Pandemic journal: Day 40

Wednesday, April 22, 7:25 AM, Earth Day

Day 40 of voluntary social distancing, Day 37 of county shelter-in-place, Day 34 of statewide shelter-in-place

No theme, this week

I didn’t have time to dance before meeting up with AS & HB for our usual Wed morning writing, but I danced in my chair and stretched a little and actually that helped a lot. The day is going to go rather longer than usual, with a board meeting in the evening. I’ll have a small cup of tea. 

Before I move on with my day — because E is already at work and I’m just lucky Owl has so far not demanded me — I want to say yesterday I tried something different. I thought maybe things would go better with Owl if I gave them more undivided attention. So I planned to only single-task, or multitask with things that required less brain and were ok to interrupt, like laundry. It started well enough, but by the time I was putting lunch together I was ready to scream at them. (My therapist, last night: I want to see you on the edge! What is that like? Me: Snippy and snappish with no sense of humor, no perspective, ready to roar at any or no provocation.) 

I felt a little better after lunch. I made sai pang xie and ate it over Erik’s mixed rice, sitting outside in the sun with E, talking or venting but also having moments of silence while Owl ran in and out. (I also scarfed a half-sleeve of Thin Mints with alarming speed. It might have been more than half.) It didn’t ease anything really, and I still had the afternoon to get through. But it did take the worst edge off, give me a chance to be seen as an adult human and not just Mama. It’s possible that the work of being fully present with Owl just drains me so fast that all the good things I put back into my bucket are only just keeping things at zero — I’m not running a deficit but I haven’t any reserves, either. And if that’s the case it really is necessary for me to not be available to Owl sometimes (or most of the time). Actually my therapist pointed out that I’m currently with Owl just about 24-7, and that makes boundaries all the more important; it’s not good to teach a child that love means someone is available to you all the time, because then they learn to expect that and look for it in their adult relationships. Which: damn, I hadn’t thought of that. So… yeah, it was only a 1 day experiment, not even a full day, but it failed so spectacularly I’m not interested in trying it again anytime soon. I did get more stuff done around the house and that was welcome and satisfying. But I don’t want to feel that out of control again. 

Sai pang xie. Not the prettiest, but I enjoy the flavors.

It helped a lot to take a real break in the afternoon, being on my Meetup chat for an hour and a half (even though it wasn’t a memorable conversation), while Owl was watching TV on my phone, and after that I only had half an hour until therapy followed by dance. I developed stomach cramps during dance; I don’t know what that was about, but I don’t seem to be further afflicted (knock on wood). But SD came to class with me and it was lovely to see her dance. 

Sending loving thoughts to those who are volunteering to help others.