This morning at work, feeling good about the long weekend with the kids, the fun at Thanksgiving and how much I like my new cooking and running habits and enjoying a coffee break when I damn well felt like it, I thought, This is good, I like my life.
This afternoon at home, already exhausted by the early day and the hour and ten minutes of driving and picking up, with hours and hours of work ahead of me and no chance to sit down or even pour myself something to drink, I thought, This sucks, I hate my life.
Clearly, balance still escapes me.
I ran into Kristi today while picking up Gabriel. Like me, she was about to pick up her kindergartner, drive home and walk in the door alone with three tired hungry young children and start everyone's dinner. Unlike me, she was very relaxed and undaunted by this upcoming maelstrom. How does she do that? Partly, she doesn't have a 13-month-old who can demand that you drop everything at any moment for a rescue or a stinky diaper (though twins make up for a lot). Partly, she has this idyllic schedule that means she never has to do this two days in a row. Partly, she and the fam just returned from a fabulous trip to Disneyworld, and even she and her husband had a great time (now that's saying a lot!). Partly, she's been doing this a long time and has it all figured out. Mostly, she's the sort of person who takes things in stride and deals with them.
I keep telling myself that it's a conspiracy of numerous factors that forms a perfect storm, and that just one or two of those factors neutralized will make a huge difference. The distance to Melissa's is one problem. The distance to work is another problem. Having to carry Katrina and negotiate all the doors and child-safety gates and stairs and gathering things while picking up the boys is another problem. The ultra-early morning makes me sleepy all day.
Moving Katrina to Tonya's, working from home some days, Katrina walking, and getting better established at work so I can work more independently will address a lot of those problems. But I'm not making any changes yet; I've committed to sticking this out until the new year, and then I'll re-evaluate. So it can only get better.
Katrina was exuberant today when I picked her up at Melissa's, despite a chapped face from all the nose-wiping. I had a pang of sadness when she crawled joyfully away from me to Melissa to play, which was quickly wiped out by the memory of Gabriel often crawling around crying when I picked him up from daycare when he was a baby. This is much, much better.
Tonight after dinner I sat and played with Katrina for a while, which mostly revolves around books. Either she's pointing to pictures in one, shoving one in my face, spying one and crawling energetically toward it while giggling, or finding yet another one.
More and more she's practicing standing, and we keep catching her standing up for a second or so at a time, until she realizes it and then plops onto her bottom. I'm not about to get optimistic about impending walking though, since her wily older brother did the same exact thing at this age, finally standing on his own on his 14-month-birthday. So far, for physical milestones, her brothers have pretty much trumped her.
Gabriel was as perfect as little boys get tonight, coming home and working on his Cultural Poster for school, and being funny and sincere and interesting to talk to.
Julian, incredibly, was also sweet and chatty and asking cute questions and saying cute things, then he happily volunteered to set the table. Which he did quickly and completely, far better than Gabriel ever does!
Katrina was a handful while I made dinner, but she was adorable and fun afterward in her neverending quest for More Books. She's also trying to put her "shoes" on now, and her little motormouth just about never stops yabbering and making inquisitive sounds.
I may hate my life, but I sure do love my children.
p.s. a little addendum to yesterday: some video of Gabriel and Julian at the BMX park. I'm so proud of them!