The thing I find most draining about solo kid duty is the being "all on" all the time. Whether they're awake or asleep, and whether I'm awake or asleep, I always have one eye and one ear assigned to ensuring that everyone is taken care of and not in imminent danger.
My introversion counts down until naptime, when I can eat my lunch in peace and maybe engage in a refreshing ritual like knitting or having tea. But a few days ago, neither of slept - they both "practiced peace," instead, which sounded like two small voices loudly recounting the day so far, in two separate rooms. In a moment of inspired desperation, I put Simon and Garfunkel's song The Sound of Silence on repeat, and was surprised by the peace it brought.
I love my Littles. I love going on errands and adventures with them - I love snuggles and walks and talks and reading aloud and sipping imaginary tea, carried so carefully to prevent imaginary spills - I love seeing Brooklyn's face light up when she suggests something fun and I say yes.
But all of that input needs to be poured out at some point. Every word, touch, event, and encounter is a rock and by the end of the day I can barely walk with the weight in my soul's sagging pockets.
So I set aside space - clearing a literal space where I can sit comfortably and look up without seeing anything that needs to be done to distract me (even if that means facing a window or a corner), as well as a figurative space; stewarding the time I have after they're in bed, doing tasks one at a time and leaving things for tomorrow, making sure that creation as well as consumption is a part of my nightly routine... and then sitting down to breathe in the actual sound of silence.
2737. Tobin's fever breaking (oh, teeth)
2738. Finding a tiny park, just Brooklyn's size
2739. Reading in a pretty chair
2740. Dressing up to go grocery shopping, just because
2741. Crafting while it rained all afternoon
2742. Sweet Tobin snuggles