Yet another thing I shouldn’t be doing while this thesis deadline looms

by Ashley Weeks Cart

My sister was in town for 10, count ’em 10!, days. This meant that I was entitled to 10 days of free childcare and thus 10 uninterrupted, productive days of thesis writing. HA! Did I ever find excuses for avoiding this precious gift of time and productivity. What was more important than working on my Master’s thesis, the culmination of my graduate career and something to show for the $100,000 debt that I have driven this family into?!

Well, let’s see.

1. Baking four pies for three people.

2. Knitting a cephalopod plush for my sister’s lab bench- because she studies cuttlefish and clearly needed a stuffed animal representation IMMEDIATELY!

3. Making flowers out of a pile of old buttons.

4. Crocheting baby booties, which I messed up, TWICE- so FOUR booties were necessary.

5. Plastic bag bagging because shhh, don’t tell, James fucks up a lot occasionally and forgets our reusable bags (which is appalling but it means that now, once a year or so, I get to make a rad reusable bag out of those suckers. And now, in the midst of finals, was obviously the time.

6. Are we picking up on a theme?! Crafting is my drug. SAVE ME FROM MYSELF AND MY CRAFTING TRUNK! (yes, there is a trunk, a full-sized trunk where I could stash a body if I were ever in need of a good hiding place, except I couldn’t because it is filled with yarn, and glue, and needles, and felt, and needlepoint patterns for WASPY door stops, and oh my lord,  PONY BEADS! (you get the idea)). Hi, I’m Ashley and I’m a craftaholic.

6. Pictures with Santa. (and the two-hour wait that entailed)

7. Walks to burn off the four pies.

8. Trips to Malibu to visit some family and friends and eat dinner next to Lauren Conrad, BECAUSE WHAT COULD BE MORE LA?!

Anyway, you get the picture. I found excuses. And clearly, visiting with my little sister was high up on that list. Well, she left on a jet plane last night, so my goal for today was to wake up bright and early and get cracking while Addison was still asleep.

My disdain for the wee hours of the morning and Sunny’s erratic sleep schedule kept that from happening. So we awoke at 7am, “got dressed” (and by dressed I’m in sweatpants and my fuzzy slippers), ate breakfast, played, and then it became apparent that Sunny would need an early nap. But rather than lay her in her crib, what did my genius-self decide to do? Close the curtains (it was a gray cloudy day, and I can’t tolerate that in a land where we’re supposed to have 365 days of sun, so this was my protest), curl back up in my bed with the wee one nestled against my chest and Ursa at my feet, and nap. Yep, sleep avoidance. The best kind.

And let me tell you, it was worth the panic that I’m going to experience tomorrow when those thesis pages are due, the ache on my right side from my whole body going numb while snuggling the Bug, and the scolding I shall receive from James upon reading this blog post. Because, day by day, as Addison becomes more and more independent (for Christ’s sake she’s sitting up on her own, it’s like she doesn’t even NEED me anymore), those moments where she’s willing to sit still and snuggle with mommy are few and far between. And those uninterrupted mornings, where I don’t have the demands of a traditional job, or another sibling (yeah, James has already asked if I’m “ready” for another and my response was DO YOU WANT OUR SEX LIFE TO EVER RECOVER?! and that shut him up for now), or meetings, appointments, etc. are a rare, precious gift. So I lay in bed, enjoying the chorus of sighs, the warmth of my little baby furnace and the preciousness of time, I as the big spoon and her my petite cuillère. Today, that moment with my child was more important than any amount of debt or academic responsibility. But I guess that’s not just today. It’s everyday. Because she puts everything in perspective.

And because moments like that are fleeting, Ursa took it upon herself to disrupt the rainbows and fairy dust (stupid bitch) and shook, violently; thus, awaking the babe and sending her into a fit of cries such that I had to resort to putting her down alone in her crib, where she balled up like a stink bug and happily went back to sleep. My independent woman. Beyoncé would be so proud.

And to further delay the thesis process, I had to blog about it, because when I look back 10 years from now, I’ll think about that morning in bed with my first-born baby, not the blinking cursor on my computer screen.