Wednesday, January 16, 2008

:: Knitting Rears Its Ugly Head Once Again ::

Pink Yarn

I don't know about you but there are certain things that I just have a gauge for. In the absence of input from others -- and even despite input from others -- there are just things my gut tells me.

I guess it's like knowing how far you'll go on a first date. Even though you know some girls hold out longer, and that other girls put out more, you have your own sense of what's OK and what's not.

Evan and I are in our seventh month together and I, well, I've got the Seven Month Itch. As Evan grows more and more interactive (for lack of a better word) as well as more and more independent, I find myself struggling a lot more with how to deal with the boredom. On the one hand, there are more opportunities for me to play with Evan, and so sometimes the boredom is less. On the other hand, he likes to play alone (and I like knowing that he's learning to be his own fun company) and so sometimes the boredom is more.

Plus there's the sheer accumulation of boredom. Half an hour of independent play here is one thing. A few stretches of it in a day add up to something slightly more. But day after day of a very repetitive "schedule" punctuated by these quasi breaks -- not naps and not really me time -- are beginning to wear on me.

I'm looking for ways to avoid the boredom. Looking for ways to channel it. And in my mind, there are ways that are appropriate and ways that are not.

Housework is appropriate. I feel no guilt when Evan's playing and, nearby, I am folding laundry, washing dishes, or picking up. A-OK. Unfortunately, I'm not really very housewifey and so doing this beyond a certain point feels very un-me. Today I nearly washed windows while Evan played because I was bored. But the idea of just washing the windows for no apparent reason (the fact that they haven't been washed in months is not a reason) just made me feel all uncomfortable and like mommyhood is going to turn me into this person I don't want to be. I'm very melodramatic. My father was right.

Running to the basement to change loads or check email is fine. Staying down here to blog, search the web, or do other related activities are, on my personal this is appropriate and this is not scale, closer to not. My baby's only going to be a baby so long -- I want to enjoy it and being down here is incompatible with that. Plus, it's a bad habit to start because soon enough he's going to be roaming and leaving him unattended while I surf the web will not only be inappropriate but also neglectful. I will, of course, reevaluate when he starts playing obsessively with Legos like I did.

Bringing the laptop upstairs is a possibility since we've got wireless (even our printer is wireless -- it's freaking awesome), but that seems like it could lead to very bad things: internet shopping (with money earmarked for what? formula?), mindless surfing, ignoring my kid. See also Watching TV, below.

Reading is okay if it meets certain requirements: I sort of have a "no research for the dissertation while hanging out with Evan" rule. I don't know if this is for Evan's sake or for mine or if it's simply a convenient excuse to avoid doing research. But I'm okay with two forms of reading near Evan: (1) I am reading a book about parenting or babies; or (2) I am reading a magazine and have also given Evan a magazine to read. He gets a major kick out of playing with a magazine -- turning the pages, feeling them slip and slide against one another, tasting the paper and ink (I'm a great mom, I swear) -- and I feel no guilt reading my own if he's reading his. I feel like I'm setting a good example (look! mommy's reading!) and like we're sort of playing together, even though we're not. I think I am about to get a few new subscriptions for myself to help stave off the boredom. Magazine subscriptions aren't expensive enough to take up the formula money.

Watching television. This is a sticky one for three reasons: first, I don't really want my baby watching TV all day. While I'm not particularly fretful that it's going to ruin his brain or anything, and while I almost always turn it on while I'm feeding him because otherwise I get really bored, I don't really love the idea of it being on in the background all day; second, I know that kids will do what you do, not what you say and when I tell Older Evan that he should find something to do other than watch TV, I want to know that he has a role model for that; third, I just don't really love the idea of me watching TV all day. Non-mommy me would never have done that. I can barely handle having the TV on all day when I'm sick, for chrissake.

Listening to music and dancing around the room is super. It's fun for me and entertaining for Evan. But how much whirly dancing can one do in a very small (practically Manhattan-small) condo in the burbs? With neighbors around, walking their dogs in the backyard. I don't care if they see me but if they see me doing it often? That might get weird.

Sewing is off limits because there are pins, needles, and sharp scissors around and so I can't have Evan nearby. Plus the sewing machine's in our bedroom which is sort of a boring place for Evan.

Knitting, however, I am totally OK with. Which is why it pains me to say that I've decided to start knitting some more. It's something I can do wherever Evan is, something I can drop pretty easily if Evan needs me, and something that allows me to pay attention to my baby while still occupying my hands and the half of the brain that's not a mommy. I can't believe I'm about to say that it might be the perfect diversion.

Damn you, knitting! Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn youuuuuuuuuuuuuu!

4 comments:

slouching mom January 16, 2008 at 9:01 PM  

heh. i recognize a fellow overthinker when i read one.

a pinkroom January 17, 2008 at 6:27 PM  

See, I would totally wash the windows and love it.

If you're looking for a good magazine, I love this new one...

http://www.slicemagazine.org/

It's got some poetry, some prose, some interviews, some pictures.

Happy downtime!

Janet January 18, 2008 at 9:34 AM  

No worries! The 'independent play' stage will pass and Evan will demand that you roll out PlayDoh and cut out shapes for him. Endlessly.

At least that's how my days go.

Christina January 18, 2008 at 1:28 PM  

Knitting is a great hobby while they play independently. Soon will come the separation anxiety phase, and doing housework will be more difficult because he'll freak out if you take one step away from him. Stationary activities will be needed, or you'll be taking him with you in all that you do.

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