The devolution of motherhood around here is as such: with my first two I logged a lot of rocking chair and book hours, baby would fall asleep nursing and I’d just rock and read, so many books. But this time? Today my tiny boy is seven weeks old and do you know how many books I’ve read? Not one. This time I’d much rather hang out on the bouncy ball and plow through television series on netflix. As you might imagine, it’s none too comfortable to perch on a giant ball to breastfeed a baby. It requires balance, flexibility and a fierce commitment to the continued snuffing of brain cells. It’s much easier to manage when he’s snuggled up in the sling and I don’t have to worry about dropping him. I could just get a chair. But somehow, sitting on an exercise ball watching streaming teevee seems less slovenly to me than if I planted myself in an actual seat. At any rate, there’s been a lot of watching happening in my office. Just me and mister baby and the Bravermans.
I started watching Parenthood a few weeks ago and, as of yesterday, I’m completely caught up. I do know that watching is more accessible than reading because the last two months of my life ATE MY BRAIN and I can’t concentrate for shit now on anything. I also know that I’ve been in a pretty vulnerable place lately and it’s a relief to succumb to the drama of other people instead of thinking about the stuff going on in my life, like, oh, how will we pay for the services this baby needs and why do we live so far from those services anyway and how do we move back to the city and how do I make sure my other kids are getting what they need in the meantime and and and and. . . It’s a lot. And it’s lonely. And my extended family situation is so drastically different, I can’t help but wish I could make myself an honorary part of that group. You know you’ve crossed the line from charmingly quirky to full on fruitcake when you fantasize about being part of a fictional family.
It’s been, otherwise, pretty much Christmas as usual around here. We are a very tight unit, the four, I mean FIVE of us. We like each other quite a lot and I like to hope we’re creating something for our children that will extend into their adulthoods in the sort of warts-and-all but relevant way I find so appealing about Parenthood. We’ve always done the holidays on our own, which means that I’ve been largely responsible for creating and maintaining traditions. Every year I feel like I’m not up to it. Every year I am envious of folks who have longstanding extended family tradition. It would be a relief to hitch a ride on someone else’s Christmas inertia, to know that the ritual was bigger than me. This year I’ve got a lot less to give and it was hard to keep it going. We muddled through, and relied heavily on the zing of exciting! new! things! to divert our focus away from weakly enforced tradition. The LEGO mess has needlessly increased, but hey! this won’t be the year my kids remember as “that time mom lost her mind”, so I consider it successful.
Today we took down the tree, swept up stray needles, hauled everything back to the basement closet. I have a whole year before I have to do any of it again. My TV family is still away on a winter vacation, so I might get sucked into another show, but I should reacquaint myself with my camera. The husband surprised me with a new lens for my four year old Rebel; maybe just the thing for pumping new life into a dying interest. I didn’t intend to stop taking pictures, but I was virtually computerless for over a year and got out of the habit. I’m back in business now, though. New computer, new desk, new lens. New heavy issues that need a creative outlet counterbalance.
(full disclosure: the bare walls and desk surface are on account of not having had time nor head space to outfit my office area in a way that both works for me and inspires me and should not be confused with being organized.)