Saturday, April 02, 2011 • 8:51 AM Comments ()

Day After Fool's

posted by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

April Fool’s Day 2011, like the snow, came and went. Birds are singing. Sun is shining. I almost think it just might be spring.

Although that seems way too bold a declaration.

No one pulled any pranks on me. I was too burnt out and cranky for anyone to want to try. It was the stubborn desperation to control all of the three year-old, the can’t-wake-up teen and the two-hour delay, which meant carpool sabotaged any semblance of making a choice to “do” anything in the morning that started things off on a bad foot. Never mind that Fridays are often days I schedule less kid-heavy and more work (and stability ball class) heavy instead. I did have help to go to class and then the physical therapist (who dug right in to some very old, deep stuff: ultimately good, but probably in the very short term i.e. last night, kind of upending).

After a couple of hours with the girl in her poopy diaper she refused to let me change, just melting all over the place, I was yelling at everyone. It wasn’t pretty.

Much as I felt the day before, a moment I had nothing legitimate to complain about but I felt pretty cranky, anyway. Stressed. At loose ends, like the joke—the Fool’s—was on me.

Boring even to write about. Plus, I felt terribly about yelling at everyone. And they felt like I had gone over the edge: Remy was mad at me (understandably) and Lucien didn’t know what to think and Ezekiel wanted to take over so I could be alone. Saskia was oblivious.

**

Onward. We piled into the van about half an hour after I’d hoped to do so and drove to Hampshire College to see our friend and much beloved babysitter Ella’s Division III (that’s thesis if you don’t know Hampshire) show. She’d combined printing techniques (including letterpress, and in this moment when digital seems to rule and there’s worry about the future of books, it’s subversively wonderful that people, young people, are learning and loving letterpress, right?) to create a gorgeous show, based upon found images and text in old high school yearbooks.

Having spent some time around a table of Hampshire students pretty recently, I’d had all the reactions to being in a room filled with college students my dear husband was having. Quoting the dear husband: “I feel old. They are all so young. In four years, Ezekiel is one of them.” And two years after that, Lucien follows: I know.

When the Ezekiel’s-on-the-threshold-of-this revelation hit me this winter, I felt really excited by it rather than sad (I have plenty of time to get sad, worry not). I felt the same way again, watching Ezekiel eating as much as he could (he hadn’t brought any food to school and was there till after five) and marveling in the general coolness of art and neat people and food and you know, the general college-i-ness of the whole thing. He kept saying how much he couldn’t wait for college. I cannot wait on his behalf.

The work was all so interesting and impressive. The people filling the gallery reminded me that camaraderie is high at Hampshire these days and that the work wows and that I love the place.

Lucien looked a little more tentative, as he often does around peers or just-beyond-peers, like he’s trying to hold his own and does so with great care. True confession: I’m such a crazed Hampshire booster I would probably love it if all four kids went there, the truth is I wouldn’t want to be that mother and just the other day, dear husband and I were talking about how we could see Lucien at almost any Quaker college on the circuit, from Guilford to Haverford.

Back at home before we left for Hampshire I did manage to extricate Saskia from her diaper eventually and into clean clothing. Some clean clothing, that is: I got her into a t-shirt and tights; she refused the skirt (that would have worked perfectly). She also opted for metallic sandals. Snow? It had melted mostly remember? (Besides, when it was on the ground at carpool time, all slushy and chilly, she wore Audrey’s flip-flops—Audrey’s in kindergarten and yes, they are too big for Saskia—to the van.) She has a fashion sense all her own, that girl, which, at Hampshire means she fits right in. She did have a fabulous time in the gallery amongst the grown people.

Remy, unquestionably our resident artist, asked Ella, “How did you make these?” and then listened raptly to her explanation.

On the way out, Remy saw a display on a bulletin board for the Hampshire College Farm Center and noted, “We’re asking the same question in my class.” The question: Where does your food come from? I love Remy’s curious mind and his second grade experience. That is a most excellent second grade question, and obviously one he can ask—and answer—again and again throughout his education.

**

So, a bit heartened by all that, yet still completely overtired and cranky myself the day ended with my snuggling with the girl—this time refusing to put a diaper on, but at least having peed in the potty at home before bed—in my bed and eventually drifting off myself. I hope a big sleep put me back on track to feel happier again. The winter farmers’ market beckons.

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