Filed under: Life
Wednesday, February 17th, 2010 • No Comments on TIme Wise
Now that I have a part-time babysitter for Patrick, I am finding it frustrating trying to figure out how to best utilize the free time I have. And by “free” I mean, baby-free, since I’m very much paying for this time. (And after two months of non-stop, 24/7 baby care with maybe 10 hours away from him total, it is money very much well-spent.) Ideally, I would spend every single minute of my babysitting time writing. But that doesn’t allow for those other things I need to do which are better done without a baby in tow. Errands are so much easier when I can run in and out alone instead of having to heft baby and carseat (or snap baby and carseat into the stroller frame, since baby is now weighing close to 14 pounds and the carseat isn’t light, either). Even when Patrick is sleeping or awake and quiet, it makes for a longer trip that’s harder on my back.
So far, a balance between errands and writing seems to be working out, though I yearn for more time for both. I’d like to squeeze in a little adult social time, too, but that’s secondary to the things that must be done. Today’s five-hour block of babysitting time included picking up prescriptions at Target, a trip to Old Navy and writing. Five hours should be enough time for all of that, but… the wait at the Target pharmacy was 20 minutes. I spent half an hour in Old Navy (I’m in desperate need of some cool-weather clothing, but I seemed to have missed the end-of-season bargains because all that was left was crap) and walked out with two baby outfits and a pair of yoga pants for myself (to inspire me to do Pilates). I then went to Barnes & Noble, figuring a change of writing venue would be nice, but everyone seemed to have the same idea because the bookstore cafe was packed. I gave up on that idea and headed to my usual Starbucks, where I am now. I wrote some e-mail (writing related, mostly), chatted with Jay via Skype and have been writing (and blogging) since noon. I need to leave in ten minutes to be home by 3.
Half of my time today has been spent on writing stuff, the other half on errands and driving time. The driving time is annoying, but that’s life in the suburbs. I could stay home for my five hours and spend the entire time writing, but I already try to squeeze in some writing time at home while Patrick naps and I like being able to leave the house (alone). Plus, I think hearing him fuss or cry would be distracting (and likely send me downstairs to make sure things were okay—not because the babysitter can’t handle it, but because I’d feel bad). I might still spend some days at home—especially close to deadline times—but I don’t want that to be the norm. So, it seems that grouping my errands together might be the best way to maximize my time. Perhaps dedicating one block of babysitting a week to errands would make me less frustrated because I could spend all of my time (less driving time) writing on the other days.
The other problem I need to work through—and I’m trying!—is actually leaving the house when the babysitter arrives. I have been spending 20-30 minutes (45 on Monday) chatting with her and/or finishing getting ready and gathering my stuff. Ideally, I would be ready to walk out the door when she arrived, but that’s not always possible with Patrick’s schedule. This morning, however, there really was no excuse. Patrick was napping and I was packing up my laptop when the babysitter arrived at 10, but I still didn’t walk out the door until 10:25. Oops. I will get better, though.
It’s lovely to have the time to write and run errands and know that Patrick is being well cared for and will be a happy (or napping) baby when I get home. To be honest, it’s still difficult to be away from him and I don’t think having more babysitting hours would make me happier. I would just miss him more. Instead, I just need to make sure I’m making the most of the hours I have.
On that note, I’m out of here and headed home.
Saturday, January 30th, 2010 • 2 Comments on Waiting for Snow
So it seems there is a big winter storm headed in my direction. Every year, we get a couple of these dire winter storm warnings for southeast Virginia and they usually amount to a dusting of snow that melts as soon as the sun peaks out from behind the clouds. But it seems like this time it might be the real deal with a possibility of up to twelve inches of snow. I’ll believe it when I see it, but I love the sense of anticipation of a winter storm. A week ago, I was going a bit stir crazy from being cooped up in the house with a baby and a bug (the sickness bug, not the mutant cockroaches I wrote about last weekend). Now, I’m kind of looking forward to nesting for a few days.
It’s a been a good week, give or take a couple of late nights of baby fussiness. I’ve gotten out of the house every day this week—which didn’t seem possible a month ago. Funny how things change. But Patrick has gotten a little older and is a little more predictable, which makes scheduled outings a little easier. I’ve gotten my coffee fix several times this week, which is lovely. Oh, how I’ve missed my coffee! Between pregnancy, gestational diabetes and a newborn, I haven’t indulged my Starbucks cravings nearly enough in the past six months. (Though I do wonder if Patrick absorbs the caffeine by osmosis while we’re there because his fussy nights seem to coincide with a trip to Starbucks.) Getting my coffee, doing a bit of writing and plotting, seeing some friends, feeling like I’m finding a new routine—it all goes a long way to improving my overall mood.
