opting out

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opting out

Saying ‘no’ to something you really want to do is rough, but often necessary.

Backing out of something you’ve already said ‘yes’ to – now that really sucks. Especially when it’s an outing with a relatively new friend. Old friends are understanding, or should be, but new friends can be tricky. New friends with whom you don’t share a native language… more tricky.

At the respectable hour of eight fifty this morning I called my friend and backed out of taking the kids out for most of the day. The plan was to walk to the bus stop (exercise! wee!) and then take the bus to the nearest IKEA, to wander and have lunch and enjoy the decor, to shop a little (not limiting ourselves to ikea, but there is a corner in our lounge in need of a little table) and then maybe take the kids to an indoor playground area in the same shopping complex.

But I had a horrible night after a very difficult afternoon-evening and this morning I woke up feeling like the living dead. (I assume that’s how they feel. It’s how they look, according to the covers of all the most popular books of the last five years.)

I’ve been tired a lot lately – bien sur, as the baker said to me this morning, of course I’m tired, I have a four month old baby and a toddler. This morning I was past tired and I’m here to confirm there is no such thing as coming out the other side. I felt awful. I had two failed attempts at a nap in the morning morning and I didn’t even try this afternoon. By the time the kids accidentally synced their naps for a solid hour I was so hopped up on caffeine, sleep was highly unlikely.

Miraculously I got some editing done; though the true miracle will be if it’s any good. There’s been a lot of children’s television on today, and I’ve wasted quite a bit of time playing a game on my phone.

Anyway, after backing out on my friend I felt obliged to use my all-of-a-sudden-free day wisely, ie. asleep. When that failed, I tried for the next best thing: reading, relaxing, time-wasting… but I suck at that. I really do. The guilt poisons all the fun of it. I read while breastfeeding, I play on my phone while child-minding. I relax… by being productive.

There is something very wrong with me. (And I don’t just mean the multi-tasking habit.)

Sometimes I really need to just do nothing for a while. Obviously there’s the guilt obstacle. But then there’s also the logistical one: when the kids are both asleep and I have a moment in which doing nothing is a viable option, I’m also looking at possibly the only window in the day when I can

a) nap, or

b) do something that requires my full and undivided attention

As I write this the other screen is playing The Penguins of Madagascar and Louis is in his highchair behind my left shoulder, eating his leftover breakfast (yeah, he’s throwing cheerios on the floor). Now he’s finished and needs a spot-clean before he’s let loose. And at that point who knows what’ll happen?

This is what happened: played with Louis, and got a workout while I was at it I’m guessing. Not a bad use of an afternoon at all.