It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Mary’s crankiness, Timmy’s transcendence, and it’s all Zen

I love chamber music. Well, really, I’m a musical polyglot. There are very few types of music I don’t like — blues are big around here, and jazz, a little country, baroque, quite a bit of pop of all descriptions, a little emo, classic rock, the occasional head-banger stuff … But I do like chamber music. Which is why we had Hayden playing on my MP-3 player this morning.

It’s a new MP-3 player to me. Not an iPod, a “Zen”. Don’t you just love the name? Zen. So calm, so tranquil. So un-flappable. Just like me.

(I will attempt to stop sniggering…)

“Zen” is a mind-state, the mental balance I attempt to reach when tots and pets and clutter and noise have me reaching levels of exasperation some associate (wrongly) with “bad” parents, not the amazing and un-flappable MaryP.

You’d be wrong in that assumption, you know. “Good” parents do get exasperated, and MaryP is un-flappable about sex, and … uh … No, that’s about it. Just sex.

Children, in fact, do sometimes get under my skin. Out-of-control parents do, too, unless they have a sense of (self-deprecating, not self-justifying) humour about it all. Earnest Parents do, for sure, for they are are completely lacking in humour of any sort. Homophobes. Evangelicals as a movement, though there are any number of them I quite like personally. (This includes evangelical atheists.) The self-righteous. Mindless trend-followers. People who care about celebrities. The ecologically cavalier. People who pretend SUVs are not a blight on the planet.

So, you see, I’m quite the crank in my private life. I don’t know how my husband stands me. Which is why it tickles me that he suprised me with an MP-3 player called “Zen”. Zen, my ideal.

When the children are expasperating me beyond measure, NOT because “I can’t believe what they’re doing NOW and what am I going to do about it???”, because I rarely ever suffer that paralyzing helplessness any more, but because “I can’t believe I’m going through this AGAIN, and how long does it take them to get over this obnoxious stage, again????” Or, more accurately, “and how quickly can I manoeuvre/manhandle the little cretin through it??”

Um, where was I? “When the children are exasperating me beyond measure”… yes. When that happens, I “go Zen”. I take a deep breath, I step outside the situation and observe it from without, much like an out-of-body experience, without the brink-of-death part. I breathe deep, step back, and let it all roollll right over me. I’m pretty good at it by now, and it’s remarkably effective. It’s always an effort, though, a conscious mental discipline.

So the Zen comes on (the MP-3, not the state of mind, because this morning I am feeling pretty mellow, all in all) and it’s playing Haydn (which will only make me even mellower), and Timmy, who had been playing in the kitchen, BURSTS into the dining room as the music begins, and with each of the three decisive introductory chords, he hits the floor: (E+) BOUND! (E+) BOUND! (D+) BOUND!! , and with the tonic he falls, dramatically, spread-eagled on the hardwood. A+!!!!!!!

And lays down there, beaming at the dining room ceiling as the music rolls around him.

Because chamber music, it’s just that compelling.


January 7, 2008 Posted by | daycare, the cuteness!, the dark side, Timmy | , , , , , | 4 Comments