Sitcom life, storytime with G, The Tiniest Capen

I miss my friends. Where are they?

At their houses, in their beds.

Why in bed?

Because it’s bedtime. Time for sleepin’.

Why? 

Because the sun went down and now it’s night. 

Why the sun go down?

Because the earth rotated and so it looks to us like the sun went down past our horizon as we turned away. It happens every day. 

An then the sun come up. Why? 

Because the earth rotates on its axis and around the sun.

Why?

Mass. 

Why mass?

You’re going to have to study physics to learn more. 

But I can’t go school, I miss my friends. 

Well if you go to sleep you can go to school with your friends and study physics. 

Ok, mama. 

insert emoticon here, storytime with G, The Tiniest Capen

Last night Gwyneth was screaming about how much she didn’t want to go to bed and how she needed Mama, which then transitioned into how much she didn’t want to go to bed and how much she needed Daddy when I came and swapped with him. I lay down next to her, and started telling her a story.

“Once upon a time there was a little girl named Gwyneth.”
She paused in her yelling, looked at me, gathered her breath, and screamed for Daddy again.
“She had a good friend named BaBa who was a little blue dog.”
Pause. Yell.
“And Gwyneth and BaBa decided to go on an adventure. They decided…”
Heaving breathing, but no more yelling.
“…to go find dinosaurs.”
Rapt attention.

Never underestimate the power of distraction, I thought. Once Gwyneth and BaBa had journeyed down the river to the jungle and into the big valley and seen the tyranosauruses and stegosauruses and ridden on the velociraptors, we did a solid 20 minutes of her thrashing and rolling and kicking and twiddling and twisting and basically not falling asleep. And I realized she was 100% distracting herself from sleeping. She was in zombie mode; when she walked into the living room earlier to protest that she was attempting bedtime without a parent (which she had requested ten minutes earlier), she literally was leaning on the wall in order to stay upright. Tired. Zombie. But distracted.

So I started the litany. “Close your eyes.”
She closes her eyes.
“Quiet feet.”
She thrusts her legs out straight and stops kicking.
“A big breath.”
She whooshes a breath in and out.
“Nope, close your eyes.”
They snap shut again.
“Now, snuggle BaBa.”
She tucks him under her chin.  Within moments her eyes are open.
“Close your eyes.”
Then she starts waving BaBa in the air.
“Snuggle BaBa.”
Toes start kicking me.
“Quiet feet.”

And repeat.

Five minutes later, she was out. And I thought, “I could get up and go do stuff. Or I could just hold this little bundle and …” I closed my eyes. Took a big breath. Relaxed my shoulders. And snuggled my daughter.

The Tiniest Capen

Hi

I lie down next to a sleeping Gwyneth, and in adjusting the pillow we share I wake her. Though I can’t see her, I can feel her waking up, her rumpled confusion in the dark. Instinctively, hoping to soothe her, I say “hi.” She answers, without hesitation, a chirpy “hi!” that belies her not-awake-ness. Realizing my mistake, and hoping to redirect, I calmly say “I’m going to sleep.” With equal calm she declares “I wake up.”
And then she burrows into my shoulder and falls back into unconsciousness. 

The Tiniest Capen

Tiny Siren

Find the common thread:

  • the One Cup Of Cider rule
  • wearing a shirt
  • sharing building blocks and design control
  • hairbrushing
  • turning off Daniel Tiger
  • the No Snacks If You Reject Dinner Entirely rule
  • bedtime

If you guessed “things Gwyneth has had screaming angry tantrums about today,” you win a set of raw nerves and a headache. 

I gave in on the shirt, because who the hell cares. But the rest… it’s a wonder she has a voice left. 

I’m assuming we’ve reached “threenager”. I could do without it. Fortunately, she’s remarkable the rest of the time. It really does make up for it. I think the snuggles and kisses and conversations and play are like the hormones that flood your body after childbirth – they fog your mind to the reality of the preceding moments and make it possible to do tomorrow. 

