So the kids have been back in school since July (with a break last month) and #4 and I are pretty used to hanging with each other. One thing never ceases to amaze me:
He just takes it all in stride.
Every day the boys set off for school and he waves cheerfully to them, then turns to me without flinching. As the day goes on, he placidly accompanies me wherever I drag him to, only occasionally complaining (and that’s only when he’s overtired or hungry). He doesn’t seem to mind at all that he is stuck with me, day in and day out. He happily amuses himself around the house while I work, or asks me to read to him or play to him. But it is mind-blowing to me that he really doesn’t seem to mind that his universe is pretty much him and me for most of the day. It gives me more insight into what “childlike” means. What if I placidly took whatever came to me throughout the day, without judging whether the people I’m stuck with are cool or not, or whether the activities I’m doing are worthy of my intelligence or fun or even interesting?
I have to say that my latest endeavor (the novel) has actually helped me in this respect.
I’ve always been very irritated when I hear other women say, “I have to work outside the home. I’d go crazy if I didn’t. I’m a better mom because I do.” But, as I’m starting to suspect is going to happen over and over again in my life, the exact thing that I walk around being proud of not participating in is the thing I find myself up to my eyeballs in. In other words, I’m eating my words. Because I have found that since starting my novel, I have been a better mom. I feel this weight each day to get my minimum word count in. Hating the weight, I do it early in the day. And then the rest of the day I feel so free. I find myself getting all sorts of odd jobs done that have been bugging me for months. I find myself coming up with spontaneous ideas for fun with my little buddy. I find myself more serene when the others get home from school, more present with them.
Witching hour is still witching hour, alas. But the rest of the time I am doing better and better. I like myself more when I have a big old writing project going on. Would it be the same if I were working? Probably, if it was work I loved. And if I didn’t feel it took too much away from everybody. So far, this hasn’t, and I’m really enjoying myself.
I broke 20,000 words today (23,000, to be exact), by the way. Tomorrow I’ll hit the halfway mark. Which concerns me, because I think, plot-wise, that I am more than half-way through. It’ll work out, though.
Meanwhile, if you’re still hanging with me, here’s your reward: another recipe for fall. This one comes from another blog-reader, my sister-in-law Jennilyn, homemaker extraordinaire. At least, I THINK I got it from her. Sounds like something she’d make, anyway.
1 c. flour
½ c. cornmeal
2 t. baking powder
½ t. cinnamon
½ t. ginger
¼ t. ground mace (I usually don’t have it so I throw in cloves)
¼ t. salt
¼ c. brown sugar
1 t. orange or lemon peel, grated (I sometimes use juice instead)
1 lg. egg
½ c. pumpkin
½ c. milk
Mix dry ingredients. In separate bowl, whisk wet and combine. Cook over med. heat, 3 T. at a time, 2 min. per side.
These always turn out really dense, almost like little muffins, so I often dilute it with extra milk.
Serve (and this is the magic) with sautee’d apples and cinnamon. At our house, we also put whipped cream on them and yes, we count it as dinner. (By the way, I’m gaining back the weight I lost when I was so sick. Oh well. I said I wouldn’t complain if I got the weight back with my health. And I won’t. [dang])