Simply on a street-and-bystander level, I like the respect that comes from having two kids. The unsolicited advice seems to have vaporized. No more “oh just wait until you have two/she’s older/she’s starts walking” etc etc. The sight of me coming down the street with the girls seems to garner some awe. Perhaps a fleeting moment of pity. A few “My, you really have your hands full.” Not exactly compliments, but there is a little music to them.
Almost every month we drop a bag of stuff at Goodwill, but for the first time recently, a couple of the things that went were things I really liked. That’s a good sign. It’s bad if you’re purging junk–how did it get into your home the first place? But if you getting rid of things you like because they’ve come to the end of a good life, been rendered irrelevant or replaced with a better fit (like our kitchen table), then things are really getting shipshape.
But I did cringe to see go the table we found as newlyweds at the Cambridge Antique Market. We bought it from a dealer who meticulously wrote full paragraphs on the tags he attached to each item. Before we purchased the table we spent twenty minutes just reading the mini histories he had recorded. Each side of the table folded down completely. That was great for our old apartment where dinner parties began with drinks on “the sideboard” and then we sat down to dinner at the now-table.
But the flip side is that we have a new table that fits our small kitchen and the four of us just right.
This brings me to another perk of two: cleaning my house. I’ve realized I cannot not clean my apartment just because I have a child under foot. Because they’re never not under foot. I’m allowed to say, “I can’t read Curious George right now, I’m cleaning.” I’m allowed to expect Lux to entertain herself that long. I’m allowed to shrug my shoulders at her bored-face and let her find her own fun.
After a few real miscalculations, I’ve banned errands that implicitly value my time below minimum wage. A 40-minute trip to a consignment shop for a chance at $8 in store credit? No thank you. When I get a gift for the girls in the mail, I send a text message or email to say thank you right away, and leave it at that. The gracious days of a written note have slipped away, at least for a while.
I’ve started answering the phone again. If I don’t pick up now, my wary thinking goes, I might have to listen to a voicemail later. So I pick up.
I see that I’m becoming manically efficient. With Lux, I was always doing these small trips to the grocery store, lugging one overpacked bag back with me on the stroller. I go to the store once a week. I spend enough to initiate free delivery. I’ve finally started planning more than one dinner in advance. Finally started my dinner journal that I’ve been meaning to do for a year or two. Finally typed up a list of my typical grocery list, with space for additions and printed it off.
I don’t say this to boast. Just puttering over the things here and there that seem to have gotten easier, and almost in awe of the things that are falling into place.