Little House In the Suburbs

2014-12-21 09.50.57

Today is not a good day to start things. Jon is down with the flu and the house is recovering from an influx of Christmas decorations and presents, and the general chaos caused by two working parents with various hobbies and two small children with more toys than a small nation.

While writing this sentence, I’ve set up Jessie’s paints and found Maddox orange and red for a volcano, fielded a disagreement about whether to wash your brush in between paint colors to keep the paints from getting ugly, cleaned up the paints off the floor with Maddox, duct taped a sword back together thrice, narrowly avoided milk on the rug with a hasty switch from a glass to a sippy cup in a cardboard block construction zone, heated up leftover pizza (yes, for breakfast) and demystified the “green specks on the top” as oregano. This is after everyone gets up and dressed, had iPad time, and mom’s had green tea and cleaned up the inevitable cat puke off the rug. I’ve also admired some “very handsome burps” and pretended to eat a block for breakfast and the amusement of a small, pink tyrant who is currently “stuck” to a green chair in order to avoid having to fetch things for herself.

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This is a pretty normal weekend morning, aside from Jon being sick, and is actually pretty great (again, aside from Jon being sick). I wouldn’t change the pace of our life, and would add to the chaos with #3 and #4 if it didn’t mean college debts for everyone and the whole gestation/lactation gig again. I would, however, like to continue to make general changes, even if it’s a slower process than it might otherwise be.

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Having less stuff. For a minimalist, or at least a parent and crafter (two labels that are not generally associated with less stuff), I’d like to have less clutter around the house. Seeing all of the surfaces in our house is never going to happen, but unburying them periodically (and having and getting less stuff to bury them with) is a good thing to keep up. Also, it helps to continue to move out stuff that is no longer beautiful or useful (and not just bagging it and leaving it but removing it from the premises entirely). This is a difficult thing to work on during the holiday season, but I hear it’s entirely possible.

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Reducing the evil presence of flour and processed sugar in our diet. This is particularly difficult for me, as I love sweets and baked goods. Also, the kids love baking, and it’s an activity we can all get behind because, I mean, cupcakes.

Finally, I’d like to simultaneously provide stronger limits on the kids’ iPad time while also encouraging them to play more on their own, or with each other (i.e. with less helicopter parenting). I love pretending to be a banana that is eaten by a monster plant then flushed down the potty into the ocean as much as the next girl (seriously, you should try it) but one cannot emulate a fruit (a starch? I dub thee a fruitstarch.) for all waking hours. For one, you start questioning whether you do actually need to wear pants because do fruitstarches need pants? I think not. For another, your kids grow up with the added expense of needing to hire a troupe of entertainers at all times and they have to save all that cash for professional gambling at Foxwoods (see, we have a fallback in case we have an oops baby and college doesn’t work out for someone).

Life will indeed smack us in the face with a good or a bad something (a last minute birthday party to shop for, sickness, potty training, another fruit fly explosion, overloading our work schedules, anything) but the thing is to try to continue to grow, even with everything going on, but with generosity to ourselves and the understanding that choices and change are part of the every day march, not a extra to do list, or a standalone project to try during free time.

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