#63, Do we just get taller and taller until we die?

Considering how often I have been wrong in parenting, I know that I’ll be wrong in this, too. And yet here is my fear: I worry that my kids won’t be so, like, good when they’re older.

Okay, good is the wrong word. Maybe I meant “bad”? These are the hard days: I know this. Right now, everything is done in snatches. When the kids are home and awake, there is no guarantee that I will settle down and do a single thing, an entire discreet task like folding one small basket of laundry, from beginning to end, until they are asleep. They went to daycare late this morning because of the snow, so I put on Daniel Tiger and pulled out my computer and got one to two minutes of work done, then: Mom, can I have milk? No, can I have it in the pink cup? Can I have more granilla? I’m still hungry from breakfast. Can I take these on the couch? I can have the Cheerios on the couch? I can have it on the couch? Mo’! Mo’? Mo’? Mo’? Mama, hat? Mama Chee-yeh? IT TURNED OFF! MOM? MOM, IT TURNED OFF. WHEN CAN YOU FIX THE INTERNET? Mep. Mep. Mama, mep? Mo’ mep? Moooo’ mep? Mom, I’m still hungry. Well, then can I go outside and eat some snow?

I don’t know if matters who is who. Just imagine two voices all the time, all the time. One of them talks too much, the other one shrieks too much but is actually talking a lot more too, and if you’re reading him a book with a dog in a picture on one page, and you turn past that page, he will firmly turn it back, point, and say “Pehppy” until you’ve acknowledged that it’s a dog. Kevin is “Dehddy.” Pulling all of Kevin’s boxers out of a laundry basket is “Mo Dehddy pehnts.” The messed-up vowels slay me and I bury my face in the spot where his hairline meets his ear. Then he scampers away.

The other one is the question-asker. “Why do we live on a planet?” “Is the moon a dead planet?” “Is everybody’s uterus black?” “Do we just get taller and taller until we die?” “Do we not die until after infinity?” But despite the high teenager questions, she is still little and she still calls granola “granilla” instead of granola, and I hear it and I hope it will last, forever and ever. I remember how I wished that “lellow” for “yellow” would last forever, then one day she said “yellow” for the first time and I thought “oh my god, lellow is over” and I was right, she never said it again. I didn’t notice when she stopped saying “wonderpants” for “underpants.” I didn’t mark the last time I heard it. It was just gone one day and there was no one to remember it but Kevin and me.

Stay the way you are, just occupy yourself for longer than a damn second. Stay the way you are, just stop pooping in the tub. Stay the way you are, I mean LITERALLY STAY RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE LET YOUR TINY RARE MOMENT OF PLAYING TOGETHER STRETCH OUT AND DO NOT COME IN HERE AND BOTHER ME AGAIN. Stay the way you are, or at least let me know the last time you do a thing so that I remember to remember. Stay the way you are, but definitely get taller, since you still can. Look, just: Don’t die until after infinity. It’s all very sentimental, except for the many moments each day of sheer rage. The tiny sense of satisfaction when the older kid, gleefully snatching something away from the younger one, slips in her socks and falls on the kitchen floor. Me, fairly skipping out of daycare at drop-off.

“You know how you secretly worry that this is it, that it’s all downhill from here? I know you do,” writes Catherine Newman in her book Catastrophic Happiness, which is about parenting kids older than mine. She was a mom blogger before anyone else, it turns out; She wrote for Babycenter, long before it turned into garbage. Her kids are teenagers now and her blog has turned into more of a food blog with kid snatches here and there. Anyway, I was like yes, I did secretly worry this, which is ironic since I also bitch about everything so much and hoard alone time like a…I don’t know, like a mom of two young kids. I didn’t know anyone else worried about it, though.

Yes, I thought I was the only person who worried that I wasn’t having enough fun now while simultaneously worrying that when I was having more fun later it would actually be worse.

What she writes is that it gets better, actually, as they get older. And I still don’t believe it. I mean, I believe that many, many things will get easier, but I still can’t imagine liking my kids when they’re older as much as I like them now DESPITE THE FACT THAT I SO OFTEN DISLIKE THEM NOW.

Basically how I’d imagined it would go was: It would be really hard, then one day it wouldn’t be hard anymore but I’d immediately be looking back missing it all. Is this true? Is there actually an in-between time where things are easy and enjoyable? Really? And I still don’t believe it. But maybe one day I’ll be writing things like that, saying it’s true I promise. At that point, however, it’ll be Generation Z who’s the young parents. And they’ll be like, “I read this newsletter, by an old mom, back from when newsletters were still a thing…”

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The newsletter looks different (better) because I’ve tried moved it over to a hosting company called Substack. It looks as if Tinyletter is going to get phased out at some point and I thought making the change sooner rather than later might be better. I’m gradually moving the archives over as well, but for now most of them are still here. Substack is new, and there are still some things I’m trying to figure out/that they are working with me on. For now, just email laurahazardowen@gmail.com with q’s/comments etc., please and thank you.