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2009-02-21 - 10:44 a.m.

...parenting priorities...

Today is the two-week marker for this cold. ick. I'm much better - it's almost gone, although I was still taking medicine for it last night. (thanking the gods of nyquil for coughless sleep. In the words of that famous 1970s TV commercial: "Barbara, you up? Barbara!!" These days I just swig the stuff and go to sleep without waking up poor harrassed Barbara.). In any case, I'm up and moving around, albeit grumpily.

K was very sweet this morning. He's taken Susi off to swimming lessons and ordered me to stay at home and have some alone time (probably to get away from my grumpiness.) Susi's had to miss the last two weeks of because of her own run-in with childhood elevensies disease. She is definitely well enough to go.

Yesterday we went to Micha's son's first birthday party, which as usual was great fun. We really enjoy seeing them, and now we've discovered that the kids have a great time stealing toys from each other. One complaint. She heard me cough, and I think that she was a little bit taken aback that I had come. She heard that Susi had been sick with whatever it is that she had, and she needed me to assure her that neither of us is contagious. I thought all hell was going to break loose when I had to wipe Susi's nose once. It made me feel a little bit guilty about coming to visit.

Micha's son has made it through his first year without getting sick - largely because she has raised him in a complete bubble of isolation. It's possible that he hasn't played with another baby before yesterday. This is a different philosophy from mine (which is that kids get sick and it is annoying but it has to happen sometime). Micha's son was born prematurely and spent the first month of his life attached to tubes, and I imagine that this has something to do with her protective mentality. I don't even pretend to understand what that experience was like for her.

We all raise our children differently. But I think that my disappointment is more personal. I was hoping over the last year that she and I would have the opportunity to go on walks and share a coffee from time to time. Her isolation has made it so we've only seen them four times. It's made me kind of sad.

And then on this occasion, I saw how nervous she was, having orchestrated a party for 25 people to celebrate her son's first birthday. I saw her breathe a sigh of relief when the "messy child" of a friend finally left. (the child wasn't really all that messy if you ask me, but what do I know). Mind you, Susi likes to stay clean generally, but I thought messes were a part of childhood - and therefore also parenthood.

Anyway, I tried to stay relaxed and bubbly around her, and once the rest of the party left we had cocktails while our babies wrecked the living room together (throwing books and DVDs and paper plates on the floor), and played with the docile dog. We had a great time, and Klaus and I were very happy to see them.

It's gotten me to thinking about my friend/colleague back in Queens, who couldn't pull her own weight on a proposal because of her baby. Parenting is about choices and priorities, and it's easy to see how those differences in choices can affect your interactions with other people and therefore put stresses on friendships.

Micha goes back to work on Monday. This actually WAS a difficult thing for me to do, so I'm curious to see if it turns out to be easy for her, or if the drama is magnified. I'll be giving her a call sometime next week to check in - mayby not right away on Monday. Anyway, now it is time for me to get going to help K get Susi out of the pool.

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