Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Miracle of Children

I am so nervous about my agent submissions that I can't work on my novels, but I must write, so you get lots of blogging.

For dinner tonight: tomato soup with cheese and oyster crackers. Second course, two hours later: boiled beets with sauteed beet greens on the side. Hey, I'm pregnant.

I wrote half of this, and then, as if to illustrate my point, Daniel hit Delete for me and shut the whole thing off, and I lost it all.

Last night Dan smacked my nose with his head so hard that I heard it crack. Today it's all bruised and sore.

Daniel still has eczema on his ankles, so any time he can get his socks off, he sits on the floor and scratches his ankles and cries. Then he cries some more when we put lotion and socks back on. Can't win that one.

Daniel has also decided that he's a grown-up now, and he refuses to sit in his high chair. The trouble is, he's too little for a regular chair, and he doesn't have enough experience with them to not fall off if he stands up to reach his food. To complicate things, he's also decided that we can't feed him. He has to do it himself--with grown-up sized utensils, which he also lacks experience in. Consequently, he spends most of the meal flinging food all over the kitchen, and then gives up and either buries his face in what's left or digs his little hands in and takes fistfuls, which he shoves into his mouth and all over his face. We've finally taken to putting a variety of foods in a pie pan on the floor and letting him eat dog-style. His preference, not mine.

Daniel also has decided that it is extremely frustrating that he can't go down stairs and that we can't understand the long paragraphs that he babbles. And he's decided that the very best way to express frustration is to scream at the top of his lungs--often without warning, so it terrifies me as I'm driving in blissful silence or going to the bathroom.

His newest habit is falling off the bed backward, scaring me to death.

Meanwhile, Tim and I have altitude sickness, so I assume the kids do, too. Nobody is adjusting to being home very well. Routines don't stay so routine when you leave them behind for three or four months.

Caleb has been touchy, picking on the other kids, shoving his hands or toys into our faces, and crying at the weirdest things ("Anda reached the spoon drawer first--now nobody will get to eat ever again!"). We had a serious heartbreak for him today when we couldn't get to the library on time.

Anda is feeling creative. At least she's being pleasant to live with, but also messy as she goes from project to project, leaving stuffed toys lined up in the kitchen while she washes dishes in the bathroom after she's cut pictures out of magazines and lined up toy trains down the hall and colored pictures sitting in a pile of dumped out crayons, etc. I don't have the energy to keep up, so I've resorted to trying to only step on things that won't break or that I really wanted to get rid of anyway, since I can't really see the floor in several rooms. Unfortunately, in all this creativity, she was playing a game with Baby Kitty, and now Baby Kitty is missing. She got hidden or put to bed somewhere, and we've spent days searching the messes for her. No good. We're also missing two large library books. Also not good. She also waits until I find a quiet second and pick up my laptop, and then, just as soon as I figure out the right next line to type, she comes over and asks to be held. Right then. Never any other time. So I have to put everything away and hold her. Right now she's crying because she can't get the crayon off the picture she colored to put a lighter shade of yellow on, now that she's finally found the right yellow crayon, after 8 hours of looking.

It seems like nobody has going potty figured out yet, either. Everyone except Tim makes me wipe them. Anda makes me stand in the bathroom with her while she goes potty--and I hate standing up.

And the tummy baby? He alternately makes me crave weird things (beets, canned spinach, mexican food, etc.) and averse to weird things (all sugar most of the time, all food sometimes). He makes me nauseated most of the day. I haven't thrown up yet, but I got awfully close when I took out the garbage today. Riding more than one block in the car makes me sick as sick can be--every motion seems exaggerated to me. It's as bad as riding in the car when you're in labor (one of the worst repeated experiences in my life, I might add--bad enough that next time I might walk the two blocks to the hospital instead). Also the baby robs me of my energy, stamina, ability to stay awake at all, patience, tolerance for pain or surprise or noise or heat or cold or discomfort of any kind, makes me hormonal and mean (oooh, aren't you glad you all live 9 hours away?). Oh, and heartburn? Let's not even go there. Also, he's made it uncomfortable to wear my regular clothes--not because they are too smalll, but because anything touching my abdomen makes me want to puke--so I'm into maternity clothes already, and I'm not even 8 weeks along yet. Maybe I'll go for skirts and dresses for a few weeks, still. Maternity clothes are hugely too big.

So why is this called the Miracle of Children? Because they're a pain in so many ways--nobody can eat, sleep, pee, get dressed, talk, play, or breathe without my involvement--but, for all the lack of, oh, everything that I deal with (time, energy, money, space, etc.), I wouldn't trade them for anything. I would be devastated if anything serious happened to any of them. The miracle of children, as far as I can tell, is that despite all the bad stuff, we love them with all our hearts, even when they are making us throw up every morning, or when they all decide to coordinate their crying in different rooms.

For all the trouble, the kids are truly the most valuable thing I have, or have done, or will ever do.

And now I have to stop writing and go take care of all of them, and maybe stop at least some of the tears.