Monday, November 23, 2015

1-2-3, 1-2-3, Count. With. Me.

Week 2. I mean, Week Whatever since I started this daycare thing 4 months ago with a healthy break in September/October.

Ya'll. This is not easy. No one napped today. And everyone wanted their Mommies. Even me for a while. The bar I aim to hit moves constantly. Do you know what a circle is? Can I work it so that only one child is crying at a time? 4 diapers in 20 minutes (I only have 3 kids here so....)?

The good news: Everyone eats. Everyone poops. Everyone survives the day.

The better news: I haven't lost it yet. Well, not while the kids are here. I did a bit of drinking over the weekend, with Stephan, in the kitchen, over the Christmas planning/budget/ordering. But 8 hours of work is manageable. Because time marches on. 4:30 arrives. Every day. No matter who's pooped, who threw grapes, who tried to eat rubber bands (all of these are my own kid). 4:30 happens, and then it's just me and mine (which, again, isn't always easy either, but my standards are much lower for my own kids).

8 hours goes pretty fast. Sometimes it's the 3-5 minutes of triple crying that can feel super slow. And when that happens, we all just take a breath and Count. With. Me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

.... All Through the Town

Dude. You guys. I was in full-on mental-meltdown-mode last weekend. My 8 weeks off of "work" (i.e. the daycare kid was at home because her mom had a baby) ended. And I was freaking out because I had no idea how I was going to handle three kids in my house:

A 2 year old
My 1 year old
A 2 month old

Sunday I kicked Stephan out of the house and prepped lunches and dinners for the whole week. It took 3 hours. Curriculum for the week (this is a circle; it goes round and round) was another 30 minutes, and cleaning, laundry, furniture moving was the last hour.

And yesterday and today were easy.

I mean, not easy, but it wasn't hard. The baby cried. Adam was mad that I wasn't holding him and decided he wanted to nurse all day. The little girl stared deeply into my eyes and calmly told me "I'm not doing that" when I asked her to put something away. But they all slept (never at one time), they all ate (always at the same time), and no one cried for more than 5 minutes before I could empty my hands and pick them up. And at the end of they day I zoomed through each room to tidy up, cleared the sink of dirty dishes, folded the laundry and prepped the next day's lunch/dinner.

And the circle... it DID go round and round!!! And I... can TOTALLY do this! Why did I think I couldn't do this?? Stephan knew I could do it. The parents knew I could do it (or at least appeared to when they handed me their kids and a check). And I'm not just not failing. I'm kinda rocking this. That little girl totally knows what a circle is (despite telling her dad tonight that it was a heart). That baby drank 9oz of milk. And Adam......... well, he's asleep so let's just be happy with him not hitching his own ride to a grandparent's house yet.

Monday, November 2, 2015

"It's Just Brunch"

Stephan and I were listening to the radio a few weeks ago. The hosts were discussing the Netflix series Orange is the New Black. I love that show. I had to slow down my binge-watching to make sure I wasn't hurrying through the episodes.

Suddenly, Stephan turns off the radio and starts huffing in annoyance:

Him: That is terrible.

Me: What?? That they are romanticizing female incarceration?

Him: No. That people keep thinking they're so oppressed. It's discrediting the actual struggle of African Americans.

Me: Uuhm..... what??

Him: People keep saying they are the new Black like it's no big deal to have been abused and mistreated for centuries. It's disgusting.

Me: That's... uh... not what that phrase means. It's literally the color black. How it used to be reserved for people in mourning but now it's fashionable. The phrase is about fashion. Not race.

Him: No way.

Me: .....

Him: Really?

Me: Yup.

Him: I need to rethink a lot of things.

Which has to do with brunch in the following way... As a family we had accidentally scheduled three things to happen on one day.
1) Volunteering at a race in Milwaukee (70 miles away)
2) Attending a fundraising brunch buffet
3) Sawyer's 6th birthday party

Stephan and I went back and forth over how we were going to divide and conquer the day. At first I was going to send him to the race so I could take the kids to the brunch. But when I thought about the small-talk and group of people that would be attending a fundraising brunch, I freaked out and traded him for the early-morning smile and wave and "here sign this paper to learn more about the Santa Hustle" thing.

When the brunch friend found out that I was bailing on the brunch because I was too nervous to talk to live people (runners don't count as people I guess?) she texted me, "Uhm. It's just brunch."

Noooooooo. It's not "just brunch". It's being polite. It's "what do I say next?" It's "what do I wear? Is my hair ok? What was her name again? Where can I hide to nurse the baby? Am I making enough eye contact? Should I reply with something funny or serious? Have I quoted NPR too much? Will this person be insulted by a political joke? Did I really just make fun of Cuban refugees? OhmyGod I just totally made a refugee joke. That's not funny AT ALL right now. There's no recovering from this. Let's all go hide in the bathroom until this thing is over."

