I am gradually becoming more disciplined, I think as a result of getting more sleep and getting my daily balance/routine working better. So yesterday morning when my student was late rather than pulling out my phone and playing Scrabble or surfing the web, I got my cello out to work on the last movement of the Beethoven quarter, which goes pretty wickedly fast, and so is amenable to being worked on in small chunks. I only got about ten minutes in, but it was productive.
After that lesson I called up the bike shop and made our down payment for all the work we’re going to have done on the Madsen. That was an enjoyable conversation, including a discussion of lighting on the bike, and what sort of basket we can get on the front.
Then I took Joanna to get her hips x-rayed. Apparently babies born breach can sometimes have their hips out of whack, and so it’s something we just wanted to check out in the category of crossing t’s and dotting i’s. She didn’t enjoy the x-ray at all, but liked the fishy decorations at the place. I loved spending that time just with Joanna, with no other kid to jump in. She gestures a lot more than she talks, and having a chance to communicate with her in her way and at her speed helped me to feel closer to her. It confirmed something I’ve been feeling for a while, which is that I need and want to make individual time for the twins in my weekly routine. Joanna has a sweetness that brings tears to my eyes, and I want to experience the gift of that interaction now, not just when they’re in pre-school and I can send them different days.
After that I talked to my friend R who’s in jail. We’d been missing each other for about three weeks, as I can’t call him and he can only try to guess the right time for calling me. We talked about how the fancies and fears that people can develop in prison are like those that sometimes occur in the middle of the night, when you find yourself creating entire frightening narratives about something that might be happening, which are then dissipated by light of day. In jail, there is, in some sense, never any light of day, and it’s possible to get totally out of balance, having lost your perspective entirely. It was very good to talk, one of the best conversations we’ve had. I was glad to be able to make the time.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how hierarchy is a structure in which a certain amount of distrust, anger, and a sense of betrayal is developed, and how antithetical it is to the family life I want to cultivate. I’ve been thinking about my OB’s reaction to my desire to give birth at home, and that she said I had betrayed her by not talking to her about it. She was unable to see beyond her mental box. And I think that has to do with the top-down approach so often found in the world of medicine. I view my health-care practitioners as members of my health-care team, but I am the person whose choice and agency ultimately matters most. It is a collaboration, or should be. That’s one of the things I love about naturpathic care: in that world it’s more likely that you’ll find partners in such a process.
I want each member of my family to learn how to think about each person’s needs, and the need to balance those needs. Ultimately, of course, Ted and I are responsible for our kids’ well-being, and that requires establishing boundaries and making some rules. But I think we’ve been working too hard, doing too much, and that we need to cede some of the work and responsibility to Hazel, include her in conversations in which we’re figuring out what to do for the day, for example, and in deciding how much work everyone’s going to do in the maintenance of the house.
Otherwise, we merely make her wait, telling her to be quiet as we figure out what’s going to happen. That doesn’t really work for her or for us.
Obviously, not every family decision is up for discussion by committee. But I think more of them are than we’ve been allowing.
Then, last night after I taught I went to get my hair cut and colored. The building in which the studio rents space was purchased last year by people who then attempted to kick out all the residents with 20 days notice, some of whom had been living there for decades. It’s all about money. They were prevented from carrying out that maneuver, but they’ve still won, making everyone leave so they can fancy up the building and charge triple or quadruple what was being charged before. I think it’s unethical. A longer but more humane process would have been to gradually renovate and increase prices after tenants had left. I also think that every building owner should be required to include 25% of the apartments or condos as low-income. Our societal segregation is one of the things that leads to lack of understanding and compassion, as well as to extreme injustice.
Despite the heavy conversation, it was nice to have my hair done, to sit in a chair and relax, to be responsible for no one but myself for an hour and a half.
Then when I got home Ted and I continued our ongoing conversation about how things are going in our family, and what we want to try next. I think I want to put up a sign in the kitchen as a reminder to me that, “Not Every Moment Should Be A Teachable Moment.” Not everything has to be fixed right then and there. In fact, not everything has to be fixed.
Hard to remember in the heat of the moment as Hazel assiduously sabotages what feels like every parenting move I try to make with the twins. Hard to remember, but important to remember.