The Tiniest Capen, Uncategorized, working mother

9000 eternities

Time asleep before I was awoken: 4 hours? Maybe 5?

Time spent calmly talking about how it is nighttime and it is time for sleeping to a balls-to-the-wall hysterically screaming toddler who wanted daddy, a show, to sleep on the couch, Maggie, Daddy, and also another show: 45 minutes? An hour? An eternity? 57 eternities?

Time spent observing same toddler as she eats a bag of popcorn while staring off into space like a zombie: half an eternity. 

Time spent adjusting the zombie toddler’s sleeping arrangements to her satisfaction: 2 eternities. 

Time spent trying to remain calm and comfortable at the toddler’s bedside while she busily tries to stay awake in the face of zombie-level exhaustion: 7 eternities. 

Time at which I finally was horizontal on a soft surface in a silent house: 4 am. 

Two nights running. I can do hard things. I do hard things every day. So let’s do this hard thing. Thursday, watch the fuck out. I have eternities of practice patiently waiting out crazy. 

gratitudejournal, insert emoticon here

Justin has Lyme Disease. (We believe; his doctor does, too, and there’s lots of circumstantial evidence like 3 other people testing positive from the same camping trip, but his test came back negative.) That means that for the last two weeks he’s felt absolutely awful. Exhausted, in pain, feverish, and generally sad and frustrated.

As a side effect, I keep wondering in the dark of night if I also have Lyme Disease. Or maybe mono (which has also been diagnosed in one of our Pennsic companions). Or cancer. Or a heart problem. (I LOVE my late-night anxiety.) Because I’m just tired. So tired. Tired from working, from parenting (Gwyneth is flatly opposed to daycare this year), from taking care of my sick husband, from having my household transition (Maggie went back to college, Zara moved in for the semester), from having my work transition (students are back!), from my own pain issues (bad shoulder times). Just tired. I took a sick day yesterday to take care of Gwyneth so Justin could rest, and I ended up taking two naps — one unplanned for an hour because G wanted to snuggle in the morning, and then in the afternoon while she slept. Both times she got up, and I didn’t even notice. Apparently the second nap she came and told me she was awake and I should wake up and I have absolutely zero recollection of that. I slept straight on through. So my exhaustion means I wonder if I’m silently dying. Thanks, brain.

But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Last night Justin didn’t have much more energy, but he seemed like himself again. He was laughing. And making sweet jokes. And just… he was there. He was present. He was more than a sad, sick man. He was my partner. My Justin. This morning while I was at the chiropractor he got Gwyneth dressed for school, tortured her with a hairbrush for a while (let’s discuss toddlers and curls, shall we? NO. Let’s not.), and fed her breakfast. And I came home to a kid who was ready for daycare, and a husband who was smiling at me. He still feels like shit, but he’s back.

And just in time; today’s our wedding anniversary. We’ve been married for three years, now. I was 4 months pregnant when we got married, though we’d decided to get married well before Gwyn was conceived. Justin was the most patient partner I could have asked for during my deeply neurotic bouts of worry and concern and perfectionism while I was pregnant, and during my postpartum phase where I was even more uneven. He is an amazing father, and this life is what I wanted. And I have it.

There were the years before we got married, too, though. Those matter, too. We met in 2003, shared a circle of friends for years. We got together romantically in 2009, after the dissolution of our previous relationships. We were both pretty fragile, deeply frustrated, and uncertain about where we were going, at that point — lots of “anywhere but here” in our lives. But there was a whole lot of chemistry, and a whole lot of convergence of values and dreams and goals. We built this relationship on those three pillars, and we’re still building.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this. It’s our wedding anniversary, but the three years since we got married are just a small part of who we are and what we mean to each other. It’s a marker to celebrate, though, and it represents the entirety of who we are to each other. And I can’t express clearly enough how glad I am to see my Justin emerge from his illness. I missed him. He’s crucial to my well-being. Just being with him and knowing he’s there makes me feel less tired, and less anxious. And that… well. I couldn’t ask for more.

I love you.

#mightyifitkillsme, misc, The Tiniest Capen

Today I…
  • Worked for 6 hours, then left to run errands which I aborted when I got home in the middle of a rainstorm, opting to be useful at home instead. 
  • Did 80% of the needed toy cleanup in G’s room, including all Mystery Piles and Under The Bed. 
  • Played Horse Ride with G with her castle toys, which I expanded to Moose Ride and Bear Ride because I could. 
  • When G asked, I set up painting for her. 
  • Cleaned paint off G and washed brushes with her. 
  • Sorted the pile of mail on the table. 
  • Made dinner for G. (And by “made” I mean “microwaved some chicken, corn, and tater tots. But she’s two. She was thrilled. She ate it all.)
  • Made myself a sandwich. 
  • Washed the few dishes we’d dirtied.
  • Started a load of towels and folded a small load of laundry. 
  • Folded a big load of G laundry, integrated it with the big load Maggie had folded, and put 75% of it away. Because i was interrupted and then I …
  • Diapered and jammied a sleeping kid, because Captain I Don’t Need A Nap passed out at 7, dead to the world, on the couch. 
  • Put a pork roast in the crock pot so it will be pulled pork before morning, for taking to Camp. 
  • Started packing food for camp, and clothes for the family. 

So now I should go work out, but I’m super tempted to just play CivV. I mean, that was a lot of functional adult behavior, right there… I might be done. 

Or maybe I’ll do both. 

insert emoticon here, working mother

Hey, world. PSA for those looking for me this week, and wondering about radio silence.
 
