Thursday, August 30, 2007

So Long, SAHM

Just two days left in my term (sentence?) as a stay-at-home mom. I feel like it’s coming to an end just as we’re starting to get good at it. After nine weeks, we have finally learned how to settle into the formlessness of summer – all of us are used, by now, to the rough routine of morning trips to the toy store or park, our weeks anchored by Friday mornings at the Little Gym and Wednesday excursions to the drive-through at Old McDonald’s (home of Happy Meals and other domesticated lunches).

I made grilled cheese sandwiches today for lunch and (contrary to the half-cooked sandwich fiasco from the beginning of the summer) everything ran on well-oiled hinges. I flipped them onto plates that were standing at-the-ready just as they crisped to a nice dark brown, and then all of us tucked in ravenously, pausing only to sample the side dishes of grapes, oranges, and fresh field tomatoes. Pie had chosen to sit in Daddy’s chair instead of her own, so she and Bub sat side by side, interrupting their meal occasionally to tickle each other’s legs with their toes and converse in giggle-speak.

They have learned the art of joint pretend-play, these two. Sometime in the last month they began to divvy up roles. “I’m Hondo!” Bub will announce, referring to the canine protagonist of a recent library book. “I’m Fabian!” Pie responds, cat to his dog, and then they devote several minutes to petting each other’s shoulders with long, affectionate strokes, head to tail.

There is still pushing, swiping, and even incipient tattle-taling. But the atmosphere around here has changed since the beginning of the summer, relaxed into something comfortable and secure.

I have a lot of energy this week. Blog posts are rattling around my brain, the house is clean, and my online course is all set up for the first students to log in next Thursday. I suspect that much of my happiness in SAHMdom this week arises from the fact that work beckons flirtatiously, just around the corner. Bub fell asleep last night clutching the name tag I picked up for him at the nursery-school parent meeting. He has a new backpack and seems to grasp that he’s going to be taking it to school with him. Like me, he’s building anticipation for the next step.

“Bub and Pie are going to nursery school!” he announced today, lapsing into the third person as he is wont to do occasionally.

“You will go to nursery school,” I amended, “but Pie will be at Allison’s house.”

“Pie is going to Allison’s house,” he agreed, “and Bub and Mama will go to nursery school!”

“I’ll take you to school,” I warned, “but I can’t go in with you – I have to go to work.”

Rarely have I heard a more incredulous inflection. “You’re going to work?” He knows that “work” is where Daddy goes all day, though both he and Pie often insist that Daddy is at Sharon’s house (their former day-care provider). As of next week, as far as Bub is concerned, both his parents will be spending their days over there, napping, finger-painting, and playing with toys while he and Pie get on with the business of growing up.

39 comments:

nomotherearth said...

Such big changes on the wind! It can be funny trying to explain things to them huh? I often get answers like "No, Daddy's NOT at work!" (What does the Boy know that I don't?). I will be interested to read how eveything plays out for you. I'm sure you will all settle into the new routine just fine.

It also sounds like Bub and Pie have a really sweet give and take relationship.

Oh, and btw you were right - Mr Earth couldn't resist getting the last word in, so he did show up in my comments. He almost never comments on my posts, so you can see how hot a topic this is for us. ;-)

Magpie said...

Oh, the sad last days of summer.

My child calls it Old McDonald too. Not that I take her there much. I think her father takes her on the sly.

Good luck with that work thing.

Joy, of course said...

Ben is having a hard time understanding he is going back to school next week. Although he is excited. Alas, I will still be at home. Which really isn't alas in general, it just feels like it today. I think I would like to be heading off somewhere with brand new crayons and a Holly Hobbie Lunchbox.

But I am looking forward to Ben heading off. And I would love some of your energy.

Ben calls it Old McDonalds too. It must be a common thing. I like it too much to correct him.

Lawyer Mama said...

Yes, my almost 3 year old seems to think that Daddy & I head home to party after dumping him at the sitter's.

Enjoy your last few days!

MsPrufrock said...

Tomorrow is my last day as a SAHM. Different circumstances, as my 13+ months of maternity leave are coming to an end, but like you, I feel like I'm only just getting good at it. Sigh.

Joy, of course said...

Oh bless you B&P. I just realized you linked one of my posts. I don't think I have ever been linked before. And by you! This may be the highlight of my day.

Janet said...

I love the way you describe the sibling interaction between Bub and Pie.

I always feel like I should head back to work in the fall. I mean, back to an off site job, where I wear nice clothes and talk to other adults. As it is, when I have freelancing to do, I go down to the basement office and declare "Mommy has to work tonight!" The kids always look suspicious. Work? Mom works? I think they suspect I am down there eating Dunkaroos and playing video games.

I wish.

Emily said...

What a perfect post. May you fingerpaint with joy.

Lady M said...

I was home alone for three weeks with my newborn and almost didn't make it. I think I'd be better at it now that I'm more used to mommyhood, but it would still be important to have a set term. :0

painted maypole said...

ooohh... I want to go to Sharon's house with you.

And I wish I had your energy. My body is clearly fighting something off, so that this week I drop MQ off at school, and come home and crawl into bed for 3 hours. Seriously. Nothing is getting done.

