Monday, November 17, 2003

Most of Sunday was just me and the kids and I kept reminding myself that the two-year spread between them will be a good thing when they're a little older. Right now, though, at 3 and 1, they expend enough energy to decrease our dependence on foreign oil tenfold. Forget hydrogen cells and solar power, somebody needs to figure out a way to harness the seemingly boundless energy of toddlers. I totally get the concept behind The Matrix now!

Isaac has pretty much gotten over naps and India has cut hers down to two hours tops - and late in the afternoon at that - which basically means they're on the go nonstop from morning til night, when they usually pass out without much of a fight. Now that India's big enough to comfortably play along, the two of them are raging dynamos, running back and forth through the apartment, climbing on everything they can get a foothold on. Between them, they have an unseemly amount of toys - especially the small kind that tend to disappear under couches and re-appear underfoot - all of which must be played with for at least two minutes each and none ever put away lest they want to return to them minutes or hours later. Pulling all of their books from the bookshelf and spreading them across the floor is one of their favorite, and seemingly mandatory, activities.

Occasionally, they will pause in front of the TV for 10-15 minutes, transfixed by Bob the Builder or Blue's Clues or Pee Wee's Playhouse, which, as an adult, I now realize was incredibly bizarre for a kid's show and somewhat prophetic of Pee Wee's ultimate fate. It's just enough time to get something to drink, go to the bathroom or sneak a peek at the news before they're back in action.

Yesterday, Isaac and I read several books together for the first time in recent memory and I realized that ever since we've had two kids, it's somewhat diluted our ability to be the attentive parents we were in his first year and a half. Most days, it's a challenge to simply be good caretakers, making sure they eat (often an unpleasant battle of wills), get baths, and don't kill each other.

The fact that they have such different personalities - India is much more independent, almost militantly so! - doesn't make it any easier. Sitting together reading felt good, but there was a part of me that felt like spending that time focused on Isaac was somehow cheating her. At one point, I even tried to sit her down with us but she wasn't having it, squirming her way back on to the floor and heading off on her own.

No idea what the connection is but, later in the evening, I went on a cleaning spree and completely rearranged their bedroom, making it a bit less parent-friendly while giving them more room to play. I also took the opportunity to cull their toy collection a bit even though it felt like I hadn't made much of a dent when I was done.

Within minutes, their books were back on the floor and they were in the home stretch. :-)

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