Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Time Passages

It's strange how a small thing can suddenly drive home the point that time is passing so swiftly.

I know of course, that time marches relentlessly on. I see my sons changing before my eyes. I launder their ever bigger clothing. I solve their ever bigger problems. I wrestle with ever more complicated issues; ones that I never anticipated when they were small and sweet and had no will of their own beyond filling their bellies and their diapers.

But occasionally a moment or an action or a memory will spark that knowledge until it is a blazing inferno of awareness. And suddenly it's right there in front of us where we can't ignore really is going by dreadfully fast.

It can be a big thing or a small thing; a silly thing, or a serious thing. Usually it isn't the thing itself, but the memories associated with it.

For instance, I remember being heavily pregnant and obsessed with clouds. Yes, clouds.

Pre-Pubescent One was being moved from the nursery in preparation for his brother's arrival. I had a lot of mixed feelings about that, and among them, guilt. Those of you who have more than one child know this feeling. It's not entirely rational, but it's very powerful.

I was deliriously happy about the new baby. But I was sad that the special time I had shared with my firstborn was coming to a close. Never again would he have my undivided attention. Nor would the new baby, for that matter. My boys forever after would have to share; my time, my attention and my love.

I felt somehow as if I had ruined everything.

What a ridiculous notion. But no matter how much I tried to talk myself out of those feelings, they persisted and grew, until I was a seething ball of weepy, hormonal confusion; happy one moment, sad the next, with no discernible emotional middle ground.

To assuage the guilt of evicting Pre-Pubescent from not only his room, but his crib as well, I convinced myself that he needed a new sanctuary; one of transcendant cuteness.

Again, it was a very silly and fanciful notion, but it helped a little.

And so, I became obsessed with creating the perfect room for Pre-Pubescent One.

I found an adorable wall border with Teddy Bears and Dalmations and Firetrucks. It struck me as the epitome of little boy-dom, and I was completely charmed. I planned the decor of the room around the border, which was a fairly simple matter, as most of the colors were bold and bright primary shades.

The problem arose when I decided that I should do a wall treatment to mimic the cloud like background in the border.

We painted the walls white and I found a glaze in the exact shade of blue that I needed. I experimented with every conceivable fabric and every conceivable technique to achieve the perfect degree of "fluiffiness".

"Fluffiness." said Husband skeptically, when I explained. "How do you paint fluffiness?"

I showed him. He was impressed, but dubious about the amount of time and effort it would take to cover all four walls with the required fluffiness.

I figured out pretty quickly that it doesn't work if two people try to do a wall treatment. No two people have the same technique and it became very obvious where his portion ended and mine began. I told him that in order to look just right, it had to be perfectly seamless. I would have to do it myself.

"Look." I pointed out. "See how your clouds are...heavier? Darker? They look like rain clouds. I need light, wispy, summer day clouds."

By this time I think Husband was pretty convinced I had lost my marbles along with my waistline. He looked at me for a moment, contemplating, I'm sure, whether he should humor me, or seek the assistance of a mental health professional.

He decided to humor me. He surrendered his carefully engineered facsimile cloud putter onner, and left me to my own maniacal devices.

It took me an entire week to finish that room. Then I had to go back with a smaller cloud putter onner, because the big one left a line of demarcation along the window and door frames. I painted over some spots because I wasn't happy with them.

And still, I could see where I had started and where I had stopped and I was not at all pleased. The paint was darker where I had used a freshly dipped putter onner and no matter how many times I went back over it, it just didn't seem right. My pursuit of seamlessness was driving me slowly, but surely insane.

They are the hallmark of my pregnancies, these obsessions. Some women get horrible cravings, some women get incredibly er...amorous, some women throw up...I develop obsessions.

Remind me to tell you about the time that I, nearly full term with what would turn out to be a 9 lb., 5 oz. fetus, decided that I absolutely HAD to have a matching robe and nightgown for the hospital and dragged Pre-Pubescent One through the mall for hours in search of one, despite the fact that he was having the mother of all tantrums.

