(What? It's almost over?)
As luck would have it, I've been dropping off and picking up Helena at daycare quite a bit over the last week and some, just because that's the way it's worked out. As such, I've been reading quite a bit, on those métro journeys I make alone. This was all very fine, until I'd decided a few nights ago to throw myself back into Don Quixote, which is big and heavy and is not easily accommodated for transitory reading. And so it was that I found myself staring into space for an entire 7 minutes of subway riding between here and there, and some more minutes of entirely unproductive waiting, which were not even restful, so distraught I was at having nothing to read. Of course, I could've carried a little volume of something else, or a magazine, but I'm worried about disrupting the rhythm I'm currently hell-bent on establishing with Don Quixote.
As it was, when a few days ago I opened Don Quixote to the place I'd marked, the page number was much lower than I'd remembered achieving and the text was familiar, but I'm unable to ascertain whether the bookmark was (re)placed inaccurately or if my doubt stems from the combination of wishful thinking as to my previous progress and simply being attuned since the start of the calendar year to all things DQ, leading to a sense of familiarity with the text equalling that as if I'd actually read it.
The day-to-day stuff
We attended a parent–educator meeting at the daycare this week, a general presentation to the group of us about their rules and routines. Very boring. (Excruciating for J-F, as we were pressed to make it home in time to watch the first NHL game in 524 days. Yes, he counted the days.)
We heard in great detail about the menu. And how the kids have tasks (like distributing milk glasses), and take turns, and make decisions about activities as a group. We met Brindami, the paper mouse on a stick (shades of Mr. Hat) — I couldn't help but notice that his head has been ripped off a number of times, as evidence by the cast of tape he wore around his neck.
The biggest surprise is how busy their schedule is; I knew they had regular activities, but it's much more impressive on paper than when it simply buzzes around in my head. Every Monday: music lesson. Every other Tuesday: the gym. Every other Thursday: the library. Every Friday: dance class. (Not to mention the daily washing up for snacktime, snacking, washing up after snacktime; washing up for lunch, lunching, washing up after lunch; preparing for naps, napping; washing up for another snacktime, snacking, and cleaning up.) They're busy! And on top of this, special excursions — this Wednesday it was the botanical gardens; a couple weeks back, they went to see dinosaurs; today was supposed to be apple-picking, but cancelled due to rain. So, while I sometimes feel guilty for not keeping Helena home with me (particularly when work is slow), sometimes I don't.
The only mystery to me is where Helena's learning her letters and numbers, seeing as they have no "academic" program as such. I guess she's just piecing it all together for herself from various unstructured input.
Next week is the daycare's annual general meeting, which we've already committed to attending, and J-F, it turns out, is unable to attend, and I'm dreading facing it alone, not least because of my inadequate French, not to mention poor general social skills. Ugh.
Assorted cute things
Helena is being generally adorable and lovely, with me anyway.
In the bath, with her squirty frog toy: "La grenouille fait pipi a la bouche!"
At the grocery store, which is crawling with (decorative) huge black hairy spiders — as big as Helena: she tries to hide from them and plays scared.
She met une sorcière at la garderie this week, with a very big nose and a black hat, but it's ok because she was very nice. There was much spinning.
Helena's received her first invitation, to a real birthday party, of a classmate, to take place at the end of the month. (How much money are we supposed to spend on a present? Do I have to run it by the parents first?)
I had to stop at the pharmacy on the way home last night, and Helena was very excited about accompanying me. Then she started asking where the pigs and cows are. (If it's taking you as long as it took me to figure out: she expected farm, was rather disappointed by pharmacy.)
Not so cute
Last night, J-F gave Helena her bath (even though there was a hockey game on), for the first time in a very long time. We've gone through phases of bathing her together or regularly taking turns, but the routine somehow always falls apart, and the task inevitably falls to me alone. While I generally don't mind — we enjoy water play and I (usually) want to spend as much waking time with the girl as possible (given that she goes daily to daycare) — it still breeds resentment.
Last night's bath was one long continuous scream. (The kind that's an actual scream, not in the sense of "it was great, what a scream.") The sort of scream that makes me want to jump in and say, oh here, just let me do it, it'll be easier, no big deal. Which I've done way too often in the past.
Ditto regarding the "task" of bedtime (the pj's, the story, the tucking in). My job. And waking up. And going to the park. And after-supper walks. And pretty much everything. My job.
The two of them have got to figure something out. And I think not just for the sake of my sanity, me wanting a break.
This is related to the fact that J-F sees our parenting roles as good cop/bad cop, and he's resigned himself to being bad cop, cuz you can't be both. (By corollary, I'm not "bad" enough often enough.) I'm not convinced it has to be that way.
I've discovered FlyLady. Some of you have mentioned her before, to me even. But why didn't you make sure I was paying attention?! I'm so full of hope, now, for an organized and orderly home!
One book I zipped through at the beginning of the week: The.Powerbook, by Jeanette Winterson. (Extract.)
(One reason I'd avoided it while simultaneously being drawn to it is that upon reading the description it sounded much like an idea I've had buzzing 'round my head for years already, thinking that were I ever to write a novel it would be something like this. Of course, having read it now, I know my idea, and whatever novel might result, is nothing like this. Phew.)
I was confused at first, but soon enough I was mesmerized by the prose, and the story unfurled itself to me.
I went through a phase of reading, and loving, Winterson in my early college years, probably as much for the illicit thrill of her stories as for the beautiful prose. But after a while, I no longer felt compelled to read her latest, as if by settling into my own sexuality I no longer had need for her explorations.
There's something very unsettling about this book, even as I melt into her words. It's almost as if maybe, just maybe, I've never actually been in love after all.