Saturday, September 26, 2015

My Own Sweet Spot

Soccer class has ended up being kind of a dud. Just too much for my girl right now.
What started as my taking the girls to soccer turned into an epic eight hour play date.
The girls were so happy to be together (and played so nicely and independently), it made my heart hurt a little.
This is their first year apart after three years of 40 hours a week together since three months old.

Despite all the big changes in our house, I'm finding us in an unexpected sweet spot.

Due to her very long days and early starts, I'm trying to make life as easy for Calliope as possible right now. I wait as long as I can in the mornings, until I'm fully ready and Amelie is taken care of, before I wake Calliope. Then I bring her milk to her bed, and let her drink before I start getting her ready or even talking to her. Once the calories have kicked in, she's generally much more cheerful. Then I dress her, sunscreen her, brush her teeth... the only thing I don't do for her is pee on the potty for her! But I do keep her company in the bathroom if she asks. I find it's both faster and more energy efficient to just do things for her than to harangue her into doing things for herself. I certainly hope that in a couple more weeks, as she acclimates to her new life, she'll want to start doing more things for herself -- this is a kid who insisted on dressing herself at age two -- but for now, I'm trying to conserve energy for both of us.

I'm also trying to avoid conflict with her wherever I can. The rules still stand, but I try to say yes whenever I can -- does it really hurt me to take a minute to be silly with her, even if it doesn't sound fun? -- and when the answer is no, to make it sound like a yes. So if the question is, "can I have some ice cream?" the answer is "Yes, you can have it on Shabbat (Friday)" instead of "no, not tonight." It sounds silly but it really does make a difference.

The surprise benefit of all this is... she's much more agreeable. It's amazing how avoiding conflict whenever possible means we are both more patient with each other. When I ask her to do something, she's much more apt to agree... occasionally after only one request!

And even beyond that, we are just enjoying each other's company more. She says so many funny little things. It's amazing to watch her work to understand the world.

Anyway, it's lovely. Despite all the hardships, I love seeing her little face at work. And she's so thrilled to see me at the end of the day. It kind of makes me feel like royalty.

So things are smooth with her.

And Amelie, well. She's just delicious. Walking home with her today in the baby carrier on my chest, looking down at her downy little head, I feel my heart just overflow with love and joy.

And the last few nights, she hasn't woken up until 5 am, and then goes back to sleep after I transfer her to the RNP... without nursing. So I'm cautiously optimistic that soon she will spend the entire twelve hours in her crib.

I had a scare with my milk supply not nearly keeping up my first week back at work, and burning through my entire freezer stash save one bag of milk... but thanks to herbal supplements and lots of pumping, I'm caught up and have a growing stash again. I've actually been able to drop the bedtime pumping, which is great.

And the girls together... also so lovely. They just adore each other.

And I'm finding my rhythm with work and commuting with Calliope and all the rest. I'm taking shortcuts wherever I can at home, including asking Susie to help a little bit around the house, and paying a little more. I'm trying to not feel guilty about occasionally leaving dishes in the sink. I'm loving not having to get up extra early to work out in the mornings, and instead getting to work out in the afternoons... even if it is hard to not just lounge and play with Amelie instead. Calliope, however, loves to work out with me in the afternoons. So that's a nice activity for us as Susie feeds the babies their dinner -- she lines up their highchairs and feeds them off of a single spoon. So cute! (I tried to feed Amelie her dinner on Friday and Susie gently brushed me off -- she has a system and doesn't want it interfered with! So I folded laundry instead.) She also bathes the babies. Not something we asked for and sometimes I'm sad not to get to do it myself (and sad that she bathes them in the kitchen sink with not enough water to splash around in), but the truth is that my overall quality of life is better without this extra task to complete.

I've been doing physical therapy with a therapist that comes to my home once a week -- so great that she comes to me! -- and I'm thrilled that the last couple of weeks, she's been impressed with my progress. My overall tone is greatly improved and my diastsis recti (separation of the abdominal muscles) is healing! My stiff and sore lower back is 90% better as a result. And all that work on my posture makes me feel better about myself.

Things are good with my family and my sister in law is due to have a baby any day now... I'm so excited for us to have infants together! I think this will be really good for my relationship with my brother.

And I'm dreaming about upgrading to a house some day, but for now, we are making do with our two bedroom apartment and feeling relatively content here.

Now (Amelie and Leo, aka Nanny Share 2.0)

And then. (Calliope and Eleanor, 2012.)

*** Credit to Obernon for her "Sweet Spot" title.


  1. Aaaw, how sweet...looks like the same blanket.
    Try not to feel bad about asking for help and not being able to do everything. Remember, ideally, motherhood is supposed to be practiced in a village, with others chipping in. It is just unfortunate that it is not a reality for so many of us in today's world.
    No matter, you ARE doing a fantastic juggle of it all. I postponed having number 2 for now because the idea of it alone exhausted me.
    All the best and warm hugs,

  2. So glad you are hitting a stride! I do the same with Elsie... Dress her etc in the morning. The less conflict the better and it is not a mountain I want to die on. I figure she will not want me to dress her in high school. ;)

  3. Sounds great...glad things are going so well. I find Elena likes me to do things for her when we're together, not because she can't or won't do them for herself, but because she craves the closeness so I try not to let it frustrate me. I agree with Obernon & figure she'll grow out of it.

    I love the comparison photo!