It’s been a while since I’ve written here. In reality, just to make sure I don’t bury the lede, it’s simply been my own inertia and nagging paranoia that nothing I’ve got to say creatively really matters to anyone, even me. But I’ve been telling myself a whole host of completely false reasons for not being in a writing mode more often.
“Oh, I’ll remember this event/day/amusing thing the kids say.” This is a complete load of crap, encouraged by just how vivid short term memories feel for the couple of hours you’ve got them. The longer I am alive, the more I read about how memory works, and the ever repeating chorus of people who feel the need to warn me that early parenting years “go by so quickly” gave the lie to this one long ago, but I haven’t been listening. Our minutes and hours don’t go by quickly at all: we simply remember them terribly poorly and incompletely, and thus, they feel like they went by quickly … but only in retrospect. Once we establish patterns in our lives, our brains save effort by remembering the patterns, but not the individual iterations.
- e.g., I can tell you that we have a pretty regular rotation for breakfasts: cold cereal (Piper’s favorite), some version of eggs and stuff, and oatmeal (Syd’s favorite). Pancakes/waffles on weekends or for visitors. Can I tell you what we had for breakfast five days ago? I cannot. Admittedly, I very likely won’t care about forgetting that when I’m old and decrepit.
- But some events are worth the recording! The other day, I came home triumphantly bearing takeout. Earlier in the afternoon, Syd had applied poop to her bed, her self, her bed clothes, her hands and other areas too horrifying to contemplate; Kate was home with both girls and had gallantly sacrificed her dinner-making time to hose down Syd and her enclosure. There I was, carrying Cajun takeout smelling faintly of lemon and rosemary as I walked in the door. Everyone was in the basement: Syd methodically flinging folded laundry out of a basket just a hair more quickly than Kate was folding it and placing it in the basket, and Piper laughing and rolling around on the couch, naked as a mole rat. “Okay,” I said, gesturing upstairs. “Everyone who is wearing pants and isn’t covered in poop: Upstairs for dinner!” Piper lunged for the stairs, and I held out a hand, traffic-cop style. “Where are you going, miss? You don’t seem to be wearing pants!” “Sure I am!", she chirruped brightly. “Skin pants!” So she ate dinner naked that night, because who am I to argue with the validity of Skin Pants?
“Well, everyone’s on Facebook, so I’ll just go over there and see what’s going on.” I had been somewhat skeptical of Facebook for a long time, and then it became part of my job to put our own content on it and keep tabs on other people’s content, along with Twitter and a particular Tumblr (but not G+, GO FIGURE), and once I was spending time on FB and getting the frequent but somewhat random reinforcement of seeing other people posting on FB, it became incredibly and dopaminergically reinforcing to, you know, just check it every once in a while, given the collective wisdom of my terrific friends . At least, the ones I haven’t hidden or muted. And then I thought that I’d use FB to pass on interesting links to things, since they’re so time-based and ephemeral that I wouldn’t care if they resided on Zuckerberg’s private platform which may or may not allow you to export your own data, someday . And pretty soon, I find myself checking FB multiple times a day, whacking the lever and hoping that this’ll be the time a pellet comes rattling down the chute.
- Piper was featured in a front page pic in a newsletter we get from her preschool. People gave us multiple paper copies, but I found myself wanting “the actual photo,” i.e. the digital version. Funny how the physical copy became an inferior alternative to the “real” photo.
Anyhow, getting back on a regular writing train will require keeping an eye on these and some other impulses, but it’s now 11:17p and I’m yawning into my shoulder.