For once, I am at a loss for words. I’m inching towards 40 and my mind is racing. How did that happen! Wasn’t I just….nope that was TWENTY years ago. One day thirty nine will still be young but for this moment…coming to terms with this new season is somewhat startling. So I wanted to reflect.
We welcomed baby Lotte to the family this last year and started the new chapter of no more babies. We’re still driving home from school singing of mangos, the color red and things that are down by the bay. This moment is just the best.
Sweetpea probably warrants a new blog name. She is growing in her confidence and abilities. She’s responsible, independent, smart but I worry has too much responsibility. Watching her grow is a beautiful thing.
Elle is determined to be ready for Kindergarten. She’s nervous about going but is so going to crush it. She still is as determined as ever. She sets herself a goal and it happens.
Gretchen is a powerhouse. No longer the baby of the family, she DESPRETELY wants to go to kindergarten with Elle. “Look Mom I know my alphabet.” (Draws an “M”).
Lotte is this sweet sweet easy going baby. She smiles, tries to crawl, and is generally just happy.
Scene setter: senior management teleconference with 15 people discussing my project.
Meeting preparation: After three other calls that morning, the kids were getting angst-y, angry and feeling generally cooped up. We went outside and rode bikes for 20 minutes; I set them up with breakfast and the “Just Dance” video game. Should buy me 20 (?) minutes?
How the Call went: Otherwise on mute, I made small interjections and made one comment about communication.
What really happened in that hour:
Just Dance: 5 minutes into said call, Gretchen LOST her mind because she wanted the blue controller and Sweetpea needed it as it was the controlling—controller. At this point locked doors are pointless. Everyone knows to get a butter knife and unlock the door (even the toddler safety door handle thing fails me…everyone can take them off). So I ran out of my “office” with laptop in hand in hopes of hearing something that was said…Informed Sweetpea to give Gretchen the blue controller.
Competing Zoom Session: At this point, Sweetpea can log into her own Zoom sessions. However, today her session immediately went south as she couldn’t find her black marker. And by south — I mean she was in tears and distraught. With tears welling in her eyes, I asked her teacher if Sweetpea could use a dark blue marker instead…yes this was fine. Crisis averted.
People Deprived Kids: Both Elle and Gretchen are dying for people. Sweetpea seems genuinely okay 90% of the time. After resolving the marker, I returned to being able to listen. Maybe 5 more minutes and I could hear Sweetpea losing her mind and Gretchen yelling about how she couldn’t see. G had positioned herself in front of Sweetpea so she could see all the people on Zoom. Ellie was happily coloring like the kids on the Zoom session and feeling included from what I could see. I grabbed Gretchen and brought her to my “office” (which in this case was Gretchen’s room to be farthest from noise).
MarcoPolo: With Gretchen in my “office” I could hear nothing of what a senior manager was saying. I guessed the general question based off of what my boss said. I so should have been the one to talk but literally would have come from left field. I was sad. I’m new to this work group and speaking up is important. But nope. Not going to happen as G was still screaming angrily. I asked G…Would you like to call Aunt M? Instant yes. I opened the Marco Polo app and G listened to pre-recorded videos from Aunt M and 2 yr old cousin K. G ran off.
Moment of Quiet: Grateful that Sweetpea’s zoom session was going well, Ellie happily coloring, and Gretchen was “talking” to Aunt M…I was able to make one statement during the entirety of the pivotal meeting. Sadness.
So yes at the end of my call I put on a bright and happy pink-red lipstick. I will pretend to be put together.
I’m trying all the tricks. We’re getting tired said tricks. I should take the second linked article to heart. Elle really needs a schedule as much as I do. Someone reminded me recently that this is the season for tablets and TV. I really needed to hear that. We’re just trying to survive over here. Maybe one day I will get to thriving but for now it’s definitely not that.
Safe at home they say. Yes. We are safe at home. There is so much to be just thankful. I am able to work. We are healthy…There is also a lot to laugh at right now. So let’s just recall some of my favorite memories so far…
Video Conference with my Boss and her Team Lead
There I was during my early morning video conference with my boss and her team lead. “Work, work, work, work” # Productive # HappinessAndJoy. 20-ish minutes in…all three kids tumbled sleepily into my office in some semblance of clothing (thank goodness). Our people-deprived children were SO excited. Simultaneously all three people started crawling over me and gawked at my boss while I was trying my best to maintain some semblance of conversation. At some point, Ellie climbed behind my laptop onto my desk and put her hair was in front of the camera. In a move of desperation, I sent them to the other room to watch a SHOW. A weekend only activity. My boss continued as if nothing happened. My brain was m.e.l.t.i.n.g. I am so thankful to have a boss who has had children.
Working/Experiments During Nap
Ellie has dutifully given up nap time — as one does during quarantine-times. While G naps, I feverishly knock out as much work as possible. This work period often becomes a work versus risk evaluation. For instance, who would be overly worried about a four yr old washing the dishes. Sure I’ll need to re-wash the kitchen, the floor, the dishes, the walls…but that’s on the menu anyway. I’ll buy 20 minutes of un-interrupted work…
Fast forward to today…I was prepping dinner. Peels of laughter tipped me off that something might be awry. Dear Gretchen, I always wanted pink sprinkles glued to the floor. All of which thankfully cleaned up fairly easily. # ItHappenedSoFast # WhoLeftSprinklesOut
Note to the Not So Fun-ness
I am hoping the difficulty is in my head. That it’s me who is silently melting on a daily basis as I feel so far less productive. Work is usually my re-charge time. My time for me, for adult thought, for creative space. Sharing this space has truly been a challenge. I get many spouses stay home. That is an incredibly hard job. For me, work provides a welcomed balance. Right now, there is no balance. The end of my work day is a battle between InstaAnger and Patience. How did every. single. toy. get thrown on the floor.
Major credit is due to George for not questioning the daily house explosions. He comes home and silently picks up while turning on the “robot clean up song” to inspire assistance from the crew. SO MUCH THANK YOU.
Happiness and Joy
I could couch this time as rainbows and butterflies but the truth is it’s been hard. How do I balance my work expectations with three little people who need…need…need. I’m incredibly grateful for this time for relationship building, for quiet moments but it’s been a struggle. I’m so appreciative that Sweetpea can do her own school work and needs limited assistance — as I was so sweetly reminded today.
It hasn’t been all doom and gloom. It’s been REALLY hard but we’ve tried to add in special moments. We celebrated Aunt S, Grandma, and Grandad’s birthdays by singing Happy Birthday heartily while eating pie or pop tarts.
Sweetpea is learning to roller skate, Ellie is trying to ride a two wheel bike and Gretchen…potty train (sometimes).
I was told in no too uncertain words that Easter was the best day EVER. “I eat bunny hop” – Gretchen referring to her chocolate bunny.