Musings of a Slightly Crazy Mom

Emma Grace

Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers

Evan Hendrik

Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Lil Stinker

Lilypie Maternity tickers

Saturday, 29 October 2011

A Shaky New Routine

So, the last three weeks have been a major learning curve for all of us.  My maternity leave finished, and I headed back to working nights full time.  The kids went off to day care.  AM was now "on" daddy duty full-time, all night and all morning (and he's not a morning person).  We started this new routine with a lot of nerves, our fair share of tears, and a whole lot of prayers.  Were we making the right decision?  Was it fair to push our kids into something they didn't like, knowing full well that they would enjoy it if they gave it a chance?  How were we going to make time for each other, when my bed time co-incided with the kids bedtimes, and I was up at 11pm to head out to work?  But we got through it, one day at a time.  Sometimes, it felt like one minute at a time, to be honest.

But, even though it's only been 3 weeks, the changes have been enormous.  EH is way less clingy to mama, reaching for daddy now, or even Jen, our daycare provider.  EG, who shocked us all by being the one who was having the most issues away from me, is learning so much - like the days of the week (and believe you me: does she ever know when it's Saturday and she doesn't have to go!)  She's learning to share and to lead play in equal amounts, due to the dynamics of the other children.  AM is experiencing the joys of kids in the morning (at least ours, who are super happy and snuggly and generally the best kids ever in the morning).  He also get a lot of one on one time with the kids, which due to his hours and the nature of kids at night, didn't really happen, or didn't contain the same joy.  and me?  Well, let's just say, the adult conversation was sorely missed.  I love being back at work doing something I'm good at.  I love having a little bit of time to myself every single day, and having to decide whether or not to go for a run or to clean (and strange as that sounds, I do enjoy both).  Although, too often, I end  up cleaning and not running. 

One of the hardest things about the new routine is the shift in parenting power.  Gender stereotypes aside, when I was home all day every day with the kids, I was the one who lead the conflict resolution, who disciplined, who played.  How can you not, when you are there with them 10 hours a day, and your spouse is there for 2 at night?  It's just the way it goes.  But now, I need to remind myself to step back and let AM take the lead.  He's got a new routine too, and that includes different tactics that I would use.  It's not fair to anyone that I should assume that things would remain similar when I'm not doing the majority of the childcare right now.

The other thing that I really really dislike about this routine is the lack of interaction between AM and myself.  Because I split my sleep (4-5 hours during the day, and then another 2-3 at night), we don't see each other much.  And during dinner doesn't count, because if you have kids - or even if you have just eaten with my family - conversation goes something like this:
H: so, how was your day?  Emma, use your fork/
A: good.  busy.  Evan, don't shove so much food in your mouth.
H: how did that meeting go?  Hank!  Get off the counter!
A:  It was good.  Some good ideas coming out.  Emma!  we said, use your fork!
and on and on it goes, interjected with EG and EH screeching, wailing, jumping off their chairs, etc.

And then it's shower/bath time.  One kid at a time in the shower, haul them out, dry them off, apply Vicks and lotion (darn colds!) pjs, down to watch a show and have a snack, back up to brush teeth, use potty, read stories, say prayer, go to sleep.  Listen to EH cry/sing himself to sleep.  Listen to EG read herself to sleep.  Yell at EG to get back into bed.  And before you know it, it's 11pm and my alarm is going off.

But . . . soon that will all change!  Come May, I am getting another year off! (cue drum rolll) because Baby#3 is due May 20!  Yes, it was a shock.  No, we didn't plan it.  Yes, we are ecstatic - and even though we didn't plan it, Someone sure did!  We (read: me) are way less stressed about this one.  I mean, it doesn't matter if it's a boy or girl - I don't have any baby clothes left anyways!  And this time around, we have both a girl and a boy name.  And now that the nausea is passed, I am much more excited.  It's hard to be excited when you can't think about food without your stomach twisting in a knot, not when your whole life revolves around what goes in your kids mouths and what comes out the other end.  But now that is passed - and it's just fun!

Side note:  we told EG that we were having a new baby, sometime after her birthday.  Her response?  "That means we get to get THREE pumpkins!"  So, three pumpkins it is!