Anyway, this one was a doozy.

But eventually, exhaustion and common sense won out and I had to concede that it was good enough.

Not only was it good enough, but once I was able to stop nitpicking, I realized it was pretty adorable, if I do say so myself.

Ten years have passed since then, and his room has remained unchanged for much of that time. But two years ago, I reluctantly took down the border to appease his growing sense of maturity and ease his embarassment.

Since then, he's endured the cloud walls without much complaint. But we've been promising him for two years that we would redecorate in a more suitably masculine theme and finally, he asked if we might be able to have his room done in time for his 13th birthday, for which he is planning a sleepover.

Husband and I realized we could postpone it no longer and this week, we tackled the job. It was a big one, because everything needed to be sanded, including the walls to insure that the clouds would cover and the texture would not bleed through.

As we worked, I was focused only on getting the job done. We hate to paint, you see. We loathe it with the white hot passion of a thousand suns. It's so tedious, so nitpicky, so BORING and so messy.

But when it came time to put that first stroke of fresh paint on the wispy, azure blue walls, I felt a wave of pure melancholy. I remembered laboring over this room with Diminutive One warm and heavy in my belly. I remembered how small Pre-Pubescent One looked in his enormous new big boy bed. I remembered how he stood before me the next morning wearing a pull-up and a grin as he proudly and earnestly told me he had spent the entire night there and didn't go back to the crib even one time, not even to look.

I wanted it back.

Just for a moment. Just to feel his spindly little limbs folded in my lap, and his bath fresh hair tickling my nose and to breathe in all his perfect innocence, and appreciate it the way I couldn't back then, not knowing how fleeting it really is.

As the cloudy blue walls slowly disappeared, it struck me as remarkably metaphorical, if walls can truly be a metaphor for childhood lost and adulthood not yet gained. They are no longer cloudy, but blank and smooth, waiting for the rest of his life to be inscribed upon them.

They will hold posters, and signs and notes and all kinds of memorabilia. And then, when he leaves home, they will be blank once more.

When we finished I looked around. It felt at once completely familiar and thoroughly alien. This, I thought...this is no little boy's room. This is the room of a young man.

And I realized that I need to stop mourning the little boy who was, and discover the young man who will be. I think I'm going to like him.

And that little boy? He'll always be there, in his cloudy room and his dinosaur pajamas waiting for me to tuck him in. I'm going to give myself permission to visit him there every now and snuggle down in his big tiny bed and hold him close to me while I read him something sweet and silly.

Wait for me there, used to be boy. I'll be back again soon.


  • At 8:54 PM, Blogger said…

    Now you have me all teary eyed.

    And I feel so silly holding my whopping big 20-month-old toddler today and wondering where the newborn went.

    Always there, somewhere. I walk into my 9yo's room while she's sleeping, and sometime I can still see the faintest glimpse of baby cheeks in her big girl face.

    It goes so goes so fast...

    This is a gorgeous post, BA. Just absolutely gorgeous.

  • At 9:01 PM, Blogger jean said…

    What a wonderful post.

  • At 9:23 PM, Blogger crazymumma said…

    Oh I know. The memories. The ache.

    That tightness in the throat in the remembering.

    But his big boy room is really nice. I bet he loves it.

  • At 9:24 PM, Blogger Alison said… glad I just rocked my little guy before bed tonight. I do it every night even when I'm exhausted, because I know I'm going to miss it so much.

  • At 9:37 PM, Blogger Terri said…

    I'm all choked up. This is exactly how I feel about my girls. I loved the way you expressed your feelings here, but especially when you said that you need to stop mourning the little boy who was and discover the young man who is to be. That so hit home with me. I need to do the same with my girls.

    Awesome post!

  • At 9:42 PM, Blogger Mad said…

    Al Stewart, right? "Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight."

    This was lovely BA. As a sentimental hoader and object symbolizer (is that a word?), it had me all teary.

  • At 9:43 PM, Blogger flutter said…

    ok I am all teary, but you did a fantastic job, mom.

