Trying to get focused (and it's not really working) / by Christina Rosalie

It’s been like pulling hens teeth to get words on the page here lately. Life is happening full tilt and I’m all over the map. Things are busting out everywhere: dandelions, rhubarb, fiddleheads, grass. We have allergies, Bean and I. We are a display of loud, honking nose blowing, in the morning We eat fresh bread with tahini and honey; drink lattes over ice; and make our way to the mail box, the four of us, Bean on his bike, Sprout on me, and our goose bumbling behind, orange feet fwapping the gravel. We foray out, Bean ahead of us, wearing his yellow thunderbolt helmet, knees going around as fast as they possibly can, sneaker to the pedal. He is a whir, a blur, a sudden mess of limbs splat on the gravel. He gets up, brushes the gravel off hands, grins, rides off chattering.

Along the edges of the road the grass is growing tall. Pollen everywhere. The other day Bean was covered head to toe in hives after playing outside all day long in the windy, pollen heavy air. The kid is still throwing us curveballs with his health. With everything actually. This is a new phase. FOUR. Years. Old. He’s a big deal. “Look how strong my muscles are!” He tells us, flexing his bean-pole biceps. “I’m a superhero!” he yells, as he runs to fetch a diaper for Sprout.

Everything is a big deal. Everything is confusing and complex and full of danger and delight and curiosity. Everything is worthy of negotiation. He has an opinion about everything. It’s exhausting, sometimes. It’s a totally different ballpark parenting a kid than it is parenting a baby. In some ways, it makes the whole baby thing a piece of cake. Things are simpler when they revolve around four things: eat, sleep, poop, smile.

Sprout is three months old and brimming with gummy grins. It happened so fast, these past three months. With Bean I remember practically crossing off the days on the calendar, waiting for the three months, waiting for a time when he would be less fussy and I would get more sleep, but with Sprout, the days have just slipped by. He is a sleeper, a grinner, a delight. He lights up when he sees his big brother. He coos. He rolls over (tummy to back) and grabs things tight in his hands. In his sleep he practices laughing now. His little rib cage rising and falling with giggles about things without words, smiles fluttering about his face like humming birds.

Bean is ALL BOY now, no shred or scrap of toddler left in him, except for in the secret soft scent of his hair when he wakes up from a nap. He draws detailed robots , and pictures of people with many toes and big smiles. He draws alligators and diggers and suns with bright rays and monsters with many teeth. He writes his name on everything. He knows all his letters. He is obsessed with things that are “dangerous.” “Beavers can be dangerous,” he tells me matter of factly. “Because look at their big sharp teeth.” Other things that are dangerous according to Bean: moose (they can step on you!), monsters, earthquakes, alligators, tornados, bears, and pirates.

When he comes downstairs from a reluctant nap (he still needs them, but fights every. single. one.) his cheeks are rosy, his nose snuffly with allergies, his feet bare. He curls up in the crook of my arm as I type, and notices that I don’t use my left thumb as I write. “Why?” he asks. He asks why about every little thing in the whole world lately, and it’s a challenge because somewhere in the human brain there is a bit of hardwired code that makes a person compelled to answer that word.

On our way back from our walk, we trundle up the driveway hauling Bean’s bike and two day’s worth of Wall Street Journals. We stop at the coop to collect a half dozen smooth eggs in pale blue and brown. The chickens are finally starting to grow in new feathers after molting and looking generally ridiculous. We have more chicks coming in the mail next weekend. New Hampshire Reds and ‘chocolate layers’ that supposedly lay gorgeous dark brown eggs.

Spring is in full tilt. The garden beds are tilled. I’ve jumped the gun and planted some seedlings, and got my comeuppance immediately: the thermometer dipped, and the poor melons, I’m afraid they’re not going to make it. I must have been afflicted by a case of severe optimism to think I could get away with putting crookneck and honeydews in the ground before memorial day. I live in zone 5b after all. Last frost date: May 25. Sigh.

This week I’m determined to get back into posting. I can't honestly put a finger on why the cat’s got my tongue recently. Maybe I hit the delete key too much? I’m editing two short stories, and my time to write comes at me like a bone tossed at a dog: whenever, wherever. I’m not always prepared to gnaw the marrow of new words. I need some inspiration!

What does spring look like where you are? Tell me things. What are you doing this week? What are you planting? Eating? Listening to? Reading?