We are buying a house. We’ve been visiting loads of them, and the layout is always a big factor. Which arrangement will make it possible for us to work productively and also watch Zoe? How can I teach in our home without trapping Steve and Zoe in one small room? If I’m working in the office/studio, say, and Zoe isn’t asleep, where are she and Steve based? If Steve does fulfill his dream of turning the garage into a writing room, can he work there while I am working inside and who is keeping Zoe from burning the house down or inventing nuclear fission? If Steve is out performing, can I accomplish anything, or will I have to be in the playroom constantly?
I was working through yet another scenario in our current favorite:
So, we’ll be sharing the office, which is fine if I’m just making reeds. You can be in there working too, assuming she’s asleep. To practice I can step out into the front room if you are working. When I teach, though, you won’t really have access to that office…
That’s OK, because I can use the shed unless it’s cold out.
But who is watching Zoe then?
You know, Jennet, she won’t always be two.
I once had to drive home through a severe blizzard, and the road was so whited out that I was navigating by rumble strip. If I felt the rumble under my left wheels I corrected right and kept inching forward until I felt it on the other side. That way I knew I was still on the road. It took three and a half hours to cover the 50 miles, and at one point I realized that I couldn’t imagine ever being home. It wasn’t that I thought I’d die, but that I was concentrating so hard on what I was doing that there was no room to imagine anything different ever. I was focusing on the faint taillights ahead of me and the shifting snow on the road felt so timeless that it could have gone on forever. I wasn’t tired, or impatient, or conscious of myself, really. Just getting to the next roadside reflector, and then the next.
That’s how I feel now. Zoe is so hands-on that I truly cannot imagine a time when Steve and I could both be productive simultaneously. When she’ll be able to dress herself and read or do homework alone or be left to her own devices for longer than 5 minutes. When mealtimes will not be battlefields. When she won’t “sleep” in a pack-and-play in our room on our vacations and wind up kicking and wiggling in our bed every night.
As far as my tired brain can see, she will always be two. I love her at two – love her fiercely. I don’t resent the amount of work she is. But I still can’t believe that this level of constant attention and supervision might eventually ease. That someday Little Girl might grow up and babysit for someone else. Might go to school and give us hours of uninterrupted time to work or clean or sleep or read. I can’t imagine.