Sunday morning, the baby is napping, the boys are with Brian at church, and I'm listening to Maeve. (Please tell me that if you love folky earthy female groups, you're already listening to Maeve. If you're not, here they are. This one is really good, too.)
Listening to Maeve, enjoying the silence, and I'm laughing at the things I used to assume.
For one, when the boys were babies, I had this idea that the older they were, the more they would settle down. I don't know what I was thinking.
A friend recently compared raising little boys - plural - to raising a litter of puppies. Not to be irreverent about the holy task of shepherding little souls, but most of the time, there isn't much difference. Clambering over a bowl of food, chasing each other incessantly, nipping at the other's heels, barking at their own echo. Until, finally still, they curl into a pile of blankets, only to do start all over again the next day. It is equal parts chaotic and cute, and I really enjoy the whole thing, until it becomes MY job to keep one of them still in a church or restaurant pew for half an hour.
Have mercy, between the two of them they've never been awake and still for a half an hour anywhere, ever. Even in front of a television they are squirmy little creatures, flinging limbs and climbing distractedly to hang from the edge of whatever piece of furniture is close.
Another ridiculous assumption I once made about parenting is that there was some secret imparted to the mothers of lots of little kids. Some secret organizational skill that allowed her to keep a living room picked up, regardless of how many inhabitants emptied the book basket each morning. The same organizational skill allowed her to milk a grocery budget, and somehow buy ample food for five with the same money that used to feed three. I just assumed that, similar to lactation, this information would naturally appear at the precise moment it was needed.
Turns out, that doesn't happen. I know the same things now about money and organization that I knew three years ago. Turns out there is no secret knowledge, just me and Brian, staring into the cabinets and learning how to eek out one more meal from the remaining groceries. Picking up the same books, again. Putting the stray puzzle piece in its corresponding box. Nipping at the heels of those little puppies until the blocks are finally put away.
It turns out that raising children really is equal parts chaotic and cute, mesmerizing and infuriating, fascinating and mundane. And it isn't nearly as easy as it sounds in the magazines.
Happy Sunday, friends.