Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Busy Time of Life

It's quiet around the house at the moment. It's also a few minutes before midnight. That's when it gets quiet, which makes it a perfect time to write, if you don't need much sleep.

We've been going through a busy time. A good time. A happy time on the whole. But a busy time.

Some of this is caused by work. I've been at my company for a bit over five years, and I seem to be edging up towards promotion. That's great, but it means that suddenly I'm being asked to take on a lot of extra tasks. When I started, it was a struggle to convince many people that they needed to consult with the pricing team about what they were doing. Now I seem to have won that battle, and everyone wants pricing input. It's very gratifying, but it takes a lot of time. It's also a good reminder that if promotion does come one of these days, it's a bit of a mixed blessing. I've often noted that the people who are a level above me spend much, much more time working, traveling, and thinking about the company's problems than I do. Now I'm getting a small taste of that life, and I'd better decide if I like that flavor before I make any decisions that make it permanent.

However, the reason why things don't quiet down until nearly midnight is not because of work. The last year seems to have put us into the position of having a child at nearly every stage of life short of adulthood. Baby is a cheerful, burblely fellow, but he expects never to be set down. The walker and the bouncy seat are anathema to him, and why not, I suppose, when he has eight people who love to him take turns holding him. I saw some study recently that the amount of personal contact a baby has affects his intelligence and social adjustment later in life. If that's true, this fellow will be the most well adjusted genius on the planet. (Though really, we're a fairly average bunch around here, so I question that. I was no prodigy, and we do not seem to be rearing any either.)

And then we have the four year old boy who is bouncy as only a four year old boy can be, the emotionally tempestuous seven year old girl, the nine year old boy who is old enough to have interests but young enough to at times be a victim of his own overflowing energy and distraction, and the three older girls.

I don't know what I expected it to be like to have teenagers (a category into which I will lump the soon-to-be-twelve-year-old as she certainly passes for it.) I suppose I imagined versions of my own teenaged self, which honestly might have been hard to take. That is one thing they are not.

The oldest is closing on sixteen but has shown no great hurry in studying to get her learner's permit and start driving. She loves Pokemon, reads through lots of light science fiction and fantasy novels but can't get into Lord of the Rings, is embarrassed by kissing in movies, but is delightfully un-tempestuous in her own emotional life. There is the fourteen year old, who is hard to interest in the American history books which I've been so enthusiastically trying to share with her in her school this year, who loves to watch murder mysteries (preferably BBC) but falls asleep while watching action movies with her Marvel movie loving older sister, who needs always to have some big craft project going to keep herself happy and who does not feel secure unless there is a schedule and it involves doing something. And the third, nearly twelve, who like her next older sister can be emotionally tempestuous at times but has a passion for organization and neatness which causes her to want to write all of the math problems for a day's lesson in one third of notebook page (only answers, no work, because writing out the work is messy) and also leads her to compulsively organize the pantry every time groceries are brought into the house.

Some will warn you that when children become teenagers they no longer want to talk to you. This is not the vice of our young ladies, however. These girls want to talk: about their day, about their friends, about the latest musical they are all singing, about the annoying behavior of their younger siblings, about anything that passes through their heads. Often when this talking urge comes on them I'm just wishing I could sit down to write, but I don't have the strength of will to send them off and sit down to write novel. There's something so precious and engaging about this time, these people from us and yet wholly separate and different, and the fact that they want so very much to spend time and talk with us.

Even as I feel frustrated with my inability to keep up so many things I want or need to be doing with my time at home, I tell myself and feel that these are the golden years. Even as we dealt tonight with a sobbing child angry because she had to share a treat she was unexpectedly given with her siblings. Even as the four year old confided that he had soiled his pants. Even as the nine year old literally bounced off walls and counters and the baby wept whenever he was not held. These are the days when people are happy and healthy and all spats aside all love each other. We don't know how many days like this we will be given, but we try to be thankful for them even though they are exhausting.


Catholic Bibliophagist said...

Yes, they are the golden years. (Wistful sigh.)

Son Mom said...

The varied demands of kids at different ages make life so interesting in a spread-out family, but also can be uniquely exhausting! Bouncing back and forth between teen angst and toddler tantrums can give you a sort of psychological whiplash at times. And teens ae absolute geniuses at coming to you with a thorny emotional issue at 11:30pm just as you’ve settled down to nurse the baby and have a few moments of peace :)

I noticed with my youngest that not only did she resist being stashed in the bouncy seat, swing, excersaucer, etc, she actively resisted being handed off to her siblings! She was extremely mommy-attached, and is a high anxiety kid in general, and I think she knew that my attention was demanded by several different people. So she was very insistent on staying with me the majority of the time as a baby and toddler and making sure I knew that she was going to have none of this being passed around business. She also got very possesive of me, and would get annoyed when her siblings wanted to sit in my lap or hug me, insisting, “No! MY Mommy!” She’s a very independent little kindergartener now, who, somewhat to my surprise, went happily off to full day kindergarten this year after being home with me uup until then and has thrived there. It does seem like if you fill their little “attachment tanks” when they are small that they do develop a sense of emotional security as strong as their less-needy siblings, but it can be a tiring journey to get there!

Foxfier said...

Though really, we're a fairly average bunch around here, so I question that. I was no prodigy, and we do not seem to be rearing any either.

Good, I wouldn't wish a houseful of extreme geniuses-- no matter how well adjusted-- on anybody, especially themselves!

Were I a good fairy, I'd bless folks with reasonably good intellect, good sense and good manners. :D