Mr. Cellophane

Sometimes I sit down to write a post and I realize that I really should have just named this blog EVERYTHING IS HARD WHEN THERE ARE SMALL CHILDREN UP IN YOUR BUSINESS ALL THE TIME.  Dot com.

The unpacking, it is going the speed of glaciers. Snails. Gimpy snails moving uphill in molasses.   In other words, pretty damn slow.  Every time I sit down, the feeling of There Are Things That Need To Be Done is so overwhelming it practically propels me back up to vertical.  But it always seems to be for some total waste of time thing like laundry. Or bathing.  And at the end of the day I look around and realize that once again somehow we have refuted the law of conservation of energy and created matter where that very morning, I swear, there was none. Or at least less.

When I’m around this kind of chaos for very long, I start to get all twitchy in the eyeball.  I’m Tic City.  And the stress the clutter causes can sort of simmer on low for  a while but then HOO BOY you better hope you don’t share 1.)a ring or 2.)DNA with me, because I need things ACCOMPLISHED BY GOD and hell hath no fury like a woman afflicted with the sudden urgency to find out where all the 57 bars of soap she got on sale are going to GET PUT.

But I am beginning to discover though that however difficult the unpacking process seems for me, it is far worse for Noah, whose 4 year old brain skips right past the presence of the cardboard boxes and piles of stuff in the house straight on to Which Item In This Room Would Give Me The Most Air Time Were I To Jump From It? Followed immediately with MUST TEST THIS OUT. NOW.

Putting a four year old into a new environment increases their Momlookatthis Quotient by about a thousand.  Add to that a need to be with someone all the time in a new scary place.  Add all THAT to paragraph two, and well, you can see how things may go slightly askew on the behavioral front.  There has been a meltdown every day for the last three days BEFORE 8am, and I can now carefully pencil into Noah’s baby book the date of his first “Whatever.” August 7, 2009.  Memories!

In all honesty, I feel bad about the lack of attention Noah is getting right now, and know that his attitude stems directly from the instability all around him.  But GAH it is like the most Herculean of efforts just to point my eyeballs in his direction eighty five times in one hour to see how he runs and jumps on the couch this time, Mom, it is totally different WATCH all while tripping over boxes and searching for toilet paper and removing electrical cords from Rosie’s mouth.

So mostly, I don’t do it.

Instead, I say: Wait a minute. Just a minute. I need to just do this one thing first. Hang on a second. In five minutes. In ten minutes. Tomorrow. Next week.  What? Not now. No. I can’t. Chill OUT. Not now. Not now. Not now.

During one particularly heartbreaking moment yesterday, when Noah was loudly wailing over the fact that I would not get his cereal bowl out for him when he was in fact sitting on the floor in front of the (open) cereal bowl cabinet, I told him that I was going to go in the other room until he decided he could get the bowl like I asked him to and he let out a howl and said “BUT THEN YOU WON’T BE IN HERE TO LISTEN TO ME!” And I thought, “Well DUH, kid.” But then I stopped and thought again. Well….duh.  He just wants me to listen to him.  Wants me to see him, to watch him, to pay attention to him. And my need to organize and get things done has kept me from being able to do that.

If only parenting were like unpacking – over time our things getting put away in their place so that we could move about with ease, sure of where to find things. Instead, we discover every day that there are rooms we didn’t even know existed, each one piled to the ceiling with boxes we have yet to open.

So I guess these bars of Irish Spring can sit on the dining room table for another day. After all, I just found all of our rubber bands, and as any four year old will tell you, they’re not going to shoot themselves.

1 comment

1 Elissa { 08.10.09 at 9:24 am }

Celia’s bum has never seen the time-out chair more than the week that we moved to North Carolina. She was 2 1/2. I was 8 months pregnant. Boxes were multiplying like rabbits. Not a good combination. I, like you, recognized that she was only acting that way because she felt insecure and didn’t know the “rules” of this new life. But, Holy Moses. Realizations only go so far when your sanity is about to plummet off a cliff. I say try to invest in a few babysitters. And tell them you’re paying them to WATCH him and LISTEN to him. Maybe between the two of you he’ll start feeling more like Mr. WaxPaper. :) Good luck.

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