Patrick is eight weeks old today and weighing in at a whopping 13 pounds. He goes to the pediatrician next Friday for his two month checkup, so I imagine he’ll be weighing a little more by then. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows (those fussy nights are truly exhausting and my back is in a permanent knot), but it’s gotten more manageable. Enough so that when I saw my doctor earlier this week for my postpartum appointment, I mentioned that we might actually consider trying for another baby in the next year. Crazy, huh? Crazier still that my doctor was positively delighted. We’ll see how I feel in a few more months. Two babies under two? I think the sleep deprivation is getting to me.
So here I sit on a Friday night, baby sleeping beside me and snow on the radar. I’m soaking beans to make a hearty bean soup for tomorrow and I’m feeling the urge to bake a pan of my kickass brownies. I got a writing check in the mail today and I got to see Jae and Shannon’s baby girl tonight. There are things I wish were different, a certain melancholy I just can’t shake, but life is good and peaceful and (for the moment) quiet.
Bring on the snow.
Saturday, January 2nd, 2010 • 1 Comment on New Year, New Goals
I’d love to say that I have many ambitious resolutions for 2010. Would love to say it, but I can’t. Right now, my most ambitious goal is to get a few hours sleep in any given day and keep the baby happy, fed and clean while keeping myself sane (and also clean). I guess that is pretty ambitious, huh?
I mentioned a few days ago that I wanted to lose the baby weight, which would have made a good (if cliched) goal for 2010. Turns out, I lost the weight without even noticing. In fact, not only did I lose all of the weight I gained during pregnancy (36 pounds), I’ve lost an additional 6 pounds. My secret is simple: I’m too busy and tired to eat, despite a freezer and pantry full of food. I feed Patrick and then I try to get some things done around the house while he sleeps and figure I’ll eat again before he gets up, but he always wakes sooner than I expect and there goes that meal for the day. (Also, the low-carb diet I was on because of the gestational diabetes made me lose a few pounds during pregnancy, so I already had a good start on losing the baby weight.) Good thing for multivitamins and iron supplements, I suppose. But I do need to make more of an effort to eat so I can keep up (get back) my energy.
thought I’d say I need to make an effort to eat.
Patrick is four weeks old today. In some ways, it seems like he’s always been a part of my life. His little gurgles and coos are so familiar already. And his face—so much like Jay’s—is as comforting as an old friend. In other ways, it feels like he can’t possibly be almost a month old, even though he’s nearly out of most of his newborn clothes already. He is this odd, cute, demanding little stranger I’m still getting to know. 2010 will be a year of discovery for both of us and I look forward to that. There are no resolutions are goals in mind for that—I just want to enjoy the moments as they come. I hope there will be many. (And I hope many of them will be followed by a good night’s sleep.)
As I adjust to motherhood and Patrick begins to sleep longer stretches at night (please, god), I know I will rediscover my lost ambition (buried in the laundry basket, no doubt) and be able to think beyond diapers, bottles and the lack of sleep. I would like to edit another anthology (or two) for Cleis Press this year. I want to explore new markets for my writing, as well. I’d like to write more nonfiction, finish a book, revisit my screenplay ideas, explore new genres. I can’t imagine doing any of that at the moment, but it’s nice to see the words on the screen and feel that little tickle of excitement I get when I think about new writing projects.
I’d like to travel some this year—with and without baby. I missed RWA’s national conference last summer because of the pregnancy, but I’m intending to be there this year, with Jay and Patrick in tow (the conference is in Nashville which is where my in-laws live. Two birds, one stone). I’d like to take Patrick to Chicago to see his Aunt Sheri, as well. I don’t think there will be any international trips, though everyone says it’s easier to travel with a baby than a toddler. We’ll see. Perhaps I’ll go off somewhere without baby and leave him in Jay’s capable hands for a few days. Hard to imagine right now when he’s never more than a few feet from me…
After two semesters away, I need to decide whether I want to get back into teaching in the fall. I enjoy teaching, but it is time consuming and often frustrating. I imagine that time will be at a premium this year and I’ll want to make the most of it. I’m not sure if teaching will fit into that scheme.
On the other hand, I do have daydreams about returning to school. I’m not sure 2010 will be the year for that, but I imagine in the next couple of years I’ll be deciding whether to pursue a PhD. Another one of those time consuming activities, to be sure.
2010 will mark my twentieth wedding anniversary. Crazy! I would like to mark the occasion in some way, whether a party or a trip. Of course, both will include our ten month old baby…
That’s a good start, I think. Who knows what the year will bring, what curve balls will be thrown my way, what miracles will happen to change the future. Goals and resolutions are lovely to have, but sometimes—and maybe this year more than most—it’s enough to just be… and embrace the unknown.