Monday, April 4, 2011

Kneading and Being Needed

The house is quiet, and the air is warm.  I'm in short sleeves.  The sun is streaming through the window allowing me to see the massive amount of dust in my home.  I should be cleaning the bathroom or finishing up the dishes or folding laundry.  I'm always saying this.  I should be.  Which begs the question, "What am I doing instead?"  I'm eating fresh-baked cinnamon bread and writing a blog post.  Why can't I be okay with that?

We've turned a corner recently in the QM household.  Elliot & Zoe are now 18 months old and have become far more demanding of my attention and difficult to manage.  Elliot is the roughest but not the toughest.  He's always hitting and kicking and climbing.  But he's also always crying because he can't get down or bumped something lightly or heard a dog in the distance.  He's in constant need of hugs and soothing.  Zoe has begun a high-pitched willful screaming to get attention.  It is worse than her newborn cry, for those familiar with that glass-shattering sound.  They've started fighting a lot more which increases the amount of crying and  needing to be soothed.  I am high demand.

And then there's Maya.  She's at school right now, so I am somewhat relaxed.  I love that dear girl immensely, but she has become very bratty, demanding, obstinate and mischievous.  Well, the mischief has remained the same, but the capability has increase.  She recently cut up my brand new (and expensive) walking sock with kitchen shears.  She wrote on the dining room table in pen.  She got into my makeup and put mascara all across her eyebrows.  She pees on her hands occasionally to see what that's like.  I have to keep all writing utensils out of reach because there have been numerous infractions including walls, furniture and important documents.  She's like liquid I cannot contain.  And any correction or instruction is met with screaming and wailing.  She's started lying and back-talking and being quite sassy.  I'm not in love with this behavior.  On top of it, she wants me to do everything with her.  She wants cook with me every single time I'm in the kitchen.  She wants to help me with every single domestic chore I need to do.  It's very sweet but terribly exhausting.  I try to be patient.  However, I largely fail.

Having these three very small people need me every minute of the day has taken a toll on my well-being.  I feel drained when I wake up.  I told Marco the other day that I feel like I'm always surprised when morning comes.  I never wake up ready.  I'm crabby and overwhelmed right off the bat.  I've started getting up extra early and exercising.  I do this for several reasons.  First, I need to prepare for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.  Second, I need to exercise.  Third, I want to start the day ahead of everyone.  I want to take up arms against the sea of tiny troubles.  But it's so difficult for me to put myself to bed early in order to gain that time in the morning and not turn into more of a crabby bitch for lack of sleep.  I like my childless evenings of being with Marco and watching Netflix and folding laundry.  I like lying in bed too late talking and talking.  But I loathe being woken by crying and the screaming of "MOMMY!"  Rare is the morning when all wake cheerful and want to snuggle.

Well, I recently started baking my own bread.  I know, I'm a glutton for too much to do.  But baking bread is fairly easy, aside from the kneading.  It doesn't take much time to mix, and mostly you just wait for it to rise.  If you're around the house anyway, it's no big deal.  I was using the mixer to do my kneading, but my bread was turning out fairly dense and heavy.  So, I decided to start doing the kneading by hand.  It only takes about 10 minutes, but you really have to work that dough.  I make three loaves at once, so it is a giant ball that I wrestle.  That part is work.  It's only ten minutes, but it is physical work.  My arms start aching, and I find I'm watching the clock.  But let me tell you, my bread has come out so unbelievably light and fluffy and delicious.  It's all in the kneading.  It's all in standing there for ten full minutes working that dough with your hands.

People tell me that these early years go by so quickly.  I'll be done with this baby part in a blink of an eye.  Pretty soon Maya will be going off to kindergarten and I'll miss these days together.  I'll miss doing crafts and laughing and dancing in the kitchen.  I'll miss all her crazy stories and ideas.  I'll probably forget the stress and only remember how funny it was that she used to sneak gum into her closet.  I hope so.  I'm grateful for the luxury of getting to be home with my kids.  It's so stinking hard, but I'm grateful for the time.  And I'm hoping that all this being kneaded will make me lighter.  I'm hoping that I'm learning so much from the intensity of this time that I'll come out a much more delicious mommy.  I just have to be patient for my little loaves to rise.

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