- I can’t stop twirling my hair. And braiding it. And touching it. Flipping it. Putting it up. Taking it down. Is it because it’s too long or because I have a real problem? Either way, I wore a high ponytail today for the first time in about 30 years and I kind of loved it.
- I’ve had this sort of persistent, yet fleeting feeling of sadness for the past week. Sadness? Discomfort? Anxiety? It’s never around long enough for me to pin it down.
- I really love dogs and I never expected that I would. I was pretty terrified of them as a kid, despite having had one for a few years. Maybe it’s because I’ve been drawing them? Lately, though, there’s just nothing cuter than a dog to me. Except that one freckle on The Who’s left brow bone. But that’s it. That freckle and then all dogs.
- There is no chance Donald Trump will make America great again. Who do people think there is a chance of that?
- The Who has a poetry reading tomorrow, a piano recital this weekend, a writers’ awards ceremony in a couple of weeks, and a ballet recital in June. I love watching him do all his things.
This little trip was short and sweet. Just a taste of what summer will be. Here are some highlights. (Not pictured: the impromptu awesome your we got of our awesome air bnb for August. We did a drive-by and the owners happened to be there and invited us in to look around. It’s amazing. Also not pictured: Passover. Because I’m pretty sure Moses would frown on photos at the Seder. Although, I did video The Who reciting The Four Questions, so…)
And then on our last day, mini-golf and batting cages. The Who used a “tens” strategy to tabulate his score, which made me rethink common core math a little. And when big cousin helped little cousin make contact in the cages, I died a little from the cute.
Of all the things I have passed on to The Who (and there are many, genetically speaking) the one I am sorriest about is perfectionism.
This is a personality trait of mine that I didn’t really understand or acknowledge until pretty recently, but once I saw it, I couldn’t unsee it. Sometimes, it’s a non-issue. Or even works in my favor. When I’m doing something I’m good at, my perfectionism makes me precise, focused, and yields great work. But when it’s something I am unsure of, it ruins me. It makes me anxious and preoccupied and overwhelmed and gets in my way of completing things that need to get done.
The Who exhibits some of the same behavior. A lot of it, I know, is his age. He’s figuring out what he’s good at and what risk-taking looks like and how to manage his own expectations of himself. Actually, to be perfectly honest, maybe it’s not as bad for him as I’d thought it might be. He’s much more willing to try things and fail lately, even though the failure is often really disappointing for him. But that, we can manage. Helping him deal with frustration and disappointment feels a lot easier than trying to get him to just try something he might not be perfect at.
There are still some things he just won’t do. He won’t learn to ride a bike. He won’t try to conquer monkey bars. And he tells me it’s because he doesn’t think he can do it and he doesn’t want to fail. (To be fair, he does think he will try them someday and history does show that when he’s ready, he’s just ready, so…) But, still, I see him taking risks elsewhere. Submitting his writing for contests, signing up for basketball, digging into a new recipe with me (the one thing that seems to trigger my own problematic perfectionism, inonically.)
Ok. So maybe it’s not so bad. Maybe this distasteful trait isn’t actually repercussive for him after all. Maybe I just passed down flappy ears, an extreme propensity for chattiness, and killer timing with the puns. He could’ve done a lot worse, I suppose.
- Why do I stay up an hour past the time I know is best for me to go to bed?
- Why does The Who wake up crying and talking in his sleep nearly every night around 11pm?
- Why does the beauty and perfection of springtime take me by surprise every single year?
- Why do I not read literary journals when there are so many I would love?
- Who let the dogs out?
- Why do I feel so guilty for not keeping Passover or fasting on Yom Kippur, but not at all guilty for opting out of other religious traditions?
- How is it that small southern towns can be so backwards about some things and so forward-thinking about others?
- Why does coffee taste so good?
- How is it possible that I got the exact same wound in the exact same place for the exact same reason 35 years later?
- Why do I keep forgetting to buy bananas week after week?
The Who and I spent my birthday weekend in Washington DC with my college best friend and her family. These are the same people we spent a week with in Seattle three years ago. (The bonus of having friends in the military is that they keep supplying places to visit in different parts of the country.)
