Life, Sleep, and the Lack Thereof! (Catching Up!)

This is about the 7th nap failure in the past 3 days, so I’m sitting here typing on my phone while rocking the baby, who’s “nursing” in her sleep, the only way , evidently, that she will sleep these days.

But today is Sunday, and Tom is grading papers in his workshop while Lucy builds nests on the driveway (piles of leaves, branches, berries, acorns, etc) and Lena naps. On a weekday, I would have to take the crying baby, who’s woken up the second I lay her in her crib, and make sure that the toddlers aren’t getting into any mischief. I’m fairly desperate to have this baby sleep, hoping to catch her up on a really bad sleep deficit, so  I’m taking advantage of the second parent being around and letting her nap in my arms.

(Yeah, sleep regressions are terrible but I’ve come to expect them with each child and try to take the long view that she’ll soon be a normal, sleeping, older baby. And frankly when compared to the rest of the horrifying political/social/etc. events going on in the outside world, I’ll take it).

At any rate, Maeve is growing like a weed, crawling on actual hands-and-knees, and pulling up to stand, often one-handed, any chance she can. SLOW DOWN, baby, slowwww down. She has two bottom teeth and there are two more about to pop on either side [and the baby sleep experts try to tell me that teething doesn’t affect sleep….rolling eyes emoji forever]. She’s pretty fat, wearing 9-month and a lot of 12-month clothes,  waves, and of course says “Da-Da” all the livelong day. But, to be clear, only Mama will do, all the livelong day (and night).

As for the rest of us, the past six weeks have been full to bursting. Tom’s school load and schedule are the worst in September and most of October so he’s been pulling crazy long days. And then doing stuff like this on his “days off”:

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His parents came out to visit for a fun-filled and week at the beginning of the month; it was their first visit since Lucy was 2 months, and the first time the older two had seen them since Christmas 2014. Tom and his Dad did a TON of house/fixer-upper projects, not least of which is that really, really lovely light fixture in our dining room. Love it so much. Also got a new, functioning, front doorknob and a handrail going up the stairs!

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I failed epically at getting good pictures with the grandparents! But they loved walking to the park with Grandma and Grandpa!

And in the midst of the busy-ness and to-dos, we’ve been trying move onward and upwards from survival mode to thriving, to maximize our efficiency, winnow out time-sinks and bad habits and anything that isn’t enriching our lives, really. We’ve reorganized all the closets in the house, made the nursery into an actual nursery for Maeve, gotten rid of a lot of toys and baby clothes, and even my entire dresser (I can fit my wardrobe in the closet either hanging from hangers or in two sets of these shelves bolted into my closet, with a bit of overflow in my nightstand drawers).  I’ve been trying to figure out better rhythms for our days at home, what kinds of activities will both keep Lucy busy and yet not destroy our house if I need to leave her alone to try to get Maeve to sleep for the billionth time.

What I’ve been realizing increasingly over the past few weeks is that this task of mothering and running the household takes immense self-discipline on my part (yes, sheer genius, I know!). I’m the arbiter of the daily schedule, my mood sets the tone for our day, for better or for worse. If I give in to laziness or dawdling or multiple distractions, the kids act out. The baby’s nap gets ruined (ok, she also ruins it all on her own lots of the time too). The house still has massive piles of clutter and dirty floors. Every day is a struggle to determine the right balance between making our house a clean, happy place, and not stressing if the kids’ needs literally leave no time for me to shower, let alone clean the bathroom. Between industry and rest, between working on habit formation and just enjoying the littleness of the children.

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There are little things I can do to make very quotidian tasks easier and even somewhat enjoyable: pre-sort the laundry (and teach the toddlers to separate their darks and lights), insist on all the toys or previous activity to be completely put away before moving on, bake with the older girls just for fun. And then little things that make me happy and also make more sense economically and health-wise; I’ve finally started making our yogurt, since we plow through it each week, and it’s beyond easy and foolproof.  I spent a good deal of time researching ways to improve my sourdough bread baking so that I could make our bread again, without getting frustrated. Yes, they take a little more forethought in my already busy life, but they’re things I’ve decided are worth it, and worth prioritizing over others, (such as dusting more often) because for me, the process is rejuvenating and enjoyable AND the results are delicious and give something tangible for my family to enjoy.

We are all looking forward to enjoying as much of this amazing fall weather as we can, spending tons of time outdoors without getting eaten alive or sweating to death. It’s a glorious season, and it’s really amazing to have these sweet, innocent children who just enjoy things so freely, with no concept of how utterly crazy things are in the world right now. They’re the perfect antidote, really, and they teach me a lot about living in the present moment. Sleeplessness and all, we’re a lucky bunch!

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