My husband and I have created a play space for our eight-and-a-half-month-old. Hubby calls it her cage, though there aren’t any bars trapping her anywhere. Mostly it’s an open space in our living room, barricaded off with furniture, pillows, an ottoman and an upside-down laundry basket.
I don’t know how long the basket’s going to last before she learns to crawl over it. She likes to take toys and and throw them onto the other side and then try to retrieve them. Often times, I’ll find her her with her belly flat on the basket bottom and her legs kicking out in the air as her little fingers are stretching as far as she can reach out the other side toward a lonely toy. (Okay, confession time: since finishing this post, she's learned to crawl OVER the laundry basket, so alas, that's no longer a security gate)
Yeah, she’s a busy thing. But she can play okay by herself as long as she can see someone else around. I’ll sit on the floor, prop my back against the couch, and read while she’s at her toy box, tossing everything over her shoulder. Occasionally, she’ll crawl over to me and try to eat my book. When she realizes I won’t let her have it, she’ll make a go for my bookmark next. I don’t think I own one un-wrinkled, un-chewed bookmark any longer.
I’ve yet to figure out how a mother of young children finds time to write. I usually sneak in a couple lines while she’s at the baby-sitter’s. But at home, it’s a catastrophe to even try.
I’ll take her into the library, slash, office, slash, computer room. The walls are lined with bookshelves and it’s like baby-disaster-making heaven to her. She can have every book cleared off the shelves and littered on the floor around her in five seconds flat. And when I let her sit on my lap at the desk, she usually ends up grabbing the mouse or keyboard and either erasing some majorly awesome line I just wrote, or sending my emails into folders that take me days to find again.
It’s impossible to become engrossed in a good scene. If I focus too fully on the story, my fingers flying over the keys as the muse begins to flow, I don’t notice her until she starts gagging. Then I rush over to her and try to yank the corner of paper missing from one of my wet, slobbery books out of her mouth.
Some of the time, I’m too late and she’s managed to swallow the paper down. Then I sit back in shock, thinking, “Oh no. I’m an awful mom. I just let my kid eat paper.” But it digests through—at least, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen dissolved paper in her diaper—and life goes on. I probably don’t even want to know how much paper she’s eaten without my knowledge.
I caught her in my notebooks once, trying to eat the post-it note off one of my story ideas. I managed to save that paper from digestion but not from complete mutilation (into the trash that post-it went). And when I began to lecture, “now, you can’t just go eating Mom’s notebooks. I’m going to put that stuff in a story someday,” she merely grinned at me, utterly clueless to what I was saying and then pulled up on my pant leg, demanding to be held. She just has to be one of those totally adorable babies too, one of those big-blue-eyed beauties that just melts your heart whenever she smiles. You can’t stay mad at her.
I love my baby girl to pieces. She’s the delight of my life, my pride and joy. But honestly, this writer-mom stuff isn’t as easy as some people make it look.
Speaking of writer Mom! I just found out my young adult romance story, The Stillburrow Crush (which was released the same month my baby was born!!), is a finalist in the 2011 EPIC's eBook Award Contest!! Yay. Super excited. (EPIC stands for Electronically Published Internet Coalition, by the way) I find out in March whether The Stillburrow Crush wins anything.
So fingers crossed!!!!