Monday, July 8, 2019

Ordinary Milestones and Unexciting Revelations

I don't want to jinx us, but I think we've gotten into the rhythm of life with baby without too many missteps. Basically, this depends on Baby G being willing to chill in her car seat, nurse efficiently, and sleep for a couple long-ish stretches at night. Since she's been cooperative on that front, everything else (camps, swims, park playdates, ninja and gymnastic class) has fallen into place.

Of course, we were seventeen minutes later leaving the house than I wanted to be this morning, putting us ten minutes late for art camp, but that was not Baby G's fault! Coco was dragging and I was getting so frustrated with her. Finally I realized that she was nervous about a new camp and that was making her dawdle and change her clothes and refuse to put shoes on, etc.

I will say that I do feel the stretch of attention divided three ways. I'm glad the girls are old enough to be helpful (and really they are SUPER helpful with the babe) and understanding, but I also feel bad about how often I respond to their requests with "In a minute, after I feed/change the baby." But they are really great about it, and still very thrilled to be big sisters to a baby. Zuzu is counting down the days until I trust her to carry the baby (ummm... never?). I'm telling her that we'll reevaluate when G can hold her head steady.

Another shift this summer has been that Zuzu and Coco are really old enough for drop off play dates. Zuzu has gone over to friends houses and had friends over here, and Coco's bestie's mom is also home in the summers, so we've done play dates and park meet-ups that have worked really well. My friend Angie is also home a lot with her kids, and my brother's wife's brother's wife (haha but seriously) has recently moved here, so meeting up and having some adult conversation (in between chasing toddlers and feeding babies and trying to keep an eye on the bigger kids) has been a lifesaver.

Poor Zuzu was sick on her actual birthday, so we had to postpone her party. It's this Saturday and the loose theme is ninja obstacle course meets sno-cone party with confetti cupcakes. Sounds fun, right?

David has spent this summer transforming the backyard into his own childhood backyard fantasy. In addition to two swing sets (the one we had and the one the previous owners left), the sandbox, the playhouse, and the zip line, he's added a rope ladder, and a slack tightrope. He's adding a few more obstacles (tunnels and hurdles) for the party.

We finally got Zuzu riding on two wheels! We knew she was more than ready, but for some reason our fearless girl was pretty freaked out about bike riding. (Maybe because she's such a wuss about scraped knees?). Anyway, we didn't get out on bikes much last summer, mostly because we have to go somewhere to ride because our house is on a huge hill and the nearby neighborhood has no sidewalks and quite a bit of traffic, plus it's pretty hilly, too. We spent about 45 minutes in a flat parking lot down the street and she totally took off! She was so proud of herself. I was excited for her, but I still felt the pressure of tears as she pedaled away from me at top speed, ribbon streamers waving from the handle bars. My baby! Wasn't I just carrying her in a pumpkin seat?

Baby G has a portable fan we drag around so she spends a good deal of time snoozing in the shade with her own personal air flow keeping her cool and comfy. She went ahead and turned 2 MONTHS OLD on July 5 and I love that she's started smiling for real and I can't get enough of this little dimple she's got.

Meanwhile, Coco watched Zuzu take off on her bike and wanted her training wheels removed, too. She hasn't quite mastered the two wheel bike--she goes for a stretch, then wobbles and veers into the grass before crashing. But she's really close. And if we hadn't been operating in roiling humidity, she probably would have had the energy to keep at it last time. As it is, we've had two sessions of less than an hour each, and I'm so impressed at how quickly both of them have caught on!

The rest of our summer is looking busy... the girls have art camp this week, next week we'll visit my parents, the following weekend we go to a family reunion. And then it's August and Coco's birthday. And then school starts! I'm not teaching in the fall, so I'll mostly be home with Baby G, with some days on campus doing administrative stuff and overseeing senior thesis projects. Plus job hunting, or figuring out what next fall will look like for me.

Full disclosure: I am still vacillating between being in a completely freaked out cold sweat about what comes next, feeling super sad that this chapter is over, and feeling cautiously optimistic that I'll find something else. Of course the negative feelings overwhelm me in the middle of the night when I can't get back to sleep after nursing. I really struggle with the whole closed door / open window philosophy, but I'm working on it. I will totally embrace some woo-woo stuff (looking at you, pink Himalayan salt lamp!), so I have been keeping a gratitude journal in which I list at least three things each night that I'm grateful for, and I've started doing a list of daily affirmations where you write down things you want to happen as though they already have happened. We'll see if I can visualize my way to a good place by 2020!

(Side note: that makes me think of that meme that reads something like "Maybe it was your vision board, maybe it was your white privilege.")

Another revelation I've had this summer? Shopping at Aldi. YOU GUYS. It's so inexpensive. I'm getting ALL our groceries for the week and spending $100 or less. We occasionally have to pick up groceries elsewhere--we buy Cheerios in bulk at Sam's and can't give up our fresh ground peanut butter from Fresh Thyme, but shopping at Aldi has been a game changer and I find it very satisfying.

I've been thinking about my old novel a lot and decided to do some rewriting. I'm struggling a little bit with pacing. So I decided to get proactive and join a writer's circle on Facebook. That means next month I'll start meeting up with TOTAL STRANGERS and having them read my work and give me feedback. Just typing that is enough to make me feel like barfing, but it feels like a necessary step if I want to keep working on this thing.

Zuzu told me the other day that the days were short but the years were long, which cracked me up because that probably is how it feels to her, but of course parents of young kids are used to hearing the opposite (the days are long, but the years are short). I'm feeling both the rush of time and the endlessness of summer afternoons that are filled only with whining, fighting, and demands for snacks. Mostly I'm just trying to be present while also not feeling guilty if I need to escape into my phone for a little while.

And that pretty much sums up summer so far!


  1. After all you've done for me, I feel I've failed you. How can you just be getting on the Aldi train?! Our life group leader asked the other day what brand, team, celeb, etc. we were passionate about and I quickly replied, "Aldi!" I had an Aldi keychain that kept my quarter until I lost them last month! It's life changing! I'll try not to overload you with tips and memes, but no promises!

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