Inner Experience in the House of the Snake and Tiger

Milk Snake 
Hollystone Preserve, Hopewell, NJ

"No time for Inner Experience. He's awake," I say to my husband who is sprawled on the floor reading Inner Experience by Georges Bataille.

"Yeah," he replies, kicking a leg out to propel himself upwards.


Our son, teething his upper canines, is difficult to put to sleep. He takes a long time to fall asleep, sometimes. He wakes easily, sometimes. Unless he's had a short afternoon nap, then he goes to bed easily, sometimes.

I had pulled Beren from the car, asleep. We crossed the derelict lawn to the house, a cool breezy night, no stars. He'll go right into his crib. Didn't have to do The (bedtime) Routine. 

Once across the threshold of the house, he began to stir. I nursed him. Though in the dark, I could see his eyes blinking. I sang lullabies.

We began to wiggle. He said, "Ah!" and pointed to the fan. I tickled his foot and bit his toes. He sputtered and giggled. We're toast. This baby is awake after an hour 'nap' in the car at bedtime.

I turned on a light and went to find my husband who initiates The Routine.


Together, my husband and son transform our bedroom into a campground. 

My husband cries, "Blanket time!" He tosses three sleeping bags over the baby gate and onto the floor. Our son gleefully pounces on the pile. They spread out the sleeping bags and add lovely homemade quilts  to the display.

"Pick out a story," my husband requests. Beren toddles to the drawer filled with books and selects several. Sometimes he tosses the books aside, as though bored with the same books.

Beren settles into Jared's lap. They read several stories. Beren flips the pages. Just before reaching the last page, he flips back through the book, perhaps he wants story time to last longer.

I'm The Closer. After story time, I come in and Jared turns the lights go out. I cuddle and rock and sing and nurse.

We improvised this routine. The crib wasn't working. Co-sleeping wasn't working. Jared cuddling and rocking wasn't working, if I am home at bedtime...when I am not home, everything goes smoothly. The Routine is working, except when it doesn't. And then, at least we have The Routine.


Morning is my time. I wake with energy, ideas, fully formed lists. Jared is peaceful, quiet. I try to hold back my lists, my demands. I'm ready to do. 

Saturday we awoke at 7:30 and left the house at 10:30. Somehow that entire three hours was consumed with tasks, packing day bags, making breakfast, getting dressed. Me getting cranky while endlessly preparing for the day already wearing on. 

Halfway down the drive, Jared made a pistol shape with his hand and said, "Bang, they're out of the gates at the speed of a slug." We both giggled and then laughed longer.

"If I just had tons of money, I'd forget the water bottles and packing lunch, and just buy water and sandwiches. All the time," I sighed.


So, Jared and I are giving each other solo time. Our son can be away from me a whole day and not even take a bottle. He's a lanky, running and jumping, cheese, chicken, broccoli, and cracker eating toddler. 

This morning is my morning to take solo time. Before Jared and Beren left, I hung laundry, watered the greenhouse, and brought the diapers upstairs.

Jared looked at me, perhaps wondering why I was squandering precious solo time. I need to do, go, work off that nervous energy of the morning.

My husband accesses inner experience through his endless hunger for books, music, new places, creative endeavors. He's quick like a snake. A beautiful day is a day to visit a new place.

My son accesses inner experience by running through open doors, finding ways through difficult passages. He can play quietly for several minutes, examining an object, but he can walk endlessly and far like a tiger.

I consider cracking the hazelnuts in the cookie jar or meandering through the yard.

Like a rabbit, zig zagging down the road.