Sitcom life, The Tiniest Capen

Once upon a time there was a being, and it met a girl named Felicity Brewer.

The Being needed Felicity, so she chose him for her own. And her love made The Being grow so big, that the Brewers had to leave their home. The Being’s the best friend anyone could know. “He’s the greatest thing ever. I really think so. The Being’s so loyal, he’s there when you call. I love The Being who sought me out!” So they packed up the family car and the Brewers left the city. They moved to Birdwell Island and found many new friends waiting there to greet The Being and Felicity. “The Being’s so much fun, he’s a friend to us all.
I love The Being who sought us out!”

So, that’s obviously a story pitch for a feeder from another dimension who met a girl, confused her with a perception filter and began eating her emotions, then as it gained power convinced her to move to a remote island where the whole village, drawn by its power, came out to meet them and were assimilated as prey.

Or it’s the theme song to Clifford, the Big Red Dog, with names changed to protect the innocent. Your call.

insert emoticon here, The Tiniest Capen

On Tuesday night, Justin and I left Gwyneth with Kyle (where she happily played hide and seek for at least 2 hours, repeatedly hiding under her bed, which made Kyle’s job a lot easier…) and went out to dinner and a movie. We had a great meal, laughed and clapped at Dr. Strange, and talked. We talked about the Venn Diagram of urban fantasy and space opera themes, and how our various favorites fit into them (the diagram seems to have the following categories: Romance and Sex, Weapon/Fight/Ship porn, Worldbuilding Depth, Metaplot, Character Depth). We talked about Kingdoms of Novitas. We talked about parenting. We talked about life.

We also talked about how I’ve recently increased the dose on my antidepressants, and it seems to be helping. I’m still worried, but I’m acting, whereas for the last few months I was pinned under the anxiety, fully aware of the issues I was facing and unable to find solutions. On Monday I started solving things again. So hooray!

Except then the election happened and the electorate betrayed my belief in who we are as a country. And I spiraled down again, late Tuesday night, after we came back from a perfect evening. I curled into Gwyneth’s bed with her, arm wrapped around her back, my cheek on her head, and wept. And whispered apologies into her sleeping ear. I’m so sorry that I brought you into this world. THIS world. I’m so sorry.

And on Wednesday, having not really slept, I stayed home from work and dealt with myself. I meditated. I did yoga. I went grocery shopping. I cooked. I read. I pet my dog. And I thought.

Here’s where I’ve landed.

Facebook no longer has a place on my phone. If I’m going to check in, I’m doing it sitting at a computer. The echo chamber and the reality channels posing as news are no longer getting pride of place in my personal time. They aren’t going to live in my pocket.

I will do what I can, where I can. That means my family, my friends, my community, and my elected officials. And I will be intentional and thoughtful about voicing my opinions, sharing my concerns, and agitating for change where I can. I will fight for my world. I will fight for my daughter’s world. I will listen to my friend Jill, who is reminding us that social change is possible at the local level, and that the local conversation is what informs the national one.

I will direct my energies in my library into fostering freedom of speech, building an understanding of our governing processes and our history of protest in our student body, and ensuring that everyone — and I mean EVERYONE — feels welcome in Crumb provided that they adhere to actions that support our mission.

And I will not dwell in the horror of what I see in the American people right now. I will remember that Italy has survived Berlusconi, if only barely. I will remember that the Civil Rights Movement was effective. That the Suffragettes succeeded. That feminism is not dead, and that equality is possible. Love can win. I will dwell in that place. Hope is the thing with feathers, and as long as I breathe, I hope.

The Tiniest Capen

This morning during daycare dropoff, as Miss Molly and Miss Elaina cheerfully managed the slightly special needs kid in Gwyn’s class, I walked out with that kid’s grandma. We both stopped in the office to compliment the teachers to their boss. And then we talked outside for a minute.

