Saturday, May 24, 2014

Patience

My way of dealing with stress is to work.  Tackle the tasks and get them done.  I'm good at prioritizing and ticking things off a check list.  I can jump from activity to activity without losing track of what I'm doing.  So, I'm OK in times like these when I have to jump from a conference call, to feeding/soothing a crying baby, to someone knocking at the door because they're here to start the power washing and want a run down on what is needed for the paint job to begin, and then back to feeding/soothing the baby while simultaneously checking and responding to email, to my employee dropping by to have our weekly check-in meeting, returning again with feeding/soothing the baby, back to work and drafting action alerts on our budget play and emailing staffers in the legislature, and then paying bills and juggling the books to deal with the massive amount of money we are spending to get our beloved house ready to sell....

That is my typical day lately.  And those tasks are the easy parts of my day. The hard parts are when I look at the clock and realize it is 3:26 PM and then checked the schedule on the wall and remember that Kai finishes KidzArt at 3:20 and is now waiting to be picked up.  Crap.  Why did I not extend her time in  Adventure Time?  Picking her up in the middle of the day is really making it hard to get all the rest of this stuff done.  As soon as I pick her up, she starts complaining about how she is not in Adventure Time anymore.  It turns out, we both loved her afterschool activities going until 6 PM. 

I had this notion of being on maternity leave and getting to spend extra quality time with Kailey, especially given that it has been a bit of a rough year for her.  I wanted to take her to the library and park after school and just hang out with her a bit more.

But, of course, I also knew that we'd be moving -- and not just moving, but getting this house ready to sell in a very compressed period of time, figuring out her summer schedule, researching schools and neighborhoods in Sacramento, keeping up with my work some (I didn't really anticipate the degree to which I would still be working...unfortunately, the individuals I hired to fill in for me while I'm on leave are not really working out), managing real estate agents, and dealing with the stress caused by a list that has caused this sentence to go on for an entire paragraph!

That is to say, I have no idea why I thought Kailey and I would have any quality time during this period.  And, I don't know what compelled me to cancel most of her after school activities -- so now she is home between 2:15 - 3:30 most of the week.  She still has Spanish School twice a week, but it requires me to go pick her up, entertain her for an hour, take her to Spanish School and then pick her up again 2 hours later.  So -- the Spanish School days are not exactly conducive to getting things done beyond the 2 o'clock hour.

Instead of the extra time together resulting in some quality bonding time, it's just tested my patience.  I'm never done with the list of things I need to get to when the Kailey pick up time rolls around.  That's not her fault.  But, it irritates me and then I get her home and try to go back to what I was doing before, which she isn't very interested in, and everything falls apart.  I start snapping at her and bribing her to stay quiet.  She wants her needs met -- she's hungry, she wants help with homework, she wants to cuddle with Alden or me, or she wants to play a game.... all reasonable requests.  But, they all involve me.  Which means not doing the rest of my calls (why do I set up a conference calls for the late afternoon?) or finishing the bills or scheduling my other meetings.  It's not fair to her, and it makes me feel terrible for alternately snapping at her and ignoring her.

And, to her credit, she's been really good about playing by herself in her room for long periods or doing her homework by herself.  We haven't resorted to endless videos (although, we've certainly watched some).  But, she's six, and she isn't going to just entertain herself endlessly.  And, it's not fair for me to be upset about that.

That, and, none of us really wants to move.  So, we're all dealing with the emotions of a move that takes us from a house we love.  I haven't had the bandwidth to really help her process her own emotions about moving away -- and, I feel terrible about that.

I am really looking forward to getting through June.  Hopefully, by the end of June, we'll have sold this house, be settled in our temporary home in Sacramento, be done with the school year, have a fun summer camp for Kai, be done with a lot of my work (budget activities wrap up mid-June), and be starting to have fun again.  Kai and Alden are both dealing with the chaos much better than their parents -- but, I want to have some real time with both of them this summer, away from all the stress. 

Hopefully we'll get there.  Fingers crossed. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The last 5 weeks

Alden is already 5 weeks old.  The day Kai turned 5 weeks old was the day she came home from the NICU.  It's been a very different 5 weeks this time around.  Stressful in it's own way, since we are trying to sell our house, research homes and schools in Sacramento, and stay on top of our jobs.  But, none of that compares to the stress of the NICU. 

Alden has been a very laid back baby so far, enduring multiple car trips to Sacramento, being put in and out of the carseat and carrier as we look at schools and homes, dealing well with the hot weather in Sacramento, and generally just being a very mellow little guy.  He has had some tummy troubles -- so there have been moments of uncontrollable crying.  But, luckily, these incidents tend to pass pretty quickly.

Kailey continues to be completely taken with Alden.  She comes into our room every morning so excited to see him and to cuddle with him.  She tries her best to calm him when he is crying.  She is a very attentive big sister. 

The babymoon is definitely over, though.  We no longer have the luxury of relaxing and getting to just cuddle with Alden (not that Eric ever had that luxury -- he's been going full steam for months now) . It was nice to have a bit of down time with him at the beginning -- now, I feel like I just rush from one thing to another with baby in tow.  As I said, we're so lucky that he seems to be a very mellow baby and has been willing to just roll with the chaos.

Yesterday, for example, was fairly typical for all that is going on.  The day consisted of responding to several urgent work emails, helping Eric research installation of metal lath for stucco, 4 loads of laundry (which included all the sheets on the beds... I hate changing the sheets on Kailey's bed.  It's so hard to do that with her castle bed!), grocery shopping with both kids, a playdate with two of Kailey's friends (not sure why the adults have to go to the playdates... it would be awesome if I could just drop her off, but it seems that the expectation is that the mommies get to talk while the kids play.  It's really just a giant time suck.  But, Kai is dealing with a lot these days with all the talk of moving and a new baby in the house -- so, it's important that she gets time out of school to play with her friends and goof off), making banana muffins with Kailey, and - of course - feeding a baby every other hour.  Meanwhile, Eric was doing construction from the wee hours of the day until 10 PM at night trying to get everything ready for our next inspection. 

It's been tough.  Kailey frequently laments that, "it's not a Kailey day!" Although, last night when we were cuddling at bedtime she said, "lots of the day was boring, but we still had some really fun parts of the day, too."  That's as much as I can hope for at the moment. 

We did manage to carve out time for a family dinner out on my birthday.  Kai insisted that we each get dressed up.  She wore her fanciest dress and told Eric he had to wear a tie and jacket.  She went through my closet and picked out the fanciest dress she could find, selecting my black cocktail dress and scolding me for not having anything long (luckily, she doesn't know about my two long gowns hanging I the back of the closet... I'll have to show her those someday.  They don't exactly fit anymore!)  She also picked out an outfit for Alden, and was the most disappointed in his selection of clothing.  It was fun to get all dressed up and go out, especially because Kai was so excited about it.  And, it prompted us to actually take a family photo -- we don't get many of those. 

Hopefully we can keep this up -- lots of work punctuated with moments of fun and family time.  One of these days things will be settled down again.