Stream of Consciousness on Motherhood

Yesterday, it took me three hours to write my quick takes. And I even had the topics (always the hardest part of quick takes!) predrafted. I knew exactly what I would be writing about, and it still took me forever.

Why?

Because, every five minutes:

“Mommy, how do you draw a baby carriage?”

“Mommy, have you seen my crayon?”

“Mommy, I can’t find my kitchen” [Kitchen was directly behind him and is taller than he is!]

“Mommy, what are you doing?”

“Mommy, when will you be done?”

“Mommy, can I snuggle Tindómiel?”

This isn’t a Mommy-is-sitting-at-the-keyboard based phenomenon. Laundry, dishes, cleaning, organizing, cooking… All are subjected to a constant, never ending stream of interruption and his desire for me to just sit and watch him do whatever it is he’s doing. He can’t even sit and eat a meal without someone dancing attendance. And Heaven help me if I go upstairs.

It’s not all bad. He does, genuinely, want to help me with whatever I’m doing. But he lacks both the strength to do the things he wants to help with, and the attention to any task more complicated than scrubbing the toilet. I try to come up with little things he can do to participate, but this just turns into a different variant of his play behavior – he needs someone to sit there with him the entire time.

It’s exhausting for me, and not at all good for him. I sympathize a great deal with Calah and the stress she experiences dealing with needy Lincoln – GeekBaby was just like that as a baby. And as a toddler. He’s four and a half, and I’ve given up hoping he’ll grow out of it. I hope Calah is more fortunate, that the presence of so many siblings, so close in age will help as he grows.

GeekBaby needs a playmate, and we tried and tried to give him one, but the reality is that Tindómiel will never be a playmate for him. He loves her dearly already, although he romanticizes her somewhat, not really knowing what living with a baby is like. (He’s in for a bit of a rude awakening.) And so it will really always be just him and me… and he needs me. All the time, it seems.

And that’s the crux of the matter. He really does need me. And he’s so much like me that I know this is something he needs to grow healthily, as much as eating his vegetables or getting enough sleep. I don’t entirely understand why. I really don’t know how to provide for it.  But it’s still real, even though it requires delicate balancing.  Sometimes I feel like I’m walking a tightrope I can’t see. And in the meantime, the work of living still needs to get done.

A7hMZhzCQAA8KdX.jpg-large

GeekBaby, wearing my NASA jacket from when I was four.
His hair is darker, but otherwise he looks Just Like Me.

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3 Responses to Stream of Consciousness on Motherhood

  1. Melanie B says:

    Oh my goodness. I know exactly what you mean. This would be Bella if Sophie hadn’t come along when she did. When Bella was a toddler I kept saying over and over, “she needs a sibling!” Because otherwise it was going to be me all the time.

    I’m pretty sure you are right about his sister not filling that gap. There’s four and a half years between me (the oldest) and my sister, who is the second in our family, but I think I was always a pretty self-contained kid. Happy to have my nose in a book most of the time or to play quietly by myself.

    I wish I had words of advice to offer you, just a lot of sympathy. It’s so very hard to have to be always “on” like that.

    • GeekLady says:

      When I have the leisure to be ‘on’ it really is a joy. He’s so interesting and funny and intelligent, I love to spend time with him more as he grows. And because he’s so attached to the people in his life, there’s a sort of security in knowing he truly enjoys being with you.
      But the inverse of this is that he hasn’t really acquired the social skills that are primarily picked up from spending lots of time with other kids. Like learning that sometimes people want to do something else, or they just want to be left alone. Coming from mommy, these always carry a certain amount of rejection, to which he’s particularly sensitive. It’s a no win situation, he needs to learn, but I can’t teach him without hurting him where he’s especially vulnerable.

      • melaniebett says:

        Yes, those lessons are so hard to learn even from siblings. Manys the time I’ve had to hold Bella when she was sobbing because Sophie didn’t want to play with her. But I do think it comes much easier with age.

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