When kids should be neither seen nor heard

There are days, and today was such, I could stand to do without spending much time with the boys.

They are loud and messy and uncouth. They whine and argue and burp lyrics to songs. They scratch their butts and chew hangnails. They hide their clean and folded laundry instead of putting it away. They negotiate, futilely but aggressively, for dessert at breakfast. It is tiring to argue about nonsensical things before 8am.

We got to the camp bus stop and because Oliver insisted on bringing a robot, derby cap and walkie talkie in the car, he’d accidentally left his lunchbox at home. I knew where I’d find it: near his closet where he put it down to fetch the houndstooth cap from its hook. Another sandwich bites the dust.

Home later after the gym, I found and unpacked the lunchbox and saved what I could. I surveyed their rooms and saw dirty underpants crotch-out on the floors. Open boxes of now-stale anything littered their desks and the dark spaces under their beds. The sink looked as if they'd tried to frost a porcelain cake using toothpaste. A Jackson Pollock had been crafted on the wall with rebounding pee.

“This is what ‘I know you can do it by yourself! Independence, darlings!’ gets me,” I mused aloud.

The sheer number of crumbs that Hansel & Hansel had dropped on the breakfast table and then along the path upstairs was staggering. Surely it could wrap the Earth. The dustbuster’s battery petered out before I sucked the crap away.

I was so glad they were at camp. I was so grateful for their lengthy day away.

So I caramelized shallots...

So I caramelized shallots...

Days like these sometimes blindside me although I'm starting to think that if I carefully mapped my life, Mondays would really be off the chart in terms of the kids being annoying and my tolerance, or lack thereof, for it. 

Weekends are anything but Sabbathy. Come Sunday night, Tom and I often look at each other askance and ask, with both worry and hope, “Will this ever be less depleting?”

Although it is exhausting to be an at-home mom of little ones, I watch Tom leave each weekday morning and think, “How the fuck does he do it?” On, on, on. All the time on. I try to give him down time when I can because, if only for a few hours, I get a taste of that most days; if you count errands and laundry and wiping pee walls and vacuuming up the Earth’s belt as down time which I often do because at least I don’t have to be on.

Or dressed in any quasi-professional way.

I hit a wall today. Was it the training run on Saturday? The play dates + produce + family get together over the weekend? Was it being awakened well before 7am for oh, nine years now? Was it latent anxiety that just wears and erodes?

I dunno but come this evening, when Ol wouldn’t pick up the Legos that he’d cycloned throughout his room but wanted to get out the Halloween bag-of-bones (and naturally cyclone out and then not pick those up either) and then cried and went boneless over my refusal to unearth said bag-of-bones without first seeing a Lego-free floor, I just wanted to quit.

When Jack came down again and again and again from bed, despite the years we’ve spent talking about what bedtime means, I just wanted to quit.

I wanted to finish making dinner for T and me, to try and connect in the thirty minutes during which we’re both just awake enough to talk.

for this tart that actually came together...

for this tart that actually came together...

Another hug, another kiss, another sad glance at the newspapers that will be recycled instead of read.

“Tomorrow is anothuh day,” I intoned a la Scarlett.

It is.

I think it is.

Is that a good thing?

I think so.

I hope so.

I’m tired.

and really hit the spot.

and really hit the spot.

Tom has banished me, with all the love in his being, to the basement; our secret hideaway. I accept!

Tasso and shallot tart, melon salad and to BlogHer '15 I go

At 10am this morning, I still had little more than undies, jam and all hair-styling products packed in my suitcase, but I'm on the train now, so there you have it. I work well under pressure.

Dinner last night was so wonderful- way to leave on a high note, Em! 

caramelized shallot, cabbage and tasso tart

caramelized shallot, cabbage and tasso tart

This tart never disappoints and was pleasantly lightened just the right amount by a terrific papaya and cantaloupe salad I concocted (and am about to post the recipe for). As many of you know, papaya loves citrus juice -particularly lemon or lime- but cantaloupe appreciates that same zing and so should not be relegated to just your basic fruit salad. 

I made a sprightly vinaigrette of lime juice, olive oil, a bit of honey and a dash of cardamom, whisked that with salt and pepper, and tossed it with the fruit and some shredded mint. Beautiful, healthy, and I'll admit to you that I drank the remaining vinaigrette because it was so tasty.

I'm sitting in a window seat barreling towards New York. New York, New York, you have a huge chunk of heart and soul, and I never feel anything but thrill as I head your way. 

As soon as I arrive in the hotel, I'm going to a happy hour and then the BlogHer '15 kick-off keynote featuring the #blacklivesmatter founders and Melinda Gates. Yes, that Melinda Gates. Then to a speaker at the 92nd St Y and finally to dinner with an oldie/bestie. What a day!