Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Sleepy Eyes

My own, right now. Four hours ago, Owen's. I pumped formula into him all the way through A Pup Named Scooby Doo, and he kept looking up at me through heavy slitted eyes. But when he fell asleep, something would startle him awake: his big brother, despite my pleas, climbing on the couch; a phone ringing; my arm sliding out from beneath his head as I set him in the crib. The trick, finally, was to let him cry it out for a while in his crib and then feed him more (no wonder my arm aches from toting him around). Finally, exhausted from crying, he fell asleep and stayed that way for two and a half hours. When his dad got home, I almost had John asleep, too, watching a movie in his room.

Today has been a better day, even though my shower had to wait until noon. (I was up at 7:45, and feeling all over gritty and greasy for four hours didn't help my patience.) I managed to read about 40 pages of Empire Falls while one kid slept and the other played with his Leap Pad in the living room, next to me. Now my babysitting stint is pretty much over for the night, and I need to write. Yesterday, I expanded a full two pages of older stuff, which is not as good as writing fresh stuff, but necessary, and more than I've done in the past month.

I think this week will be good for my story, because it'll give me insight into the life of the character I'm creating. She's taking care of her father, who has Alzheimer's. In my imagination (and probably in reality), that's a lot like taking care of a young kid. Both can remind you of the complexity of daily tasks, and both drain your time and energy. Lately, I've been feeling the tug of biology - and ignoring it admirably. I want too many things for myself before I have kids: a Ph.D., marriage, travel. The past two days have confirmed that these things should be undertaken before kids. I'm still too selfish. Already, after two days of babysitting, I'm finding myself daydreaming about my own daily life. At home, on a day like today, I would have written and read at my leisure. Here, with kids, my writing and reading schedule bends by necessity to the eating, pooping, and whining schedule of children. A week of this will probably weaken biology's pull for quite some time.


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