Friday, January 14, 2011

Personal Space

Amidst the joys of watching EC learn to do all sorts of new things  - sit up, roll over (sorry, that makes her sound a little like a dog, doesn't it?), play with toys- and watching my two home-schooled kids develop new interests and skills, I find that I am grieving the loss of personal space a bit.  And also the space that has grown-ups in it.  Let me set the scene for you:

I've been trying to wake up earlier and earlier in the morning, hoping for just a tiny window of time to call my own.  I creep quietly down the stairs only to turn a corner and find that one child (let's call her "Sally") is already there to greet me.  I feign a smile and a half-hearted "good morning".  I walk over to sit on the couch, hoping for a few minutes of quiet reading before the day REALLY gets going.  Sally follows me to the couch where she sits down and prepares to stare at me while I am reading.  This is disconcerting.  I ask if she has something to do.  She says no.  I suggest a few things that might take her out of my space.  She does not bite.  I query further - is she sure she's had enough sleep?  Wouldn't she like to go back to bed?  She would not.   Side note here:  I have never understood why children want to stay up as late as possible, get up as early as possible, and never want to nap.  It's as if they think that there is some secret world that exists during the time they are asleep.  Their only hope in accessing this world is to stay awake as much as possible.  Adults, on the other hand, know that this secret world is only inhabited by taxes, telemarketers, dishes, and laundry, and are happiest when they can sleep and avoid entering the secret world.

Back to Sally.  She continues to stare at me.  I can't concentrate on what I am reading.  I get up.  She follows me.  Everywhere.  Finally I pretend to go to the bathroom where I just sit.  At least here I am alone.  Eventually, I have to come out.  I would like someone to build a bathroom large enough for a small sofa -- then I would stay in there longer.  The one seat that bathrooms normally come equipped with is only so cozy.  Now the next child (we'll call him "Bob") is awake.  He's been standing outside of the bathroom door waiting for me.  He notes that he didn't hear a "flush".  I tell him he is mistaken.  He's been waiting for me so that he can tell me three things:

1.  10 minutes of lines from the movie he watched the previous evening.  He prefaces this by telling me it will just take a second.
2.  The dream he had about the movie that he watched last night.
3.  His idea for a planet where no one would ever sleep and no one would ever be alone.  (OK - that was actually MY dream from last night...)

I try to grab a bit of morning news and adult conversation (albeit one-sided) by watching the Today show while simultaneously trying to eat some breakfast and nurse the baby.  Sally and Bob join me.  Sally comments on Merideth Viera's new haircut and Matt Lauer's suit.  Bob wonders if the camera men enjoy their job.  I do not want Sally and Bob in this space.  I don't want them to become friends with Meredith and Matt.  They are MY friends.  Adult friends who don't want anything from me.  They just want to entertain me and share important news with me.  Desperately hoping to buy myself a few minutes, I ask them if they've made their beds.  They lie and say they have, but since I don't want to leave Meredith and Matt, and am nursing the baby while also drinking a glass of juice and washing down a multi-vitamin, I'm not that mobile anyway, so I don't realize this is a lie until it's too late.  Finally the baby is finished nursing and I put her down and loudly state, for all to hear, that I need to use the bathroom.  Again.

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