By: Revanche

24 hours, Part 2: juggling and the baby dash

April 6, 2016

24 hours, Part 2: Baby Coworker Around 6 am, the snorfling starts. This kid is nothing like me – goes from asleep to wide awake in less than three winks – so any waking movement is The Real Deal.

PiC’s already up and initiating the daddy+baby morning routine so I pass out again, dozing until 7 am.

I brush my teeth and check email for any emergencies. Nothing this morning so I take over feeding LB, give Seamus his morning meds, and strap LB into the stroller and head out for a walk. PiC usually takes them for a walk before I get up but since I’m up early, he might as well get a head start on getting ready.

We come back 30 minutes later for blocks and song: ze stands at the block box handing me one at a time, bobbing hir head to my song. Ze hands me one block, I hand hir another. Rinse and repeat.

Ze spies PiC around the corner, not paying attention to either of us. Opportunity! Ze makes a crawl-dash for the dog’s water bowl. Seamus’s water bowl beckons to hir irresistably. We head off some dashes, the others result in flying hir to the sink after ze has a good splash in his bowl. Seamus is NOT amused.

Hands washed, it’s book time.  I start to read Tremendous Tractors at the book bench, ze leans up against the bench to listen for half a page, then starts sorting. This book is for … you. This book is for … you. This book is for … Seamus. This book is for … you. Halfway through reading, Busy Hands has handed me the entire stack of books. Rinse and repeat for the second half of the reading.

Next up: musical toys. Some toys are for sharing, like the blocks and Legos, some are for pulling apart and flinging about. This is one of the latter. Ze prefers to fly solo as ze wrestles the rings off the stand and discards them over a shoulder. Naturally I very helpfully undo all hir work as ze finishes, placing the parts all back on the stand again. This is worth about 20 minutes.

One of hir other musical toys goes off. Over my shoulder, I see Seamus grin and tuck his paw under his chin. THANKS.

A frown, an eye-rub. Then a bigger frown and a double eye-rub. Ze won’t admit it but the fatigue is upon hir and it’s time to warm a bottle. We’ll be weaning off the bottle soon, so we’re in a transition period of bottles before naps and sippy cups after. We bounce on the yoga ball on the way to the sofa. Bottle clutched in chubby hands, tiny feet propped up on my lap, we relax for a few minutes. And I check email again. All’s quiet, just routine stuff, so I enjoy a moment of almost-cuddling with my squirmy worm.

Bottle polished off, ze hands it to me and contemplates hir full belly with a half smile. Time was, ze would finish  bottle and throw it like a football. I like this new development. LB settles down after 9 am and Seamus gets breakfast. Now, it’s my time: get a glass of water, find my glasses, my computer, and dive into work. But first: sweatpants!

I get an hour and a quarter on Nap 1. I mowed down all urgent and important emails, jot to-do list for the rest of my work day. Caught up on some projects and even unexpectedly finish a call early so I process an Amazon return and package up the box to drop off at the post office. Prep the first load of laundry, it’ll be ready for drying sometime when ze gets up.

A wail. That’s never good. Ze normally wakes up and plays for a while, then yells for rescue, but ze has been running a fever the past few days and evidently ze’s miserable again. I hold hir for a while. Ze doesn’t want food or water, doesn’t want to be put down but doesn’t want to be held like that either. We sit on the ground with some toys, sadly looking at one, then another, until my silly song and toy rattling coaxes a smile to the surface. Soon enough it’s submerged under tears, again. This calls for a change in scenery, and we also need milk.

Seamus is appalled. We’re obviously going outside, but we’re not taking him with us??? It’s literally unbelievable. He walks out the front door to wait outside because surely we don’t mean to go anywhere without him. Except, we must. We’re going to walk to the grocery store and he’s not allowed inside. I’m certainly not tying him up outside, someone might steal him. And I can’t tie him outside with LB. I think that’s frowned on.

Heavy with guilt, I lock up, leaving him to contemplate the traitorous nature of Humans.

The outing helps hir mood. I pick up groceries, then we struggle our way back home. It’s a long bracing walk but I seem to have caught hir bug. Everything is heavier, more exhausting. It takes us 45 minutes, round trip.

