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Big People Conversations

May 12, 2010

For several years now, I can’t remember when my husband and I had a single, rational conversation.  And it’s not from constant bickering or loss of interest.  It’s because of the two small people who occupy our home.  Our children make it impossible to follow through on one discussion from start to finish.

Everything was fine in the beginning.  Before children, we went on long drives and had chunks of time to discuss ideas.  We could argue loudly and go to sleep angry.  We could stop at a convenience store and go in at the same time to buy soda or go wee-wee.

Those days are long gone. 

The last descent conversation we had was right before we found out we were expecting.

As soon as the news sunk in my thoughts turned to planning an extravagant nursery (we could only afford a cradle next to our bed.)  My husband’s thoughts turned towards how to pay for everything we would need (priority one: save for cradle.)  Then there were the months of nausea, the aches and pains of pregnancy.  Our conversations took a nose dive.

After the baby arrived, it was easy to see how talking diminished; my body was in some degree of pain.  I couldn’t see down the hallway straight, let alone form a complete sentence, from lack of sleep.  And relationship roles somehow shifted, leading me to be snippy and grumpy.

In the toddler years, we were both busy worrying about why junior cried when he was put in his crib, why on earth his poop was orange three days a week, and if he was getting enough interaction with playmates.  When he was sound asleep, we flopped on the couch and struggled to remember what we had done that day.

Then the next child came along.  At night we were so excited for free time that armchairs and television became our best friends. Any conversations we started were met with, “Shhh!  I can’t hear my show over your talking.”  Or, “Not now.  It’s a new episode.  Let’s come back to your thing later.”

The dinner table seems to be the worse place for trying to talk.  Last night I was determined to get through one topic without interruption.  I put everything on the table the kids could possibly ask for later:  milk, a new fork for the one that would fall, and extra napkins.

Near the end of the meal, my husband finally gave up trying to talk about his new boss at work.  My son was jumping up and down on my lap, his knees jabbing into my fleshy thighs, while my eyelid twitched involuntarily.  All meals at the dinner table now include my new tick.

Perhaps when the kids are grown and gone from the house, we’ll go back and finish the conversation we left dangling so long ago:  “So, do you think we’re ready to have kids?”

One Comment leave one →
  1. Richard Knuth permalink
    May 13, 2010 10:29 am

    Hi, It is SOOO GOOD to read your column again! !

    Such insite and clarity! You hit it on the head, and expose life to us with humor! Terrific!

    I am old, have experienced some of your life experiences, but I now have new-to-me, surprising old age life changes stuff.

    I could try to predict what you might expect ahead, but that would spoil the fun of reading your view and happenings of your life as they happen!

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