What does busy look like?

Posted by on Dec 12, 2012 in Life in Laos | 2 comments

You might have noticed that my personal blogging has dropped of rather precipitously during the last couple of months. There are a couple of reasons for that, but one of them is that I’ve been busy.

I know, that B word.

I don’t like that B word very much. When I find myself using that word when people ask me how I am, I also tend to find myself feeling rushed and hurried, as if I’m galloping through life two steps behind a very long to-do list.

I find myself losing sight of the bigger picture, the why behind all of the items on that list. I get confused about which to dos are important and which ones aren’t, which things need doing now and what can wait. I catch myself checking my watch repeatedly, counting down until I can put Dominic down for a nap and then turning eagerly (too eagerly?) to my lists, my laptop, and my projects.

When I get too busy, everything I feel like I should be doing or that I want to be doing crowds in loud – clamoring over top of that small quiet voice that reminds me to pay attention and savor what I’m actually doing.

So, what have I actually been doing during this busy season? Well, reading Dominic Clifford Counts, and making fire-truck noises, and walking down the lane to the neighbors house to see the chickens and the fish and the puppies and the wooden elephants and the wild leopard-cat that lives in a cage. I’ve been dangling Dominic upside down, and kissing his round cheeks, and making him laugh, and breathing him in when I pick him up from his nap and he snuggles his face deep into my neck and pats my shoulder.

Occasionally during this sweet post-nap snuggle he bites me, but it’s worth the risk. 

I’ve been riding in small boats, playing in big waterfalls, chasing Dominic around on the grounds of the old palace, blowing bubbles, and buying plastic bags full of mandarins. I’ve been celebrating an extended thanksgiving by eating turkey dinner sandwiches every chance I get. I’ve been enjoying the cool season that has finally arrived by getting out of the house every day.

Last week I was walking the stroller along the Khan River and for a good ten seconds everything went still and silent. There was no traffic, no one else around, only the riverside jungle clutching the far green bank, the dark line of distant mountains, and the muffled rush of water shimmering over rocks. 

However, lest you start to think that life is all turkey dinner sandwiches and riverside strolls.

I’ve been begging Dominic to go to sleep and stay asleep. Measuring out way too many doses of antibiotics. Figuring out how to get a baby tested for parasites here. Chasing my child around and trying trying trying to get him to eat. Something. Anything. Anything other than cake, that is, which always goes over well.

In the last two weeks I’ve had two stints as a single parent while Mike’s been in the field.  

I’ve been rinsing off dirty diapers and googling “how can I clean mould out of shoes?” I’ve been dealing with the kicking and screaming that inevitably follow my refusal to let a small someone turn on the tap, or flick the light switch on and off for the 4354th time, or open the fridge door. I’ve been trying to find creative substitutes for the word no and often failing. I’ve been trying to muster up enough energy to have a decent conversation with Mike after 8pm and usually failing. I’ve been having epic parent fails to the tune of letting my child stick his finger down into the empty socket of a lamp that was plugged in.

I did. I actually watched him do this and it never even occurred to me it might be dangerous.

Do not ask where my brain was. Hawaii, apparently. And the little burn on his finger seems to be healing fine, thanks for asking.

And besides all this I’ve been working. I’ve been consulting, which has been good for both our bank balance and my brain – it has felt like a gooooood stretch after a long night’s sleep. I’ve also been scheming and planning and writing and cooking up a new project I’m super excited about.

But that’s another story for another day. I’ll come back later this week and tell you all about that.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. What have you been doing lately?

Related posts:

When Laos is hard
Lessons learned about Laos, parenting, and development work, in Phonxai
Our not-so-happy New Years news... Mike has cancer

2 Comments

  1. Lol! Love the ‘epic parent fail’ moment! I’ve never done the lamp thing, but I do remember eventually giving up on trying to get my second baby not to eat sheep poo. We had 5 acres of land that we weren’t living on at the time, which had sheep grazing on it. And whenever we went for a visit to our land he would rush off as fast as he could crawl, for the biggest poo he could find. It was incredibly disgusting and he thought my reaction was totally hilarious! I did do my best to stop him, but as soon as I took my eyes off him, off he went! Oddly enough, it never made him sick…

    • Sheep poo. Sigh. Yeah, Dominic has put some unspeakable things in his mouth.

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