The grandma told me how grateful she was that the teachers integrate her grandkid, instead of placating or ignoring the “problem” that he can cause. I told her that when Gwyneth recites the list of children she’ll play with at daycare, she includes him in the list. The grandma said “which means they’re *friends*. He has *friends*.” with wonder in her voice. And then went on to say “sometimes he’s just so far ahead, and sometimes he’s really hard. But if you write him off, you’ll miss out. He won’t miss out. But you will.”

Gwyn’s not gonna miss out.

The Tiniest Capen, Uncategorized, working mother

9000 eternities

Time asleep before I was awoken: 4 hours? Maybe 5?

Time spent calmly talking about how it is nighttime and it is time for sleeping to a balls-to-the-wall hysterically screaming toddler who wanted daddy, a show, to sleep on the couch, Maggie, Daddy, and also another show: 45 minutes? An hour? An eternity? 57 eternities?

Time spent observing same toddler as she eats a bag of popcorn while staring off into space like a zombie: half an eternity. 

Time spent adjusting the zombie toddler’s sleeping arrangements to her satisfaction: 2 eternities. 

Time spent trying to remain calm and comfortable at the toddler’s bedside while she busily tries to stay awake in the face of zombie-level exhaustion: 7 eternities. 

Time at which I finally was horizontal on a soft surface in a silent house: 4 am. 

Two nights running. I can do hard things. I do hard things every day. So let’s do this hard thing. Thursday, watch the fuck out. I have eternities of practice patiently waiting out crazy. 

#mightyifitkillsme, misc, The Tiniest Capen

Today I…
  • Worked for 6 hours, then left to run errands which I aborted when I got home in the middle of a rainstorm, opting to be useful at home instead. 
  • Did 80% of the needed toy cleanup in G’s room, including all Mystery Piles and Under The Bed. 
  • Played Horse Ride with G with her castle toys, which I expanded to Moose Ride and Bear Ride because I could. 
  • When G asked, I set up painting for her. 
  • Cleaned paint off G and washed brushes with her. 
  • Sorted the pile of mail on the table. 
  • Made dinner for G. (And by “made” I mean “microwaved some chicken, corn, and tater tots. But she’s two. She was thrilled. She ate it all.)
  • Made myself a sandwich. 
  • Washed the few dishes we’d dirtied.
  • Started a load of towels and folded a small load of laundry. 
  • Folded a big load of G laundry, integrated it with the big load Maggie had folded, and put 75% of it away. Because i was interrupted and then I …
  • Diapered and jammied a sleeping kid, because Captain I Don’t Need A Nap passed out at 7, dead to the world, on the couch. 
  • Put a pork roast in the crock pot so it will be pulled pork before morning, for taking to Camp. 
  • Started packing food for camp, and clothes for the family. 

So now I should go work out, but I’m super tempted to just play CivV. I mean, that was a lot of functional adult behavior, right there… I might be done. 

Or maybe I’ll do both. 

The Tiniest Capen, working mother

Gwyneth started talking last week. I mean, she’s been talking — communicating verbally — for a year and change. But last week she started speaking English.

This morning Justin made an example of greeting the dog when he wandered out of the bedroom, and Gwyn repeated it perfectly: “Hi, Malcolm!”

And when I came out of the bedroom, dressed for work, she started saying goodbye to me. I told her I was going to get breakfast first, and she said “Mama breakfast first.” When I was done with my sandwich, she asked me if I had my shoes.
“And keys?”
“And a hat? “(No, thank you, mama doesn’t need a hat. Does Gwyn want a hat? “No hat Hen.” Okay then. No hats for anyone.)
“Bye bye mama!” (Then she retrieved my wallet from my purse and handed it to me. “Thank you mama!”)
“A hug?”
“And kiss.”
“Keys?”
“Bye!”

She’s like my own personal imp-powered organizer, a-la Pratchett and Vimes.