I haven’t updated this blog for almost two weeks. I have actually been writing... just nothing of high enough quality to put up here. And my standards are pretty low. I wonder: is my schizophrenic way of writing these days a product of our media saturated, channel-flipping culture? Or just a product of the way I increasingly multi-task through my own life?
If I step back and think, I can’t believe I am suddenly thrity something with two kids. White hair count: 3. Those of you who know me as a parent know that with one kid, I was still on top of things, I could do my PhD work at night while nursing Aiden every two hours and raise Aiden during the day and almost never let him watch TV and only be minimally crazy. Of course I had many accidents melting breast pumps and putting watches through the laundry and bumping into door frames (damn those things, why do they MOVE so?) but those are the logical consequences of sleep deprivation.
But with two kids, even without a PhD committee regularly e-mailing me about how I’m a delinquent, I find myself playing whack-a-mole. You know that game, where moles pop out of holes at random times, and you have to whack them with a big puffy hammer? Well, that’s what having two kids is like. Mommy, he’s hitting me! Mommy, where is Anakin’s light saber? Mommy, Max peed on the floor! Mommy, I’m hungry!
So I finally get why people let their kids watch TV. I’m trying to make dinner and the sword fighting is producing too many casualties in the living room and I turn on the Little Einsteins and ABRACADABRA! Quiet. Peace. Dinner is served. Once you’ve gotten a taste for that magic bullet it is hard to put it aside and put on your referee pants again.
So during the day, I rarely have a complete thought. Our conversations (when KC is around) are always like this:
Me: Aiden has 2 cavities. It’s going to cost 300,000 won to...
Aiden: Mommy! Max hit me!
KC: wow, is that for just a filling or is the nerve..
Me: Aiden, did you hear how you interrupted mommy? Say sorry. It’s for the filling. He can’t tell from he X-
Ray if it’s hitting the nerve or not, it’s too close, so they..
Aiden: sorry mommy.
Me: they have to start to drill and look...
Max: NURT! NURT!!
Me: Max, use your nice words.
Max: Nurt peez.
KC: OK. Oh shoot, I forgot to tell you, I ..
Aiden: Mommy, who is stronger, Anakin or Count Dooku?
Me: Aiden, did you hear how you interrupted...
Aiden: sorry Daddy.
KC: I forgot what I was going to say.
It’s hard to have a conversation... and keep track of the important things which were on my mind. It is equally hard to keep track of the single thoughts that run through my head. I find myself going into the kitchen for something... and forgetting what it was. One day I lost a carton of milk. How can you lose a carton of milk? By the time I found it it had gone bad.
When I finally have a moment to myself it’s like being a kid in the candy aisle again. When I was a kid we were only allowed to have candy once a week, on Saturday, so my brothers and I would spend a lot of time deliberating: which one will last the longest? Which one can I tear into little pieces to spread the pleasure over several hours? Now, when I have “free” time, I want it to count. I want to vegetate and watch TV, but that would be a waste. I want to write, but ideas don’t come that easily, and if I am staring at a blank screen for a few minutes, I feel I’m wasting precious time when I could be studying Chinese or making treasure hunts or doing Pilates. This is why I have a hundred incomplete files of ideas... fragments, fleeting thoughts, momentary inspirations, flirtations with serious writing.
And there’s always the threat looming in my mind... that once I get going Max will wake up to “nurt” or the North Koreans will attack or something.
So I’m sitting here on a Sunday afternoon, sweating nervously, because Max will wake up at any minute and I have 4 windows of essays open, plus my e-mail (which is already on a triage system -- my inbox is pushing 800 messages -- yikes!), plus I’m bidding on things on eBay, and googling girls I hated in junior high (note to self: stay away from google. It doesn’t tell you anything you want to know. I tried googling myself and all I learned was that there is a porn star named Jennifer Lee who is apparently much more popular than I)...
And in the back of my mind: Am I living it right?
But now Max is awake so these thoughts must be put aside again.