We went to see Bluey’s Big Play at TPAC when it was in town a few weekends ago. My expectations were low after a test run of Llama Llama Red Pajama a few months ago at the Nashville Children's Theater, but there was no tiny-voiced request to go home fifteen minutes in this time.

There was a point at which they recreated the usual episode intro. It was set up so you saw it coming a mile away but, still, when one of the puppeteers leapt into place holding the big MUM letters overhead and the whole theatre yelled, “MUM!” I laughed so hard I cried. I just lost it. Stephen made eye contact with me and I laughed harder, trying to pull myself together before the din gave way again to rapt attention and the prerecorded dialogue.

This week, one of my child’s classmates became a big brother. This is a fairly frequent occurrence these days, I'm sure in no small part because siblings get preference for scarce infant childcare slots. She wanted to go to this little boy’s house to meet his brand-new sister. When I tried to explain that you can’t invite yourself to someone else’s house, much less when there is a tiny baby there, she screwed her mouth up to one side and then asked, “Can we get a new baby?”

Is there a great way to say absolutely not that doesn’t sound child-hating when you’re telling your own young child no, absolutely not?

I’m not sad about it—maybe I would have been slightly wistful about it, if covid had never been a thing, but the world has proven to me just how unstable it is and how hostile it is to mothers and children. I gave birth to a healthy kid and I am not worse for the wear. I’ve always had daycare, even as scarce as it is here. As far as I’m concerned we have won a lottery. We decided we wouldn’t play it again, especially in a post-Dobbs world, so we have taken measures to ensure we can't.

I don’t want her to have a complex about my age, so I didn’t give her the same answer I gave one of the younger fraternity alumni when he asked when we were having another: a tickled laugh, followed by, “I’m forty.”

I need to make a decision on whether to register for the neighborhood 5k soon. I don’t care about the price going up, but I need to start training tomorrow if I’m going to. I’m wildly deconditioned and I’ll need to start carving out time for PT and crosstraining and walks and intervals—all the things I haven’t made any real time for since my child started to walk. (I signed up for a restorative yoga series, at least. I had classes that were going to expire.)

I have a very fancy jogging stroller that has been barely used, but I feel like that is running on hard mode straight out of the gate. Stephen has voiced his support, whatever I decide.

I hate that training for a race in the summer potentially excludes the dog. His fur is thick like a husky’s, and heat-absorbing black, though he’s getting a little more white in his muzzle. He’s started wanting to sit down on our usual one-and-a-half mile “family walk” route at a lower temperature than in years past. I could train concurrently with family walks—every couch-to-5K program I’ve done doesn’t go further than that until the last two weeks—but I worry about him.

I think we’re approaching our wagon era: the time when the kid doesn't want to be seen in the stroller and the dog can't walk as far as we'd like. I’m having a hard time finding an option that will accommodate a compactly-built eighty-pound lab mix and the tall three year old he does not want touching him. How is this not already a product? Anything that hits where the Venn diagram overlaps for old parents of only children who spoiled their dogs pre-baby should be a goldmine. Someone get their act together to come get this money.

I’ve also had my eye on this cargo bike as an option for our short daily commute or to let the dog's ears flap in the breeze a bit, but we don’t have a garage so I’d need to level out a small section of yard to put in another shed to store it. It is not lost on me that this is literal bike-shedding.

Today's 1000 Words email punched me in the gut. The guest writer was Kiese Laymon, who wrote:

I avoid people now at all costs. I’m just terrified of who we are, who I am, and I wonder how to do the work we have chosen while being terrified of people and petrified of their touch. …

I’m scared of writing well about who we have become because I don’t want to discover that this is who we have always been.

This is who we have always been.

I immediately thought of the masks I had tucked in with pull-ups in the clutch I took to TPAC, and of the surprise I felt at the three-year well visit when I saw the bottom half of the pediatrician's face in person for the first time.

When the real estate agent was in our dining room last week he said we'd gotten a lot done in four years and I had to gently correct him: no, we've been here seven years. Longer than we rented. He laughed and admitted that pretty much anything from March 2020 to about December of last year was warped into its own compressed and stretched time, which I of all people definitely understand.

We're all carrying around this trauma, some acknowledged and some not, and we're collectively trying to live like nothing happened.

Last year a friend called the last few years a slow-rolling apocalypse. I thought, at the time, she meant it in the sense of destruction of the old, pre-pandemic world. It is also a revelation, though: we are not who we thought we were. We are who we have always been. The frith has been permanently broken.

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