Monday, February 8, 2010

Memo to Nolie: 2010 Version.

Big, fat flakes are falling today, and the house seems incredibly quiet. We had lots of little kids stampeding around last night, and the television blaring, for Superbowl Sunday. The whole thing was bananas, and loads of fun. I have a feeling we might be finding chips in funny places for a while.

Speaking of quiet, or the lack thereof, have I mentioned that Nolie is a non-stop motormouth these days? I mean, to the point of quite nearly driving me bananas? Because no matter what I'm doing, no matter how much attention I'm paying her, it is always this:

Mama, why don't you be the mama and I'll be the baby. Pretend your name is Jane and my name is Molly. I'm a newborn baby and I cry and you check on me to make sure I'm okay and feed me my bottle. No, I'll be Jane, and you be the daddy, and you make me go to bed and then I cry. Why are you doing that? What is that you're doing? Can I see that? That's totally YUCKY! I would never eat that. But I'll keep that a secret because it's good manners to not say yucky, right mama? Mommy, can I have a snack? But I'm starving! My stomach hurts! No I DON'T have to go potty! That is STUPID that this is a no-whining zone! That's STUPID! I don't care that it's a strong word! I'm MAD at you!

Mommy? Can I have a bite?

I'm reading a book M. bought me called Beyond Blue, and the writer Therese Bouchard talks about how new mothers are much more likely to develop or re-enter mental illnesses than non-mothers. She writes that highly sensitive people are "less tolderant of loud noises, chaos, and just about everything else that kids create."

I'm not a new mom or anything, and I don't know if I'm a "highly sensitive person" or not, but I do struggle with not having "five minutes' peace" (a continual refrain around here, as in, "you kids go on so I can have just five minutes' peace," or "honey, can you take the kids to school today so I can have just five minutes' peace?"). Mostly, I think I'm someone who likes quite a bit of quiet and order, punctuated by bananas social events now and then to make me feel alive. But mostly quiet and order.

Nolie has not yet received that memo.

It's odd, because Nolie is how I imagine myself as a little kid--inquisitive, loud, checking everything out, physical, a ham. Addie, though, is much more like me now. Needing lots of inner time during the day, needing one-on-one time to open up, preferring books to outings. Nolie is super-resilient, Addie sensitive and raw.

Or maybe I'm both, and they're both. I was telling friends about a student who was in my film class last year--he introduced himself on the first day of class as a gun-lover, and maybe even said he was a member of the NRA. But he gave a really great, deep performance in his student film, and then I found out last weekend he's a cheerleader for the school. Which suggests to me that it is not a good idea to put people in boxes, tempting as it might be, and I shouldn't put myself or my girls in boxes either. Yet I try to see them and see myself and make sense of it all, too. We need the narratives and have to resist them being totalizing.

Tough stuff. It's a lot easier to just watch that snow fall today, and to enjoy the squirrels skiing down the neighbor's roof.

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