Gone Coastal

Sunday, October 05, 2008


Whatever you're doing, wherever you're at, some days are bound to be harder than others. I can't think of any place where this is more true (though perhaps I'll live to discover some) than the hands on, round the clock parenting of little ones. And yesterday was definitely one of those harder days.
Eli was not a happy camper. From his six am feeding after a hungry night, till well after lunch, he would not sleep at all. Not so unusual for him, he's not a big sleeper in the day, but he's usually still content to be in his swing or the playpen for a stretch here and there. After a few laps around the block with Trin in tow, and another quick lap while she was napping, Eli finally cried himself out and nodded off a little after one. Once I saw he was out, I flopped on the couch and was out myself in a few minutes. And then the phone rang. Short and sweet, I rolled over again and was out again soon. And then it seemed I blinked and he was awake and crying again. Barely twenty five minutes, and I hadn't shuffled the laundry or cleared the dishes or wiped the table. The same disastrous chaos surrounded me.
I was back to doing quick laps in the drizzle, wind and rain, and promising the dogs I'd try to get them out for a walk eventually. I tried everything I could think of to try to settle Eli but nothing was working. Trin was of course getting a little cranky, too, by now because my hands were always full with Eli, so I was distracted and much behind with the usual care and feeding routines.
I needed groceries, so I did my best to cover the obvious basic needs and packed up Wailer and Whiner in the car and went to Thrifty's. Eli fell asleep in the sling for the last ten minutes of shopping, but didn't stay that way when I had to put him back into his car seat.
About an hour of meal prep in snippets between attempts to feed, burp, rock, walk or change him to keep him somewhat settled. He finally nodded off again for a little over a half hour, just long enough to get the sauce mostly ready, but not to cook the spaghetti. Cooked the noodles with Eli on my arm, dished up for Trin and took him for another lap up and down the block while she ate. It was a good two hours and several feeds after his usual time when he finally passed out for the night and I was able to eat my own supper.
So a long and completely exhausting day. I told the Bear the full saga when he called to check in last night; he said he was sorry I'd had such a sh***y day. I had to disagree. I was weary, sore, and had been near tears a few times in the course of it, but the day wasn't bad. Some of the best advice I've had in this season came from Shannon down the street. She's told me many times, it's all about the moments. Whether the kids have been throwing tantrums, picking fights, being careless or outright defiant, at some point they smile, or show you some new skill, or put their toy away, or give a hug to the playmate who got hurt, and you love 'em all over again. To tally the whole day as a lump sum is to lose the value of those precious moments.
My day ended with a few of those moments. I'd given in at some point and found something reasonably family friendly on the idiot box to entertain us. At the end of the movie there was a boppy dance tune while the credits rolled, and Trin was givin' her all to the music. I let her dance to the end of the credits before swinging her up to bed with a smile on her face. And along with a few ticklish giggles as I changed him out of his drool soaked clothes and wiped his face, Eli finished his day with a long, comfortable, eyes-closed feeding.
Other days this week had their challenges for different reasons. Thursday was a day when lots of little things just didn't line up, and the anxiety was building. But I got to a fabric store and picked out some Eli-friendly (all cotton) fabrics for a couple of projects. It's fun to hope that I might just christen my sewing machine soon. And Friday, the isolation of motherhood had been getting to me, but every time I stepped out the door, to drop off the Trin, walk the dogs, pace with Eli or go to the store, there was someone else to have a little conversation with. Moments to get me through the day.
And today was a whole new day, with its own moments. The three of us got out to church this morning, and Trin was dancing in the aisles during worship. Eli had a nice little nap while Trin had lunch, and I got the kitchen under control. He fed and slept a bit again while I started this post, and then let me finish it one-handed. When Trin wakes up soon, I think we may even get out with the dogs. Trin's cold is getting better, and it even stopped raining.
So if you've got little ones and they're pushing your limits, take a deep breathe, hang in there and wait for that next moment. And when it comes, savor it.


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