Life Between

We are teetering on the edge between seasons, the fine line between End of Summer, Fall, and Winter Is Almost Here.  We light the wood stove, sometimes.  We prepare firewood and collect kindling from the surrounding forest.  We stack wood and briquettes, even though half of the shipment came in yellowing and moldy, and the Beard re-organizes the wood and tool shed.  I enjoy the light of the fire as is tumbles and turns, twitching behind the glass of the wood stove door, but I am not ready.  The laziness of summer is still upon me.  I just want to curl up and write, and read.  Not to do chores and stack wood and light wood stoves.

Winter is at preschool for most of the day.  Time is no longer such a rare commodity, but it still feels like such.  I frantically work on my computer all day, avoiding real-world activities because those, theoretically, are ones I could complete with a toddler at my side.  The most unexpected result of having a child has been the sharpening of my focus.  The bullshit has fallen to the gutter and been swept away, and for the first time in my life, I am interested in a series of events one might call “a career.”  It is strange, but exciting.  I should probably spend less time on the computer, but it will take me another few weeks (months? years?) to stop trying to hoard time.

It feels good to be writing, to have so much time to write.  Sometimes for clients—today I am writing a short guide to Hamburg for one—sometimes for pet projects, sometimes for myself.  I have thrown myself back into the creation of fiction and am enjoying the feeling of being swept away into a world of my own creation, bleak as those worlds tend to be.  When Winter gets home, I feel like it is the perfect time for a break; it is not an interruption.

Winter is becoming more interesting as she learns to talk, as she becomes more and more independent.  On the train she sits on a chair by my side and looks out the window.  Outside she bakes sand cakes that we pretend to eat, piles screws on the table as we build, takes her doll for a walk down the path that leads to our neighbors while we drink coffee on the porch.  I love listening to her talk, to her pretend to read books out loud (a few memorized words between a language she has invented), to speak German to her dolls and English to me.  We watch old movies and eat popcorn.  “I want you to cuddle me,” she tells me.  I should record more of what she says.  It is all wonderful, and so much of it is forgotten between the moment when she speaks and the moment when I sit down to write.

How are you?

12 Comments on “Life Between

  1. It’s so interesting to watch kids learning a language, isn’t it? Especially more than one at a time. My little French-German friend who’s two and a half can even translate between the two, and it’s the cutest thing ever.

    The changing of the seasons is always such a nice time. I usually go back and forth between lazy and motivated to get stuff done.

    I know it’s a bit late, but I really love your new site design!

  2. Dude! The language learning is def the coolest thing to watch. Fascinating. Especially when it’s two at once.

    Well, at least I’m not the only one who experiences some Fall laziness. The whole beginning of school weather feeling…well I’m used to Septemeber meaning more activity. Not used to this feeling. Usually Im energized by the change and the whole shebang. Not this year.

    Thanks on the site design! It’s nice to have a change of scenery after seven years. 🙂

  3. Did you “rename” your daughter to go with the site redesign, or was there another explanation that I missed?

    I’m enjoying sunny days with blue skies in Pittsburgh! It was cold on Monday but warmed up again; we haven’t used our furnace yet. This season is much sweeter to me when I recall how queasy and exhausted I felt when the weather was like this last year…. My daughter is almost 5 months old now. She can roll over and is fascinated by her hands. She loves to look at books and, if left alone with one, will struggle intently to turn a page, then study the page for 2-3 minutes before she tries to turn it. Many of her activities require loud narration, ranging from a long moan of effort and frustration to a high-pitched shriek of glee.

    • I did! Sorry, I keep meaning to do an explicit post about that…

      I can no longer even really (like really REALLY) remember what it felt like to have a five month old. Right now Winter is standing next to me singing Row Row Row Your Boat.

  4. Some time ago I read that for every language you can speak and understand in addition to your first language, you’ll add ten points to your IQ. Another way to make your kids smarter is to tickle them (not mercilessly, of course); studies have shown that it speeds up synaptic connections.

    And I’m with Becca- I thought you were calling her Pickle to preserve her anonymity; is Winter her real name?

    • No Winter isn’t her real name. Just a new fake name. Pickles felt too young and just not…right. She was born in Winter, and I wanted something that sounded like it could be an actual name.

  5. Our lads speak English or German interchangably depending on who they are talking to and often translate without realising what they are doing.

    I’m still cycling to college although it is getting to the stage I need gloves in the morning. My class is divided between people who think this is hardcore and people who think it is stupid.

    • So cool (on the language thing).

      High fives for your hardcore bike riding. Aka business as usual huh? Funny how some people think doing that is so CRAAAAZY. I need to bike more. (Want to.) The lazy has been getting me quite a bit recently.

  6. Life has been especially crazy on my side of the pond, but I too have been finding a sort of quiet joy in the transition of the seasons. My youngest just turned three, and he is acquiring language in the charming, balloon-bobbing way that you describe.

    I am only slightly haunted by the knowledge of just how fast these younger years unfold. With the first kids, it seemed like it took forever, that they would always be young and I would always be drowning in diapers and stories read again and again.

    Now I know better, and it makes me grab such little moments fiercely, protectively. I don’t want to miss a moment.

  7. “So much of it is forgotten between the moment when she speaks and the moment when I sit down to write.”
    I was going to write that I loved your opening par when the last sentence just went out and grabbed me. Do! Record! I feel exactly the same thing, especially (ironically) when you spend a lot of time with someone because the precious moments sneak up on you and you don’t realize how precious they are at the time. Every moment is precious. OK, shit, let’s not get carried away here. It’s important to enjoy the moments too. Actually, that’s it. Enjoy the moments, never mind recording them. Live the moments and enjoy them in all their glory as they happen. Then they’ll never die.

  8. So true. And yet, I want a little book of happy moments to read over when she’s all eye-rolly and cursing my name, teenager or sometime, at some point it will happen, and I think I’m going to need those memories to hold me up like beams keeping the roof from falling in… And I don’t trust my memory to keep the best of it intact. Then again FUCK IT LET’S ALL JUST HAVE AN AWESOME TIME. That is enough. Should be anyway.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.