I was going to write a thing. I was sitting on the couch with Gwyn and I was going to write a thing, about a thing, but the laptop was unreachable and I figured I’d wait until later. Now all I remember is the desire to write about a thing, but not the thing itself. Alas. So I’ll type stream of consciousness, instead.
The last week of work has been sort of torture; returning from leave meant confronting cuts to our permanent full-time staffing (13%), cuts to our student employee budget (5-10%ish), cuts to our operating budget (25%), a half dozen people clamoring that we have two dozen crises, and holy cats, people, give a woman some breathing room. Or don’t. Whatever works for you. So I’ve been assessing these purported crises (some are real), working out contingency budgets, and reorganizing staffing resources, trying to balance compassion, employee fulfillment, and strategic goals. All while getting nowhere near enough sleep, coparenting a 4 month old, and maintaining a home and a marriage. People who decide to have jobs and babies at the same time are fucking nutjobs, man.
Over the weekend we celebrated midsummer by going for a hike at Stone Valley with Malcolm and Gwyn. It was really great. We didn’t go out until late afternoon, 4ish, so the sun was bright but not intense, and it was just a lovely, perfect afternoon. We finished with ice cream for everyone.
I read the first book in a new series the other day (Hounded by Kevin Hearne), I’m 75% through Pale Demon by Kim Harrison, and the final book of the Walker Papers by C. E. Murphy just arrived in my mailbox. I’ve read some great urban fantasy this spring. And I type that, and think of the people who say that after they had babies they stopped reading novels. Either I’m lucky, I’m determined, or I love reading more than the average bear. Or all three. Who knows. But what I do know is that with Kindle, Stanza, and Audible loaded on my iPhone, plus my Amazon preorders, I have managed to read 26 books since Gwyn was born. I read while we’re nursing. I read while I eat breakfast. I read while I pump breastmilk. I read via audio while I do laundry and wash dishes. I read before I fall asleep, and I read when I wake up. Ebooks and audiobooks are my saviors, and make reading into a much more portable and flexible activity than it ever was on paper. I usually read about 100 books per year, so 26 in 4 months is a little behind my average, but hey, I had a baby. Cut me some slack. Anyway, it’s my favorite hobby and has been since I was a wee thing. I refuse to give it up.
Which is also why I spent some time lying on my back on the floor next to Gwyn tonight, holding picture books up over our heads for her to look at while I read. Tonight we read Pinkerton Behave, and A Rose for Pinkerton, two of my favorite Stephen Kellogg books. At least one of those was a gift from my Aunt Betsy, as it’s inscribed to me in her handwriting, from the early 80s. There’s a quiet thrill in being able to pass my own beloved things on to Gwyneth, and an easy joy in re-learning old favorites. And Kellogg is worth re-learning — we also have The Mysterious Tadpole and Liverwurst is Missing, and I need to acquire another copy of Barney Bipple’s Magic Dandelions. And, to my further joy, Gwyn was totally watching me turn the pages and studying the pictures. She’s pretty awesome.
She also has, in the last week, learned to roll over, both ways. She found her thumb tonight, and started sucking it. She can do a perfect upward dog/cobra pose. She’s working on consistently sitting up in a tripod position. She’s cooing and chattering up a storm. She’s super-fussy in the evening, is cluster feeding from 7-9, and she pooped in the bathtub yesterday. Tonight she giggled insanely at me when I played peekaboo with her, and every time I grinned and booped her on the nose. She’s the best.
I dunno. Life’s good. Lots of little waves of good stuff flit across my brain, washing in and out and out and in, and I still have no idea what the thing was that I was going to write about.