I get a text from PiC as we arrive home and start coaxing some food into the somewhat refreshed baby. Between bites, we realize that he’d failed to plan his day all the way through and now needs to be picked up. He’s tried asking a few friends if they were in the area but I thought it unlikely so I dose hir up with ibuprofen (doc’s orders!), strap hir into the harness, and we plod back outside to the car.

Mom and baby to the rescue: we pick up PiC from the nearby transit stop, and we make a quick stop at the pharmacy for my meds before getting back home.Usually I have them mailed but the pharmacy screwed up this refill.

Snack time part two commences with a bun and a pinch bowl of raisins. These are perfect for letting hir feed hirself: small enough to fit infant-appropriate serving size snacks, the bowls are sturdy and flexible, ze thinks they’re toys as much as food vehicles. Ze upends the bowl, wears it as a hat, chews on the side thoughtfully.

It’s been 3 hours since Nap 1, so I prep another bottle for hir and peel my shoes out of hir hands again. Someday, this child will stop trying to lick my shoes. Until then …. I cuddle hir on my lap with a bottle. Usually ze lays on the ground snuggled into hir Boppy but today I’m too tired to pick hir up again so lap it is. NOPE, ze struggles back up. I push hir back and offer the bottle again. Well, ok. Ze drinks, pops the bottle out to show me hir progress halfway through, squirts hirself in the face with milk, and finally finishes.

Off to bed. There are some protests. There may be some bar rattling. But once I’ve initiated naptime procedures, I don’t look back. That ze knows of, anyway. *glances at the monitor*

2:11 pm: Silence. Ze has passed out. I might, too. But no, I have work to do. I could eat but am dragging-tired so peel a couple of clementines and dive back into work.

Ze sleeps two whole hours, waking in time to go on a walk with Seamus. As he chows down on early dinner, LB and I work on snacks. I cut up bananas and ze shakes up the yogurt cup. We have fruit, yogurt and some toast. Ze makes a complete mess of drinking milk from a sippy cup, again, so I mop up the milk spattered floor while ze pulls out the Legos for another pass at “building”. This means clapping them together and putting them back in the box, waving a special one at me every so often.

Hir patience seems unusually good for being under the weather so I take advantage of the free hands to prep dinner. He never expects it but the night feels like it goes so much more smoothly if dinner is ready just as PiC’s getting home. Most LB & me nights, that doesn’t happen, but ze is hanging out and entertaining hirself with the Legos so the stove and oven are fired up.

PiC rolls in a bit after 6, some surprise thing held him up, but we’re still on track for a quick dinner and put LB to bed by 7:30. Excellent! I hide in the bathroom to decompress for about 20 minutes, and then get back to work. Meanwhile, PiC puts together LB’s lunch for the next day. I usually do that but he’s got it today.

My concentration is excellent the first three hours, then call it an early night closing in on midnight. My aches are getting the better of me and I’ve cleared the day’s work, go go efficiency! It’s best to lay my broken body down for actual rest.

What did I learn?

Being flexible is the only way to survive combo days. If I try to stick to a rigid schedule like I might set for a daycare day, my focus is fractured and I do nothing well. Being present in the moment means ze and I are fully engaged when ze needs me, and then I’m fully engaged with my work when I’m working.

PiC handles all the out of the house chores like dealing with all the auto chores, picking up milk or medication, or dropping off packages. This leaves me free to use my energy where it’s most needed. Don’t get me wrong, he does plenty around the house, too, but that’s for another post.

I used to think we should hire out some of the work at home but honestly as we settle into routines, it doesn’t feel like we need to anymore. Which is good because as it happens, there’s not much extra room in the budget anyway.

We had a long discussion recently about our routine, it gets a bit flabby when it seems like you’re doing the same things over and over, but you’re really slipping into chaos bit by bit.

We’re committing to an 11 pm bedtime and to carving out specific hours on the weekend for my work. Unrelated? Not at all. We rely on each other heavily but if we’re both sleep deprived, then we’re no good to each other. So, more sleep. And more dedicated time on the weekend to engage with my work because sometimes I just need more hours on that front.

:: How set is your daily routine? Do you prefer a set schedule or taking it as it goes?

Read Part 1 & Part 3!

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