New-Old Mama, Little-Big Kid

I haven’t been loving winter break this year.

M is a social butterfly. This morning she called me to ask if she could please stay at her sleepover friend’s house until 1 pm, when everyone was going to go roller skating, which would be followed by–you guessed it!–another sleepover. I insisted on a brief stay at our house, if only to rest up, take a shower, and repack her bags before heading to the rink.

Truth is, J and I miss her. J remains itchy and uncomfortable, and she’s just not up for doing anything. We’ve been housebound. If there’s something worse than hanging around the house all day with a raging rash, it’s knowing that your big sister is off having a fabulous time. No amount of story-reading or game-playing can quite measure up, really.

When I’m not entertaining poor J, I’m still pretty unproductive. Cute W and I have both been feeling sick, so I’m sleepy and headachey all the time. Twice this week I’ve started to work out, only to abort when my head began to pound. Writing and doing anything else that requires focus has been tough, and I’m get increasingly ragged around the edges.

I was thinking, actually, that this week has felt almost like new motherhood felt. Last night. due to a combination of itchiness and pharmaceuticals, J didn’t get to sleep until after midnight.  When I wasn’t trying to get together the newsletter, I was reading or singing to J, trying to talk her through relaxation exercises, and even gently scratching her because I’d run out of creams and medicines to administer, and I figured that my gentle scratches would be better than her scritch-scratch scrapes. When she finally fell asleep, it was while I was finding mellow classical music to add to my MP3. I knew I wouldn’t last much longer and I didn’t want her lonesome in her itchy insomnia. Then I made the mistake of trying to remove the earbuds and woke her up. By the time she’d finally fallen asleep for good,  I was keyed-up and hungry, so it took a snack and some reading before I was asleep, too.

Today, after getting frustrated that I hadn’t made any progress on my To Do list, I reminded myself that I couldn’t get a damn thing done when the kids were little, either, and that was okay.So I’ve given up on this week. If I can bring the girls through it fed and relatively healthy, that’s going to have to be enough. And all by itself, surrendering to just care-taking was a relief.

I suggested to J that we make some chocolately Rice Krispies treats  with those leftover Cocoa Krispies from the cupid cupcakes. Because, what the heck else am I going to do with them? On the few occasions that my kids have ventured to ask for sugar cereal at the grocery store, I always answer, “We can buy it, but that will be a dessert, because it sure isn’t a breakfast.” In fact, I take a bit of a loud-and-snotty mommy tone when I say, it too, and I’m sure that drives them crazy. I don’t mean to; I think it’s a  subconscious attempt to 1) shame them for even asking and 2) declare to the world that I am a Good Mother. I’m not proud of this tendency. But I’ve noticed it. Anyway, we rarely buy sugar cereal, because while I won’t approve it for breakfast, the girls can think of better desserts.

Of course, when you throw in butter, marshmallows, and, in our case, some chocolate chips, even cereal is a worthy dessert.

J wanted to make the treats all by herself and I had a dishwasher to unload, so we put on some music and got began some companionable, parallel work. The slow cooker smelled good, light was flooding in the windows, the song was catchy, and my little-big girl was singing and dancing along as she measured and poured.

And there it was, something else from the new motherhood days, a moment of sheer grace.

I took pictures, and it doesn’t capture it at all. But it’s a little something to hold onto, while I sweep the floor and wash the sticky pots, and dab Calamine lotion.

And, yes, come up with links for the weekend for you. I’ll get to that, too.





  1. Deb

    I really liked this post, Katie. You give such good voice to what we moms all feel when we’re trying to be everything to everyone… and then realize what’s really important.

    Those poor red blotchy arms! I hope J feels better REALLY, REALLY soon.

  2. Thanks, Deb.

    Big Sister, no change in diagnosis since the update at the bottom of The Set post. Nothing weird has come from the labs yet.

  3. Judy K

    No one else knows how exhausting and demanding motherhood is except other moms. Those nights without sleep. How do we survive? I hope your daughter is feeling better soon. And, you too!

  4. Michelle

    I have been feeling Horribly Guilty for not getting to the stuff that needed doing until tonight (finally!). Feeling slightly better that I got at least part 1 done and that I’m not alone in my marginally functional week. Here’s to a healthier, less itchy & head-achy, more productive, less guilty, FUN week ahead. (Right? Right?!)

  5. Michelle

    Also: there is nothing more perfect than those simple afternoons of sweet happiness. I relish those days and love that you also take a moment to bask 🙂

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