The last few weeks have not been conducive to blogging. Between the normal exhaustion of the bed rest and blood pressure issues MrsDarwin has been going through in these last weeks of pregnancy, and the combined crunch at work of end-of-year work and trying to hire a new person for the team, I've found it really hard to find time for much of any reading or writing.
It's at times like this you realize how much we rely on having the two of us fully involved in order to make the house work. With the two of us, it seemed like there was plenty of time to talk over the wreckage of dinner after the kids bounced and shouted out of the room, talk some more while washing the dishes, then put the kids to bed and have some time for writing, reading or more talking. Now it seems to take the entire evening to do the dishes, make the kids clean up some of their day's mess, chase them up to bed, then finish cleaning up so that things are at about the same state they were the night before.
The oldest two kids have stepped up a bit. Our second oldest is a willing cook, though her experience mostly runs to baked treats, so I'll pre-prep dinners and leave her in charge of cooking them. (We have family coming in tonight, so I put together a massive lasagna last night and it's waiting in the fridge to be put in the oven this evening.) Each kid has an assigned chore too, and there's a tub of ice cream in the fridge from which those who have got their chores done before dinner can be awarded desert.
But with one parent mostly laid up, the trade-off of "it's more work to make them do work than to do the work myself" (not to mention more frustration) tends to kick in every so often. Obviously, what I'd most like is some idyllic existence in which I get home to a mostly clean house and have a peaceful dinner with my wife and offspring, then we all spend the evening in quiet activities and read-alouds. In practice, if the choice is between chasing around hectoring the kids into cleaning up the disaster they've made of the living room, and having them all go off to some other room while I clean up myself with the assistance of a beer and an audiobook, it's hard not to take peace over justice and good parenting.
And yet, all this shall pass. Eventually dumping buckets of toys on the floor will no longer be a favorite game. The baby will be born, go through the cute little bundle stage, the insane-bouncing-ball-of-little-boy-energy stage, and eventually move into the rational creature stage. MrsDarwin and I will be able to revert to being together and talking together as much as we'd like.
Meanwhile, today's lunch comes with a fortune cookie which tells me, "A charming friendship is in the making." Not a bad place for the bearing of a new child to end up.
Jesse Tree - Day 4: Noah
1 hour ago