New baby’s due date is just about twelve weeks away now, which strikes me as an interval with a high likelihood of zipping by fast enough to make my head spin. I sort of vaguely remember hitting the same milestone when the little guy’s arrival was impending, the same feeling of “all right, now it’s time to get SERIOUS” which gave me the impetus to, for instance, paint the nursery. That very mindset is taking root once again, and once again I have a room to convert to baby quarters, starting with the colors of the walls.
Except, of course, this time it’s completely different (and not just because last time I was painting bundle-of-joy blue directly onto rental-unit-white walls, and this time I’ll have to prime the bejeezus out of the forest-green-base-with-gold-spongeroller-accents before I can lay down the other-bundle-of-joy pink coat). Last time I could pretty much designate any or all of my free time as painting time, and paint late into the night if it seemed expedient to do so. There was some unavoidable exertion involved, in that man did the old townhouse’s bedrooms have some high walls up to the peaked ceilings but by and large it was just another to-do. Now designating some free time requires actually finding some free time first, and I know I gripe about my lack of free time pretty constantly around here but I admit I do fairly often find ways to combine being the only parent home watching the little guy with reading a book or organizing a corner of my gaming collection or whatever. I have tried to combine watching the little guy with painting and I am in no way eager to try again, because semi-gloss latex is very tricky to separate from soft two-year-old skin and basically impossible to scrape off Lightning McQueen pajamas. So essentially painting time is limited to the hours when the little guy is down for the night in his crib and honestly, by that point of the day I tend to be longing a bit for the comforts of bed myself. This may be one of the starkest contrasts between life pre-little guy and post-. It used to be a trifling matter to say “I’ll just stay up late to get [X] done.” Now the thought of willingly depriving myself of sleep seems utterly perverse.
Nevertheless, I really don’t seem to have much choice. I’m generally a big fan of breaking looming tasks down into manageable bits, which might mean painting for an hour each night after putting the little guy down and still managing to get myself under the covers at a reasonable time. Except that doesn’t seem to work very well in practice with this particular task. Painting isn’t really something you can just pick up and do with no notice. Large cans have to be shaken and mixed properly and then poured into pans after plastic tarps have been spread out, and you have to leave time at the end of your work session for pouring unused paint back into cans and sealing them up and washing brushes (this is why midday nap time doesn’t strike me as ideal painting conditions, because set-up and clean-up would consume most of the time). Maybe I’m doing it wrong and making it more complicated than it needs to be but it seems to me that I can push myself to do the painting over the course of a few late nights, and deal with the set-up/clean-up necessities a few times, or paint a few square feet per night over many weeks and do set-up/clean-up a sanity-straining number of times. Or set-up and clean-up once and do the whole room in a day, but days like that are too few and far between for me to count on one coming along soon.
Then again, what I probably should be telling myself is that slathering our third bedroom in primer may be exhausting, but I’ll always be able to say “as soon as I make it to that corner, and clean up, I’ll be done and I can go to sleep.” As opposed to when the baby comes home and no particular bedtime or amount of sleep will by guaranteed under any circumstances. Yet oddly I’m looking forward to spending unpredictable time with a screaming infant more than logging home maintenance time with a paint roller. Actually I suppose that’s not all that odd.