Monday, July 06, 2009

It Only Takes a Week

I always maintain that vacation with small children needs to be longer than a week. I know that's not possible for everyone, or even most, but thankfully the last few years of our school schedule have afforded us this luxury. I really feel like it takes a while to settle in to your new surroundings enough so that ANYONE has a good time.

That said, we've been here a week and we've hit our stride.

Jamie has come up with pithy statements (his description) to help me get through the long, consecutive string of nights where he is absent. This week it's five night, next week only three. Here's his advice, "Rely on the reliable."

He conjured this one up while I was coming to pieces last night trying to deal with all three on my own. It's a perfect storm of issues that makes nighttime difficult:

It's light out until past 10.
Every entertainment device is within Gianna's reach and button-pushing capabilities.
The cable doesn't work.
The computer, which has access to streaming Netflix videos, has way too many tempting buttons.
The baby is confused.
The mother is confused.
The confused mother starts to think about all her pillows at home.
The middle child starts, literally and figuratively, pushing buttons.
The oldest child screams and scratches the middle child.
We are in a small apartment and I am overly sensitive to bothering the neighbors.
Someone nearby has a baby that I can hear cry through our windown and I'm always walking our creaky hallways to go back a check the status of my baby.
Ad nauseum.

So, "Rely on the reliable." Surprisingly this makes sense. This means that I take the children out every night after Jamie leaves. We go to the park. We stay out way past our Phoenix bedtimes or even our Phoenix be-at-home times. I get myself a drink at a coffee shop. I bring cookies and hand them out to the girls. We go home and take baths. We make sure Gianna is good and tired out, stick a Nuk in her mouth, put on a video for Stella and go lay down with Gianna.

One kid down.

The baby gets nursed and wrapped really tight and put in her little bed. Usually she lays back there and grunts and squirms for about forty-five minutes before she goes to sleep.

Two kids down.

Stella's video is over and she brushes those teeth and hops into bed sans pajamas (because it's been that hot here) and her and I go to sleep.

Three kids down.

Confused mother is down.

It's a little dance that I'm perfecting. And all last week it caused me major stress. Now I have embraced it and I'm no longer dreading Jamie's departure.

It's like a friend of mine said to me after I told her that recuperating from a c-section is nothing compared to mastitis with a three week old:
That which doesn't kill us makes everything else bearable in comparison.

That is to say that all my adjustment here prepared me for the public transit kerfuffle I experienced today with all three kids, a double stroller and little ol' me. That's a story for another day, though.


Stacy Barrett said...

I love that you are logging all the in's and out's of the Portland summer. Wish I was there with you ... no pj's at night sounds positively bearable compared to melting into a big 'ol puddle after doing nothing more than having the gall to check the mail in the middle of the day.

jmgb said...

impressed i am~ makes me wonder what's reliable right now in my own life...the coffee pot; the book; the silence of morning; the neediness of pets...god. love to you.