Usually, when Sullivan naps I clean the kitchen.
If the kitchen is clean, which almost never happens, I clean the bathroom.
If the bathroom is clean, which would definitely be a surprise, I vacuum the floors.
If the floors are speck-free, which is almost a laughable thing to think, I might do some laundry.
If there's no laundry to do, which is practically impossible and at best highly improbable, maybe I could dust.
There is never, ever, ever no dust.
On Friday, I laid Van down in his crib and pulled the door shut quietly behind me--a crucial moment in the nap-time routine which could make or break the whole operation. I stood there for a second staring at the room in front of me. Dishes on the counter, crumbs on the table, etcetera. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
I said out loud to the Kitchen, which was sitting very still and listening very intently, I said, "Not right now, Kitchen."
The Kitchen didn't really care.
I went instead into my office, the room with the paints and pens and pencils and papers, and I sat at my desk and started painting. Like, painting really fast.
Sometimes, Sullivan naps for an hour. Usually, though, it's more like 15 minutes to half an hour. The problem with babies is that they never tell you what they're planning on doing before they do it. He's never like, "Mom, you have an hour. I'll wake up at 4 and we'll hang."
So I've learned that, whatever I do with the time he's asleep, I have to do it fast.
I've also learned that my favourite "art", if you'll allow me to call it that, is the stuff that you do without thinking too much. You just sit down and start doing stuff, grabbing supplies and using them, until you either have run out of time or supplies or ideas or you just plain feel like you're done.
The two learned things fit together pretty nicely. Which is good.
So, anyway, I spent his nap time that day (which ended up being a whole entire hour), painting and cutting and doodling and I ended up with this seahorse. Who knows what I'll even do with him, but that's not ever really the point. My kitchen, bathroom, and floors were dirty, the laundry undone and the dust bunching up in bunnies behind all the furniture, but it was a pretty sweet, quiet hour. I felt a bit like myself again--not that I feel like I've lost myself or anything dramatic like that. I just feel new to this mom skin and I'm trying to figure out what life should look like now. Priorities and selfishness and sanity and all that. You know. It's good though. And getting better all the time.