Friday, November 12, 2010

Moving Slowly

When I was in high school, I took the ASVAB.  It's a test for those who are intending to go into the military. I never had any intention of doing military service, but I was one of those kids who liked taking  standardized tests.   I seem to remember the test being sold to us as some sort of reliable way to test our aptitude for various vocations.  And I thought that sounded interesting.  What will you be when you grow up?  Apparently, I was well suited for a "mechanical" career.

My guidance counselors called me "goal-oriented" on my college applications and off I went to college, then grad school, and then I got myself a professional stamp and some letters after my name.  None of which helps me at all in my current life as a stay-at-home-mom.  And lately, I'm pretty sure that being goal-oriented and mechanically-inclined are two character traits working directly against my success as a SAHM.  Our "best" days around here are when I have no plans to execute and there are no details to figure out.

Case in point: packing for our upcoming move.  Today, I thought I would tackle (with the piccolini, of course) two bookshelves in our basement.  Before I began, I hoed and hummed a little bit about the keeping the books.  Most - almost all - are from the days before the piccolini.   If I ever use them again, I'll be surprised.  But am I ready to part with them?  The answer came back a definitive, sentimental no.

While Noah was at school, I did my planning.  Measure the books, decide on the perfect box size, buy the boxes (much easier with only Mattias in tow!), haul the boxes home and to the basement, set up a safe place for Mattias to play, pack according to subject... one box done...Mattias is fussing, feed him...time to go pick up Noah at school.  That part went Really Well.  I was feeling good.

Home with Noah.

"Noah, you know what we are going to do?"
"What, Mommy?"
"Pack some boxes."
"Yay!  I'm a good helper, Mommy."
"I know, Noah."
...
"Mommy, let me help!  Let me help!"
"Okay, Noah, we're going to put all the reference books in this box." I put two books in a box.
"No! No! Let me do it!  Let me do!"
Noah dumps three thick dictionaries into the box.
"Ahhh...okay, but these books are heavy.  One at a time..."
"Like at the library?"
"Right."
Noah puts a little travel dictionary in the bottom of the box, followed by a big book on top.
"Noah, let's put the big books on the bottom." I take a book....
"I want to do it!  I want to do it!!"
I give him the book, Noah puts the book in the box.

I hand him another book.
He puts it in the box carefully.  But it doesn't fit well the way he has rotated the book.  It's driving me nuts, so I reach in and rotate the book.
"No! No!  I want to do it!  I want to do it!!"
Noah grabs another big book in a jacket; it slips out of it's jacket as he puts it in the box.
"Oops - oops - oops - stop, honey - no, don't put it in the box like that..."
The book jacket folds and crinkles as he drops it into the box.
I reach in to rescue the book.
"I want to do it!  I want to do it!"
"Okay, let's take the book out and fix the jacket..."
"What jacket?"
The poor book!!  The poor jacket!   I must rescue it!  I'm sentimentally keeping these books, remember?  I reach in...
"No!  No!  No!!  I wanna do it!!!"
...
"Now we tape the box closed."
"I want to do it.  Can I do it, Mommy?"
"Hmmm... tape is for grownups."
"Why, Mommy, why is tape for grownups?"
"Because is has this sharp cutter on it?  I don't want you to hurt yourself."
"I can do it, Mommy.  I'm really careful."
"You can hold the box closed while I tape it." Yes, brilliant!  "Ummm.  Noah, can you move your hand a little bit?  Ummm.  Can you hold it at the ends, over there?"
"No, Mommy.  I need to hold it here."
"It's more helpful if you hold it at the end..."
"I can't, Mommy."

Do you think the books need to be well packed if I donate them?  I've got a lot books here.  And at this rate of packing, we won't be moving until next spring.

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