I've been home more than usual lately, on account of being halfway through these 12 days of doctor-prescribed bed rest. At 26 weeks, it's just too early to have contractions. Sure, I've got a touch of cabin fever and an itch to get out there into the wide world again...but I'm also enjoying this brief stint as a SAHM. It's a role that's very familiar to me, having spent more than half of my nine years of marriage in it. But it's hard to really fit into it when I can't be cooking, gardening, or running out to the park in the afternoon with the kids. It's also hard to fit into it because I know it's only temporary.
I'm rediscovering what funny and creative kids I have, now that our interactions have stretched back beyond mealtimes and bedtimes. My main role in their lives, outside of Shabbat, has been telling them: chew with your mouth closed, stop telling fart jokes at the table, get in the tub, brush your teeth, hold still while I'm changing your diaper, finish your homework, get in bed, stay in bed, etc.
I've crafted finger puppets with Puriel, helped Teneya with a school project, and applauded in amazement as Hemdiya made his own sandwich so I wouldn't have to get up (he'll be 2.5 next month). What I'm really enjoying the most though is hearing each of my children express themselves in words, through questions and observations. They say the most hilarious things, and I've been too busy washing dishes, getting ready for work, or folding clothes to hear most of it.
Teneya washed the dishes last night and I paid her for it afterwards. The boys had also helped with some of the rinsing, so I gave each of them a small coin too. Hemdiya picked at his and finally gave it back to me. "Not working!" he complained, once he realized there was no chocolate inside.
Some questions are easier to answer than others...
Puriel: Aba, why did some of the avot (patriarchs) have more than one wife?
Aba: Because they were tzadikim (righteous) and their wives wanted to bring more of their children into the world. Sarah, Rachel and Leah all gave their servants to their husbands to take as wives so they could have bigger families.
Puriel: If you're a tzadik, will Ima give you another wife?
Ima: We'll cross that bridge if we come to it.
And some of the verbal exchange is just learning more about how their day was and what's been on their minds. In the way-before-dinner-rush calm of this afternoon, the bigger kids took turns telling me how they each lost a tooth at school today while the little one grabbed at my face to shower it with kisses.
I know it won't last, but I'm really trying to make the most of these moments. In fact, it's probably because this is a limited-time deal that they seem so precious. I've never been very good at living in the moment; usually too busy scrutinizing my past or worrying about the future. I'm catching a glimpse of a slower-paced life, which will hopefully stick with me beyond this bed rest and inspire me to sit still every once in a while--without a doctor ordering me to--so that I don't miss out on more of the present than I have to.