she's gonna blow

Sometimes, my two boys require such completely different things from me that it really doesn't seem like a big deal that there are two of them. It's like whistling while knitting - once you know how to do each of those things on its own, doubling them up is no big deal.

Chicken requires constant mental energy. I have to listen very closely to understand what the fuck that kid is saying. He says something that sounds like "wide" and it could be light, white, right, ride, or, yes, wide. Context is key. I have to think about how I'm going to negotiate him into the car, out of the car, into his shoes, out of his diaper. I have to come up with songs about everything (today's masterpiece: "Cactus Song." It goes a little something like this: "This is a song about a cactus, yes, a song about a cactus, ouch ouch ouch! A cactus is sharp!") He's a mental workout. But the boy can sit, stand, walk, and put his own food and drink into his body.

Buster merely requires my constant physical presence. Mostly I don't think about him. That sounds harsh, but it's true. I enjoy his awake time, but the only brain power I need to tend to him is enough RAM to remember where the fuck my phone is so I can take a picture of that funny face he's making. But my body and his body are essentially still one. It's only by the technicality of birth that we are separate creatures now. My body is his bed, his table, his home.

That's a sustainable, if draining, balancing act. I've got a baby on my body and a toddler in my sights at all times. At the end of the day I'm exhausted. But I'm not psychotic.

But when I have to devote mental energy to the baby, or physical energy to the toddler... that's when shit goes off the rails. To return to the "whistling while knitting" analogy, it's like using knitting needles to play "The Flight of the Bumblebee" while using your teeth to knit a sweater.

For example.

We're going to the store. The baby's strapped on my body and I'm talking to the toddler, prepping him for the big fucking staggering shock that he has to sit in a car seat. This happens, by the way, every time we get in the car. We get to the car, and I have to physically pick up and restrain the toddler in the his seat. While I'm still wearing the baby, who starts to fuss because he's being crushed to death and probably kicked a little too because his brother is flailing around. Physical demand: wrestle toddler into seat, keep him restrained long enough to clip the clippys in, while bouncing up and down and patting the baby on the bottom through the carrier. Mental demand: explain for the fourteen thousandth time that no, Chicken cannot drive the car today, while shushing the baby and humming "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star."

The good news is that I don't really have to worry about strangers approaching me to sign their petitions or whatnot. Because it's pretty clear to all who view this bouncing, humming, wrestling, explaining, insane spectacle that all it would take is one more living thing to ask something of me, and we'd all be on the news tonight.

A local mother of two stabbed a Greenpeace activist in the throat today when he approached her in a Target parking lot to ask if she had a moment to save the wolves of Alaska. She'd been in the process of buckling her children into the car when Jerry Orson, a longtime friend to animals and philanthropist, tapped her on the shoulder. Witnesses say the mother whirled around "like a wounded tiger fighting off a band of rabid chimpanzees," and punctured Mr. Orson's throat with the same ballpoint pen she'd used to cross "baby wipes" and "bubble water" off her list only moments earlier. Mr. Orson remains in critical condition, and the mother, whose name has not been released by the police department, is begging to remain in custody, where, she says, "finally, the screaming has stopped."


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