I sit awkwardly with an eight months pregnant belly on a shaggy grey rug with my son’s stacked towers of Lego blocks holding little plastic teeth-bearing dinosaurs cascading up and down the tower steps.
My son roars.
His T-Rex makes a big splash into the makeshift carpet-ocean. He swims like a fishy, you know, how a T-Rex would.
I have to be Scar. A smaller, grey T-Rex (definitely the lesser of the cool T-Rexes). I have to hold him and personify him and roar. And basically follow the big T-Rex wherever he wants to go, doing whatever he wants me to.
Normally, my opinions on what Scar might want to do are, well, wrong. Luckily, my exhaustion can be minimized by the fact that I can quite literally hardly move down on the floor (or in general), so Scar can only make arm-length treks. I am safe(ish) in my legs-splayed seated position that I may never be able to get up from.
“Hi,” says T-Rex in a jovial voice, bouncing up and down in front of me. “Wanna play?”
I have to pick up Scar, don my enthusiastic, friendly dinosaur-voice (despite the fact that Scar has yellow eyes and gnashing sharp teeth) and reply that I do, in fact, want to play! Any variation of that is actually just incorrect.
“Okay!” says T-Rex, “let’s go over here.” T-Rex takes massive leaps and practically soars in mid-air, and Scar merely scoots along behind him in little jumps. Scar pretends to fly but is quickly reminded that Scar does not fly.
I set Scar down momentarily and glance at the clock because I have now been Scar for 28 minutes and I am feeling fairly repressed creatively. I set him down carefully on the stairway we made with blocks and then subsequently made our dinosaurs climb up and down at least 200 times in a row.
T-Rex thought it was fun, and Scar was more annoyed and wondering what the point of all of it was. But if Scar stopped, T-Rex—in his ridiculously giddy, adorable little boy voice—kindly reminded him that he wanted to keep going.
It was maybe seven seconds after my fingertip left Scar—my other hand had my mug of (now lukewarm) coffee, not even at my lips yet. And there T-Rex was, right in my face, dino-nose to human-nose. “Where’s Scar?”
Within seconds my son hands him back to me. “Here you go, you want Scar?”
My son is happy, smiling. T-Rex is gripped in his other hand, anxiously wondering what Scar was doing getting out of character.
“Wanna play Scar?” He keeps asking that while we are playing and my mom voice comes out.
“We are playing, sweetie. That is what we are doing right now. You don’t have to keep asking….”
He looks at me with his innocent little blue eyes and doesn’t even let me finish speaking before T-Rex is at my nose, “Wanna play?”
So I’m Scar again.
“Mama’s coffee,” he says. “T-Rex loves coffee.” The little Dinosaur’s face, mouth open wide, is headfirst in my coffee.
He looks over at me pensively. “Scar needs coffee too…” He doesn’t know if this is a question yet. I have yet to react to the dinosaur he is swirling in my coffee. But clearly, Scar wants to play too.
My coffee sloshes onto my pants, which my son recently wiped a trail of snot on. I watch him smile as I take Scar and let Scar have a sip of my coffee too.
This is a Tuesday. Tuesdays I am home with my son. His cereal bowl is on the counter with remnants of oats and milk. My French press is half full, the cream is still out. I have yet to get properly dressed, or attempt to begin the strange battle that is dressing my son.
I am so pregnant and so tired that I am aware that I may not dress either of us today. I may not even move. The sun is shining through the windows and the dog continuously brings me a ball to throw for her. It’s just after 9:30 am.
I have been up for a hundred hours, I am sure. My husband will likely be home in eight more hours. The thought of that brings a moment of panic in my chest. The exhaustion I feel, obviously exacerbated by pregnancy, tells me there is no way I will make it. Even the thought of having to get myself off this floor to make it to the couch has me procrastinating.
This is motherhood. A tiny, tiny glimpse into the job.
I am playing with coffee-drinking miniature dinosaurs. Our house is comfortable, our bellies are full, we are clothed. In this world—the world of my 4-year-old—the biggest stressors known to man are stopping playing to pee on the potty, getting dressed and not getting ice cream.
His pain is real, his stress is real. I know this. I soothe him through it in a practical way. And in the back of my head, I can’t help but think of my own larger problems, the world’s bigger, more catastrophic issues. They pop up in thought bubbles around me that I work to knock away. Mindfully, I tell myself. Notice it, wave it goodbye. Be here.
I glance at the clock again, and only a minute has passed. I look over at my son. He is watching me. Dinosaur clutched in hand, practicing a rare moment of patience. Eyes hopeful. I take a deep breath. I breathe out the overflow of bills, of dishes, of dog hair, of to-dos, unread-texts and emails.
His eyes are still on me, his fingers inching Scar closer to my leg. I take another breath.
Here I am, on this Tuesday, I am Scar.