There were several mini-meltdowns this weekend at the St. Julien house, but they weren’t from the 16 month old in residence, rather the 30 year old, crying into her oatmeal in the mornings. For some reason, my weekend days went like this: utter panic and anxiety in the early mornings, doing something surprisingly enjoyable in the late morning, active, agreeable afternoons and delightful evenings. So why the hell was I freaking out each morning? I want each day to stretch out in front of me like an inviting ocean — possibly full of sharks but more likely a few waves and unfathomable depths to explore. Instead, I felt like the days were just lists, impossible in their length, no end to the amount of difficult things I had to accomplish, all while attuning to my mercurial toddler’s every need. I am obviously still adjusting to being with Olive every second of life, and had somehow built up in my mind that weekends would be this huge respite time. But once I realized they weren’t going to be all that different from the Monday to Friday schedule, I got really overwhelmed and frustrated. Expectations are everything. When you think you are going to get a break and you don’t, it’s really disappointing. If you are living more in the moment, taking each minute for what it is, either difficult, joyful, or just there, you can appreciate the rhythm of a day, rather than either expecting it to be really challenging and getting all worked up in anticipation, or expecting it to be a day of rest and feeling furious when it doesn’t turn out that way.
I think I just need to be more like the Dowager Countess of Grantham. She asks, in Season One of Downton Abbey, “What’s a week-end?” As a royal, she doesn’t have a “work week”, so every day is quite the same to her. TGIF would also be an unuseful phrase to her. Probably the most relaxing time I had this weekend was curling up on the couch myself, a glass of cough-worthy champagne and a sundae glass of salted caramel ice cream beside me, tucking in to Season Two of Downton Abbey. I have the habit of getting my husband hooked on the shows I love (most recently, Shameless, thanks to Mindy Kaling, my new BFF), which is really fun but it also means I have to wait for him to watch them, lest I end up like Will Arnett on Up All Night who totally got called out for watching the show he and his wife were into with another Stay-At-Home-Parent. Anyway, Downton is one show Joel finds incredibly boring, which is cool with me because then I have something to do on the nights he goes out (they are rare but they do happen!). Anyway, I am not a person who dislikes solitude, and without it I would not have found this delightful show — here is a clip the Dowager Countess experiencing a swivel chair for the very first time, for your viewing pleasure:
Was that a nice palatte cleanser? You’re welcome. Back to my musings. I am simply adjusting to this time in my life, and in the process I really need to get even more present. That is why I go to yoga, to practice being in the present moment, but yoga really just makes me mad a lot of the time. I spend time wondering, does yoga just get me in touch with rage that is already there, or does it just really piss me off? Maybe it’s the teacher — I’m going to try to find one that doesn’t make me want to rip her head off while holding yet another crescent lunge. I need more crescent rolls, less crescent lunges. Today she said, “This should be the best Monday of your life, and if not, you’re doing something wrong.” I just thought “F that. This Monday might suck donkey dicks, I’ma let it happen how it happens and just show up.” Then I promptly forgot that by getting all invested in whether or not Olive enjoyed the morning activity I took her to.
I spend a lot of time taking Olive to activities specially formulated for kids, which takes a lot of time and effort on public transit, and I therefore want her to have a “best Monday of her life” kind of experience. Just like my irksome yoga teacher, I wanted to force awesomeness on her. This morning, I was really irritated that instead of listening to the story, singing the songs, or even being in the same room as the Toddler Tales going on for the kids at the library, she just wanted to do something weird like climb up and down from a particular chair at the computer station. Then I got home and read on my weekly updates from Baby Center, “It is not your job to make life fun or free of frustration for your child.” And… exhale. I mean of course I cognitively know that but that is a message I need to staple to my forehead. Trying to make sure Olive has fun and enjoys life is a) totally futile and b) completely controlling and ridiculous. All I can do is offer her experiences that she might enjoy, and then let go of what happens. Maybe her little brain needed that computer chair way more than the adorable story about a lost puppy. Who am I to judge?