Mouse said...

Another one for Old McDonald's.

Scooter likes that he and I go to school together. Of course, he thinks of my department as the place where they have parties since that's the main time he comes onto my turf.

Omaha Mama said...

Oh my. I was there just 4 weeks ago. It all goes so fast. Good luck as you start your new semester, and your kids start theirs.

I've noticed changes in Brenna and Mason's interactions too. More about ganging up on us. Last night as they giggled together, bouncing on the couch. When I told them NO, they laughed. I told Jay they were absolutely plotting against me. And I thought it was very cute.

Blog Antagonist said...

I'm unbearably envious. Is that wrong of me?

Beck said...

Napping AND finger painting? I will see you there!
I try hard and remember that as endless as it feels, SAHM is NOT a lifelong gig. Hard to imagine.

Eva said...

I love your description of the changes in your summer days, and the comfortable pattern you've all fallen into.

Our semester started Monday and I'm back after a semester of parental leave and a semester of sabbatical, so I can definitely relate to the slight sadness of going back... though there's a part of me glad to be back in the thick of it, pretending to use my very dusty brain.

NotSoSage said...

Naps. Ooooohhhhh naps.

I'd lobby hard for a siesta at work.

Enjoy your last few days!

b*babbler said...

I love your description of heading back to work, all your ducks neatly in a row.

With the recent decision for me to stay home another year, I feel like I'm missing out on the September start-of-school for the first time ever.

Anna&Sophie said...

What's the scoop? Are you returning to the workforce?

slouching mom said...

Such a lovely way to end the summer, on a peaceful and amicable note.

bubandpie said...

A&S - I wasn't out of the workforce so much as experiencing the seasonal unemployment that is a staple of my job as a sessional university instructor. So as soon as Labour Day is over, classes are back on. (And I'm looking forward to it - can you tell?)

Angela said...

Have fun fingerpainting oops I mean at work.

Kyla said...

I napped today. It was glorious.

And I fingerpainted yesterday. Lovely.

Enjoy your last few days of summer.

Christine said...

i feel like i too am being extra summery as my girl gets ready to head off to school next week. i will still be with her brother, but her absence will be missed. we are doing lots of cuddling and hugs.

Alpha DogMa said...

The years stretch out before me. No end in sight for my SAHM days. Thank goodness as I've just bolstered my uniform of jeans and tshirts with a second hand pair of hospital scrubs. Elastic waist bands and polyester fabric and some mysterious stains around the cuffs. Ahhh. The glamour.

andi said...

I've been fantasizing about the day when I say "so long, SAHM" already. And I have 8 months left of my maternity leave. Other days I think I wouldn't mind staying home all the time, but those moments are fleeting.

ewe are here said...

Sounds like you've more than mastered staying at home with your wee ones. ;-)

MF now announces that 'daddy goes to work' every morning, and that 'mommy's at work', because I tried to explain to him that mommy works, too, and that her job is currently to stay home and take care of MF and Baby Boo. I'm not sure he gets it entirely -- heck, I'm not sure I get it sometimes!- but it makes me feel okay with the whole thing.

mommyof2galz said...

I just returned to work, oputside the home. Things are going well. I hope the transition goes smooth for all of you too!

Jenn said...

"Get on with the business of growing up"

Made me choke on a sob.

Time, it's kicking my butt lately.

Holding your hand, from across the way.

Catherine said...

I love your last paragraph. Excellent. Enjoy!

Aliki2006 said...

Ah, the bittersweet resumption of fall classes. I've been at it since August 18th--blech.

Good luck!

Vanda said...

Greetings from across the pond.

Your lovely entry reminded me of those bitter sweet days when my two went off to school after the holdidays. It was horrible watching my first grandchild going to her first day of school. Umm she got left on the school bus that first day, oops.

But oh boy, oh boy did I love retiring when I turned 50.

Rae said...

Mmmmm... that lunch sounded GOOD. I think I'll go find something to eat.

mamatulip said...

I love this time of year, not just because fall is wafting through the air and the evenings are crisper, but because there's so much excitement in the air, so much change ahead. Exhausting, sometimes, but revitalizing. Invigorating. I sensed that in this post.

Julie Pippert said...

Oh we LOVE Hondo and Fabian! Did you get the new book?

And I hear you about something ending just as you get the hang of it and settle in to a nice rhythm...I've decided that's the parenthood motto.

GL heading back to work.

Julie
Ravin' Picture Maven

Mary G said...

Big excitement, plus butterflies -- love the post and still love the first day of school. (Little Stuff starts this year; grandpa and I are off to buy her a cool, high style pencil case. Wish it were for me.)

Naomi (Urban Mummy) said...

I go back on Tuesday myself. It's bittersweet. Let's hope the day is pleasant, and the children are happy.

Daisy said...

Oh, finger painting and napping at work, I only wish.

River said...

Love the idea of parents napping, fingerpainting and playing with toys.

Susanne said...

Well, I'm guilty. I do go back home when I dropped off my son and play. No finger painting though.

We work from home so our son sees whether there is a student here or not...