This is what the last three weeks have been like"

Evan's Birthday cupcakes

The Birthday Boy! (Did I mention that he's scared of the Happy Birthday song!)

Dressed in his All-Blacks jersey.  I swear, his cuteness is the reason they won.


Alan's convocation!!

Convocation!  That would be AMD, CMA!!

playing in the leaves.  EH, not so sure.

Friday, 7 October 2011

The Calm Before the Storm (?)

 So, I apologize for not writing more.  Well, more to myself, as this is supposed to be a written chronicle the early years.  But life has been insanely busy the last couple weeks.  And, as per usual, it's mostly self-inflicted.

We made the decision that I would go back to work after my mat leave was up (has it been a year already?!).  And with that decision came a host of tasks and jobs and arrangements to finish and complete.  I wanted to switch the computer room and the baby room around.  So, A and I lugged the computer and stuff downstairs, lugged the books (so many books!) upstairs, moved bookcases, crib, change table, etc.  I'm not really sure why I wanted the switch.  I think, in my crazed thinking, I wanted the kids to have the same sized rooms, and the old baby room (new computer room) was way bigger - which meant that both EG and A could have their computers there.  And hopefully cut down on clutter.

Clutter has been a huge factor in the drive to insanity.  I am getting rid of clothes as soon as the kids outgrow them.  I am going through toys, tossing or donating anything that isn't used, I don't like, or is missing pieces (I'm a little OCD when it comes to keeping toys and all their parts together).  We made several trips to Ikea to get new Trofast bins and storage units, DVD and CD storage, general storage.  I have a pile of stuff in the basement that is going to a garage sale that my mom is (hopefully) having in the spring.  Lots of purging and cleaning here!

So, in addition to all that, we needed a second car (check), daycare (check - gulp), and getting used to a new morning routine.  I had taken the kids for a meet-and-greet type of thing with the daycare provider, and it all went well.  So when it came time to do the actual test run, I was shocked and surprised (and lets, face it, racked with guilt), when she told me that EG - my brave, independent, headstrong, "I'll see you later, Mom, don't worry about me" EG - cried the whole time.  And not just little tears.  Hysterics.  Wouldn't go for a walk.  Wouldn't play at the park.  Wouldn't snuggle.  (That sound you hear?  That's the mommy guilt coming through hard and fast).  EH, on the other hand, who is normally clingy and doesn't like to leave my side,, only cried when it was nap time or when he bumped his head.  You think you know your children. . . .

Thankfully, the second time went better, but still there were a lot of tears and drama the night before and the morning of.  EG still doesn't like the thought of going - I think (hope and pray) that the reality is going to be much better.  But we told her that if she's still not happy by the time she's 4 (which is in 6 or 7 months), she doesn't have to go anymore.  That's fair right?  At least she gave it a good go.  (Guilt again).

Oh, and I started running.  Well, I ran two days, but we have been doing some crazy long walks.  Usually around 4 or 5 kms, which is awesome.  The thing about going back to work when you work nights, is that the weight usually flies back on.  And I'm kinda proud that right now, after two kids, I'm in better shape than before I had my first.  So, some preventative steps.  But factor that in to the rest of the craziness.

And (if that isn't enough) we are going away for the weekend.  My whole family.  About 14 of us.  And I'm torn.  It should be great and fun and everything good, but also has the potential for some disaster.  We have the only children.  And although I'm probably making a bigger deal of it than needs to be, I worry about how my siblings and parents will deal with the reality of children.  Which is kinda dumb, because my mom had 6 kids in 7 years.  But everyone is in a different life stage right now.  A thinks I'm addicted to worrying, which may be true.
EG and I making salt dough ornaments

Somebody wasn't too happy with being left out

Note:  while these sounded like fun to make, I should have read the instructions all the way through.  6 hours to bake!!!

So, we are trying to enjoy the last couple of days of stay-at-home mommy-hood.  Trying to take it easy before the craziness of a double income family.  But all the planning and preparation for when I do go back to work is making me tired.  I'm really looking forward to this weekend, where (hopefully) I can put my list-making and my schedules and my MustDos aside and just enjoy. 

EG found the camera and started taking pictures.  Kinda artistic, eh?

Someone has no problem sitting and reading!

Did I mention that someone likes to climb?