On Wednesday I met an old friend - who has a daughter precisely the same age as Scarlett (two days apart) - for lunch and after we let our little girls claw and poke at one another over a sandwich and pasta she asked me a curious question:
"So, what are you doing with your time; how do you spend your days?"
"Well," I said, pausing,"I... run errands, feed Hudson, cook. I do A LOT of cooking..."
"Oh," she said, and smiled. I detected mocking so I smiled back with a slight sneer (I really like this friend particularly for her subtle commentary).
As we parted ways I started thinking (in general, not a good state for me): I feel very busy, harried and always pressed for time. But really, what the hell AM I doing?
I mentally walked myself through a typical day:
5 a.m. wake up to Scarlett's cute - but not so cute at that time of day - yowling.
6:15 to 7: 30 a.m. workout (because that is my ONE hour without having a child stuck to me the entire day)
7:45 a.m. nurse Scarlett, change her, change Hudson for school, cook and feed him breakfast
8:30 a.m. pack both kids into the stroller, walk Hudson to school
Get the girl to nap, run errands, eat
4:30 p.m. pick up the boy, feed him dinner, try not to let the TV babysit him too much
6:30 p.m. bathe Scarlett, put her to sleep,
7:30 p.m. do same with Hudson.
11 p.m. wipe drool from the corner of my mouth and Hudson's pillow, realize I've been sleeping in Hudson's bed since I put him to sleep.
Lather, rinse, repeat
In between those activities I do some other things too, such as:
1) MY KID'S HOMEWORK:
This past week I made a 100 collection! After getting a strange, inexplicable e mail assignment from one of Hudson's nursery school teachers, I set off on a task to make the coolest collection of 100 things ever to celebrate my kids' 100th day of school! Yes. I misunderstood the directions, which were to, like, count out 100 popcorn kernels and stick 'em in a bag. Instead, I made 100 popsicle stick people wearing small white t-shirts.
2) TEACHING MYSELF AND MY KID USEFUL LIFE SKILLS:
I decided it would be fun for Huds and I to bake cookies. A "cooker" rather than a "baker" I understand how to prepare salty foods, such as sardines, lamb chops, Hoisin noodles, coq au vin, for heaven's sake. I don't know which end of a baking sheet is up. "But what are you DOING with the ingredients mum," Hudson asked after I let him rake patterns in the sugar, which he spilled all over the counter and floor.
"I'm using them to make the cookies, my love," I said.
"Oh, I see mum," he said.
"Would you like to stir?" I asked.
"No," he said, looking at the yellowish mash in the bowl with suspicion. His weariness grew deeper with each step. He peered into the oven to watch the cookies finally bake and looked at me as if I was doing witchcraft.
"Look," I finally said, showing him the recipe book (a very cute book that depicts recipes in adorable drawings with only some words), we made the ingredients into cookies! Would you like to eat one?"
"No thanks mum," he said. And he didn't have one.
3) HAVE MEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS WITH MY SON:
"Shall we press this big BIG button, mum?" Hudson asked recently, his finger poised to set off the alarm in an elevator.
"Oh, sweetheart, no," I said. "That button is for emergencies. Like if you get stuck or you can't find mum. Or you feel scared because you are stuck.. or can't find mum."
"Oh, okay mum, I will press it and the big BIG firemen will come!" he said.
"Yes, NO. Yes and No!" I said, feeling tired. It had been a busy day.