The things that will never make it in the baby books and other musings from a stay at home mom

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

A domestic goddess I'm not

I've never been a big fan of the typical housewife duties -- cooking, cleaning and the like. I do what I need to do to justify my stay-at-home existence, but truthfully, my job is 98% mom and about 2% the other stuff.

I do spot clean between my cleaning woman's bi-weekly visits, of course, but apparently only when I have ulterior motives, as my daughter so kindly pointed out to me this week. She came downstairs and saw vaccum tracks on the carpet in the family room and asked me if I'd vaccumed the night before. I confirmed that I had and she looked at it for a moment, then said "looks nice. Who's coming over today?" 24 hours later as I type this, I still can't decide which is worse -- the fact that my 2 1/2 year old thinks I only clean for company or the fact that she's right.

Friday, September 17, 2004

The pretend friend

We have a new member of our household as of today. Julia got up from her nap talking about her new imaginary friend, a young boy of 2 1/2 who apparently doesn't have his own Mommy. Her nameless friend (referred to only as "the pretend friend") was sick today and she spent a good deal of time wrapping up a special gift of books to give to him so he would feel better. I'm told her care package worked and he's now feeling pretty good.

As with any new stage in Julia's development, no matter how minor, I watched her launch into this new game with mixed feelings. The overly competitive part of me immediately speculated whether she was advanced for her age in creating an imaginary friend so young. My paraniod side wondered why her friend doesn't have a Mommy and whether that might signify some burried inner conflict inside of her. The part of me that's always ahead of myself contemplated a future of setting seats at the table for "the pretend friend" and being careful not to sit on him or shut the door in his face. And the proud Mommy in me delighted in her funny ideas and took pleasure in this latest gem from the child who inherited my creativity and love of storytelling.

Mostly, though, I just marvelled at the fact that generation after generation of children seem to naturally grow and develop in almost exactly the same way without anyone actually telling them what to do next. I'm sure many of Julia's ancestors created imaginary friends to help themselves process the world and their place in it, and someday her children and grandchildren probably will too. It's nature at its finest and I think it's pretty darn cool. No doubt my own imaginary friends would have agreed.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

A new year, a new project

The Jewish New Year, or Rosh Hashanah, has been one of the only guaranteed "Jewish" days in my life the past few years. Despite a general lack of religion in my day-to-day existence, I have always put things on hold during the high holy days and headed up to my parents' house for my annual dose of Judaism. Usually, those few hours spent in synagogue cause me to feel both guilty that I neglect this portion of my identity the rest of the year and hypocritical that I'm suddenly acting the part of a dutiful Jew. I always promise myself that I'll do more with my spiritual side in the coming year. I never do.

This year, however, the logistics of schlepping 2 young children an hour and a half away and finding child care for them while I went to synagogue turned out to be too daunting, or maybe the hypocrisy of it all just won out over the Jewish guilt, I'm not sure. Either way, I'm taking a pass on Rosh Hashanah this year and planning to fill my annual quota of Judaism on Yom Kippur, which conveniently falls on a weekend when my (non-Jewish) husband can watch the kids. I bought some apples today to dip in honey for a sweet new year, knowing full well that my finicky 2 1/2 year old will refuse to try the honey and my 7 month old is too young to have it. I figure I'll have some myself and at least it will taste like the holiday. And I promised my mom that I'd light candles at sunset with the kids, but now that I think of it, I'm not sure I have any that aren't purple and I wonder if that's sacrilegious. So much for Rosh Hashanah.

The one thing I am doing, however, is making a New Year's resolution. For months, I've been thinking about starting a blog, partially because I want to regain a little piece of the joy the old pre-Mommy me took in writing and partially because I've been a lousy archiver of my children's lives to date. I need to mark the new year in some symbolic way, so I'm starting that blog today and making it my resolution to publish regularly. I'm calling this ministones because that's what I want to write about -- the minutiae of our daily lives, rather than the big milestone-type events that one would normally record for posterity (not that I've really been so good at keeping track of those either). Hopefully, a year from now, I'll be able to fulfill the Rosh Hashanah tradition of taking stock of the year by re-reading what I've published here. With a little luck, my kids will even be sharing my apples and honey by then.