Day 69 – Tuning in

I do my best thinking in the shower. There’s just something about being in that private place, away from the noise and demands of my daily life, hot water pelting my skin washing away the sleep and stress. It shifts my brain into another gear, sharpens my focus.

It’s sort of like I’m constantly surfing through channels on the radio dial throughout the day. I pause here and there to tune into stations as needed. Then the dial spins again and I’m back to surfing and trying to make sense of the static. But those 15 minutes in the shower, standing alone in the steamy bathroom, I can dial into the station I’ve been searching for, crank up the volume, and jam along.

I’ve taken to keeping my cellphone nearby, so I can reach out and quickly type a note or capture an idea when it strikes me. It works in a pinch, but it’s not really the best method, and I constantly feel like I’m losing some of my best ideas with the water that swirls down the drain.

I’m also constantly worried that I’m going to drop my phone right in the shower and and have to deal with that temporary headache.

I need to find a more efficient way of catching that inspiration. Hit me up, people. I’m open to suggestions.

I love those moments of clarity, when all the thoughts and ideas that have been simmering suddenly come together, when I snap the puzzle pieces in place and I’m finally able to stand back, put my hands on my hips, and look at the big beautiful picture that emerged from the mess. It’s a moment that makes my stomach flutter, like that split second when the rollercoaster pauses at peak of the climb as if to admire the intricate complexity of the journey ahead before tipping forward and plunging into action.

I guess I’m sort of amazed by it too–the fact that our brains are capable of all this. Right now, my brain is doing the very important business of keeping me alive–telling my heart to beat regularly, telling my lungs to breathe in and out, scanning the entire system to detect threats, and taking in all the sights and sounds and signals to make some sort of sense of it all. All of this while still helping me to organize my thoughts into some sort of order and sending the message to my hand to form the words on page, to type sentences onto the computer screen.

I’m in awe of it, and completely humbled by the fact I’ve been given the extraordinary superpower of being able to think about and analyze and contemplate the universe around me. We humans are rather remarkable, aren’t we? To be given such an incredible gift, and an enormous responsibility.

Now if we could all just get on the same page and agree to use our superpowers for good, that would be something.

365 Project – Day 216 – Why So Serious?

It wasn’t so very long ago that I used to be able to get a lot of stuff done in a very short amount of time. I mean, when particularly motivated, I could tidy up of the house, cook meals, run errands, write, spend some time chatting with friends either on the phone or on Facebook, do a little reading, and even find time to watch a movie or play some video games–all within a 24-hour period. Give me an entire weekend, and I just might be able figure out time travel or find a cure for cancer.

When you have kids though, time management is one of those things that changes drastically. Suddenly, something as simple as running to the Post Office to buy stamps begins to resemble a scene from Mission:Impossible, only instead of guns and gadgets and hidden surveillance equipment, you arm yourself with toys and sippy cups and an assortment of bite-sized snack foods.

The funny thing about having a toddler though, is that sometimes just staying home ends up being far more adventurous than trying to go out anywhere. Toddlers are into everything, all the time, without stopping or standing still or giving you a break, even for a minute. Hell, some days I feel like I deserve a medal just for finding a way to take a shower with Cadence in the house. It has gotten to the point lately that I have to bribe her into sitting in her high chair (where I can lock her in) so I can shower without having to worry that she is going to climb on top of the refrigerator or manage to demolish the house in my absence.

Usually, if I give her some paper and a pen or some crayons, I have about 6 minutes of free time before she begins to demand release. And even there, in the confines of her high chair, it’s amazing what a toddler can accomplish when you’re not looking…

When I got out of the shower and I saw this, I asked, “Cadence, were you chewing on the pen?”

She just stared at me.

“Cadence,” I said again. “Did you put the pen in your mouth?”

Still no answer.

“Cadence, were you drawing?”

She nods.

“Cadence, did you chew on the pen.”

Annoyed at my persistence she shakes her head violently back and forth. Then she grabs the paper, crushing it in her hands.

“Nah!” she hollers. “Nah! Nah!”

Translation = No. No. No.

Hmmm…I don’t think I believe her.

“Cadence,” I say, pointing to the big black glob of ink at the corner of her mouth. “What’s this?” Did you chew on the pen?”

She looks up and smiles sweetly. I bite my lip to keep from smiling back at her. I furrow my brows and put on my best stern face.

“Cadence LaRue,” I say, staring her down. “Were you naughty? Did you chew on your pen?”

Finally realizing that she has been caught in the act, Cadence does what toddlers do best–she turns on the charm, knowing that the only way out without getting in a whole heap of trouble is to remind Momma just how adorable she is. So, she puckers up her lips and asks for a kiss.

Damn. That face is like kryptonite–it works every time.

“You know kid,” I say, as I shake my head and scrub the ink from her cheek with a wet washcloth. “You’re lucky you’re cute.”

Today’s 365 Project is dedicated to the kiddos who keep us on our toes and keep us laughing through the chaos. Some days, all you can do is just hang on and enjoy the ride.