I guess I was just surprised that, with all of the sensitivity to people who have hard times in social situations, and especially given my outspoken terror of strangers, that someone would say that to me. That anyone would be confused about ME not wanting to spend 2 hours at a table with strangers, trying to make new friends. I regularly mess up the friendships I already have. Why would I want to start over with new ones?

It's totally possible I've been living in a Blogess bubble of love and acceptance lately. Her book was fantastic, and I just keep reading websites that are encouraging and supportive. Places on the internet where hurting and fear and wackiness are totally acceptable states of being. I guess this is why that bubble exists in the first place- so I can remember that I'm not the weird(est) one.

That it IS about fashion.

Friday, October 30, 2015

"Please don't joke about cancer."

This is going to be confusing.

I'm reading Jenny Lawson's most recent book, Furiously Happy.
And when I went to post a loving comment on her blog I saw that the comment above mine was, "please don't joke about cancer." and I thought:
Ugh! Please DO joke about cancer!! That's what I've been saying for all these years!!

So I went back to her website today to try to re-comment on the cancer comment BUT what I found instead was awesome. And instead of reading any more words here, you should go read these other words:

These words. Click here and read and it's ok to cry a little.

Friday, October 23, 2015

"Mom.... MOM.... MOM!!!"

There's a Healing Touch class called "Energetic Communication." It's a class where the practitioner learns how to listen, really listen, to the client in order to find out how to work with them. And one nugget of information I've carried with me since taking the class is this:

People will repeat themselves until they feel like you've heard and understood them.

If you've ever been talking to someone and they just keep retelling the same story, or keep hammering home a point, or using the same word or phrase over and over again, it can be a sign that they don't think you've heard them. This is never more true than with kids. It might mean that the person feels like no one is listening, or it might be that no one is actually listening.

At my church I'm lucky to be a part of a few different groups of women who meet to support each other and the community. But recently the actual work isn't getting done because several women keep talking. And talking. And talking. And we've responded by shortening meeting times, cutting them off, and just flat out not including them sometimes. What happens? They keep talking, louder, more often, and to more people. We stopped listening, and they kept talking.

So now we're trying to figure out how to start listening again. Because the point of being on this planet is to be with other people, and communicate with them, and create the world with them. I'm wondering if the email/text/tweet/Facebook culture is stunting our ability to listen to people. Or if we're so busy (as women, as people) trying to get stuff done that the quiet listening time has been preempted.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Quick Check-in

I'm alive. (If that's what you'd call it)

The baby turned one year old and I realized I haven't slept more than 4 hours in a row for a full twelve months. And then it got worse. We're up every 2-3 hours. Still. I never dreamed I'd still be in "survival" mode after 13 months. The good news is that we are all still alive (except, I guess, for the cat). Food gets made. Showers and baths get taken (though not quite as often as we'd hope). Clothes are clean (most of the time, but it's not the end of the world if they're not).

Birthday parties, vacations, marathon cheering, homework, school events, ballet classes, church, Sunday school, and a few dinners with friends (Ok, just one of those) are still happening. Life is still happening.

Things that aren't happening:
arriving at appointments on time
showing up in the appropriate city for the appointment(s)
correctly addressing birthday cards
reading, writing, hobbies of any type
preparing for the future

Megs2.0 (the new therapist) insists that this too, shall pass. But dude, it's been 13 months. Of wheel-spinning. One day the baby will sleep. Or move out. One of those things will happen.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

"This is Hard and I Hate It."

14 years ago I wanted a pet, but I was traveling too much to take care of a dog. So I got a cat. I went to a local shelter, picked out a small black cat and paid the money to take her home that day. She was about 6 months old and had just had a litter of kittens. BUT she was given to the shelter without those kittens, and still physically in recovery from delivering them. I was single at the time. The two of us watched a lot of daytime television. She loved "Who's the Daddy?" shows because she hoped to one day find that jerk who walked out on her.

Then I got married and we moved to a quiet house next to a lake. She was an indoor/outdoor cat and often left dead birds, squirrels, or chip monks, (once it was two semi-live baby geese) on my bed as presents. Then I got divorced and we moved into a small apartment. Then we drove her to Montana [OMG you guys you should read this] and I got married again. Then we had a baby and moved back to a house in the suburbs. Then we had another baby, and then she got sick.

And now she's in a box in the backyard.

And between every single word of our short summary of 14 years is a lot of love. And snuggling. And cat puke. And litter boxes. And fur. So. Much. Fur. Stephan constantly threatened to shave her. It's incredibly hard to put into words what losing a pet is like. Because it's pretty much something you own. But it's something alive. It's not a person, but you take care of all of its needs, and it connects to you without words. And if it's not your pet, it's just an animal. We lost our other cat a few years ago, but I never felt like he was "mine". So it was sad, but very different. A long time ago we lost our family dog. Again, not "mine" so not devastating.

Pets have been dying lately. And it's hard to know how to be supportive or to know if anything you say will make it better. I'm pretty sure nothing really does at first. You just sit in the suck. And don't do laundry because the litter box is still down there and laundry can wait a day or two.