However, I think I drew satisfaction from the managing of their care, not their entertainment. I liked rocking them to sleep and being responsible for their eating habits and watching them grow. Serious persuits. I don't think the craftiness or the play time or The Wheels on the Bus ever really came naturally to me. And now that the girls are getting older, as their physical needs are lessening and their imaginary play is growing more elaborate, my sense of accomplishment and feelings of being a good fit for this job are sliding away.
I'm resistant to doing laps around the house holding on to the end of a jump rope because Maggie is pretending to be a dog and I've been ordered to take her for a walk. I really don't want to spend time trying to find something for snack that resembles fish food because Kate is a baby dolphin whale today. I would rather stick two sharpened pencils in my ears than have to go to Sing-a-long Hour at the library. I'm just not cut out for playing dress up. I mean, I didn't really have much of a child-like demeanor when I was a child, and now I'm going grey.
This morning, Maggie is at preschool, and even though Kate mentioned wanting to go to the bookstore (to buy a stuffed animal fish to go with the one she already has, not books...???), I am writing at the computer while she watches Octonauts all by herself. I am not proud of this. But lately my mind wanders. There is so much fascinating stuff going on elsewhere, at least I can read about it online! Poor Kate, second-born, gets the tail end of my enthusiasm for being a stay-at-home-mom. I know I tried a lot harder with Maggie. I worried a lot more about Maggie being alone and needing my attention. Creating fun activities for toddlers seemed like a novel challenge then. I was blazing a trail. And now Kate, who may be less fearless but more social than Maggie, who may need more time at home with Mommy, has a hard time getting my attention.
Being highly analytic, I have been puzzling about what exactly is going on with me. Have I just reached an age that I don't particularly love? It happens. Some people (even women) don't get along well with babies but are wildly successful with teenagers. Some people adore cuddly newborns, despite the sleep deprivation, and then flounder with I-wanna-do-it-myself-ers. Am I simply caught at a pretty pink princess crossroads without a map for this sort of adventure?
Or perhaps I'm just in a funk. I recently went through a temporary (year-long) loss of blogging mojo (as you may have noticed), and now I'm bouncing back. Maybe I'm just battling with
Maybe I just need to just hike up my big girl panties and reinvent the wheel. Maybe I need a new way of doing things to freshen up the day-to-day a bit. Renew my dedication to doing my best. That's certainly a more proactive approach than waiting for a revelation.
In the end, I packed up my bad attitude and took Kate to the library. We bummed around the kids' section with her stuffed fish and picked out some books and DVDs. On the way home, she declared that she would have pizza and peanut butter and jelly for lunch, so we made peanut butter pizzas - English muffins, toasted and spread with peanut butter, topped with yogurt raisins. Maggie was invited to a friend's house for a playdate after school, so it was just me and Kate again, hanging out. We watched some Ni Hao Kai-lan and read some library books. We ate a snack (just nutrigrain bars, not fish food). She helped me fold some laundry. And I listened to some long, rambling stories about cats and babies and I don't know what, but Kate was really excited about it. We laughed and cuddled on the couch and enjoyed ourselves.
I just need to remind myself to meet her half-way. With a little compromise, we can find our way through the next couple of years as she gains her independence and follows her sister off to school. And maybe I can eke out and hour for myself here and there to write and read and think. Wild Kratts is a pretty good show, actually. It won't melt her brain to watch an episode here and there while Mommy dreams about the future.