I am a fast person. I move quickly. I move a lot. I talk fast. I think fast-- sometimes around in circles, usually out loud (which can get me in trouble), never very clearly-- but FAST. I flit from task to task, keeping all my balls in the air, keeping the plates spinning. It's who I am. It's what I do.
Sofi is like me. She's always on the move, too. She talks fast, moves fast, constantly looking for the next thing. And we ALL know about Jamie... Right?
And then there's Judah.
Judah is not fast. Judah is Slooooooooooooow. Judah is focused. Judah is obsessive. Judah moves slowly. Judah listens very slowly. Judah talks. very. slowly. Judah thinks deepdeep inside his head and the words take a long. long. time to percolate to the surface. Judah is like a aircraft carrier. Full steam ahead is powerful and effective, but God forbid you try to take a tight turn in one. Maneuverability is not his strong point.
Judah needs predictability. He needs stability. He needs lots of time at home to play and dream and make up stories. He needs me to sit for longlong minutes and listen to his stories. He needs lots of time to sit on my lap, roll his head around on my chest and flail his feet against my shins and burrow his nose into my shoulder and tell me his stories and all the rules to his games and the myriad levels of the "New Judah Plants Versus Zombies Game."
I can give Sofi a list of four tasks, send her off and check back on her later. I can even tell Jamie to "go get a diaper and bring it to Mommy" and he will. If I tell Judah, "Here, take your flip-flops and put them on," five minutes later he'll be sitting on the bedroom floor staring at the ceiling and inventing a new zombie-eating plant made out of flip-flops. "It flip-flops at the zombies, Mama, and den they flopflopflop and they die!"
There are some days (like today, hence this post) when I'm trying to make bread and cinnamon buns for a new neighbor, dress and feed breakfast, get J out the door with a lunch, clean the kitchen and leave for the gym by 9:30. I'm breaking up fights, handing out stickers, mopping up pee (and mopping up pee, and moppinguppeeandmoppinguppeeand...). I'm breaking up more fights. Then I'm sending fighting children outside. And then I'm running out the door to break up more serious fights and then...
I finally realize.
It's not going to happen.
He's fighting with everyone and whining and babytalking because I'm moving too fast. It's too crazy. He can't cope. I'm losing him.
So I have to stop. Give up on the gym. Cuddle that annoying, loveable, precious, obnoxious, tear-stained, dirt-streaked face. I have to look into his eyes, wait for him, listen to him.
Some days it's nearly impossible. And I know, too, that he won't always be in the care of someone who's willing to do this for him. Somehow he has to learn to keep up. Somehow my parenting has to transition him from this to something approaching a normal pace of life. My prayer is that it will come with age and maturity. In the meantime, I may not get to the gym very often.
I don't know how else to be his mother.