I love this time of year. I particularly enjoy the bit before the solstice on 22 June because the days are getting longer. It is as if the best is yet to come. Every night, without fail, I marvel at how the sun goes down later and later. 21h15, then 21h30, then 21h35 and still light. Awesome!
I’m like Olaf from Frozen – I love light and warmth. I have weather dependent moods so when it is sunny and bright outside, I am sunny and bright inside. In summer I have more energy and am more productive because I don’t feel the need to go to bed at 19h30 or shortly after the sun goes down.
The problem is that Megan and Jessica feel the same way. For the past month, they’ve gone to bed around 9pm. On Sunday morning Megan woke up at 5am raring to get the day started. We had breakfast at 6am, lunch at 10am, dinner at 2pm and Al and I were catatonic with exhaustion and ready for bed by 4pm.
Summer opens up more options for entertaining the kids. We play in the garden, go to parks and explore the lakeshore. My life flows better in warmer weather. It is quicker to rally the troops and leave the house because we don’t faff with gloves, boots, jackets and all that bulky, time-consuming winter paraphernalia. This morning Megan wanted to go to school in her underpants, a hat and her sandals (her “candles”, she says). In theory that is possible in this weather.
Summer also has its inconveniences. Poor Al has severe hay fever and hasn’t breathed through his nostrils in weeks. Last night he was downstairs inhaling menthol at 3am. He’s constantly coughing, snorting and wheezing. I said it’s a good thing I love him so much and we are well entrenched in our marriage because all that throat-clearing and phlegm-spitting is a bit of a turn off.
Summer also brings flies. Oh my goodness, the flies! I can easily kill 30 in an evening. Last year I even baked one into my lasagne.
I love it that at this time of year fields, trees and flowers that appeared dead and brittle in winter bounce back to life. Some things burst forth a little too often and a little too much, like our garden. In the warm weather weeds come creeping in and we must continuously hack them back with sabres and machetes. Before we bought our house in 2013, I had never maintained a garden before and I had visions of veggie patches, flower beds and lush green lawn. Instead we spend a lot of time on unsexy work such as weeding. Now I accept that the grass looks like more of a meadow than a golf course.
I didn’t appreciate the start of spring as much as I would have liked as Megan had chicken pox and then Jessica got it. The worst part about chicken pox is not the fevers or the itchy spots – it’s being housebound. It makes me feel isolated and trapped, like a pinned butterfly. It is a good thing I have a nice house because I spend a lot of time inside it.
When I noticed the spots and before they became blatantly obvious and prolific enough to disperse crowds, I experienced the same crisis of conscience as I did during the lice episode. It was easier with Jessica because I strapped her into the pram and covered it with a light sheet to create a sort of baby burkha. It is hard to know whether it’s appropriate to go out in public or not. I decided it was not fair to be around people who know me. So I avoided my moms’ groups and went to the shopping centre and park and mingled around people who don’t know me.
Big news! Megan has gone almost a month without a dummy. Quitting dummies is gruelling and unfortunately we ended up doing it the same week that Jessica had the pox. It was hard core drug withdrawal. Not fun but it was worth it in the end. Alastair was the one who finally decided to take it away. He laid down the law and said, ‘Julie, no dummy. No matter how much she protests, we can’t give in.’ Then he said, ‘Good-bye!’ and disappeared, like in a puff of smoke, and headed to work for the day.
I hid all the dummies but Megan found a dusty, old one at the back of a drawer. She was quiet for a few minutes, which is suspicious, and I caught her hiding behind a door while sucking frantically, as if she was having a quick and illicit fag behind a bush. Initially there was a lot of wailing, gnashing of teeth and flailing about on the floor. One day she screamed for over an hour without a break. I eventually shouted, ‘MEGAN SHUT UP!!!!!!!!’ which is not very loving or motherly but she was in too much of a tizz to notice. After about a week, the rage and despair gave way to a weary acceptance. At that point I found her sucking the teat of Jessica’s bottle:
Jessica started crawling last week and it is as if we have a new puppy in the house. While I wrote part of this blog, she was under the table between my feet yanking on my computer cable. She chews everything. She turns puzzle pieces into soggy mush, knaws corners of cardboard books, crashes into lego towers, rips up miniature train tracks and sticks her hand in potties.
This crawling business is a lot more exhausting this time round because many of Megan’s toys are choking hazards and Jessica is attracted to these items like a moth to a flame. I’ve caught her nibbling on a playdough sausage, munching crayons, clutching plastic coins and sucking Barbie’s little shoes.
Other news is that my overactive thyroid is back. I’ve lost weight even though I am eating like a man, like a horse. As you can imagine, it’s difficult to rally sympathy and many of my friends have asked how they can get overactive thyroids too. The most challenging part is the fierce and overpowering exhaustion but I maintain some buoyancy knowing that it is just postpartum thyroiditis and hopefully won’t last forever.
That’s all folks. I’m off to bed now. It’s 21h42 and still light. Love it!