and stewed. One of my friends came out and proved how she was a much better mom than I am. She was saying thing like “She just needs her Momma” and “she’s the type that needs a little extra attention when so many others are around.” She found the beauty and love and innocence in the moment; I selfishly saw my adult interaction time disappearing.

What can I say. I just needed a little me time. I wasn’t asking for much, but the chance to sit with my friends for ten minutes would have been divine. Ten minutes. All of us, at a table, talking and sharing, just for ten minutes. Giving the circumstances, ten minutes, twenty tops, was the most we could hope for anyway of uninterrupted time. But I didn’t even get that.

Later we went for a walk in the beautiful day. Pinkberry and coffee and a little stroll into Central Park. Then everyone save Jenni went back to their subways and cars and went back to their own busy lives. Jenni came back up for a while and we sat at the table, alone, for those glorious twenty minutes, talking and laughing. So in the end, I got the uninterrupted time, one-on-one, so for that I am grateful.

Nicole had a work dinner so I was on my own for girls’ bedtime. Of course it was a minor nightmare. The free-range girls were running around their room, laughing and playing and telling each other stories. Around 8:00, I had enough (at that point, after all, I had been up and active for 16 hours) and went back in again to settle them down. They both were so excited to tell me the story of Alice in Wonderland. Well, the Abby and Sesame Street version of it, that is. When Madeline speaks, you can see her mind working in her eyes, as she searches for the right words. It is adorable. “Abby feel down and lost her wand. The bunny took it. We need to get it back!” They both traded lines back and forth. It was one of those moments when you can feel childhood and its magical blend of innocence and joy. So I lay on the floor and they each snuggled up to me, one on each side and let them tell me their story. Then we covered ourselves with a big blanket and I sang them to sleep (which in itself is a huge feat because let’s just say I am no Barbra Streisand). It only took about two minutes for them to fall asleep. And then I did too, right in the middle of their bedroom floor. Where else did I have to be? It was really sweet.

Pictured above, Easter.

1 comment:

K J and the kids said...

I'm pretty sure this is when I'm at my ugliest as a wife and mother...when my children try to interrupt my grown up time. It's as if I suddenly want them to be independent and self productive while I catch up and use phrases that don't include "lets change your tooshy", "PLEASE put your coat on" and "don't throw food buddy".

I read..like that counts for anything....that you are suppose to give the child 10-15 minutes of one on one attention at the beginning of the play date. Arrange it with your friends, letting them know this ahead of time that you need to play with Madeline. This is supposed to fill up the childs attention tank (so-to-speak) and then with a full tank they will allow you to move on to your adult conversation and can play on their own. (all in theory)
This kind of works with my older kids. not so much with the babies. :)

SO glad you got to hang with your friends. Next time, plan it while your girls are at pre-school :) ha ha ha
(that was me using my inside voice)