Every time I come here lately, I just stare at the blinking cursor. I’m not sure what to say. Things are both absurdly wonderful and incredibly hard all at once and I can’t find enough clarity of emotion to pin any of it down to concrete words and phrases. Maybe I’ll start with a conversation from this morning and go from there.
Bram: I’m Keith Richards, the guitarist.
Pomo: Oh, I know, baby. But maybe introduce yourself to your friends at school as Bram so they don’t get confused.
Bram: But I’m a guitarist.
Pomo: Of course you are! Bram, the guitarist.
Bram: Keith Richards.
That kid. Music is for sure his raison d’etre. He’s “been” Johnny Cash, Josh Ritter, Joshua Bell, Chris Isaac (for an absurd hot minute), Tim Perry (of Ages and Ages), Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, and (now, because of a children’s book by Keith Richards about his first guitar) most of the Rolling Stones. And his instrument bin is one of only four activities that always stays available/never gets rotated out. (The other three mainstays are books, puzzles, and Duplos).
This conversation fascinates me in its simultaneous willing suspension of disbelief (that he could BE Keith Richards) and hard-lined subscription to the facts (Keith Richards is the guitarist, so if Bram is the guitarist today, he must be him). So demonstrative of how our kid thinks.
After this, I loaded Bram and Louis into my new (okay, 2001) Mazda minivan — oh Lord… the ease of having my own vehicle… I’m scared to even talk about it for fear of it disappearing) — and drove Bram to his third day of preschool. My feelings on this subject are many and varied. Here are some of them. They jiggle around and rotate and sometimes come all at once in a cacophony of straight up crazy in my head:
- He’s way too little.
- He’s WAY too little.
- How have I NEVER played with this wooden tower with Lou before? He’s SEVEN months old, for Pete’s sake! Oh, God, I have ignored him. Thank God Bram is in school so this kid can get noticed.
- He’s going to learn so much.
- WHAT IF HE’S CRYING RIGHT NOW.
- WHAT IF HE’S ASKING FOR ME.
- Lou is making “B” sounds! And he’s such a fast crawler! I love this time for him. His eyes are turning grey!
- Is it 11:40 yet? Can I leave to get him?!
- I want him home; I want him home; I want him home.
- It’s so quiet here. When was the last time it was so quiet here?
- Aren’t there friends I could visit? Someone to have tea with me? It’s so quiet here.
- This was a mistake. He’s way too little.
- He’s never cried there though. Not yet.
- He MIGHT be crying right now.
- He might be asking for me.
- His teacher (guide) said he was perfect for the work. That his concentration is exactly what they try to teach, but most kids struggle with it. And he already has it! He’s perfect for that space.
- But he doesn’t like all those people. It’s too much for him.
- What if we break his heart?
- What it I keep him here and he never learns to be around other people?
- What if I break his heart?
I know this hits everyone this way, this first bit of separation. And I know how lucky I am to have it coming when my kid is almost THREE. I just: whew. I’ve said it before: parenting will gut you.
In a dizzying array of other news:
- There is nothing in early courtship that even comes close to the sexiness that is listening to your partner nail (or, better yet, disastrously fail at, but attempt anyway) all the voices from your kid’s favorite bedtime books.
- The job market. I have so many unkind feelings about the job market. Poor J, who is an absurdly amazing candidate and would kick ass at anything. It makes me feel all “America, I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing” Ginsberg-y.
- Medical anxieties are lousy. They are lousy. A small lump showed up on my forehead, which seems to be either a bony growth or a hardened cyst. My nurse practitioner is NOT worried about it because lumps show up when you get old, and because forehead cancer isn’t exactly a thing. But then I had what seems to be an ocular migraine, only I’d never had one before. And I was an hour away from home with both of the boys. Driving. So I became pretty convinced that I have a brain tumor. Um, in my forehead. My nurse practitioner pointed at that I have a lit scholar’s understanding of anatomy. I guess because brain tumors aren’t in your forehead? I guess also because my optic nerves aren’t in my forehead either? Still: I spend about three hours a day obsessing. Medical anxieties. They are lousy.
- Louis has had a cough for a month. No other symptoms just a cough that’s bad enough to make him throw up at least once a day. And an unwillingness to sleep without us, and sometimes even to sleep. We’re thinking maybe GERD? He has most of those symptoms. J is doing some elimination stuff, and we’re doing a short medicine trial to see if we can rule it out or confirm it. He also just cut his third tooth, so that’s part of the sleep piece. We finally gave him ibuprofen for the first time the last two nights. I vacillate between feeling awesome for waiting for so long and like a wretched person for making him suffer through three whole teeth with nary a teething tablet. Parenthood. It will gut you AND torture your children.
- In the last month, Bram has been obsessed with the original three Winnie the Pooh books, so he decided that he wanted to be Christopher Robin for Halloween, and that his pomo should be Tigger, mama should be Kanga, and Louie should be Roo. Pictures forthcoming, though I can’t find any of the right shoes for B’s costume, so don’t judge.
- I built B a “book nook” yesterday so he’d have a place to go read that is just his (or ours by invitation). It means we have a toddler mattress on our living room floor, and yet I love it. It’s the best thing I’ve ever seen on my living room floor. Things change.
- A couple of weeks back, Bram said I was “a mama instrument” that he could play. When I asked what kind, he said, “a saxophone with heartbreaking meadow supplies.” When I asked what kind of instrument his pomo was, he answered: “a boom sound like a heart instrument.” These are both flawless descriptions of my current life.