  • At 10:21 PM, Blogger Arkie Mama said…

    Beautiful. Even if you did make me weepy.

  • At 10:39 PM, Blogger Shelley said…

    Ok, you made me cry just now. Because my 13 year-old? I really don't like her much at all right now. And I miss my sweet little girl.

  • At 12:22 AM, Blogger Angela said…

    I bet he likes his new look.

    Growing up isn't easy

  • At 12:39 AM, Blogger Lisa said…

    Wonderful post, love your stories. I too endured the loss of the million-hours-to-paint cloud room. I miss the small days of young ones to snuggle. Great, now you have me sniffing, crying, the whole nine yards!

  • At 2:55 AM, Blogger Polgara said…

    I love the way you write about your kids, i'm due in November with my first although i havent announced it on my blog yet.
    You make me see all the things i have to look forward to
    Pol x

  • At 7:12 AM, Blogger anne said…

    What a beautiful post.

  • At 7:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My kids are alll grown and I'm enjoying the grandkids now. And feeling the same things you are about them. My oldest granddaughter will be 12 this year and I wonder where time has gone. Great post. And great jobs on the rooms. Margie

  • At 8:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow. Well done BA.

  • At 8:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I, too, am teary eyed. You have such a talent in being able to articulate what we mom's all feel. Thank you for continuing to share your gift.

    Almost daily, I remind my husband that someday we'll miss all of the chaos of raising two boys - now aged 15 and 11 - both busy with different sports, different interests. Someday, these will be the days that we'll long to get back...

  • At 9:08 AM, Blogger nina michelle said…

    instead of trying to explain my sense of commonality with this post I will just cry.


  • At 9:16 AM, Blogger Middle Girl said…

    Again, truly beautiful.

    The passages can be bittersweet. However, each new phase they enter is challenging and exciting if not chaotic at times. Still, well worth the journey.

    Welcome to the new frontier. Teenager! oooh weee.

  • At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I want to go hug my four year old now.

    For the last few weeks, we've been noticing Gabe has gotten taller. When we pick him up, his feet swing at our thighs while his head rests on our shoulder. He's getting to be a big boy, and he proudly announces that fact every day.

    A couple weeks ago, the husband and I were discussing the car seat situation with having a tall boy that is still only 31 pounds. Most booster seats that will make him more comfortable for the length of his legs in the car are not strong enough for a boy of his weight. He needs to be at least 40 pounds to be able to use the smaller booster seats.

    Last night, he stepped on our scale and I saw that he's about 35 pounds now. In just a few weeks, he's gained 4 pounds when he'd only gained 3 in his entire third year. He's constantly telling me he's hungry, and getting him to eat used to be a huge battle. Not so much anymore.

    But because of his length issues, I've been wishing he'd hurry up already and just gain that last five pounds so we can move the car seats around, and Anna can have his current seats when she's big enough. This makes me stop dead in my thoughts. He won't always be 35 pounds. He won't always be a spindly gangly little boy learning to wield his own limbs. And I should not wish any of it away, even for a more convenient car seat.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  • At 10:13 AM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    Sniffle. Nicely said.

  • At 10:56 AM, Blogger mamatulip said…

    Oh my gosh, BA. I am so weeping over here.

    Beautiful post. And the room looks really nice.

  • At 10:57 AM, Blogger Woman in a Window said…

    There should be an award for this...the first time I've cried reading a blog. Of course, it is a little selfish as I've one of those special boys who is on the verge of leaving behind the little and becoming big. It isn't fair! When I hug my little guy I say, "Oh, please don't get too big." Sometimes he answers, "I don't wanna, mom." Ohh...
    Very nicely written...

  • At 11:10 AM, Blogger foop said…

    What a great analogy. I just painted my 4 year old's room and realized I was no longer the "creative director". He's his own little person. I can't imagine that he'll be a teenager some day. Heaven help me.

    Wonderful post.

  • At 11:14 AM, Blogger Green-Eyed Momster said…

    I puffy heart loved your clouds! The room is so perfect, before and after. What a wonderful post! I'm going through something similar with my girls but I'll never get tired of Johnny Depp posters!

