Sunday, February 22, 2009

Scents without Sensibility

This weekend has whirred by... I'm not actually sure if I got anything I intended to do DONE. Of course, I was partially felled by my dang tonsils. Officially diagnosed this morning by a doctor dubious of the negative results from the fast-check strep test. My tonsils, renamed "something alien" by my astounded husband, who stuttered, "Oh, good, God! There's something alien in there... are they supposed to be tiger striped?" Funny thing is, they don't really hurt, but they are swollen and pressing on my uvula, therefore making swallowing quite difficult.

My children were just thrilled that I brought back "Mr. Da-donald's" for lunch. I chugged the vanilla milkshake I'd ordered with Scott's food on the fifteen minute drive from the golden arches to my brown house. Who am I kidding? I drank it in about five minutes flat. The toast that I'd eaten for breakfast didn't have enough protein to anchor my blood sugar for an entire morning, I had foolishly expected to get right in at the doctor's. Nope, not so much. I had a two-hour wait, long enough, in fact that the receptionist had suggested I come back in a couple of hours to wait for my name to be called. So I spent 9:00 - 10:30 prowling Target. And returned at 11:10 to fill my prescription -- for pills so large I couldn't think how I was supposed to swallow them with my angry swollen throat. I guess it's a good thing that I have next to no gag reflex. The only time I've ever been gaggy was when pregnant with Violet. And, after the nurse swabbed my toes through my mouth, I'm happy to report that I am, once again, in control of my gag reflex.

I'd say that it is delirium that has me wandering all over, describing a simple case of tonsillitis in such detail, but it's really boredom. After the doctor and the shopping and the brief sushi interlude called lunch -- don't tell me you thought that I fell off the diet wagon and ate McDonald's? Nope, I splurged for a half-moon combo from the Target sushi counter instead. Anyway, now I'm in hour 4.5 of proctoring a practice MCAT exam. I've read Water for Elephants -- and enjoyed it, for the most part. I checked and updated facebook. I wrote an email to a friend. And now I'm sitting here, really needing to use the bathroom, but hanging out while two students remain focused on their computer screens, calculating and recalculating, editing and re-editing their practice tests, breathlessly waiting practice results.

My children have been extra sweet and extra funny lately. Violet is downright demanding when it comes to her state of dress. She's taken off and put on shoes enough times that she can balance on one foot while holding the door frame as she slips her tiny foot into a fur-lined snow boot. She doesn't always get tops and bottoms on the right halves of her body, but socks are tugged appropriately onto her feet and hats perched carefully on her head. I did get a great laugh out of her skipping around the corner wearing a pair of Scott's clean boxer briefs. She'd stepped into one leg and pulled it up over her shoulder, toga-style. She beamed and declared herself to be "unna-lella." Cinderella. She chirps excitedly about her clothes, her hair, her baby and several other things that SHE clearly thinks I understand, though I cannot decipher all of the words she says. She tips her head and nods when I look her in the eye, mesmerized by the gray-green-blue-brown iris. Though her personality is forming, her eyes haven't picked a color yet, they waffle chameleon-like with her clothing and surroundings. Although the color isn't set, the intensity of her gaze is powerful. She is precise, she is strong, and she is clear in her ambitions and goals. She will become a force...

Milo has been playing daddy's birthday present -- Lego Indiana Jones Wii game. He's alternately proud and crushed as his skills are tested. He is boisterous in his success, coolly crowing, "Yeah, baby! Wock and Woll!" and equally desperate when he can't make the avatar jump the stones in the right succession, hopping madly, crying, "I can't DOOOooooo it! I can't DOOOoooo it!" until he can do it, then he's cool as a cucumber, with a little swagger in his step.

A funny one, he is. I can see hi battling perfectionism already -- his tender little heart takes entirely too much too seriously and his expectations for himself are higher than our expectations for him. He is embarrassed if he can't get something right, and more embarrassed if he's corrected. His sensitivity to correction makes discipline hard -- he understands too much and he views correction as personal failure. I remember those days, myself -- sitting in class, trying not to make any mistakes, frozen in my spot if I answered something incorrectly. I wouldn't wish that on anyone, yet it is staring me straight in the heart, growing up right in front of me. It's not surprising, that relentless perfectionism is a trait shared by both of his parents -- and the intensity of emotion that goes with it. It is difficult to be bright, to understand more than your emotions can handle. I know this, Scott knows this, and Milo will learn it. It's not a lesson that I have wanted to teach, though, nor is it a lesson learned from instruction -- only from experience.

Oh, my boy... I hope that you can let go of some of this and enjoy life the way you do when you are playing with your Star Wars guys, oblivious to anything around you, anchored in your extensive imagination, creating worlds. Or when you nest in the crook of my arm, feet pulled up, small as an egg, your head tucked under my chin. I can smell you, then, and you still smell to my heart the way you smelled as a newborn. I can smell you and I can smell Violet and in your scents I am transcendent, open to the universe, connected to history, woven into the fabric of time itself. I grow dizzy smelling you. It turns me inside out, stops my thoughts, catches me still, unbreathing and whole. Something awakens, something primal that screams, "my babies, my babies, my babies!" I know that this is the way it is supposed to be.

I know this as I sit, now five hours into the test, missing you... missing my family...

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