Next week my daughter will be 15 months old. Fifteen months! Just yesterday, I finished putting together all the pictures of her baby book from her first year, clicked the order button, and should get it in the mail sometime in the next week. That made me think of several things:
1. I am behind, like Alice, running and running just to stay in the same place. Or at least, it feels like I am.
2. I am thankful for digital pictures, otherwise I would have to do my picture book by hand, like I used to, which is a lot of fun as well, but much more time consuming.
3. My picture scrapbooks are crappier than the digital books, so it's a win-win all around.
4. I just forgot what the hell else I was going to write about.
Oh yeah, I read this article in the NYTimes about how parents spend their time, or really, a lack of free time. Basically it said the average parent has about 90 minutes of free time to themselves everyday.
I didn't really disagree, but then, I only have one child. And she is getting old enough that I don't have to watch her every single second, but as I found out yesterday, I should be watching her every single second because if I don't, this is what happens.
Me (standing in the kitchen writing a list on the dry erase board and talking to myself like a schizo):
vinegar, regular and apple cider
I stop writing when I hear something that sounds like paper tearing. It sounds like paper tearing because it is paper tearing. And not cheap newspaper, either.
I run back to the bedroom where Sena is sitting quietly like a good little girl. Except she's not a good little girl. She is ripping a page out of out a picture book, an old, out of print picture book that belonged to me as a kid. A picture book with awesome, old school paintings.
I try not to scream.
Me: Oh no no no no no no no no....
Me: Oh no no no ripping, no Sena, we don't rip books...
Sena: Godoodoo! (I think this means, "Oh yes, I do!")
I take the book away and put it up where she can't get it.
So I do have some free time during the day, when she's taking a nap and not trying to destroy stuff, throw her body down the stairs, or throw a shit fit because I take a pen away from her so she can't impale herself with it. But even my free time isn't free because I can't turn my brain off from what I'm supposed to be doing next, what to make for dinner, I need to put in another load of laundry, did the cat puke behind the sofa again? What's that smell?
I had a conversation about this with my sister-in-law, how hard it is, how mentally tiring it is taking care of another person, trying to anticipate their every need, how I feel like sometimes I'm in a never ending chess game, trying to think five or six moves ahead, plot my strategy, and then remember, Oh! Actually, I don't even know how to play chess.
And then she said something interesting. Something smart. Something goddamn deep and profound. Something that made me feel better about my parenting skills, or lack of.
"If you're doing it right it's really hard."
By the way, the title of my post, Searching for Bobby Fischer, is from a movie. It's a really good movie. You should watch it; I highly recommend it.
If you can find the time.