Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Give Me A Break

Hello again,

We've had a packed couple of weeks. I have been busily accomplishing all kinds of things like nursing Jackson, holding Jackson, changing Jackson and occasionally doing a load of dishes or making a sandwich for my other two children. All in all though, Jackson is slowly and gradually sleeping a little bit more and nursing a little bit less. Let's just say that the baby swing is my new best friend: I even bought a second one on Craigslist so we now have an upstairs and a downstairs swing. And, yes, it was worth it.

So hmmm.... where did I leave off. Oh yes, I believe we were at Monday, January 21st. In celebration of Martin Luther King Day, Jared and Camryn both had no school, which after a weekend of little to no sleep was quite fortuitous timing. And although it was sunny enough to tempt me to take the kids to the park, one step outside of our door into the frigid air eliminated any further temptation. So we spent an exciting day with Jackson nursing while Jared and Camryn alternately fought and watched too much TV. To give them credit, they usually get along a little bit better, but I think too many days of being cooped inside had finally gotten to them. Finally we had all reached the end of our ropes. So I packed the kids in the car to go to McDonalds to get ice cream cones and play on the play place. Jackson screamed whole way there and the whole way back, but he happily nursed the entire time we were there so 2 1/2 minutes of discomfort each way in transit wasn't going to kill him.

After our little outing I actually made dinner: penne with hamburger and mozzarella cheese and fresh steamed broccoli. Simple though it was, it did not come from a box or the freezer and so I was excessively proud of myself. To make things even better, Jared raved about how yummy it was. "Wow mom, " he said, "this tastes like heaven!" (Now remind me again, why do I try to make creative gourmet meals?) At the end of the day, the lack of sleep from the weekend began to set in. I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open. Thank goodness for Dave, who upon arriving home from work at 9:00 pm fed Jackson a bottle and did laundry while I went to bed.

On Tuesday morning I felt better. I wore a new shirt (thank you Costco), opened the blinds and was quite cheerful. When Jared came home from school, he started nagging me to make cheese balls. Jared had seen "Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse" at a children's theater the previous Thursday on a school field trip. Ever since, he has been constantly bugging to make a recipe on the playbill for "Lilly's Luscious Cheese Bites." (Lilly is a mouse, in case you were wondering.) We had the ingredients: cream cheese, cheddar cheese and dry mustard, so I figured "Why not?," and we made them. After we were done, I offered a sample to everyone. Jared was hesitant (he thought it was supposed to be baked first) but finally took a small taste. His face instantly crinkled up and he started violently spitting out the offensive mixture. I laughed and laughed.. so much for BEGGING me to make it for him. Luckily the weather was a little bit warmer, so the kids played outside on the play structure, after which we made cookies.

And thus began my really good week. It wasn't so different from usual, but I really enjoyed it. Maybe my mantra of "lower your expectations" was actually working: I forgot that my house was a mess, that I had no make-up on, that I felt like a slob and that my non-maternity pants were still tight -- I just enjoyed being with my kids. I became downright relaxed. And it was great. Dave announced that he had an upcoming trip to Singapore followed by a week of training in San Jose. But hey, no biggie. I found a good deal on airline tickets and the kids and I were going to make a trip to Grandma's out of it. The following Monday school was canceled because of snow. But it was great... the kids played in the snow and then we had hot chocolate. We got out Jared's volcano set that he got for Christmas, painted it and set it off on our deck (I even laughed when it tipped over and I got sprayed with vinegar and baking soda). We played a card game together. We even started reading "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe."

One of those evenings as we were getting ready to go to sleep I told Dave, "I don't know what is different, but I feel like I've finally figured something out. What I'm doing hasn't changed, but I'm finally just enjoying it. I love being a mom and I just feel content and happy to be who I am and do what I do. I don't feel like I have to prove something about myself anymore: I just feel like what I'm doing is the most important thing and everything else doesn't matter as much." And then Tuesday hit.

Tuesday everything fell apart. Dave had week from heck: he worked over 90 hours. He stayed at work until at least 10 pm every night, had two all-nighters and worked Saturday. He was switched to work on a different project that was (act surprised here) an emergency and in urgent need of rescuing. (Why is it that everyone else's problem becomes Dave's problem?) His manager told him to postpone the trip to Singapore and that if the project wasn't up and running he didn't want him going to the training in California either (ummm... we already bought plane tickets. Maybe you could mention that to him?) Not to be deterred from my unflappable calm and flexibility, I just changed our tickets to leave a week later, assuming that Dave could just go to Singapore after the training in California.

Eventually I tried to pin Dave down as to whether he was going to California for the training or not, but he just didn't know. Never mind that we had plane tickets already. Never mind that I had made arrangements to just start ward choir after we got back but if we were going to be here I needed to have it now. Never mind that we now have choir rehearsal BEFORE church so the announcement needs to go in the bulletin the previous week. Dave just wasn't going to know until middle of week whether his trip was canceled or not. So the announcement went into the bulletin as follows: "Ward Choir is from 11-12 on Sunday. There may or may not be choir this week. Call Karen in the middle of the week and she'll let you know." I kid you not. But what else was I supposed to do?

Dave's trip(s) did end up being canceled and I decided not to go to California without Dave. Somehow or other we all survived the week: Dave survived the lack of sleep and I survived the lack of husband. But a week in super-survival mode is really not ideal-- even with my newly-lowered expectations and ultra-relaxed standards. There is only so much therapy you can get out of playing Scrabulous or Scramble on facebook. By the end of it all I was just plain worn out. Sunday night, strangely enough, our pre-sleep conversation was a little bit different than the previous week. Me: "I'm just really frustrated right now. I'm frustrated with the kids, with choir, with my weight, with the house, with life..." Then Jackson slept 5 hours straight and everything was OK again.



Camryn (after hearing multiple requests from Jared to play games at lego.com or transformers.com): "Mommy, I want to play games at www.pony.com."
Jared: "Let's watch the video of "The Sneeze." It's about how germs are spread. I watched it today at school. You can find it on the computer at yotobee." [Upon cross-examination, I discovered that "yotobee" is actually "youtube"]
Camryn "reading" her scriptures outloud to herself: "I, Nephi was born of deadly parents, therefore the teachings of my father...."
I found a note that Jared wrote a few months ago. He wrote up a referral for Camryn (apparently a "Referral" is the write-up you get for the very worst offenses at school):

Wut I did rong.
Stod on tipeetos.
not safe.
Date. 11-9-07

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