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Monday, January 17, 2005

Reading the Newspaper: A Luxury of Days Past

It’s amazing the things one takes for granted before bringing children into the world. Perhaps the shock of having a child was a bigger adjustment for Brian and me than for some, as we waited six and a half years after getting married to take that step (not to mention waiting until we were past the “prime” of our 20’s to get started). We’d gotten used to such things as long lazy weekends lounging on the couch, watching a movie from beginning to end, going out to dinner (or out to ANYTHING for that matter) on a spontaneous whim, sleeping late on Saturdays, being able to stay in bed all day when feeling under the weather, and having time to read the paper before the “news” is no longer newsworthy--and before it ends up strewn about the floor and gleefully trampled on by little toddler feet.

This is apparently a delightful activity for Zoe as she tosses the pages down and stomps and dances upon them. The slick pages are especially fun as they crackle more and cause slipping and sliding (which is fun until a big wipe out—usually by Zoe, but occasionally by one of the unsuspecting adults in the home). It seems that any news we manage to glean once a week from the Sunday tribune is not only limited by lack of time for reading, but also by whether or not a whole, intact page is even left for our reading pleasure. In some cases, finding out how a story ends is a long lost luxury in itself as rounding up the crinkled, torn, mangled pages in proper chronological order is such a chore at times, that by the time they are put back in order, time is up—lost among the more pressing priorities of making sure that full coffee mugs (there’s no time for sipping hot coffee anymore either) aren’t poured onto the carpet and cat food kibble is not taste tested (the fact that cat food is so desirable but nary a green bean will pass her lips is another toddler anomaly).

As far as the newspaper goes, you truly do learn to pick your battles with a toddler. Those things that entertain her for several minutes at a time and are otherwise harmless, we have learned to relish, as that that means we can steal those moments for ourselves—to take some deep breaths, make a quick phone call, or check our email. For that reason alone, the paper is worth its subscription rate. And so we keep it coming to our door step, and once it has been danced upon half a dozen times, thrown about in a toddler frenzy, torn, tattered, mangled, and often only minimally read, it finally makes its way to the recycling box. The floor remains clear of torn and tattered newsprint until the next Sunday edition arrives and we can do it all again.


Among less colorful news is that Zoe has been sick again with yet ANOTHER cold. She came down with this one last Wednesday. Her most frequently used word these days is “nose”, which she states after sneezing when the snot has exploded across her face, or when she is having trouble breathing. She has done well sleeping through the night in her own bed since we began giving her some decongestant at bedtime to help her breathe. The first night of the cold, however, we did not give her the decongestant, and as typical when she is sick or teething (which is also going on at the same time), she ends up in our bed—lest none of us get any sleep whatsoever. Trying to sleep with a 17 month old in your bed is an interesting experience—and a story for another day…. Meanwhile, we are hoping that Zoe is well again soon. There’s nothing more heart wrenching than seeing your child be sick and not being able to do anything about it.

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