A few weeks ago I mentioned that Jay was “in the dirt,” recovering from hand surgery. He’s been home for about a month with increasingly good medical reports…back to work in early May. Our daily rhythms have been further stretched a bit again this week. We had our agenda of responsibilities all in order to support a week-long change in Aimee’s nursing schedule…It does take a village to care for two preschoolers when Mom’s employment requires one extraordinary week of classes complete with travel to multiple sites all over the southland!
Let me just add an aside right here! To those of you who write and maintain a regular blogging schedule—especially those of you with young families and to some with menageries requiring as much oversight as children—you have my admiration! I have NOT found it possible to keep up. Instead I have been humming Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler! “You got to know when to hold’em, know when to fold ‘em, Know when to walk away and know when to run…”
I’m not running, but I folded! Clearly I do have limits…and clearly we are intended to have our children when we are young! Part of maintaining my personal well-being and not risking accident or illness is respecting the fact that I’m not endowed with unlimited energy. When the children are going to run ahead and potentially get into danger we loudly call, “Stop your body!” Me, too!
Of course when we’re stretched a little thin there is also some inevitable law of the universe that additional urgent matters will poke up like weeds. We received the always lovely phone call that fraudulent credit card activity was detected. So close out one account and cancel any automatic payments…you know the drill. Then the mail came and another credit card was also compromised. Oh goody! More time on the phone with forensic bookkeeping. Didn’t we just finish taxes last week? Even Kramer, the cockatiel, ate a rebate check.
I declared on my last birthday that I was going to forego multitasking. I would rather give it up voluntarily than admit I don’t do it very well any more.
So when I’m caring for my precious granddaughters, they do get my full attention. I would like to say that my supremely attentive presence is because I’m such a fabulous caregiver, but at least a part of it is that if I don’t pay a lot of attention, I can’t keep up! They are smart little cookies, and they ask a lot of questions encouraging in-depth and inquisitive dialogue.
We were on a walk leaving Starbucks and headed to the park. As we neared the park Sophia suddenly blurted in a clearly disgusted tone, “How RUDE!” I didn’t react too quickly so she repeated the declaration and by then Karina was in on it, too. We stopped as they both showed me the evidence of someone’s “rudeness”—Starbucks cups and other trash littering a narrow ravine just off the main street. They explained to me how littering is someone being lazy and inconsiderate –not polite– to other people. We then, of course, also talked about the storm drains that were right next to where we were walking. One of their favorite destinations is the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, so these girls already understand the ecological implications of litter in storm drains.
So here was just one of many conversations with Nan pulling out the best of her ocean ecology expertise, discussion concerning the impact of marine debris on fish and mammals, and in preschool terms, what it means to be a good citizen, which includes using a trash receptacle. That’s quite a conversation as you walk with an almost three-year old and her four-year-old-going-on-eight sister.
Then the conversation veered to the dead skunk they spied in the ravine. Naturally they noticed that! Now I must admit I was a little fascinated here, too…repulsed, but fascinated. You don’t often see one just “asleep” and not on the side of the road! As a former early childhood educator I do like to seize upon these moments for a little vocabulary building and a bit of animal science. However, this also reminded me of the time a four-year-old child brought a shoe box with a dead bird into my classroom for share time–his mother thought this was a good “teaching moment” and I nearly lost it!
This skunk was clearly dead, but did actually look just like a sleeping pet! I deny them little, but I do have limits, and the answer was a resounding, “No, we’re not going to get close to it.” We could look from a bit of distance. So for the next few minutes I fielded the usual questions. “How did it die?” I don’t know. “Are we sure it’s dead?” Yes, a live skunk wouldn’t be taking a nap in the hot sun. “Isn’t a skunk nocturnal?” Yes, it is, that’s why we know this one isn’t sleeping in the sun. And then the best question of all, “Does a skunk die when it sprays like a honey bee dies when it stings?” What a good question!
I’m telling you! I have to stay alert to keep up! And to those of you who keep up every day? I don’t know how you do it. I’m tired. Delighted and happy and content and grateful…but tired!
It’s midweek. How ARE you doing? If you’re feeling a little stretched, maybe a little ragged around the edges, you may also need to recalculate your needs, realign efforts and see what duties–sometimes perceived responsibilities more than urgencies–might be jettisoned! By all means, do lighten your load!
And you can thank me for not including a picture of the skunk. It occurred to me, but then I remembered how I felt with that dead bird! Really! Who does that?
Just trying to keep up, Debra