Friday, August 13, 2010

what can I do?

My dear Hamish, my miracle of a human, my child. Is. Such. A. Fucking. Nag. I have no idea where he gets it from. 

His new thing is upon waking, he says, "I hate to bring this to you Mommy, but what can I do?" I tell him to get dressed and brush his teeth. No. That's too boring. He screeches, twists, writhes on the sofa that used to look so stately and clean before two years went by in a flash. I tell him to feed Don Pepe, the blood-clot of a fish we're fish-sitting for our neighbors who are abroad. 
He drops two miniscule pellets into the bowl and after this sliver of boredom relief he's back to bemoaning. I suggest Legos, drawing, collage, make his bed, go outside, have breakfast. He tells me all of that stuff is boring, but hunger takes him over in the end.

I head to the kitchen as he circles the dining room table pining for a trip to a toy store, a playdate with a friend who's currently in Taiwan (Don Pepe's big brother). He wants to print out his latest story, this one with thirty-seven pictures, but we're out of yellow ink. He stirs himself round the table, marinating himself in a foamy broth of self-created misery. 

He's been up for five minutes and already I'm mouthing shut the fuck up from the kitchen sink and wondering what my part was in the creation this odious monster. 

Finally he sits, his cry-hole corked by a piece of sourdough toast and a cod liver oil gummy fish who looks suspiciously like Don Pepe.

The truth is that he's a mirror image of me. Only I think I'm experienced enough to quiet my pleas for that thing that will finally satisfy me. (As if finality exists.) I believe I am old enough to understand the passage of time. And I've gotten enough of what I've wanted in life to know how flat and dull acquisition can be compared to finding fulfillment within, compared to the desire that precedes the getting. So I work on enjoying desire, in a hurts-so-good way I suppose. Maybe desire, as much as Buddhists believe is the root of all suffering, is the good part. Or maybe I'm just a masochist. And unlike a six year-old boy, I no longer need to be doing anything. Having kids has turned my brain to Swiss cheese and the constant doing for them leaves me yearning (yearning!) to lay on the floor staring out the window like a recently lobotomized mental patient. 

Okay. Wait a minute. I'm having a realization here. I guess we're simply experiencing conflicting desires in the end. I don't know any more than he does. I'm stewing in the same misery marinade. With a splash of wine perhaps. But still.  

We're both squirming at this point. And another perfectly peaceful morning has been vandalized by not just him, but by both of us like an abandoned car on the wrong side of town. 

So my work becomes: can I perfect the art of wanting his morning storminess? You know, accept the sobering fact that hello, this is what parenting is. Can I get to a point where I want my quiet time to be interrupted, where I want him to be just as he is, without wanting to change him into some other kid who wakes up happily and busies himself with a quiet independent activity?  

While he chews the last of his toast I sit across the table with my first hot tea of the waning summer, Mint Melange with a couple lemon slices bobbing in the Venus de Milo mug that he despises. I take a sip, tell him he tortures me with his morning shenanigans and that finally does satisfy him. He breaks into peals of giggles, tickled that Mommy is in agony. I crack a smile and before I know it we're laughing and staring at each other like, Wow. I KNOW you. You and I, we share something special. 

Then Stella wakes up and falls to the floor in a puddle of despair when she finds out that Hamish got to feed Don Pepe. 

Well, it's a life. 


kristi said...

oh, friend, so well said. i love the abandoned car simile. and the moment of "i KNOW you." yes. we are working on it, aren't we? it's so hard to get there though. xo

gesbaby said...

Gentleness towards yourself will eventually get expressed in gentleness towards your little ones. Mindfulness as non-judgmental awareness is hard work, and you are doing it! The noticing creates the possibility for doing something different. Good work mama!

JAI! Yoga Workshops, Secial Events and Series said...

i love this one---beautifully writeen

misner said...

Hollywood, I'm speechless. That was beyond perfect! I don't know how you do it. It feels like every thought and word you put into your blog is flowing out of my brain. With this new schedule, I've spent many a morning over the kitchen sink mouthing that same phrase. I can't tell you how many times I have just wanted to stare into space and do nothing. When I look at her, I see myself and it freaks me out a little, but it also comforts me in knowing she's going to be tough as nails just like her mother! You are truly a gifted writer and possibly the therapist that I need! Thank you!

Elise Abrams Miller said...

thank you so much guys. love your comments. it means the world to me to not be alone in this and keeps me going. and it's good for the kids too, huh?

Amelia Plum said...

'his cry-hole corked by a piece of sourdough toast and a cod liver oil gummy fish who looks suspiciously like Don Pepe'

descriptions like this just flow so easily with your writing. it makes it super accessible and funny, just like you. hope these gems make their way into your next book.

art said...

Good morning Elise
I remember it well.Beautifully expressed , I was there.