Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Payoff

Monday, Labor Day. Kids aren’t in school. The youngest two assume that means they don’t actually have to do anything, like clear their breakfast dishes, brush teeth or flush the toilet. The oldest one, on her own and without any screeching from me, rounds up all the laundry, sorts it, and throws a load in the wash. This is not her assigned chore of the day. This is voluntary. So in spite of the flying hormones recently, I think we’ll keep her. In fact, in the “who’s mom’s favorite” fight, she just gained some extra points.
The four year old asked me to open a portable doll house that she and her friends wanted to play with but couldn’t unhook. After I opened it, she went downstairs singing, “Look what my Mommy did! My Mommy, Mommy, Mommy did!” I am SuperWoman!
Last night, the Whislter, AKA 6 year old, snuggled up to me and asked if she could read me a book. Heck yes, kid. I’ll just close my eyes and listen as you giggle your way through Junie B. Jones.
I’m feeling sentimental. Must be the Delivery Hormones kicking in. My home is clean, my car is clean (I recently removed all the seats and spent hours vacuuming out the congealed biomass), my bag is packed, my church assignments are passed on to other women and my fridge is stocked. I didn’t can any tomatoes this year, in spite of the abundance, but we probably won’t starve anyway. I charged my Ipod and cell phone and camera(s). I have babysitters lined up. And tomorrow, I’ll have another child, regardless of what my body decides to do or not do on its own. I’m not excited about midnight feedings. I’m not excited about my end-of-the-day breakdowns that have come postpartum, every single time. I’m not thrilled about poopy diapers, moving my breakables out of reach, or all the diet and exercise that I’ll have to do to get back to the pre-baby weight.
But, then, my children do something sweet and unexpected and I think, “Ah, so that’s why.” And suddenly I’m sad that this will be my last baby.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Peacable Murderous Life

You’ll be happy to know that I’m single-handedly supporting a vast and diverse wildlife population, all in my garden and garage. I have the habit of harvesting in the early morning hours, when the tomato leaves release their scent and the crickets haven’t started attacking. Usually, it’s a very still time. Birds aren’t chasing meals, and unless there’s a breeze, the whole world seems very peaceful and contemplative. But, this morning as I carried my bucket, I noticed lots of scurrying underfoot. Leaves rustling from the ground up and bugs being disturbed in areas of the garden far away from where I stood. I walked to the edge of the garden and watched. Sure enough, I saw at least 5 mice running around, thrilled with all the work I’d done for them throughout the summer.
That would also explain our newest resident, the Striped Whipsnake.
He came to my attention 2 days ago as I walked past the garden on my way to the garage with the 4 year old. Apparently, he’s found a nice city location: the garage as condo, the garden as restaurant.
Now, you’ve got to understand that the 4 year old is not like the rest of the family. The oldest would often watch ants for hours, poking holes in their nests to see them carry their babies to safety, trying to label them with their various jobs (guard, builder, nurse). The middle child, while not as interested in the inner workings of creepy crawly life, doesn’t mind being out and about in nature. She’ll notice unusual lifeforms and will often bring me to the back yard to look at a brightly colored beetle. The youngest child? She collects roly poly bugs, which I’m sure they enjoy, but other than that, she has nothing to do with anything walking around on more or fewer than 2 legs. In fact, she screams hysterically if she even sees a spider, which really stinks for her, being my child and all. “Yup, that’s a spider,” I say. “Whatcha gonna do about it?” To which she replies, “AHHHHHHH!!!!”
I tell my kids they can choose one thing to be scared of, and it can’t be spiders. I hate that girl-scream. I hate whimpy chicks who do the freaky dance every time a bee flies by. And I especially hate girls who can’t even kill the spider they’re so afraid of. Bunch of pansies. So, of course, I get one of those because God has that much of a sense of humor.
Point being, a snake living between our garage and the garden is not good for my sanity. Not because I mind the non-venomous snake, but because I need my youngest kid to be able to walk past the garage and the garden without me carrying her. I’ve got enough weight to tote around. I don’t need the extra screaming 35 lbs.
And when winter sets in, I know what’s going to happen. The mice will move from the garden to the warm garage. Where the warm car with the warm engine will be housed. And the snake will curl up in obscure places unreachable by human touch, coming out only to feast or to frighten the 4 year old. And suddenly, the Texas roaches aren’t looking so bad.