I came across Jeff Goins’s post “The Secret To Develop a Regular Writing Habit: 500 Words Per Day,” on Medium that changed my way of thinking about writing. I’ve always approached writing as a hobby, and Goins suggests that to be a good writer, writing must be a habit, not a hobby.
31 days is a pretty reasonable commitment. So… I’m in! I joined the Facebook group, I posted my blog, and I’m ready to get started with the writing prompts he shares on his site.
Here we go: Day 1.
Dan is leaving on a business trip this week, and I’m anxious. It’s not that I can’t handle life without him for a few days, it’s just that it’s a lot of (overtime?) work. I marvel at how parents do it alone. Preemptively, Dan takes on a bit more parenting a few days leading up to his departure to give me a little calm before the storm.
He takes on bath time before he heads out to band practice this evening. I try to relax on the couch, and end up listening to him give the girls a bath.
“Char, look up. Look up!” he says as he washes her hair. Water splashes. I hear Sidda sing a made-up-on-the-spot song. “Look up, Sid,” he gently interrupts. “Thanks girls, very helpful.”
“Dad, pretend you were a mermaid, and you met this mermaid for the first time, and you said, ‘Hi mermaid!” Sidda asks. “Okay,” Dan says, and then after a brief pause, “Hi mermaid!””
A few minutes later, he walks out to the living room and huffs a deep, headachy breath, and grabs his iPad. He heads back to the bathroom while calling his mom. “Look! Look!” shouts Charlie from the tub. “I seeee,” he says to Charlie. Laughter and giggles follow. “You girls wanna go to Grandmas house tomorrow?” I don’t hear any direct answers, just shouts and loud noises of approval.
Dan ends the call with his mom, and plays soft music. And the girls quiet. Then, I hear Charlie release a high pitched squeal of delight, while Sidda mischievously laughs, egging her on. “Girls!” He says sternly. “Dad, look. Do you like her having a ponytail like this?” asks Sidda. “Yeah,” he says, “Char, come here!”
Charlie escapes into the living room and climbs up on the couch next to me. She gives me a triumphant grin. Her hair is dripping and down her neck, and she’s got her “rough” (puppy dog) pajamas on. Dan peeks out into the living room, sees Charlie with me, and says “we’ve got a defector.” He runs back into the bathroom to Sidda.
Charlie cheeses at him, and follows him back into the bathroom. Dan starts singing along with the praise music he needs to learn for band practice tonight. Charlie runs back out and straight into the kitchen. After a few minutes of chairs scrapping the floor, Charlie heads over to me and plops a clementine in my lap. “Peash?” she says with a pink pacifier lodged between her teeth. At 2 and some change, she’s still teething.
As I peel the clementine, I can hear Sidda trying her best to sing along with the worship music. Her words are intelligible. “Don’t put that up there” Dan says to her. “I can’t do it!” she huffs. “Move it over a little bit,” he responds, then starts singing along with the music too, in a high falsetto harmony. “Can you start draining the water now, Sidda? One minute till we’re done. But if you stay in, you’ll be cold. Ready to get out?”
Giggles. Splashes, bumps, thuds. They must be cleaning up the toys. Char has been hanging out with them, but returns yet again, with a “Moooomyyy!” and pantomimes how Sidda was coughing, but then started laughing. “More awwange,” she says as she runs to the kitchen to retrieve another clementine. I start to peel it, but she snatches it and disappears back to the bathroom.
Sidda skips out of the bathroom. “Hi mom! Do you need company?” Dan comes out whistling, but it turns into another heavy sigh. Sidda jumps up and down on the couch, showing off her clean socks. Charlie follows closely behind them, sits on my dangling foot, and cries “Horsie! Horsie! Horsie!” while I finish peeling the clementine she handed me.
The girls gorge themselves on oranges and clementines before bed. Dan sighs again, and palms his forehead. “I might not be able to go tonight,” he says. “Hmm,” I respond.
He sits on the couch and eats his sushi that just arrived. The girls stop eating their oranges, and turn wide-eyed to his clear carton of steamed edamame. They can’t pop the beans out of the shell fast enough. “Are these pea pods, Dad?” Sidda asks.
“They’re similar,” he tells her.
“What does similar mean?”
“Similar means close to the same, but not exactly the same…”
“Dad! Charlie beat boxed!” A beat box lesson ensues.
“All right. Eating is helping a little bit,” he declares, as he heads into the kitchen and pops some Advil. He walks back into the room making a snapping sound with his hands, and jumps into the girls’ conversation about “furry” pea pods. He’s definitely going to band practice tonight.
(887 words down. 14, 613 to go.)