Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Star Housekeeper

Another Christmas has come and gone.
Esther didn’t realize it was Christmas day when she woke up. She came into our room to show me her freshly- painted fingernails, another new obsession, and I asked her if she thought Santa had come in the night. She raised her eyebrows and said nothing. Then she ran downstairs to check and came running back up to say the very same words I said so many times as a child, “He came, Santa came.” She topped it by adding, “It’s a splendid Christmas.” and “How wonderful.”

Isla’s eyes are growing bluer each day. She is also talking to us more and more. The whites of her eyes seem blue as well. Her eyebrows have a lovely arch which makes me try to picture her as a grown up girl. She has a persistent furrow in her brow, the look of constant consternation, that makes me worry she is going to be a serious child. I asked Ian the other night what we would do with a serious child. I can’t imagine it really. She is so different from Esther in many ways already.

Esther handles her quite roughly in the guise of giving her hugs and kisses. She also plays dangerously close to her. I had to read a chapter on siblings in “Girlfriends Guide to the First Year” to realize that this could be a passive form of aggression towards the baby. Duh. Meanwhile I have been bragging about how completely seamless it has been introducing Isla into the family. “Esther isn’t jealous at all. She just adores her baby sister.” Maybe so, but she also takes pleasure in making her cry. She has mastered the art of passive aggression at age four.

I went to my six-week postnatal checkup yesterday. Esther came along and watched the midwife give me an internal exam. She had this look of sheer naughtiness on her face as if she knew this was a rare opportunity to see someone putting their hand up mummy’s “booga wooga” and after a few seconds of watching this, her eyes big and round, she said, “Does it tickle mummy?”

I weighed in at 171 pounds and was kind of depressed by this. I read that the longing that most women have to get their old self back is an illusion. There is no old self left to retrieve. That girl; single, childless, lean and wild, is gone forever. I am the mother of two now. The mother of two. Mother.

I have developed a strange habit. The more time I spend cleaning this house, the more obsessed I become with celebrities. I find myself thinking about Jennifer Aniston or Kate Winslet each and every time I vacuum. I imagine what it must be like to lead a life completely free of dust and dander and clutter. To travel through this life without ever once having to plug in and push around this cumbersome machine that sucks up the dirt and debris of everyday life. I definitely need to get out more.

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