Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Falling off

Watch and learn, Isla. Watch and learn.

The resident frog-catching Queen

Isla's favorite country taxi service.

I saw summer coming straight at me with her flowing mane, rippling muscles and wet, wild eyes, so I grabbed hold of that mane, swung myself up onto the heaving back and held on for dear life.

She hasn't yet stopped running and my hands are cramping. Perhaps I should just let go, and slip off into the tall, waving grass and watch her run into the future without me.

I don't want to think about First Day of School celebrations, or back- to -school shopping, or the morning battles that come with shoving your kid out the door before they are good and ready, or tardy slips for that matter. It's not even August, I know, yet I already smell that panic in the air.

Meanwhile there's a hay wagon parked in our meadow, left behind by the farmer. Often, on the way upstairs to bed, I catch a glimpse of it out the window, glowing in the moonlight. I stop for a moment to look at it and wonder where my sense of adventure has gone.

The wagon beckons to me, urging me to abandon my sensible grownup ways, grab a bottle of wine from the pantry, grab my husband, and head outside for a proper romp in the hay.

Then I sigh and continue up the steps and onto the bathroom to brush and floss before I retire to the guest bed where Isla lies waiting. I can hear Ian snoring deeply as I pass by his dark figure in what is supposed to be our bed. I can also hear Esther's childish breathing and make out her gangley, six-year-old body curled up into a comma-- her dark hair splashed over her face, and her arms reaching out towards her daddy.
More about Isla waiting for me, yelling "Mummy I neeeeeeed you," in bed here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

worm hunter

The hay's here.

Pink boots and a bag full of "rubber band Aids."

Random cabbage picture

I'm not sure if it's the heat or what but I can sit for hours here in front of this blank screen and wait for my brain to download interesting, eloquent insight to my fingers and nothing happens. Just like my computer does on occasion: I freeze and that little spinning, hamster wheel-like Apple icon just swirls and swirls and swirls without end, like a leaf caught up in an eddy pool.

And the heat might explain why I'm so irritable and discontented lately. Why I cried as I was cleaning up the kitchen the other morning and had a deja vu that wasn't really a deja vu at all but a hazy memory of doing the exact same thing-- emptying the dishwasher, emptying the dish drainer, wiping down the stove and stepping in puddles caused by my complete slob of a dog who can't seem to keep her loolly lips closed when she walks away from her water dish with her mouth full of water-- just 12 hours before.

All day long I keep hitting these doggy land mines and cursing as my own dirty, summer bare feet leave mini, foot-shaped mud puddles all over the kitchen. Mad I tell you. Mad.

And when I get really mad. I yell; something pathetic and self pitying, like "I never signed up to be a f-ing housewife!" or "My life is so completely senseless," then, overcome with the guilt of being one of those miserable, guilt-mongering, martyrdom embracing mothers you read about in books, I cry.

And when I cry, my two-year-old comes to my side, looks up at me with way- too- blue eyes, framed by way-too-dark and thick lashes and says, "You kyin, Mum?" while she pats my calf with her fat little hand.
"Yes, Isla," I say. "I'm crying like a baby, because I am a baby. Your mom's a baby, Isla."
"Oh dear," she says. "Don't ky baby."

I've written about this before, but the shame of being consoled by a child is like no other. It just seems wrong.

So I pick her up and tell her we're going outside to look for worms in the garden. The minute we get out there, the heat envelopes us and I remember why we were inside. But we forge on, moving slowly through the thick, moist air and in between the rows of Swiss chard and snap peas, in search of earthworms. In search of life just under the dry, crumbly surface.

I've got some newish posts up at Momformation here, here and here.