When I was a kid I wanted to be spunky little Orphan Annie. Freckled face and smiling, wearing cute dresses and trying out the cool indoor swimming pool that Daddy Warbucks had. I used to sing along with “It’s a Hard Knock of Life” on the record player (just to show you how long ago it was). So now why do I identify more with the mean bedraggled woman who ran the orphanage? Minus the bathtub gin and floozy aspect, of course. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment of transformation, but I surely do see a rather weary and irritable lady in the mirror every morning. The type who is so frustrated with the cat who meows at every opportunity, at the never-ending paperchase of French administration, at all the chores that should be done.
Last Saturday was a prime example. I was supposed to be having a nice relaxing moment with Caro over hot chocolate and a cookie at Subway (pause gourmande only 2 euros). After eating her cookie partially, little Miss JuJu decided to fidget in the high chair and when I told her not to she proceeded into full tantrum mode. I tried to warn her that she’d have to go back in her stroller but this didn’t faze her. I tried to sit her next to us in the booth to calm her down but she just started writhing and even bumped her head on the seat. I warned her we’d have to leave if she didn’t calm down. And that’s just what happened. Half finished cocoa in hand and a feeling of shame on my face, I left Subway with (very) understanding Caro and baby, much to the delight of the staff and other couple eating there, I’m sure.
Back at home she was still a bit difficult, but she eventually calmed down and was even cuddly. But of course it was the cat’s turn. On his new diet, he’s even hungrier and never misses an opportunity to remind me. Constant meowing, trying to “trip” me as I go into the kitchen. Scratching at the door where we keep his food and dangerously near the Ikea pine cabinets which already have a scratch. I found myself using the same tactics on him as for Juliette. “If you don’t quit you’re going on the balcony!” (Rest assured, for Juliette it’s the corner, not the balcony.) “That’s enough of that.” I couldn’t even begin to count the number of times I said “no” last Saturday, between baby and cat. And when I do put him on the balcony for some fresh air, he instantly wants back in and does this amusing/annoying dance to get my attention. (PS: I was trying to link the video but youtube is telling me to download Adope Flash Reader which Firefox doesn't accept. Does anyone know a better way to link videos? I just can't get the video screen on there like I used to with the old Blogger format.)
I know that at this of my life, moments to myself are rare. And that when I finally do have more time to myself (i.e., when baby's grown up), I'll probably be reminiscing about the times I was busy. My Saturday wasn’t as restful as I had wanted. But it ended ok as I repaired Juliette’s favorite stuffed animal and she read her books quietly next to me or in my lap. And I reminded myself for the umpteenth time to not sweat the small stuff. But that small stuff can be so grating on the nerves.