Monday, August 15, 2011

Family Time & Time Served

Oh hello. How do you do? I'm back. We're back. It's great to be back. You might be wondering, "Where the hell have they been?"  Maybe you saw the last post and thought, "Oh well - they are settling into their new routine!"

I'd say a little bit of yes, but mostly a healthy heaping of no, not quite.

Side note & disclaimer: This is one of those moments I wish I hadn't shared my URL with family. Sorry people. But I'm going to stay true to what I want for this space, and just be out with it. Also, for the record - this is not meant in any other way but how I actually mean it: with all due respect, a little bit of raw venting and a scoop of sarcasm & snarky personality. You know, aka, my charm. Layman's terms? Don't take it personal. 

Whoever said that having a new baby was tough work, didn't have 3 weeks of family visits back to back. Truth: that was the real adjustment; not the tiny human.

We love that everyone wanted to come. We love that everyone got to spend some seriously good quality time with L and JJ. We love that everyone got to visit the STL. We love a lot of the last 3 weeks, but DANG it's exhausting. Of course everyone wanted to help; hold the baby, help with meals, help with clean up on aisle Guarro. It was great for a lot of reasons. It's also a lot to deal with.

First, it's overwhelming even though no one wants it to be - it just IS. Everyone tries to avoid it, but it's life. We have to figure out meals, things to do, making sure everyone has what they need, turns in the bathroom, where to eat, when to eat, what to eat, just day to day. Add to that our own schedule, hang ups and routines? It's overwhelming.  Everyone is a little different, and having a revolving door of visitors means no down time and just a continued ride through the door. For three weeks we had people arriving, then leaving and later that day arriving.  Exhausting.

Since our move, L has barely gotten back into regular schedule only for it to be thrown up on it's head (again).  Every grandparent believes in different sleep patterns (none of which are in line with ours), nutrition needs (none of which are in line with ours), and discipline expectations (none of which are in line with ours). As a result, home girl was MORE than a wee bit wound at the end of each stay.  The thing is, grandparents aren't supposed to be concerned with these things- it's about the fun - it should be.  It's also usually a day or two, not large blocks of time. Problem with that? After 3 weeks... it's not so much fun for the parents.  L started to take on some habits that might be common for other kids, but not OUR kid.  We're lucky; she's a well behaved kid, makes good decisions and is pretty amazing overall.  Is she perfect? Absolutely not, but regularly misbehaving and talking back? Doesn't happen. After a month of different scheduling? Home girl was acting out, screaming "NO" in our face, stomping around, huffing and puffing, tantruming about dinner or about anything and crying for no reason.  She is a creature of habit and needs structure; without it she's a hott mess.

Second, we (barely) have space for people, but unlike previous homes we do actually have a spare bed and space. I don't know how comfortable it was, but like I said, it is what it is. Where we don't have space? Vehicles. C's car barely has enough room for the immediate family, with the new addition (and car seats). Enter my (poor) car. I have a completely unreasonable car as a mom, and now a mom of two.  (Side note: Shit. I'm a mother of two. When the hell did that happen?) It's what I have and we are going to get a bigger car at some point this year.  It's just been slightly busy lately so you can imagine it hasn't been a priority. With that, we can't go anywhere together (with more than 2 adults and 2 kids), without taking two cars. On the other side of the coin, no one can drive the ball and chain's car, other than me.  If anyone wanted to go anywhere, they had to drive my car. My car, as much as I love it, is older, a convertible and small. It has it's own charm, but it also has things like sensitive steering column and ignition, loud side effects (the convertible top is not electric, so you can hear the wind coming through as you drive), and it turns out it is falling apart.  Every new driver would come home with another report of something going wrong with it.  The glitch? We couldn't do much about it because without the car, the next leg of visitors would be home bound.

Three weeks ago, when I last drove the car, there was ONE tail light out. After three weeks of the revolving door of drivers, as I write this I await hearing from our new mechanic whom I have become close with after days of conversations. I'm learning so much about cars.  I might become certified to fix vehicles during my maternity leave.  After three weeks of not driving, I drove my car the other day to the mechanic to get looked at. Now? My reunion with my car included issues such as, but not limited to: back brakes (totally grinding - metal to metal need replacing), tail light replacement, new headlight, turn signals out and not working, parking break replacement, something about an axle, oil dipstick replaced, and finally a broken glove box.  Doesn't that sound like something Hallmark movies are made of?

Finally, while there isn't much a baby does at this point - what she does effects the rest of the house. Some people think, "never wake a sleeping baby." Those people? Do not include our doctor. We need to make sure she is eating regularly and getting on a regular schedule. This includes waking her up every two hours to make sure she's eating. And oh boy, does she like to eat. Two side effects of these facts? Comments & confusion.

Even our au pair seems to ask pretty regularly, "She's eating, again?"

Yes. YES. She's eating again. Every two hours people. Every.Two.Hours.

Some people, even if they don't mean to, seem to be visibly confused when I'm trying to wake up the baby. Alternately, everyone wants to hold the baby - and doing so, the kid falls asleep which is what we are trying to avoid. Insert me trying to wake up the kid and the cycle continues.

Also (not) fun? Breastfeeding, every two hours, with a house full of people. I've talked about how I'm not a huge fan of public breastfeeding. I don't know what it is, I'm not comfortable. Yes, I believe it's a gift that I can breastfeed. Yes, I believe it's the right of women to do so or not - wherever, however. Yes, I believe it isn't obscene. Yes, I believe it's natural. Yes, I am a total prude and it freaks me out.

With L, I was definitely worse about it. I was covered up more, even in front of the husband. This time around? It's just different. I'm not as freaked out by it, but I certainly am not going to be whipping them out. I still use my cover up - even in the house, with or without family in the house.  That said, having the house full of people and most that are super uncomfortable with it - makes for an even MORE uncomfortable situation. It's like salt on the awkward wound.

At the end of our sentence the month, to say we were ready to spend some time with our new family of four, would be true. To say we raised our fist in the air and may have pumped them with delight saying "Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty, Free.At.Last." May also be true.

Does that mean we love our family any less? Absolutely not. Does that mean we didn't appreciate the time, energy and money it means to visit us? Absolutely not. Does that mean we didn't appreciate the help and added love, hugs, and hands we had around the house? Absolutely not.

It means we love our family, as we hope our girls love us.  For the immediate time being and forever more, we're a family of our own with our own roles to figure out. Currently the role of best damn big sister is being played by L, best damn father, helper & cook is being played by the ball and chain, the cow, cranky B is being played by yours truly and the hungriest, farts like a man, adorable cherub of a baby girl is being played by JJ.

Stay tuned though, the roles are always shifting... I hope sooner rather than later!



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