It’s the holidays and our house is bursting at the seams. Cuz has been living with us since September; my Mom is visiting from Seoul through January; Tom’s family arrives in a matter of days.
It’s all good. I say that to myself a lot these days. Like a prayer.
December started with a healthy dose of fear. Fear for everyone’s sleep, for example. Our house was built in 1910 and it features the world’s creakiest hardwood floors. On the mornings when I leave for yoga at 5:30 am, I have to walk from the third floor to the first floor, without waking Tate, who is a light morning sleeper.
The most distressing mornings are when we wake up and we can tell that Tate’s been up for hours, playing by himself. If we’re lucky, he hasn’t crapped his pull-up and spread his business all over the house. Last week he came upstairs at 6:30 am and haughtily informed us that there was poop in the playroom, as if it had been deposited there by someone else’s ass. Anyway, what was I talking about? Right, my floors. When I tiptoe downstairs for yoga I am careful to shuffle and slide across the floor in an irregular rhythm, kind of like how the Fremen walked across the sand in Dune, to avoid waking the terrifying sandworms. Sandworms have nothing on pre-dawn Tate.
Now that I have semi-permanent houseguests, I don’t just have Tate to worry about. We also have to try to avoid waking Cuz and my mom. Cuz, after three months in Oregon, has just recently adjusted to Cuz Standard Time (CzST), which sits somewhere between PST and EST, and means that she wakes up at 9:30 AM most mornings. My mom wakes, I believe, somewhere around the same time (MoST). My boys, given ideal circumstances, wake up at about 6:30 AM. You do the math. If you have boys, you know how difficult it is to keep them quiet in the morning. We can’t even turn on the TV, because no TV before school is pretty much the only Montessori guideline we manage to observe with rigor at home.
We all do what we can. Tom and I beg and cajole. Cuz and my mom wear earplugs, and have complained not once about the noise.
The thing is, we’ve settled into a rhythm, this full house. On Finn’s birthday earlier this month, we were all here to share shabu shabu and ogle Finn’s gift from Grandma—a printing calculator!—and all that extra love made his birthday so much better.
Cuz moved to our uncle’s house in Vancouver a week ago to free up some space for Tom’s mom, who arrives tomorrow. We thought we’d be glad for the reprieve, but we all miss her. Tom misses his TV buddy. I miss having someone around who eats vegetables with gusto, or who eats vegetables, period. Tate will occasionally bolt upright while playing with his Legos to ask, “Where’s Aunt Bora?” And even Finn misses Cuz. Finn and Cuz have had some epic power struggles over the last few months. We think Finn is confused about Cuz’s role as an authority figure because she kind of looks like a kid, despite being 26. But they’ve come a long way from those early days.
On the way to school this morning, Finn asked when Cuz was “coming home.” Dunno, I said. “Shall we go get her?,” I asked. Finn gave a firm nod. “Yes,” he said.