  • At 11:48 AM, Blogger sltbee69 said…

    What a beautiful post BA! I, too, am all teary-eyed. My soon to be 11-yr old, one and only, daughter, is growing up so quickly. I'm not ready for my baby to leave me yet. Probably a big reason why at 38 I still haven't given up on my dream of another sweet one to hold.

  • At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You have me Bawling my eyes out !
    My little one and only will soon turn 6 - and I wish I knew where the tme went.

  • At 11:58 AM, Blogger Sarahviz said…

    I can totally identify. I wrote about this on my blog--as we are rearranging the boyz' bedrooms in the Trenches.

  • At 12:23 PM, Blogger Foofa said…

    Both rooms are absolutely beautiful and truly express different stages in a young life. My parents have yet to paint over the random sponge painting that happened when I was 13 and my sister was 10 in our rooms. My mom has a lilac office with turquoise, dark purple, and black spongey splotches all over it that was once my room. It might be time for a change.

  • At 12:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    How long did it takes for you guys to paint the room? I keep meaning to paint ours but I'm scared of messing it up -- yours looks perfectly blended.

    I, on the other hand, might have use the services of a professional sigh.

    Rooms looks lovely though.

  • At 1:33 PM, Blogger Sensitiva McFeelingsly said…

    I'm not going to lie, I am definitely crying over here. That was a wonderful post.

    What's amazing about the way you feel at this moment, is that at some point in the future your son will think back on the cloud walls and feel the same nostalgia and maybe some sadness. I don't have kids yet, but I do know that they thought of little details like that from my childhood definitely bring on sentimental journeys into the past.

    The walls may be painted another color, but no one will forget the clouds. :)

  • At 1:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Waaaaah. I think you may have read my struggles with this at my blog. This post was amazingly beautiful and perfect. Sniff.

  • At 5:26 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    wow. I am in awe of both of those rooms.

    I have to say, though, that at least you are addressing the problem of the growing boy. My boy is still in the room painted for an office. I think I'm hoping that if I don't paint for an older boy, he won't BE an older boy.

  • At 6:15 PM, Blogger kevin black said…

    As Charles Baudeleaire put it so eloquently:

    “J’aime les nuages… les nuages qui passent… là-bas… là-bas… les merveilleux nuages !“

    I'm pretty sure someone thought he was short a few marbles also, but then again, isn't that what we think about all the great writers?

    I like the new colors.

  • At 7:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh man, I can't stop crying. You have captured perfectly how I feel about my daughter changing and growing so quickly, too quickly.

  • At 5:52 AM, Blogger cce said…

    I can remember spending the last few weeks of pregnancy with my first hand-painting stars on the nursery wall as if the little life inside me depended on its perfection.

    This made me smile. That small boy who points to clouds or stars with cheerful wonder is grown and gone before you know it.

  • At 8:17 AM, Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said…

    Aaand... Now I'm crying.

    Rational, no. But I completely understand where you are coming from, lady.

  • At 11:41 AM, Blogger Mitzi Green said…

    thanks for making me cry, goddammit.

  • At 3:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Once again, you've postied another heart achingly beautiful post that coincides with the nadir of my monthly hormonal circus!! Oh, the tears.

    So lovely, so appropos as we're watching #1 graduate high school. Sigh.

  • At 6:38 AM, Blogger Antique Mommy said…

    This post, it's like looking in my future and my past.

    On a lighter note, I must comment you not only for painting clouds with a little one under foot, but also being pregnant. When I was pregnant I focused mainly on sitting either here or there. When I wasn't eating.

  • At 1:51 PM, Blogger Amy Y said…

    Oh wow. What a post! This was great, Mama... I felt so many things reading it.

    And I just have to saw how in awe I am at your variety with language... words from amorous to putter onners...

    His new room looks great and I am sure he will love it!

    I do not look forward to this day... But I like living through these moments in little ways with you to help prepare me for what's down the road. So thanks for that. :)


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