Bedtime

When hubby does bedtime it takes FOREVER. He has added ten unnecessary steps to the routine and he’s such a softie when it comes to going back into their room. The girls know that I won’t come back for just any reason, and when I leave and turn off the lights, that is IT. But S, being almost 4, is a keen stall-artists. Tonight, while hubby was at the gym, I was solo on bed time duty. After I tucked S and H in and came downstairs… 

S: Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!

Me (from the bottom of the stairs): Yes?

S: Mommy! I have a question.

Me: Yes

S: I was wondering… can sand turn into wet sand?

Me: Yes, when you mix sand with water, it turns into wet sand.

S: Oh. Okay. Good night.

I couldn’t help but smile. And that was the last I heard for the night.

Dusting off the keyboard

It is hard to believe that it’s been over a year since my last post. So much has happened, there is no way to capture it all. And while I am sad to not have the last year’s worth of thoughts recorded here, all I can do is look ahead and hope to do better moving forward. Since I last wrote I have started my own business, completed my first Half Ironman, and had many successes and failures in parenting. It’s good to be back.

Being there

Something I’ve been really working on this week is being there. It sound so obvious, so fundamental to the job of being a mom, but it can be so HARD.

I have been reading about alternatives to “time out” as I’m not really a fan of the concept. One alternative, “time in,” seemed too touchy-feely for me at first, but at the same time I get it: children act out to get our attention and are seeking our guidance in dealing with an emotion; instead of shoving them in a corner, we should take the time to sit and discuss this feeling with them. So, I’ve been giving time in a shot. Tonight, S was extremely over-tired and melting down. Her father was at his wits’ end with bedtime which is usually his domain. I stepped in and held her, and told her I loved her, and had her look me in the eye and tell me what she needed. Yes, there were moments when I wanted to scream and cry myself, and even more where it would have been easy to just say “I’m done” and walk away, but I didn’t. I sat there on the floor of the bathroom and of S’s room and I quelled my urge to give up, and it paid off. Bedtime still took longer than it should have, but I know it look less time than if I’d succumbed to time out or my own urge to simply throw S in the crib and get back to what I was doing.

Bottom line, she never should have been put in the position to get that tired. Hubby should not have let her drag out teeth brushing for as long as he did, and I shouldn’t have called them over to watch an (*amazing*) video of a dog playing the piano. But he did, and I did, and life happened. So, I breathed deep and was there, really there, for 15-20 minutes. And I got her to stop sobbing, and take off her rain boots, and get in bed. It will never cease to amaze me how a few things that should be so simple can become the hardest part of your day. My toddler melted down, and for the first time in a while I didn’t let myself raise my voice or give up. And it worked.

Done.

I went to the hospital to get my blood drawn today. As the nurse was prepping my arm we were chatting about H (who was strapped onto my chest) and S who was at home with the nanny. I made reference to the fact that I’m done at two and the following conversation ensued:

Nurse: Did you get your tubes tied?
Me: No
Nurse: Then you’re not done!
Me: But, I have an IUD
Nurse: Po-tay-to, po-tah-to, you’re not done.

I smiled. I wonder if she’s right.

TGIF

On Friday evening, when my husband walks in the door after work, my week is over. I punch out and the kids are his for the weekend. Sure, I still have to breast feed H, and I don’t ignore S when she asks for me to help get her boots on, but I am, for intents and purposes, off duty until Monday morning when hubby leaves for work. It is a glorious feeling, one in which I wish I could bask for a while. Instead, I fall asleep on the couch by 9:30, having barely watched an hour of DVRed TV from the week, having maybe had a sip or two of the glass of wine I’ve poured myself. 

Firsts

There have been a lot of firsts this week. Our baby, H, had her first taste of solids yesterday. Some pureed carrots, mixed with breast milk, that mostly dripped out of her mouth and pooled in the pouch at the bottom of her bib. Unlike when S, our older daughter, started solids, this time around I welcome the transition away from being the sole provider of nutrients. Selfishly, I’m ready to have my body back to myself.

The most significant first of the week: S started preschool. Originally we were wait listed at this school, our first choice, but we were able to secure a spot in their after school program, and so she was able to start today, two months into the school year.

Aside from the childcare room at the gym I go to, the three hours she spent at school today marked the first time she has been at an activity without either myself, her father, a grandparent, or her nanny present. In my heart I knew S would be okay; I was more worried about my ability to walk away. It was a bit of an awkward drop-off for me in that we are entering into a pre-existing routine with kids and parents who have already reached their strides, therefore I didn’t have any other first-timers with whom to commiserate. The whole process was pretty anti-climactic. Before I knew it, I found myself enjoying a frozen yogurt on the subway ride home, not a twinge of guilt or worry in sight.

Getting S ready for bed tonight, I removed her diaper to reveal a rash caused by a shoddy post-poop clean up job at school. That’s when it hit me: I am entrusting the care of my daughter, in, at times, a very intimate way, to strangers. Yes, they are warm and energetic and are, no doubt, great at what they do, but when it came to changing S’s diaper today they did not have the time, or put in the same care, that I would have. It broke my heart a little. But then I remembered S’s smiling face when I picked her up, and the resounding “Yes!” she gave me when I asked her if she wanted to go back to school tomorrow. While the diaper rash is something that will not go unmentioned when I speak with her teacher tomorrow, the bigger picture is coming into clear focus: My little S is starting the first of many experiences that will no longer involve me, over which I exert little influence. If only that were as easy to swallow as some pureed carrots.