Best barometers of my day-to-day mood:
1. The number of times I snap at our dog, our poor, Sweet Dog, who asks for nothing much beyond some food, the occasional chance to run in circles and the ability to follow me everywhere I go. She is such a love and so easy, really, especially for a dog, and still, STILL, I've snapped at her repeatedly the last few days.
2. The number of times I sneak off to reach into the top right shelf of our pantry, behind the fruit twists and the ancient boxes of graying, grizzled raisins and blindly but deftly snap off a hunk of dark chocolate to stuff in my mouth before anyone sees me.
3. The number of times I find myself pondering blog posts with titles like "The way it is" or "How it goes" or "WTF? AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO PICKS UP AROUND HERE?".
(Today's tally so far: 11. Anything over 10 means direct Intervention with a capital-I and it's only 9 am.)
This time of year is hard for me, always. There are so many birthdays (Z, E, CG, my mom, countless friends) and holidays and the days are getting longer so every one's sleep is all messed up ("But Mommy! At nigh-night you always say 'See you when the sun comes up!' and the SUN IS UP!!"). We are heading into hot, sticky summer, when we should be outside all the time but it's too sticky and buggy already and we have to put on sunscreen and bug spray and I refuse to use DEET but there is serious Lyme disease here. I left earthquake danger behind in California but now when I can't sleep I imagine tiny little ticks crawling into my ears to suck my brain dry and leave me with some dread version of chronic Lyme disease that I've heard rumors about and I'm SO SURE I will catch ANY DAY NOW.
And Ellie is into EVERYTHING. I cannot do a single thing when she is awake except for trying to keep her busy with something reasonably safe because to attempt to accomplish anything is to do something poorly while watching her dismantle something else. Plus, now that she's walking everywhere, she's SO quiet. When she was crawling I could at least follow the sound of her little palms slapping the floor. Now it's like she's some kind of tiny elephant with squishy fat pads silencing the sound of her stiff-legged drunken zombie stomp.
Our house is a wreck and I am currently failing to be all Zen about it. I loved Karen Maezen Miller's idea in Momma Zen (an amazing book, if you're interested) about viewing cleaning your home for guests as a sign of respect and welcoming, rather than as an ego-driven imperative. Unfortunately, when the AC guy came over yesterday, all I could see was the house as he must have seen it: floors covered in dog hair, plastic toys and kitchen implements and dirty laundry strewed everywhere, a preschooler hopped up on TV and a toddler with oatmeal in her hair who squawked and repeatedly grabbed at my earlobes looking for my tiny stud earrings that I have taken out because even those tiny ones she WILL NOT LEAVE ALONE.
It is embarrassing to admit I got all in a dither about what the freaking AC GUY thought but the house was in such a state that I apologized to him profusely and then cackled and smiled and apologized some more every time he stepped on a Lego or tripped on a plastic horse. It reminded me of when I was little and I would go to visit our neighbors house, the Catholic family with 18 kids (TRUE STORY) and there would be dirty diapers on the floor and peanut butter sandwiches under the couch cushions and I would marvel at the chaos even as I contributed to it with my tangle of tiny plastic Barbie shoes and My Little Ponies.
Somehow, our house has become that house. And we only have two kids.
I think I need some more dark chocolate.