Now, is it just me or have the museums in DC gotten kind of…weak? My recollection from when I was a kid was that they were amazing. The American History Museum used to be chock full of artifacts. Isn’t the Smithsonian considered the gold standard for collections of authentic, rare artifacts? I mean, yes. They still have Dorothy’s slippers and Archie Bunker’s chair (and other cool things like a circa 1800 Torah ark and Ray Charles’ piano), but I thought I remembered halls and halls and halls of awesome things. (To their credit, they do seem to have many things to come in 2017 and 2018, but still..)
Anyway, even including the somewhat disappointing museum trip, this weekend trip was a total win. The Who fell into rhythm with the kids within minutes of getting out of the car when the middle girl (a third grader) asked him if he wanted to see the rope swing in the front yard and from that moment on, I barely even saw his face all weekend. Between the foosball table, the boiler-room forts, the basement sleepovers, the backyard trampoline, and the motorized ride-on toys — not to mention the ready availability of a playmate every waking moment, he was occupied almost the entire time. And with him in kid-heaven, I was free to catch up with my pal and our plethora of TiVo’d trashy reality TV that we’d saved up to watch together.
All kinds of fun. And a great way to ring in 42.
I’m a much bigger fan of the Mitsubishi Jet Towel than any of the other high-powered, towel-less public bathroom hand driers on the market. It’s also recently come to my attention that the word “internet” no longer needs to be capitalized, according to APA standards. (Despite my professional commitment to MLA, APA is still my preferred method of citation. It’s much more direct; the rules are much more explicit. That is appealing to me.) My heart is racing because of the two caffeine pills (Excedrin Migraine) I have just washed down with a big cup of dark roast coffee from Panera. Worth it, though, to be able to sit beside a bright window without needing to wear a mask over my eyes, which would look so weird in a public place. Plus, it really does a number on my hair. I am sitting at the exact table where I went into labor. Every time I cough, the couple sitting right in front of me looks at me with what I deem to be disgust. They are speaking another language, though, so I don’t know if they are actually disgusted or if those are just their resting faces. I’d like to be well by my birthday, which is in four days. When it snows in Boston during the first week of April, as it is doing now, I smile a little because my mother always reports that it snowed on the day I was born. I smile more about it now that I don’t live there, though, because fuck snow in April, really. Today will be the third class I have taught of this term and my students still won’t know what my actual voice sounds like. The Who told me yesterday that he doesn’t even remember what my voice sounds like. I don’t really either. It’s sort of disconcerting. The Who starts basketball tonight and is wearing a Golden State Warriors jersey to school today. I’m not sure if the two are related since he seems to wear a sports jersey every day now. He is excitedly awaiting delivery of a pair of red-piped white baseball pants (to go with the tall red socks, black belt, and Red Sox jersey he already has.) He likes to look the part. I am very good at coming up with innovative classroom activities, but not very good at leading classroom discussions. So, my innovative activity for today will be to assign discussion leadership duties to the students. Win-win. There’s a cherry hamentaschen with my name on it sitting on my kitchen counter. Go Nova.
It feels like full disclosure is important here — just so no one thinks that my brilliant theme-day week was without consequence. Yes, we had a wonderful four days of one-on-one palling around. And yes, without notable exception, we had an easy breezy time together. And also yes, we soaked up the whole week of spring sunshine. But, by midday Friday sort of, and in full force by Saturday, he wore. out. his. goddamn. welcome.
It doesn’t need to be said that I adore my child, right? This is not even up for debate, right? We know this. And we also probably don’t need to reiterate that I love the things about him that make him who he is — the inquisitiveness, the silliness, the sense of humor, the intelligence, the love of learning, the articulateness, the energy — all of it. I wouldn’t change any of it if given the chance. But, holy moly is it draining sometimes.
And by sometimes, I mean most of the time.
It didn’t help that I was sick all week and kept going anyway (because, really, what was the alternative?) or that we stayed indoors all day yesterday (except for his brief foray into the yard to weed the raised bed.) It’s also not ideal that now my cold has turned into a full-fledged barking cough that damn near makes me wet my pants every time it explodes out of me or that I’m currently host to a delightful case of the PMS.
What does help is the remarkably kind offer from a friend to have him over for a play date for almost four hours this morning/afternoon and the robo-call from our school principal reminding us that school is back in session tomorrow. (Because I could have possibly forgotten?) Of course, my school is also back in session tomorrow, so maybe I should take a look at my syllabus in the few precious minutes I have left before he bursts in the back door from his play date, all hyped and ready to charge through the remaining five hours of this Spring Break.
(Not that I’m counting.)