It’s been over a month since I blogged, but don’t think I haven’t been thankful for anything— actually it’s quite the opposite. Instead of giving you the gory details, here’s the Cliff Notes version (do they even publish those anymore?).
It started with a crazy idea. If you have been reading this blog for awhile you know that M. and I come up with these wild plans, then act on them. This one wasn’t so wild: Change our job search from Chicago to the Greater New York Area.
Then a job materialized. M. mentioned our intentions to a colleague and a job appeared. Literally two weeks after we agreed to the plan, he was offered an exciting job where the pay was right.
And then a place to live came available. My good friend ML had lined up a renter for her townhouse in the suburbs and that renter fell through just as M.’s offer came in. It was perfect for us, close to the city and the job. Plus, what parent can say no to having a playground 100 feet from their front door? Already a better life for A. was shaping up.
Here was the hard part. I packed and said good-bye to an area that I had lived in for most of my life in a matter of two weeks. Friends and family were the most difficult to bid adieu to even though I know I will see them again. But visiting my dad’s memorial was much harder than I expected. Overlooking the Seal Beach pier made me remember talking to my dad about events and decisions that were important during my high school and college years. After his passing, going to the bench we have in his honor allowed me to think freely about divorce, job opportunities, and new relationships. I will miss it the most.
Traveling cross country with two cats and a toddler. M and I packed everyone up in our car and drove from LA to New Jersey. My FIL drove the moving truck. (A huge amount of gratitude goes to him.) Everyone did great despite spending over 14 hours in the car for three days. We were lucky to have hosts in Denver and Illinois that allowed us to stay for two nights and one day so that kitties and Baby A could run around.
East coast, Baby! Everyone has been super friendly. ML has hooked us up with our neighbors and other friends. Baby A can’t get enough of the playground, pool or just walking around the area. So far so good.
For years I have wanted to make this move and now I wonder why I didn’t do it sooner. In two years and three states, it’s nice to finally feel like we’re home.
As the mother of a toddler, I’m happy when Baby A puts aside the bottle of milk and eats real food. I started out as most mothers, wanting my son’s diet to consist of mainly fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. Considering that his favorite foods are artichokes, Brussels sprouts and whole-grain toast I really can’t complain. The problem is when he doesn’t eat, which is lately.
Today he fell asleep in the car right before reaching our building so I decided to take him for a drive to In and Out Burger. He could nap and we could get some lunch and satisfy my burger craving. I used to be a vegetarian but after becoming severely anemic I decided that having meat every once in awhile was better than what iron supplementation would do to my already sensitive digestive system. That’s why once a month or so I usually have a hamburger. Since Baby A usually eats the French fries, we’d both win—so I thought.
Once we got our order, I cooled down some fries and gave them to him then took out my burger (a plain cheeseburger with grilled onions). He ate the three fries then pointed at my sandwich. I gave it to him and he ate nearly the whole thing on the way home. Sure, my son could be eating better but he hasn’t been eating until today. Of course, I wish my son would gobble up the berries on cut up for breakfast and share my salad with me, but right now I want him to eat something more than whole milk and whole grain toast. If that means he partakes in my hamburger fix every once in awhile then so be it.
When I was a girl, I would fall asleep with my butt up in the air. As I got older, I became a tummy sleeper; inching my way down the bed until my feet hung off. Baby A does the same.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been staying in A.’s room until he falls asleep. Each night he goes through his own ritual. He moves his zoo—a momma and baby giraffe, two teddy bears, a bunny and three puppies—to one side of his crib; lies on has stomach and crawls to the end of that crib so that they bury him.
Observing him makes me wonder: Are our sleeping habits genetic? Science hasn’t found anything about positioning; however, an animal study published in the journal Nature found that whether we are early risers or night owls may be. That isn’t applicable here. I do know this: watching my son fall asleep makes me feel a little bit closer to him. Something I didn’t think was possible.
Today was an easy day. No time outs. No being a chew toy. No throwing up hands up in defeat. It’s been a while since my day hasn’t been filled with toddler drama. Could it be that my sleep-deprived child is finally mellowing out?
Probably not. But at the end of today, I don’t feel beat down by the pressures of motherhood. And for that, I am truly grateful. I realize that tomorrow is a new day—one that could very well feel like the difficult old ones I have been experiencing. Right now, that doesn’t matter because tonight I’m going to sleep with my shoulders lowered and my jaw relaxed. *Sigh*
There must be something hardwired in the young that doesn’t allow them to fall into ruts. At least that is what I believe is true about Baby A. Things were going swimmingly, easily, and predictably. Rise at 7:30; nap for 2 1/2 hours at 12; park around 4; watching the Upside Down Show at 8; and bed at 9. Rise, rinse and repeat.
For two weeks, my nearly 2 year old doesn’t want to nap, doesn’t want to eat and doesn’t want to sleep. Each day is different and keeps me on my toes. Makes me think that he’s testing me. “Hmm, I wonder where mommy will push or drive me today so I can fall asleep in the stroller/car” is what I imagine him thinking. It definitely has me working on my mommy skills…or is it my cruise director ones?
While I find all of this a bit annoying (I miss a nap time where I didn’t play chauffeur), I catch myself thinking about new places to go in the city with him: Wondering if he’s too young for the Hammer Museum or if it’s too cold to go to the beach. Slowly but surely I’m enjoying exploring this city that I have lived in for nearly 20 years (gulp). Yes, he’s a bit too young for some of my favorite haunts but together we’re discovering new ones. And at the whim of his tiny pointing finger, I’m discovering sights that I’ve never noticed before.
I’m always amazed how periods of great stress can help me see things with such clarity. It isn’t the life altering events such as a death or a divorce that I am talking about, but the everyday grind to seem to crescendo like a great piece of music. The times in our lives when everyone, everything needs to be done. Right. Now.
2010 so far has been one of those periods. (I’m happy it hasn’t included those life altering ones since I’ve been there, done both and lived through them.) Lots of work, lots of baby growing and lots of juggling. I’m not a Master Juggler— one ball always seems to not get the lift it needs.
That ball is usually an important one. And lately, it’s either me, or M., or both. That’s unfortunate because if I can’t give attention to myself and my husband then I’m really not being a good mom and role model to Baby A. So, it’s during these times that I always seem to realize how off my life-work balance is and how it always seems to be off. I seem to be an all-or-nothing type of girl, even though I never used to be. At least, I don’t think I was.
Despite my frazzled disposition, I’m grateful for these times because they make me step back, take a breath, and make long-term changes that hopefully will ease the stress during the next busy period.
After being in the Midwest for nearly two and a half weeks, Baby A and I are home. We’re sleeping in our own beds with our friends (his, stuffed; mine, purring) and in separate rooms. And now, it begins—resuming our schedule. So far, he has woken up at 5 AM and slept most of yesterday. I took a two hour nap yesterday and could barely keep my eyes open past 10 PM last night. While all of this is a bit of a PIA, traveling is worth it.
During those 17 days, Alexander was surrounded by people who loved him (and it wasn’t just M and me). He played with other kids for hours. He experienced snow, played with puppies and ate boxed mac n’ cheese. All things that don’t happen in our home. He laughed and laughed and laughed. He made others do the same. And now that we are home, I miss the family, the cold weather, the impromptu dinners, the conversation and the constant playing. I’ll try to keep up with my son’s insatiable appetite for play that was fulfilled by numerous cousins these past couple of weeks. Luckily, I know I can keep him laughing.