It hadn’t occurred to me that my normal might not be the same as anyone else’s.
For example, when I enter a bathroom, is it normal that I immediately remove the toilet paper from the roll and set it on the counter? Why? Because the baby crawling frantically behind me in a knee race she can never win thrusts her body towards the dangling roll, slaps it with her hands in a reverse donkey-kick which bears the weight of her entire body until the roll resembles a pile of white icing, squeezed from an eleven month old, human, piping bag in a puddle on the floor and I’m left to re-roll five hundred cashmere sheets back into place which ends up looking like I punished her by making her do it because it’s next to impossible to get it back on straight. Also, it’s now ten times thicker than it was when she first took a spin on the prize wheel.
My normal includes washing dishes at the kitchen sink while a baby uses my calves for balance and slaps them like they are two out-of-shape drums in an effort to be lifted up to see what I’m doing. When I eventually cave and pick her up, she adds nothing to the experience in fact she detracts from the task at hand so back she goes to grip at the denim on the back of my legs. This arrangement really doesn’t inconvenience me until I need to put the dishes away, requiring me to move across the room to various over-stocked, over-stuffed shelves and move at a snail’s pace while the baby slides behind. This exercise can take several hours to clean up the dinner dishes alone.
A normal night’s sleep usually involves at least two post-midnight tours of the house to find children sprawled on a couch, in front of a t.v. or in their beds ranting about a deer (thanks Greg) or the scary Shrek Halloween episode we let them watch (again, you know who you are).
Normal is denying my kids candy before Halloween despite teasing them with giant boxes of chocolate bars and gummy dreams, enough to fill the bags of all the children in Canada and then some but then secretly eating it myself and worse, lying to them when they ask why my breath smells like chocolate, peanuts and caramel. Colgate?
On any given day, a normal wardrobe could be any or all of the following; mom-jeans with long-sleeved tee, a typical canvas to be jazzed up with tiaras, hair-clips of varying lengths and colour schemes, Snow White, Cinderella (or a combo) costumes or possibly just fairy wings depending on how much extra Halloween candy I’ve consumed and whether the clasps will close, with stickers as far as the eye can see.
The girls normally head down to Greg’s office to affix a piece of paper with a silly note like “I’m so lazy” on his back or more often just slap him with a piece of tape, panic, giggle and run out of the room.
My normal is replying to Ellie who is explaining to me that her best friend at school was sick with ammonia yesterday or asking for yawn medicine before breakfast and “girl-cheese” sandwiches for lunch.
Our normal t.v. line-up now includes shows like Sonny With A Chance and Imagination Movers. How many times has Greg had to ask me something twice because I’ve become engrossed in a Sonny/Chad exchange that has me rooting for those two crazy kids to just admit they like each other.
I might roll my eyes at the toilet paper, the leg gripping and sleepless nights but when the kids get a little older and no longer need me to act as a tripod, propping them up on their own legs or when they stop being utterly amazed by the simple, soft flutter of white paper magically piling up on the ground in a nest all around them, I’ll miss this normal and wish for it back.
Normal is a moment in time and I hope it lasts.