Friday, October 7, 2011


I think we've made it into the rhythm of the new school year. It feels good, even though Mattias continues to take one single, ridiculously early morning nap (at 9 or 10 am) 75% of the time, while Noah is at school. I've resigned myself, realizing that he sleeps better when his brother is not around and he plays harder when his brother is around. Okay, yes. All the better for an early bedtime. Last night, they were both asleep by 7:15. A miracle, aided by the earlier setting of the sun.

Leo Lionni's Frederick entertains his field mice family during the cold winter.
Fritz points out every evening how much darker it is than the day before. It's a yearly ritually, his 5 weeks of preemptive mourning of Daylight Saving Time. He hates finishing his working day in darkness, hates the coldness it brings, hates the early morning sun. He pretty much dislikes autumn and begrudges winter; unless they come with skis, crevasses, and sleds.

We are foils. I like autumn, I like winter, I like the cold, I even like the darkness. It brings out my inner artist.

As a child, I found it exhilarating when the sun set during my 3:30 ballet class. There was thrill associated with the fact that I was awake, it wasn't bedtime, and yet, yet, the sky was dark! Plié. And it all happened while I was demi-plié-ing next to those big, huge windows in the second floor studio with high ceilings overlooking main street. Plié. The street lights klicking on randomly. Plié. Sometimes I could see the fog of rain or sleet or snow in the headlights of passing cars below. Plié. Honestly, I didn't focus very much on those pliés. I was more in love with that particular room in that city at that special time of day. Class over, shoes off, boots on, parka pulled over my dance clothes, down the stairwell, a chute to the sidewalk that was thick with the smell of leather, and then, finding the soft headlights of our family minivan parked in the dark fog. I still find this early evening darkness exhilarating.

Every year I scratch my head, wondering if I should attempt to overwhelm Fritz's gloom with my eager anticipation of winter. Or if I should simply let him have his misery. I think there is value in both approaches. Whatever approach I take, this seasonal ritual inspires it's own sense of comfort, even if the scale of the repetition is harder to grasp.

Which is how I'm feeling about Noah's school these days: five days of (mostly) the same schedule, if it doesn't quite work one day, there's another day and another just like the one before. Until now, I didn't understand how exhausting the irregularity of his previous schedule was. Generally speaking, I'm a person who strives to keep things simple, eliminate fuss, shed baggage, but for me keeping things simple with kids can often feel like an exercise in personal frustration. The variety in our previous schedules toyed with my minimalist efforts, and more often than not, I felt like we were constantly adjusting to one more variance.

And now: order. Or it feels like order - a comfortable one -  where I can breathe a little deeper and relax a little longer. I might even sit down and read a book for myself this fall; something I haven't done in years.


Erin said...

I love autumn with a senseless passion. I used to be a big fan of winter, too. And someday I wil be again. Like you, I like the cold and dark. It's just that winter hasnow turned into the season of continual sickness & boredom (my kids aren't good for long periods indoors).

Ann Wyse said...

It's true, the sickness thing does make the winter less fun. But until they are sick, I think I'll stay in denial. ;-)

Pregnantly Plump said...

I like the cozy clothes of winter, but much prefer the warmth of summer. It's the southerner in me I think. Once it hits 50 degrees, I start freezing.