This is a (not so secret?) secret: the first year* of staying home with my baby, I almost went crazy. Maybe I did? I'm not sure. There were times I didn't even know if I was awake or asleep. My mind was slow like molasses. I'd walk out to our freezing balcony in my pajamas, hoping that the cold wind would make my head think. It didn't. My head always pounded; slow, numb, disoriented.
Then we left town and I went from nothing but quiet to sound, so much sound. My grandma Lola singing boleros. Soap operas blaring at full volume. My mom watching an episode of Diego with the Flaco. Matthew worked at the shop fixing cars so he'd come in for lunch, and there we'd all sit: my husband, my mom and dad, my grandma, my son (and then, my daughter.) Conversations shifting between Spanish and English, words running like water. Even on my days off, I'd go. I put in probably double my hours.
I thought that when we moved, it would all start again. I never ever knew that it would be like this. I didn't know how lovely it is to sit at the table and eat breakfast with my kids. I am not the best housekeeper in the world per se, but I make sure that dining table is fancy every night before bed so that their first sight when they wake up will be pretty. When it's time to dress them, it's like playing with paper dolls. I pick out something ruffly and poofy and frilly for Lolita every day; Flaco wears a denim jacket with the collar popped, and Otto wears ears. We spend the morning reading books and playing with blocks and coloring pictures (that sometimes extend to the wall) and breaking things -oh, always breaking things. We talk about politics and theology and history and planets and animals**. I cook them a hot lunch, served on our nice dishes: baked chicken with onions, rice and beans, cucumbers. I wear my apron and we put on music and we dance. And leap. And do something that's sort of like the worm but not quite.
They climb on me all day. Octavius on my lap, smiling at me, squealing so high-pitched when I look him in the eyes, Flaco draping himself over my shoulders, bony knees baring down, Loli pulling herself up, grabbing onto my hair for a little more leverage.
It is good, so good.
*Thank you, Betsy, for your kindness to me, especially for your company on those long nights when Matt was gone. I hated watching Dancing with the Stars. It was so much nicer at your house (and you always fed me good.)
**Did you know that the Diving Bell spider lives in a bubbles under water? Or that the Pilgrim Shark's mouth looks like a gaping cave? Or that the Goliath frog grows three feet long but can't croak? Or that the giant Gippsland earthworm can grow even longer than three feet long, and you can hear it crawling underground?
Life is a Rollercoaster
5 days ago