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life in these times

And then the world turned upside down.

Glancing at today’s date, I realize it’s actually been a month since the election. It’s been a slow-motion nightmare. With moments of hope or at least distraction. On the night of the election, I indirectly watched the results coming in by monitoring my facebook feed, allowing the night to be curated and reported by whatever friends had the energy or wherewithal to post. Kind of like the way I watched horror movies, back when I ever would have the occasion to watch a horror movie, which is to say through my fingers. It was excruciating. As I lay awake for most of that night, with my innocent toddler sleeping beside me, I felt horribly responsible for not doing more to fix and protect our broken society. I felt so deeply fearful for all the children.

I do already think about life before and after November 8 as being completely different eras- remembering the glowing, warm, fall days of autumn colors and pride that we were about to elect the first woman president. All of us confidently wearing our pantsuits. The relief that the election nonsense would finally be behind us. The idea that government would carry on.

Ah, how naive we were, how out of touch. Well, now we know the truth, as painful as it may be. And the circus is actually playing out as the cabinet is assembled. I still have hope that something will derail this presidency before it begins, but I/we are mobilizing in the meantime because it’s clear that we must fight and continue to fight for the rest of our lives. I just read a dialogue between Noam Chomsky and Harry Belafonte on Democracy Now that left me feeling quite hopeful tonight. It comes and goes but we are certainly nowhere without hope. And gratitude.

It’s Sunday night and I sense that I’m writing because I yet again worked through a full cycle of houseguests, Thanksgiving, new furniture, and a business trip, and just caught up with myself again. The stuff is put away, the living room rearranged, the cleaning ladies came on Friday. Many, many to-do items checked off the list. I’m sitting on my new couch, with my feet up on the new ottoman, next to the sparkling Christmas tree, as snow falls outside my window.

These first snowfalls are so lovely. Peaceful, quiet, white and fluffy. It hasn’t been too cold yet. E will get his first real playtime in the deep snow this week. He’s curious about it and excited. He goes outside every day with his classmates unless it’s below 15 degrees.

E is super stimulated by school. When I pick him up, he is buzzing and lately wants to play a game of running away from me screaming and laughing while I’m trying to get on his hat, mittens, coat, and boots (not a game I enjoy). The other day, he informed his good friend A’s mom that A was coming with us to the train restaurant, which was not our plan nor something we had discussed. He also insists on getting a cup of water (or four) before we finally get out the door. He really seems to like being there.

Once I walked in a little early and they were doing Zumba. Unfortunately, it only ever takes him about four seconds to realize I’m watching- I would love to be a fly on the wall. But they clearly are having a ball bouncing around. It always seems like he has a lot of girlfriends, even older ones from other classes. It’s crazy to think that they already have a private social life at two and a half.

He is also super jazzed about being with his cousins. He flips into a totally different mode when they’re around. When it’s just the two of us, he is either begging me to nurse or watch videos or he’s climbing precariously on furniture or coloring his hand or emptying a shelf, quietly by himself. (Sometimes he reads a book, which is obviously my favorite option.) Once in a while, of course, I sit down and do an activity with him, but when we’re home I’m usually making food, cleaning up, or preparing to go to bed or leave the house. When E and S are here, they are immediately inventing entire imaginary games, doing laps, and fiercely disinterested in whatever the adults are doing. The adults can actually relax and have a glass of wine. E sits down to eat 2-3 bites of food and then is called away to continue his busy itinerary.

It hit me over the past couple of weekends that I don’t really have friends yet in Oak Park. I have two great friends in Chicago, and some great moms I’ve met at the school or through my sister or through local facebook groups. We had a housewarming party and it was lovely. I have some mom crushes that I hope turn into friendships. But it takes time. I’ve realized, even while still in SF, how important it is to have the same plan-making “style” as other moms if it’s going to work. For example, I won’t last long with someone who’s flaky. I can do either planning far ahead or super-last-minute spontaneous stuff, but not everyone can. I also need to get out of the house at least once a day unless one of us is sick. I have a bad habit of assuming that partnered moms are unavailable on weekends.

I went to the SMC Chicago holiday party today and am going to pursue local SMC friendships- yet again, I remembered how much these women kick A. There’s nothing like a friendship between SMCs (especially with kids the same age).

Two final anecdotes about videos and nursing. The other day, E said, “ho, ho, ho!” and I thought- where is he getting this, I haven’t said anything about Santa. I’m not even sure we’re doing Santa. I said, “Who says ho, ho, ho?” and he said, “Father Christmas!”

I asked his teacher about it and she said, no, they hadn’t covered that. It gradually dawned on me that he got it from Peppa Pig. He LOVES Peppa. It’s British and cute but not especially educational. It’s not harmful either. I think Daniel Tiger is probably better content though. I tried to get him on Winnie the Pooh today and he loved it for fifteen minutes and then wanted Peppa. Continuing to try to strike the balance- I absolutely need him to be occupied sometimes. But I can’t stand the whining the rest of the day. Sometimes it seems like he lives to “watch bideos.”

And, his other favorite pastime, nursing, is finally winding down. I took a business trip that caused my production to decline quite a bit and now we’re down to only bedtime and waking up. I think most of my dragging my feet on this is not wanting to rock the boat on routines that work. How will he go to sleep? I don’t know. I made a picture book for him tonight called, “Evan Says Goodbye to Nursing.” It starts with him nursing as a newborn and ends with how he’ll always get all the cuddles from Mommy that he could want. He was coy about it and pretended not to understand. My self-imposed deadline is the end of 2016.

Since my house is now furnished AND the cleaning ladies came by AND the light was pretty, I took some photos to share. This is our place! Please come visit us.

PS I can’t find a good recent photo of the two of us, so it’s going to be New Year’s photos this year or nothin’. You’re all still on the xmas card list. xo

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