I often marvel at the differences in my little three. As I said in a recent post, I have become enraptured by the Enneagram, yet another personality study of the many I have perused throughout the years. These things fascinate me.
Bea’s personality is much more prevalent, or dare I admit–I am much more attuned to it, when she becomes my eldest, and only talker, after dropping off her sister at school for 5 days a week, 7 hours a day.
She never went through a strong “why” phase like MG did, peppering the ubiquitous question at the end of every answer (much to my chagrin). But I finally recognized, just this week, week two of school, week two of having significant time with her to myself, that she asks probably 2-3 questions per minute when we are together. This is not an exaggeration. She may not need to know why simply, but she needs to know who created the grass, do I remember that one time at the schoolhouse, and can she have a snack when we get home?. There is so much she needs to know.
I learned a term this week called transactional memory which means storing information in other people’s heads. Apparently married couples and people who live together for long periods of time do this harmoniously. For example, I’m not great with directions but N has a good handle on that for both of us, consequently he is our designated driver (no pun intended). I am better at remembering dates, so I am often prompting him to pick up that birthday card or call so-in-so on their anniversary, and he relies on me to do so. We depend on each other to store information for ourselves and then call on that person to produce it when we most need it.
I think as my girls grow, learn to talk, and then start processing information in the world, we also enter into this type of relationship. Right now, it feels more like there is a leech on my brain, taking out all of the non-important information, but one can only hope that the tables will eventually turn as I pour so much into her. This week, MG began talking about the American flag and its 13 stripes and what they stand for. I, shamefully, did not remember that it had 13 stripes, but as soon as she said it, that little tidbit that left my brain, probably about 300,000 questions ago, was jogged back into short-term memory. She is starting to outsmart me, and I am okay with that.
I reinstated “quiet time” now that we are back in the school year routine. It’s an egg timer set for an hour and a chosen box specifically for that time, always during Sibby’s afternoon nap. Almost every time, Bea picks the box of Littlest Pet Shop (the old school ones) or Calico Critters. She still hasn’t outgrown her love for animals or miniatures.
At the end of the hour, she usually comes to find me, almost always in my office, squirreled away on a project before Sibby wakes up. Bea helps herself to my “art cabinet” and the contents of the trashcan (usually scraps of fabric and paper that AREN’T off-limits). She takes her scissors and cuts the paper into a hundred pieces of varying sizes and then scribbles some colorful words on them. “Tickets”, she calls them. And I often hear her mumble to herself about how fun this is to work on her little project while I work on mine.
Just yesterday, Timehop pulled up an old video from its vault for my viewing pleasure. It was Bea, consequently the exact same age as Sibby now, sitting on the hardwood floor, paper down, marker open and scribbling. I had written in the caption something about how what dolls were to MG at that age, art supplies were to Bea. As it turned out, it was actually prophetic.
Last night, I watched Sibby meticulously open a silver cylinder about the size and shape of a tube of lipstick and then attempt to put the cap back on. Her fingers are chubby and not finely tuned yet. And the tube top takes exact precision to push it on correctly. It took about 6 tries to get the cap on each time and one try to get it off. I was beguiled by her patience and consistent effort, two things I sorely lack, especially in frustration. As she begins to emerge into more of a toddler and less of a baby, I am constantly wondering how much of her future self we are actually seeing.
I’ve gotten a little taste of the “next life”, the life of a school-age mom, as I have termed it, though a confusing term to others. With Bea in school 6 hours a day, 2 times a week and Sib taking a good three hour nap on those days (and actually asking zero questions prior to these silent golden hours), I’ve got considerably more time to myself than I’ve had in a while. Add to this, my mom and sister have been pitching in to give me a few more hours where they take the two littlest until nap time and suddenly my hours of silence, contemplation, and purpose driven tasks have increased exponentially.
I have enjoyed them tremendously (and as you can see for yourself, started blogging again). I’ve mentioned before that I spend a lot of time day dreaming, as of late, what my time will look like when all three are in school. I do not like going into big transitions without my “perfect plan” in place, so it is partial preparation to (hopefully) prevent failure, and partial job research detail.
While I don’t see myself going back into full time work, as of yet, I do get excited about being a financial contributor to the family again and the freedom that will buy for myself. Even now, when I get a little bit of babysitting money or birthday money, I notice the excitement that comes with the power to buy whatever I want.
But I also don’t want to spend the next 5+ years, wistfully longing for the next thing (which is so my personality).
I’ve often wondered why we can’t have the best of both worlds at the same time. The old ladies at the gym and the grocery store wish for the same thing I do. That we both had more time. They more time to enjoy the years that “went by too fast” and me more time to cross off my to-do list and to write a blog post without a hundred questions disconnecting the lobes of my brain. Rather than being the boy with the golden yarn, I’ve often wondered why we can’t live our lives at different intervals but the same time. A symbiotic relationship of the two distinct parts of our lives.
So, for example, five days a week nothing would change, but then two days a week, I would live my life at the end of my days and enjoy the freedoms that would come from having little to no responsibility. Because the only thing that makes us appreciate rest is work, as is the reverse true.
Of course this is all hyperbole, and perhaps fodder for a short story I will write the girls one day. (?)
I guess the moral of the story being that time prevails.