Children are all about imaginary time…

…as in, any time not spent with them is strictly imaginary and illusory, or, in fact, altogether nonexistent.

These warm sunny days, while energizing & welcome, make the perennial juggling of daily life an even harder challenge. When it’s cold, wet, and dark, it’s nice to stay indoors, easier to interest the boys in pseudo-crafty projects (I say “pseudo” because I am not even a little crafty. But the boys are too young to have made that determination for themselves, and are happy to be allowed to make big messes in the service of “art.”), baking — dough-kneading was a big success this winter — and thus easier for me to simultaneously work on my various projects.

Now, though, they want to be out out out. They zip around the apartment like mice hopped up on crack until a collision with some stationary object ignites a firestorm of tears. Hysteria, sniffle, repeat.

Or, Vincent says he does not want to be out, and proceeds to systematically destroy his room in a fit of stir-craziness.  This is not hyperbole. I, who am shameless when it comes to poor-housekeeping, would be mortified to show a snapshot of the current state of Vincent’s room, accomplished in five minutes this morning.

If we had a yard with a fence this would not be an issue, but as it stands, when we go out, I have to abandon any hopes of multi-tasking and spend all my time keeping the boys from clubbing each other with rocks or dashing into traffic.

(“Vincent, when you sit on Aidan’s head/push Aidan down/ poke Aidan in the eye/ stab Aidan with a pin Hey! Where’d you get that pin? Give that here right now!, it hurts him. That’s bad. Why would you do that?”

“Well, Mommy,” he replies, hands out as he explains in his most thoughtful, reasoned manner, “bad things always seem like a good idea to me.” Oy.)

Not that I haven’t written at all since the fair weather began, but I spend more time muttering lines to myself in an effort to remember them when I’m again near writing implements than I do actually writing. It’s frustrating — we’d had a nice workable rhythm to our winter days. Makes me long for nothing so much as a string of cold rainy days…

5 responses to “Children are all about imaginary time…”

  1. We had a string of cold, rainy days and are so glad to be rid of them. Though, this is exactly like our house, except they are girls doing the sitting, poking, throwing…and “bad things always seem like a good idea to me.” is such an excellent way to put it.

  2. You know, I think that beautiful spring weather leads to less writing even if you’re not a parent. I find myself drawn outside to our yard, watering plants, going for walks, etc. My body seems to need to be outside, whereas during dark winter afternoons, writing is a more natural activity. I’ve decided that instead of trying to fight this natural rhythm, I will see what opportunities it provides – for daydreaming, say, and jotting smaller, shorter poems and notes in the in-between moments. Although I imagine that even daydreaming is difficult with kids around! I commend your muttering the lines & holding onto them as best you can.

  3. When my children were as little as yours I didn’t do much writing. However, being a “grownup” for me meant the privilege to read all I wanted. Beds unmade, groceries diminishing fast without even a plan to get to the store, and one more day before I get out the vacuum. Outdoors or indoors, children’s books and stronger stuff.

    Great blog. Wonderful poetry.

  4. I have one who sounds a lot like Vincent (in fact, I think he has said to me, verbatim: “Bad things always seem like a good idea to me.”). Here’s a hope to hang onto: when your children get a little older, you can press them into service by having them memorize the lines running through your head at any given moment of mothering — playing at the park, driving, etc. — and tell it back to you when you are near your desk again. I have trained all my kids to do this for me :).

  5. Thanks, Victoria! Thanks, Kat! And thank you, Lois — so nice to see you all here.

    Molly — in a word, GENIUS.

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