People say kids are a joy, but the thing they don't tell you is that a lot of the joy you feel happens in retrospect. When they're born, you have to try to squeeze in sleep where you can or walk around like a zombie until the baby gets adjusted to the night/day sequence. And I can bet that joy is the last thing on your mind when you smell your first baby bomb. When they start walking and talking, you spend so much time while they are awake yelling "stop that", "come here" and "put that down" that joy is clearly isn't the first expression that comes to mind.
It's similar to when you hear women talking about pregnancy and calling it a joy. There is so much that they don't tell you. They use decorative phrases like "everyone's experiences are different" and no one says exactly what it means. Having two different experiences in both my pregnancies, I can certainly agree that everyone's experiences are different. My first time, I ate like a beast, slept upright due to indigestion and other than that, it was great. It was the labour itself that had me swearing I wasn't about to get another one. To this day, I still don't know how I convinced myself that I wanted a second baby. And that second pregnancy? Let's just say it is more of a retrospective type of joy I feel. I look back and praise God that its over and to my husband's chagrin, I pray that it is the last time I will experience the miracle of giving birth.
My kids spent the day out today and the house has been quiet all day. I should be elated - joyful, even. Instead, I find myself wondering what type of condition they'll be in when they return. Most days, Jaheim comes home miserable and exhausted. He races to undress so that he can get into the shower with his brother and then the next few minutes are punctuated with screams, yelling and complaints. These days, Shakir - Mr. Bossy Pants - has fallen into the habit of telling Jaheim what to do and if he doesn't cooperate, Shakir actually physically lifts him and puts him where he wants him. And Jaheim - Mr. Drama King - launches himself against the floor, in a fit of tears trying to convince me that he was pushed by Shakir. Right about this time, I raise my voice and summon my weapon of mass destruction in order to restore peace and order to the kingdom. Today in particular, I don't know where the weapon is.
I often wish that I could call it, much like how Lion-O, Lord of the Thundercats, commands the sword of omens to come to his hands. My call would be something like this: "WOMD, I command you to rise. Transform this kingdom to peaceful contentment." Heck, if I could get it to do that, when its done, I'd ask it to make me a cup of cocoa or mauby depending on the mood. SIGH. But the reality is that real life super heroes have to extend themselves more and work harder than their TV counterparts. That's one of the many reasons that I like Batman. He doesn't have any special powers, he uses his brains, gadgets and has been trained in several areas of combat.
Now, don't misunderstand what I'm saying about kids and pregnancy. I do believe that they are a joy, but they are also a full-time and stressful job. You've actually got to plan ahead for the trouble they give and be ready to initiate the backup plan for the backup plan as needed. Tonight, since I'm feeling a bit exhausted and I am bummed about having to return to work on Monday, my backup plan will be to send the kids to bed early. If it works, I will know true joy.
Getting out of bed this morning was hard, but I eventually dragged myself up at 6:30 to discover that Shakir was MIA. A cold hand of fear sent shivers down my spine. Not because I thought he had been bed-napped, but rather because I was afraid of what havoc he had wrought while I lay asleep. I didn't take a genius to discover that he was in the living room rifling through his toy box as if it was Saturday morning. "Shakir, what are you doing?"
"I just went to get something!" He yelled back and then a heartbeat later, he appeared wearing a Rey Mysterio mask and clutching a Nerf gun in his hand. Clearly, he is not a wrestler, I'm thinking, then, stealthily, like a vigilante, he began to track his way along the room in search of evildoers. It does a super hero's heart proud to see that she has surely done something right with this one, but, as I mentioned, I did wake up late and I've got to get him ready to leave the house so I can resume my vacation in blessed peace and quiet.
"Shakir, you know better than to get up and go directly for toys!" I say.
He looks at me, his expression one of confusion. "Mummy, is today school already?"
I don't know what he means by "already". This child had eight full, action-packed weeks of vacation. As far as I'm concerned, he should be more than ready for school. Still, I understand what it is to savour vacation. After all, I have to return to my regular day job on Monday and I'm not ready. I haven't even begun to marinate properly in the routine of sleeping late and spending most of the day in front of the idiot box. SIGH. Anyway, taking a deep breath, I inform him that he doesn't have school but Aunty Lena will be here soon to take him and his brother away.
The next thing I know, a smiling jubilant Jaheim appears with a handful of toys. "Come, Shakir!" He beckons as he dumps his bounty on the floor.
"Jaheim," I say with a calmness I surely don't feel. "No toys. Its time to get ready."
I don't know why, but I'm getting the sinking feeling that this prep for next week when I really need them to get ready. SIGH. Time to iron my cape and boots and put back on my super hero mask. Mischief and mayhem must be eradicated!
Today was a day of quiet reflection. My husband took me on an unexpected drive around the countryside and as I gazed on nature's unkempt beauty, I felt inspired to take out a pencil and pad to draw. I couldn't of course, since we were in a moving vehicle and I had not left home with anything of the sort. But, oh, the memories it brought back. Perhaps sometime soon I'll be able to commune with nature and draw to my heart's content.
Aside from nature, these days I find myself looking at houses. I guess you could say that I've got houses on my brain. I keep remembering all the things we did growing up in our house as kids and I'd like to build some of those memories with my kids. I remember playing in the churchyard one time and my sister climbing high on the old building that housed the bathroom. She was almost to the top and I was terrified. "Get down!" I cried. "You could fall!"
Do you believe she had the audacity to look over at me and ask if I felt she could jump from the bathroom roof, onto the roof of the old schoolroom and then jump the rest of the way onto the church roof? Even then, I was quite practical and I threatened to tell. That's when she informed me that I was much too pessimistic. Well, I knew right away that I couldn't ask my parents the meaning because my mother would surely send me to look in the dictionary. First though, I would be forced to explain the context in which I heard the word and Carlene would get into trouble. Then I would still be forced to sound the word out to ensure I got the correct spelling and look it up. So thinking myself smart, I went home to search for the dictionary all on my own.
The first person to get suspicious was my father. "What you doing in here? Where the rest?" My father was about ready to send me to call home everybody. You see, we were taught that there is safety in numbers and we are our brother's keepers. If one of us was going to the park, we all went and we were expected to know where eachother were and return home together, etc. Anyway, I quickly explained that I just came to look a word up and I would be rejoining the others soon. Well, something there must have caught my mother's ears. She likes to mention how good my hearing was when she and my dad would try to sneak snacks, but I swear, my mother often appeared to be completely oblivious and then all of a sudden, there she was. Well, she found it curious that I felt it necessary to stop playing to come and check out the meaning of a word and so the grilling began. This led to my sister getting scolded and she was so furious at me for telling. I never liked when she was angry at me, but in this situation, I was glad it meant we wouldn't face a repeat of the acrobat incident.
Allison is mother to two active boys who challenge her on a day to day basis with their escapades. In her other life, Allison juggles a regular day job as a marketing executive in a health food organization. At night, when everyone is asleep, she dreams of being a fulltime writer and super hero.