An easy way to feel rather proud of yourself, especially while desperately trying to get a child to eat solid foods from a spoon, is to make something nice that you actually wouldn’t mind eating yourself. Because, oh yes, there will be leftovers. But hopefully not as many as you fear.
I really do regret my absence from these pages, which is equal parts unintentional and belabored. But it seems like for the couple of months, maternity leave has for me meant that I think about writing, make three pages of inarticulate scribbles during her morning nap, and among other things try to feed a baby who has intermittently eaten well and refused to allow food to pass between her tiny little lips. I am horrified/delighted that Ines will probably always be stubborn and opinionated and generally a tough customer (what do you do about teenagers?) and horrified, period, that I have let this one little thing - eating solids - consume me. As with all completely normal baby-related experiences and feelings, I feel like I am facing a dramatic, unique problem, one which lies far outside of language.
Like any practice, a daily dedication to cleaning is difficult. And yes, sometimes it feels good to let your apartment go fallow and watch Nashville in old pajamas for three days while your cereal dishes crust over. I've been there, I feel you. But a good, redemptive cleaning is one of life's biggest pick-me-ups. There's time to think, listen to music, to finally drink a warm lemon water with turmeric and honey, and time to get optimistic while you make everything better. Bad days are the best cleaning days, because you can turn it all around.
In the spirit of not-yet-abandoned new year's resolutions, the recent Chinese New Year, never not sparking joy, moving house, being bored and out of work - and not to mention our Olympian month dedicated to all things Hearth and Home - we're cleaning up our whole About-ness.
Image: Rubber beauty masks, worn to remove wrinkles and blemishes; modelled by two women at a typewriter. Photograph, ca. 1921. From the Wellcome Library
The names of seashore towns run out to sea,
the names of cities cross the neighboring mountains
-- the printer here experiencing the same excitement
as when emotion too far exceeds its cause.
Excerpt from "The Map," from Elizabeth Bishop's North and South