Sunday, December 27, 2009

Alone time

Since becoming a Mommy, I've suffered through countless moments bemoaning my lack of alone time. As much as I adore my daughters and love the fact that they both still want to spend time with me, whether it's snuggling on the couch, talking about their day, cooking together or working on art joint projects, there is such as thing as too much togetherness.

Lucy, in particular, enjoys just busting in on me in the bathroom, a big smirk on her face, "Watcha doin', Mommy?" or, when I'm taking a shower and I ask her why she had to stand there and watch me, she says with a woeful look on her face, "I just don't want to be away from you, Mommy."

My mom got a taste of Lucy's propensity for shadowing people over Thanksgiving. The kid stuck to her like a burr, chattering the whole time:

"Can I make the salad, Grammy? I'm good with the salad spinner!"
"I can set the table, too. Is it time to set the table?"
"Oh! Look there are the kitties! Wow, they make a mess with their food."
"Y'know what, Grammy, this is a nice house! Say, can I have a cookie?"
and so on.

Once Lucy finally went to sleep - and stopped talking - my parents were cracking up over Lucy's non-stop chatter. Her older sister, while lively, was never the motor mouth that her younger sister can be. Natalie's impishness extended to getting into things... then running away at top speed, giggling.

My Natalie is more self-sufficient and able to entertain herself, but she still comes around for some special sister-free Mommy-Daughter time, especially on nights when they sleep here. After her sister has gone to bed, Natalie likes to come downstairs and snuggle with me on the couch and "just talk about stuff," as she puts it. She enjoys hearing my recollections of when she was a baby, from what it was like when I was pregnant, to the delivery and her early years.

If she has questions or troubles, it's on these occasions that they crop up. I'm very pleased that she feels as though she can talk to me about anything; I hope that continues as she gets older.

However, when I am trying to get things done around here, the kids vie for my attention. If I'm up to my elbows in food while preparing a big holiday dinner or trying to de-clutter the house in advance of a birthday bash, they are- more often than not - underfoot, asking me to help them find a toy, come watch a movie with them, or make them something to eat.

Some days I feel as though I am being pecked to death with their incessant little requests, and I'll wail at them in mock-frustration, "Why can't you rotten babies just leave me alone for 5 minutes?!"

They giggle and pounce on me again.

After a frustrating day, I can be relieved to see them go off with their dad. Then I can have a quiet meal and watch a movie or a tv show in peace. If it's been a really bad day of them bickering with each other and driving me to exhaustion, I'll just go to bed early, even if it's before 6 pm.

You know what? Even on the worst days, I miss them before they even get to their dad's house. That's been the worst part of this separation: having the house empty of my kids for periods of time.

Right now, the house is quiet and still, not just because it's early on a Sunday. I had the girls on Christmas morning, but won't see them again until New Year's Eve because they're off with their dad while he's on his winter vacation. They are thrilled about staying up late on New Year's Eve, drinking sparkling grape juice out of champagne glasses and watching the ball drop at midnight.

I'm looking forward to all three of us snuggled up together under a blanket on the couch in our new flannel pajamas and fun fuzzy socks.

I have alone time in abundance now, but don't know what to do with myself. I ought to do something productive and creative with this free time, such as write or paint, but I will probably hold an impromptu marathon of "Scrubs," "Dexter," or "Rescue Me" instead, anything to help distract me from how much I miss my girls.

There is such a thing as too much alone time.