Last week for date night I suggested that we go see We Need To Talk About Kevin, the movie about the mother of a young sociopath which stars Tilda Swinton. It was a long shot because Mr. Right-Click struggles with watching movies that have negative themes and children — whether the children are the victims or the victimizers does not seem to matter — so I wasn’t surprised when he said he would rather not. We went to see A Dangerous Method instead, because I like Freud and everyone said it was good. (It was not, though I rather enjoyed the absurdity of Kiera Knightley’s version of a hysteric, and the fact that Freud’s office was full of kitsch, because this level of historical detail was not something I expected.)
Anyway, I’m glad we didn’t see We Need To Talk About Kevin because I decided to read the Lionel Shriver book upon which the movie was based instead. If you haven’t figured it out already, this is all an elaborate means of explaining why there haven’t been as many new posts here lately. I love a good book about a sociopath, and between that, schlepping Mini to preschool, taking LL for shots, and obsessing over the fact that the backs of my hands suddenly look like those of a sixty year old, I’ve been fresh out of time to write (this is a lie).
The truth is that I’ve been struggling with posts here for reasons I’m still trying to figure out. On a practical level, I have less time to write now that I have two children. I feel bad even saying that given that I have help with my children. Also: I now feel bad admitting that I have help with my children, but it would be absurd to pretend that I don’t because the bald fact is that I am a better mother if I am not exclusively responsible for the caring and feeding of my children at all hours of the day. My strengths and weaknesses on this point are things I had to accept about myself back when Mini was under a year old, but I have always been a little cagey about it on this blog, because it’s kind of a touchy subject and I’d rather not get involved.
[Aside: Everything I sit down to write lately seems to go exactly like this post is going: one issue brings up another one, and then another one (that I don't really want to write about because there will be too much explaining), and then another tangentially related one, and before you know it I'm 1500 words into something I didn't intend to write in the first place.]
Here’s what I have been worrying about lately:
- that while I do technically have a few free hours in the middle of the day, I never actually feel like writing or doing any kind of work during that time, preferring instead to check out by watching episodes of Downton Abbey or reading about fictional sociopaths;
- that really I should be sleeping, if anything, during those few hours because I know I will regret not sleeping when I’m on the second nighttime feeding with the baby;
- that the morning hours before the nanny comes and the evening hours after the nanny leaves are really exhausting for me, because I haven’t figured out the rhythm of dealing with two kids instead of one yet, and that I always feel like one of them is being neglected, which stresses me out and makes the whole endeavor more difficult than it really needs to be;
- how troubling it is to me that I find these hours so challenging, because I feel like I am defective somehow, as if the balancing of the demands of multiple children gene has somehow passed me by; and, oh by the way,
- what is it that I’m planning to do with my life, anyway?
One of the things about the blogging phenomenon that is interesting to me is that, howevermuch people try to present themselves to the world as they want to be seen, bits of their real, unidealized self always seems to creep into view. In the background of a picture, or in the offhanded remark, or even a word choice or omission, the real self is there even in cases where the editor is working overtime to let you see only the best of everything. People present a mask but if you are paying attention you can see through it.
Does everybody see through it? All I know is we are not supposed to talk about it.
In We Need To Talk About Kevin, one of the central conflicts concerns the mother’s perception of her son and how that differs from how other people — most notably her husband and her other child — perceive him. She always believes the worst of him, and in retrospect, is nearly always correct in her take. Is she the only one who can see him clearly? Or would everyone else just rather not get involved?
I’m tired, internet. And I am not sure of my place in this discursive space anymore. Or perhaps I am still figuring out what I want it to be. I’m not sure. While I figure it out, I present to you this picture of LL, which Mr Right-Click says looks like George W. Bush:
Cute, but definitely hiding something.