Notes for Summer Vacation

by Rachael on April 23, 2014

Prospect Park daffodils

L’s long break from school has finally come to an end. I wanted it to be good, but it sucked. Every day, a new argument erupted. I think I made it through one day without yelling at anyone, but I’m not sure, because yesterday L tore up my sticker chart. He was angry at me for intervening after he pushed down his little brother. So yeah, that just about sums up our spring break.

In the end, I decided the best I could do was take notes for the summer, when L will be taking a class at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden but will otherwise be with me most of the time.

  1. Get out of the apartment in the morning. Waiting until after the Gnome’s nap to go on an outing is waiting too long.
  2. Have a plan: a plan for an outing, a plan for a playdate, something.
  3. Create a new routine, and stick to it. With two spirited people in the family, ambiguity creates opportunities for disorder and conflict.
  4. Keep the apartment tidy. Because disorder creates opportunities for ambiguity and conflict.
  5. Don’t try to do too much.

I’m also planning for a lighter workload this summer, but what came clear to me yesterday is that my core conflict as a parent isn’t really between “work” and “life” (which is a bullshit distinction) or “work” and “family” but between my Mommy self and my secret self. That is, the part of myself that needs time to itself not just to write or read or space out or whatever, but to take refuge from the barrage of questions, requests, demands, and complaints that by about 4:00 or so on any given day have completely depleted my ego. This paragraph from a review of Rachel Zucker’s work by Stephen Burt strikes me as exactly right.

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At Last

by Rachael on April 11, 2014

At last, the daffodils.

daffodil hill

As I remember it, last year they were already blooming in March. This blog tells me otherwise. Anyway, this year, the wait felt long.

I’m working on a book now: slowly, slowly, draft after shitty draft. Eventually, I believe, the effort will bear fruit.

Thank goodness that so many things come to fruition without any effort on my part. Such as spring! All I had to do was wait for it.

above the cranford rose garden

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Back to the Beginning

March 24, 2014

Last spring I announced a blogging schedule, but in the months that followed, I gradually stopped following the schedule. This year, I’ve posted only occasionally, just as I did in the first couple years of this blog. Though I’d like to commit to a posting schedule — once a week, on Fridays? — I’ve found […]

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Happy Birthday, Little Gnome!

February 25, 2014

Saturday was his birthday, so Grandma and Grandpa came from Connecticut and we went to the New York Transit Museum, because among his favorite things of course are trains, which he calls nee. For an hour or so he ran up and down all the old nee while the rest of us tried to keep […]

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Friday I’m In Love

February 12, 2014

These days my favorite day is Friday, and my favorite part of each Friday usually happens right after L and I pick up the Gnome from day care, when Brian meets up with us somewhere along Cortelyou Road. At the end of a long, hard week, our family is reunited for a lazy evening at […]

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No Big Deal

February 7, 2014

January was hard, and before that December was hard, and before that I hardly remember November at all. Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to see how long I can go without yelling at anyone. So far my limit is four days, and as of this morning I think I’m back to zero. Someone suggested that I […]

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{this moment}

January 24, 2014

A Friday ritual inspired by SouleMama …

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{this moment}

January 17, 2014

A Friday ritual inspired by SouleMama … We went to the American Museum of Natural History last weekend mostly for the dinosaurs, of course, and despite the many, many tourists everywhere and the institutional setting, the remains of these ancient creatures are untamed and powerful. “I love it ’cuz it freaks me out,” said L […]

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Ordinary Time

January 7, 2014

We greeted the new year as we usually do, quietly. I wrote no resolutions and designated no Word of the Year. This year, I plan to work on establishing one new habit each month. I don’t know what all of the twelve habits will be. This month’s habit is to get dressed before breakfast every […]

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What Christmas Is All About

December 25, 2013

The day after we returned home from our Thanksgiving holiday, I realized that it was now December, and I could freely play Christmas music. I asked L what he wanted to hear, and (of course) he chose “A Charlie Brown Christmas” — my favorite, too. I often used to cry when I listened to Vince […]

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