Thursday, August 7, 2014

who am i

Wouldn't it be funny if I really tried to wax Socratic or Shakespearean or what-have-you in this inconsequential space of internet? "And today we shall be discussing the id vs. ego as it pertains to one, Jessie Pope..." No.

Who am I? That is the question, properly accentuated. The reason I ask is I feel like I'm going through some kind of midlife crisis at the tender age of 28. A few fundamental things are just...changing or leaving or evolving. Not anything serious! In fact, you'll probably eye-roll vehemently when I expound on what I mean.

Take...alcohol. Jess of yesteryear (Jessteryear, if you will. You totally will.) had the palate of a nine year old. My buzz was attained through purely sugarfied means e.g. Mike's Hard Lemonade, Smirnoff Ice (barf), Angry Orchard Hard Cider (stilllll a fave, mind you), or some concentratey juice blend that was ever so unobtrusively spiked with a quarter jigger of vodka or rum. Keep wine or beer or anything whose taste remotely resembles mature out of eye line, earshot or taste bud. But now? A glance at the happy hour menu of one of our favorite haunts stirs up a longing for a pretty pint of their microbrewed honey blonde. Wine tasting has become my jam. I like whiskey now. I just...what? I have to ask: who am I.

Or perhaps take the state of our apartment. I've never considered myself a slovenly person. My mom is not permitted to weigh in here. It's not as if I would have won any Mrs. Meyer's trophies or anything, but I've always erred on the side of tidyishish. Ok but in the last few months I've become a little obsessive about a-place-for-everything-and-everything-in-its-place. I can't sit down to begin an evening with Sean post-Bedtimeageddon until toys away dishes clean clothes folded. And I'm kind of annoying myself. Sean will do this Tazmanian Devil type thing where the room is picked up in literally 17 seconds but I can't have it the way he does it. Because toys that have pieces? All the pieces need to be accounted for and put together (like those stackable cups and woodenblock towers.)

all the offenders pictured

The kids' DVD basket? Alphabetized. (Nope. I jest not.) Not to mention I've completely overhauled the kitchen such that there is nothing on the counter that doesn't absolutely need to be there (microwave, latte maker...yeah that's it actually.) Knives have been mounted on a magnetic strip. Paper towels hang from under a cabinet. Produce in wire baskets on the wall. Kitchen Aid found a new home atop the fridge. I've rearranged every room we have and when the kids nap during the day I use the time to reorganize or stare at the wall and wonder what and how to reorganize next. I feel like I'm on speed. That's what speed feels like right?

Here's what I'm thinking after ruminating on the cause of all this maturation. Necessity is the mother of invention. Wait, no. Survival of the fittest. There's an adage that I'm trying to apply here, but they're not panning out so I'ma make one. Mothering necessitates survival. Or something like that but I think what I'm trying to say is I'm evolving to suit this particular season of my life. A liberally spirited drink spurs a moment of unwinding. A clean room produces order in my mind and soul. As a mom I'm pulled in various directions throughout the day. Well, not too many because our apartment is pretty small but it's kind of like, "wait you guys need to eat again?" and "Mom, can you wipe me?" and "[something unintelligible which loosely translates to "Mom that blond girl who you call my sister hit me in the face again."]" There are emotions felt and tantrums had, and the surest thing about each day in unpredictability. Which means it's kind of nice to have that glass of wine to run to and a spotless floor to cling to and a Good Wife ep to zone out to. (Julianna Margulies - so zen. I crave her stability.)

Those are the constants in my ever changing environment. I like my ever changing environment - it's funny and full of life lessons and opportunity and there are two freaking adorable kids that live there. But you know those tops with the trippy patterns that spin and spin and spin? Eventually they have to come to rest. In this case rest just looks like a whiskey ginger and alphabetized DVDs.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

and just like that

She's three.

Today this very day my firstborn achieves the elite status that is three. Not a girl, not yet a woman. 

I deeply doubt I'm the only mother ever that becomes a little introspective on the occasion of her child's birthday. I've been thinking a bit this week about what this year was to me, to us, to this family. How much much much Jordan changed; what/who we've added to our lives since her last birthday; how I've had to adapt as Jordan grows and tests and pushes and experiments with the circumambient boundaries of home life. 

This year. Hm. This was a tough one. It was gratifying too, and frequently punctuated with the hilarity that is the sibling dynamic, and a two year old's increasing vocabulary. But the newness of juggling what were, at the time, two difficult children (Jordan = terrible two's, Weston = colicky + what is sleep?), in addition to acclimating to was a strange few months there for awhile. All the while Jordan was keeping me sharp. She alternated fitz n the tantrums for the world to hear/see/sense deep within its soul with the most comic genius since Mitch Hedburg. I wasn't sure how to combat meltdowns that saw her hurling her entire body against a closed door, when the next sentence out of her mouth could be, "Why is your fo'head sad Mom?" (She thought the sweat produced from a Jillian Michaels workout was tears. The tears of my forehead. You guys...) And what to do, when she pinches Weston (hard!) for some offense that was probably not offensive, when a few minutes later it's: "it's okay buddy, I'm right here. I not gonna leave you. I not goin' anywhere."?

Ok I feel like I'm deviating from the traditional sing-the-good-stuff birthday post here. And there is so much good stuff. Jordan is this person who encompasses so many antonyms. She is unpredictable and yet steady. She is generous and loving and selfish in the same breath. She is a friend and a mother to her little brother - but watch carefully because that plastic saucepan could come smacking down on his skull should he overstep. She is frank, sincere, and devious and deceptive. She cares fiercely and rejects harshly. She does these, all of these, whimsically and seamlessly and in a toddler fashion that is also beyond her years.

As I laid in her bed last night and sang her the nightly lineup in my broken, harpy voice (Barney Song, Let It Go, "Mass One" (Glory to God), You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch, Winnie the Pooh - IN THAT ORDER DON'T SKIP A SONG MOM) the thought crossed my mind: it's you're last night to be two, girl. Which I promptly voiced to her and received, "Yeah....I'ne ahmost three..." in a deflated little voice that undoubtedly was meant to mirror my own. Of course her concept of the passage of time is close to nonexistent ("We're going to have Christmas tomowwow?") but there is an old soul wisdom about her that could just know that these are good years. These young innocent years where fun is an overheated park slide, and a splash pad fountain that unexpectedly shoots water up your nose, and a session of methodically emptying all 68 stuffed animals and puzzles from the toy box, and snapping an empty Pez dispenser repeatedly to hear the belly laugh your brother gives you. I want her to know that these are the good years. And I want me to know that too.

So happy day, to my Jordan Girl. You keep doing you - it's just really fun to watch.