No, I’m not in labor. But I’m close, and that’s pretty much all I can think about, so excuse me while I go obsess over cleaning my baseboards and organizing onesies.
Have so much I want to write about, but just… Can’t… Think… Straight. Brittany Maynard, therapy, collective storytelling, body acceptance… I’m thinking about it, I swear. Just can’t get it out right now. Like that sneeze that never comes, ya know?
In the meantime, here are some recent pictures of the Taters, currently three, soon to be four. Still haven’t thought of a nickname for the Fater. Any ideas?
I’m still in the weeds.
The days are slipping by like an endless rosary, and I can’t decide whether this circular existence is meditative or torturous. Feeding, playing, cleaning, sleeping, teaching, disciplining, feeding, playing, cleaning, sleeping, feeding…
I get frustrated, because I don’t feel like I’m progressing.
Perspective is slippery. I look at my life now, and think, I wish I could tell my one-child-having-self to relax and stop sweating the little stuff, don’t hover. That person would look back and tell my childless self to enjoy all that flexibility and free time. That person would look back and tell my young, single self to get up and not waste so much damn time. And money. That person would look back and tell my teenage self to stand a little taller and prouder, stop caring so much about what others thought. That person would look back into my childhood, and imagine all the things that could have been, or should have been.
Then, my mind curls back to the present, and I look at my children. If my inner mother squints just right, I can’t tell the difference between my children and myself. What do I do as a parent that is truly about them? Is it really about me, talking to a former self? It is wrong, if I merge and detach from my children so many times a day? Is this progress, or is it just an endless treadmill?
When I watch my children play I’m often surprised by the sheer amount of repetition they do. Stack the block. Knock it down. Stack. Knock. Stack. Knock. Again. Jump over the puddle. Jump in the puddle. Jump over. In. Over. In. Over. Again.
To most adult minds it seems useless. Why go back to where you’ve already been? We trick ourselves into thinking that being in one place, doing one thing, means we have learned all there is to learn. So I get frustrated that my days seem to be filled with the same tasks. I take a deep breath when I have to empty the dishwasher again after breakfast is over. Again.
But children understand something that we adults love to forget. They instinctively go back to the same things over and over again, and their minds catch every tiny difference. So they learn, exactly how far a block can be placed off center before it tumbles. They learn the infinite variations of water droplets on a rainy day. They know that repetition is the doorway to depth. I have to wonder how much I lose by thinking that my past is somewhere only to remember, to put away in a box for safekeeping.
So I’m trying to do the same as my children. I’m trying to walk my past, in their present, whether it seems mundane or not. And when I think back on all my former selves, I can learn again instead of thinking I’ve really moved beyond. That’s progress, right?
After graduating from culinary school, I worked in the kitchen of a fairly schmancy restaurant in San Francisco. (Yes, culinary school, you’re surprised, I know. So were my parents, since a culinary degree isn’t really the natural second step after a bachelor’s in psychology. But I digress…)
In professional kitchens, sometimes a cook will declare, “I’m in the weeds.” No, not that kind of weed. (Although, I think that kind of weed can get one into the proverbial weeds if unwisely used.) It means you’re behind. As in, service starts in twenty minutes and you’ve still got to pump out a batch of beurre blanc, poach that rhubarb for the foie gras, make three more purees, and you just burnt your port wine reduction. And someone just stole the one pan that you need to make the one thing, and no other pan will do. Working as a line cook did not help my hoarding tendencies, let me tell you.
It isn’t as if the restaurant can tell all those people waiting outside that, oh, sorry, we need a few more minutes because Jisun just burned her port reduction. Time marches on, and somehow you need to dig your way out. Often, with the help of kind coworkers, I did manage to figure it out, and my time in the weeds came less and less often.
I’m not at the restaurant anymore, but holy schmoly, am I in the weeds. Tall, scratchy, never-ending weeds.
(Here, I must apologize for announcing that I was pregnant and then promptly disappearing from the internet. Don’t worry, everything is ok. Latke is fine, the Taters are fine, I’m fine, the fetal Tater is doing just fine. Fetal + Tater = Fater?)
I got sick. Really, effing sick. I never got an official diagnosis of hyperemesis gravidarium, but that’s pretty much what I had. Couldn’t eat, couldn’t drink, dehydrated, puked every time I smelled anything at all. Ultimately, I lost some weight, which is not what you want when trying to grow an entire person. As an aside, I don’t think many people understand what it is about smells and having very bad morning sickness. It isn’t just the typically bad smells. Sure, car exhaust, cigarette smoke, rotten fish, those are very bad. However, so too are the smells of soap, freshly cut grass, and garlic. Even just stale elevator air can do it. Everyone’s triggers are different, of course, but it is about smells in general, not just bad ones.
Anyways. I spent the better part of four months curled up in a fetal position while my kids watched Frozen over and over (and over) again. Every now and then I’d get up to make them food, eat a couple bites myself, hurl, then lay back down on the couch again. It was just wondrous.
Latke really tried, but taking care of your sick wife, three kids, working 50 hours a week, and doing anything outside of the Essential-Matter-of-Life-and-Death category is just not possible. Once I finally started to feel better, I looked up, and it was official. The Kimchi Latkes household was in the weeds.
I just can’t seem to get it together again. No matter how many loads of laundry I do, how many things I organize, how many items I cross off the list. I’m still in that field of weeds.
Fortunately, like the restaurant, there are good people with me and Latke. Family who came to take the kids for overnights, friends who brought food and pitched in to get the house cleaned for us, strangers who helped when they saw me turning green as the kids ran in opposite directions at the un-fenced park.
In the meantime, the Fater seems to have grown despite almost killing me. I’m 22 weeks pregnant and all seems well. Anyone volunteering to carry this baby for the remaining 18 weeks, please email me.
I should probably not be too concerned about the weeds. Sunsets, hot summer days, hummingbirds. They’ll all exist whether or not I’m in the weeds. So I figure, no matter how many piles of laundry I’ve got, how many blog posts I’ve failed to write, and how many dishes are in the sink, I should still take the time to look up and appreciate the rest of my life. Mouse is learning how to read and write, which is sweet and somewhat hilarious (the English language is sort of messed up, dude). Chipmunk is busy trying to grow up so she can be the same age as her sister (I haven’t quite managed to get through to her about the whole space-time continuum yet). LP is close to walking and has a very demanding schedule of house destruction that he adheres to every day. He’s not one to shirk his duties, you know.
* Note: Anyone I owe anything to, I’m really sorry. I’m trying to dig my way out, I haven’t forgotten about you, can we still be friends?