Saturday, February 9, 2008

A nice day

This past week I've had unwritten blog posts accumulating in my head, piling up and knocking against one another. But then, when I get a spare moment to write . . . I sit at the keyboard and nothing comes out. Just gibberish. And then the baby wakes up, or the Bean-girl starts yelling for me, and with an (inward) sigh I leave the keyboard, my thoughts unsaid.

T.S. Eliot wrote that "April is the cruelest month," but I respectfully beg to differ. February is cruel, these unrelenting gray days, so far removed from both the cheer of Christmas/New Year's and from the warmth of spring. Valentine's, that manufactured Hallmark holiday, doesn't cut it, my friends. Here in my Midwestern city we are caught in a cycle of freeze and thaw, freeze and thaw. The potholes in the road could swallow a child. Blank white or slate gray seem to be the only colors of the sky.

My 3-yr old Bean-girl is in training for law school. With her, the meaning of every word must be finely parsed; she is on the lookout for the tiniest of loopholes, the finest of technicalities. I know: I'm the parent, I shouldn't be negotiating with a 3-yr old. She is a master negotiator, I must say. Whoever said that 3-yr olds are not logical has not met my daughter. It's true that she does appears frequently illogical, but at other times her reasoning steamrolls both my husband and I.

She is also a control-freak (does that go along with her lawyerly tendencies?) A typical day sounds like this:

I want to turn on the lights!
I want to be the one to close the door!
No, I want to give Baby Legume the toy! (after I've handed the baby a toy).

And her new favorite: Don't talk! (when, for whatever inscrutable reason, she wishes me not to talk to her, not to talk to her father, not to talk to anyone or open my mouth at all.)

Today as we prepared for a family outing to the bookstore, the scene went like this:

Bean-girl: I want to pick the car we take!
Me : Well, the strollers are all in my car. So I think we should take Mommy's car.
Bean-girl: I want to pick the car we take!
Me : Okay, pick the car (hoping she will pick mine).
Bean-girl: Daddy's!
Daddy: No, we'll take Mommy's car today.

Dad picks her up and starts to strap her in her car seat.

Bean-girl: (tears wetting her face) WIPE MY EYES!!

Dad goes to get a tissue for her.

Bean-girl: No, I want MOMMY to do it! Mommy WIPE MY EYES!!

I grab a tissue and go to her. My husband briefly closes his eyes and sighs.

And I think at him: I've been dealing with this all week.


We had a great day, actually. A day that I really needed. Finally, for what seemed the first time in weeks, my husband did not have to go into work this weekend. We lounged about at home until 10 am, then went out to brunch. We went to the most charming little cafe, attached to a small gallery featuring the work of local artists. The waitstaff at the cafe cooed at our girls, and brought the Bean-girl a cool picture book to browse through while we waited for our meal. We had an excellent meal (eggs Benedict for my husband, scrambled eggs and sausage on a croissant for me, pancake for Bean-girl, and homemade vanilla yogurt for the Baby Legume). We browsed through the attached art gallery, and walked back to our car through the hip, granola-crunchy neighborhood. On the way we stopped in at a children's store, where I promptly fell in love with the knit dolls and precious organic-made-from-reclaimed-cotton baby shirts. Indulgent parents that we are, both Bean-girl and Baby Legume got one of those shirts.

My husband wanted to go to a bookstore to find the children's book that Bean-girl had played with at breakfast . . . but she fell asleep in the car. So we went home for her nap. A bit of quiet time for us (quiet play with the Legume); then out to the bookstore again (and the aforementioned Bean-girl tantrum), followed by dinner at a laid-back Mexican restaurant.

All in all, it was a wonderful day. We found new restaurants and shops today. We explored, and spent time together out as a family. It reminded me of weekends in our old city, when we had only the Bean-girl, and we would sometimes spend weekends together browsing the local bookstore and trendy shops of our pedestrian-friendly downtown.

It was a lovely day. . . I just feel/felt a bit melancholy tonight as I sit at this keyboard. Too many thoughts circling in my head, too much fretting over an unknowable future. Too much looking backwards, obsessively analyzing mistakes and missteps that cannot be retaken. I think too much, on these gray February days. I wish I could turn off that part of my brain that will not be content.


Life As I Know It said...

Sounds like a fabulous day! We've been lounging around on weekend mornings too. Slow to start. Slow to do much of anything. Must be the cold, grey days of February.

EcoGeoFemme said...

I know how you feel. I feel unsettled and frustrated and not pleased with most things. I know it will go away when the leaves come out, but it sucks.

Still, it sounds like you had a really good day with your family.

ScienceGirl said...

"I wish I could turn off that part of my brain that will not be content."

Oh, Bean-mom, I know the feeling... Lets hope a colorful spring will help!

ScienceMama said...

Hi Bean-mom,

This time of year really gets to me too. The other day on NPR, the weather guy said "Expect cloudy with a chance of rain for the next 4 months." Sigh. And it's no exaggeration here!

It sounds like all the mamas in the blogosphere had a chance for some quality family time this weekend, though. Hope your week starts looking cheerier, and email me if you need someone to chat with!


arduous said...

I'm sorry you're feeling down. I remember too well the melancholy that sets in around this time of year from my years living in the midwest. Glad you had a relaxing day though!

arduous said...

Bean-mom, I nominated you for an excellent blog on my blog. Thanks for such beautiful posts.

rana said...

i don't mean in it a mean way, but mama noticed it too: bean is very advanced at being manipulative. for instance, i can't show her anything without giving it to her.

me: "this is chubbles"

bean: "who could chubbles be for?"

me: "i don't know, chubbles lives at grandma's house."

bean: "but WHO could chubbles be for?"

me: "chubbles is aunt nana's toy"

bean: "but WHO could chubbles be for?"

me: "do you want chubbles?"

bean: [silently nods]

The bean-mom said...

It's really amazing how weather affects our mood, isn't it?

Sciencemama, "cloudy with a chance of rain for the next 4 months"?! UGH!

Rana, that's actually a really cute story you have of the Bean. She's smart and devious all right. Combined with her cuteness, it makes for a dangerous package.