My grandmother's china, 4 a.m.
It's 4:48 a.m. and I'm baking banana muffins.
Some weeks just go like this. We start off all shiny and new, thinking of the things large and small we're going to accomplish. On Sunday night, we either have visions of success or trepidation. Does it matter which we expect, when the end result just seems to come to fruition on its own, a product of moon phase, cycle phase, life phase, sleep phase, what?
On Monday, I was swimming laps, in my happy zone place, thinking about the cool travel journal I'm going to make for Elan for our trip to Costa Rica, when suddenly I ran into something with my head. Very hard. My teeth clacked together from the impact. As I stood up, I heard the lifeguard blowing her whistle. Then I remembered that I had indicated in hand gestures "let's split" to the guy I was sharing the lane with. That was about 45 seconds ago. Which is clearly why I forgot and continued the circle swim, pushing off the wall into his side of the lane, and bashed heads with him. 45 seconds is a long time.
That night, I was feeling victorious for pulling together a healthy, colorful dinner in 30 minutes flat, while making grilled cheese for Elan (the only things he'll eat for dinner these days are grilled cheese and peanut butter sandwiches). Mikhail and I sat down with full bowls at 7:02 pm, which is an astonishingly together time for adult dinner in my household. I fed Emry a spoonful, then noticed that Mikhail was only eating the sprouts that I had heaped on the side as an impromptu salad. I took a bite and we looked at each other. "That's weird, the quinoa didn't cook at all," I said. "I don't think this is quinoa," he said. Yeah. It wasn't. It was millet. Which, in case you're wondering, I don't recommend at all as a quick, healthy starch to mix with your quick, healthy veggie & meatball saute.
I guess, given that start to the week, it's not a surprise that I'm sitting at my table at 4 a.m., Tension Tamer tea at hand, typing these words. Hoping to not burn the banana muffins like I burned the grilled cheese for Elan tonight. When I went to make him another one, I realized I had no bread left. I had gone to two grocery stores in the last two days, each time with two children in tow. I sat on the steps with my head down and thought about crying, but couldn't quite summon the energy.
We were in Trader Joe's (the second shopping trip of the two days), it was 5:45 p.m., and I was feeling very short-tempered and short-fused, generally like a small bomb about to blow up, and Emry had been in the Ergo on my back for what felt like hours, alternating between sucking his thumb and pulling my hair, and Elan was in the stroller because he insisted he was too tired to walk at all, and I was doing everything in my power to keep my back from tweaking yet again and also keep my impatience from flooding out my mouth and all over the floor like greasy undercooked-millet water. Elan was trying to get my attention again, possibly for another fight over whether Gorilla Munch could be considered a healthy dinner. I squatted down beside the stroller and said, "I am paying attention to you totally and completely. What on earth do you want to tell me?" I might have even said, "whadaya want now?" I might even have growled it.
"Sometimes I just really feel like crying," said the boy with the giant brown eyes.
If you have ever felt like you've disappointed someone you love, you probably know how I felt in that moment. Deflated. A little ashamed. And also like - Yes. You nailed it kid. Sometimes you just really feel like crying.
I gave him a hug (awkwardly, leaning into the stroller, with Emry tugging at my hoodie hood). I gave him a bag of those crispy, salty fried peas, which in my house qualify as a vegetable. Half the bag and a few blocks later, he felt better.
And then after I had burned the grilled cheese and sat with my head down on the stairs and wanted to cry but didn't, because my husband was away and I was the only Grown Up in attendance and Emry was throwing bits of wonton on the floor from his high chair and the children have been like barnacles lately, and dinner-bath-bed had to be finished soon, I thought about how, in a house awash with the tears of boys, sometimes I there is no room for the tears of a mama. So instead, there is an episode of Glee on the laptop in bed after they're finally asleep, followed by a 1:30 a.m. wake-up for the big boy screaming, a 2:30 a.m. wake-up for the same, lying in bed until 4 a.m. Finally hovering on the fringes of sleep when the little boy calls out Mama Mama and then goes back to sleep, but it's done nonetheless. I'm irreparably awake. I decide to just get up. Make the muffins, write the words spiraling in my brain. Damn the consequences. Sometimes weeks just go like this.