Saturday I spend the day doing laundry, packing, and playing with my kiddo as much as possible. Saturday night I head to Montreal, and Sunday morning we fly to Santa Clara, Cuba, then we drive to Cienfuegos. I’ll be there for a week — coming home next Sunday. I don’t expect to have much useful internet access for most of that week.
 
I’m really, really excited.
 
I really don’t want to leave my daughter.
 
More from the other side.
The Tiniest Capen, working mother

Gwyneth started talking last week. I mean, she’s been talking — communicating verbally — for a year and change. But last week she started speaking English.

This morning Justin made an example of greeting the dog when he wandered out of the bedroom, and Gwyn repeated it perfectly: “Hi, Malcolm!”

And when I came out of the bedroom, dressed for work, she started saying goodbye to me. I told her I was going to get breakfast first, and she said “Mama breakfast first.” When I was done with my sandwich, she asked me if I had my shoes.
“And keys?”
“And a hat? “(No, thank you, mama doesn’t need a hat. Does Gwyn want a hat? “No hat Hen.” Okay then. No hats for anyone.)
“Bye bye mama!” (Then she retrieved my wallet from my purse and handed it to me. “Thank you mama!”)
“A hug?”
“And kiss.”
“Keys?”
“Bye!”

She’s like my own personal imp-powered organizer, a-la Pratchett and Vimes.

#mightyifitkillsme, The Tiniest Capen

I do not love my body right now, but that’s because it’s a reflection of all the things that aren’t really working. I know how to lose the weight I’m carrying, and regain the strength I’ve lost — I just have to choose to do that. And choosing to do it means spending time on different things than I have been spending it on, and that’s hard, and it sucks, and it takes energy that I’m not positive I have and so I live in this body that isn’t who I really want to be because inertia.

But I don’t hate my body. My body does amazing things, and when I want to dress it to look fucking amazing, I do that. I paint my nails and do my hair and makeup because those things make me happy, bring Justin joy, and contribute to the image I’ve crafted of myself for public consumption. And I’m okay with that. I’m equally okay with dirty feet and broken nails because we’ve spent the weekend living under the sky with my toes in the grass, which makes me happy, brings Justin joy, and is a part of who I am.

So you won’t hear me talking about being fat or hating my body unless I’m in a sad, dark, place — and unless I’m way out of my happy place, you’ll never hear me say it when Gwyneth can hear me. Her body is also amazing — strong, healthy, and beautiful for the potential it holds, not the form it takes. She’s going to believe that if it’s the last thing I do on this earth.

Encourage your daughter to run because it makes her feel less stressed. Encourage your daughter to climb mountains because there is nowhere better to explore your spirituality than the peak of the universe. Encourage your daughter to surf, or rock climb, or mountain bike because it scares her and that’s a good thing sometimes.

Help your daughter love soccer or rowing or hockey because sports make her a better leader and a more confident woman. Explain that no matter how old you get, you’ll never stop needing good teamwork. Never make her play a sport she isn’t absolutely in love with.

Prove to your daughter that women don’t need men to move their furniture.

Teach your daughter how to cook kale.

Teach your daughter how to bake chocolate cake made with six sticks of butter.

Pass on your own mom’s recipe for Christmas morning coffee cake. Pass on your love of being outside.

~Sarah Koppelkam

Sitcom life, The Tiniest Capen, working mother

episode 1

Today in my sitcom life, I spend the day walking around parking lots in 90 degree heat because I can’t remember what my mom’s car looks like, carrying what has become a total mom-purse, while looking for the perfect diapers in every store in town and failing to find them.

misc, working mother

Sunday list

Things I want to do today:

  • Work on a consulting project
  • Take a shower
  • Enjoy my kiddo
  • Make breakfast burritos for the freezer
  • Knit
  • Listen to an audiobook
  • Do 3-5 loads of laundry
  • Untangle my jewelry
  • Design a new leather bag
  • Or two
  • Spend some time with Justin

I’m confident I’ll get to the first three… All bets are off as to how far past that we go. 

gratitudejournal, insert emoticon here, working mother

Do not check your email.

Last night I listened as my daughter counted to 10, independently, by picking up 10 strawberries and naming the number as she put them down. Justin and I stared at each other in joyful amazement. What an awesome thing the human brain is. Of course, shortly after that she decided to run to the kitchen naked while getting her diaper changed for bedtime, and she finished her snack of strawberries and pears in the nude… and then peed all over the toddler tower. When it became annoying to her that there was a puddle, she put her feet out at the very edges of the platform and stood around it.  So we’ll get to potty training when she’s damn well good and ready, I think. Because right now she does not give a single fuck, and I have no extra energy to give to things she just does. not. care. about.

On that same theme, I had a fury breakdown at work last week. So mad I got up and left a meeting. Never done that before. But then I came back, and continued the dialogue, and we found common ground, and we agreed to a path forward, and our followup emails agree we did find common ground… it’s a good thing. I stood up and left, and walked the perimeter of my library, breathing and thinking, because I needed to let go of the emotion — release the thing I just do not care about — and find the core of strength that is my determination and confidence to accomplish the things I do care about. There’s a whole lot of negative energy flying around campus these days (the end of the semester is chaos time), and I need to release it from my head.

As part of that release, I went away from the real world this weekend — it was the May Kingdoms of Novitas event — and left my kid with her “brother” and extra parents. KoN is my home away from home. Those people are my family away from my family. That world is my world away from this one. I disconnected, I didn’t check my email, I trusted Gwyn’s happiness to Sam and Suzy, and I just played. I trusted that I can do this. That I am allowed to disconnect. That it’s okay if I don’t work — on housework, at my office, solving all the problems that were ever problems — every day, all day. And I played. LARPing is creative play for adults — and we always say children need play. I say adults need to play, too. And playing doesn’t have to involve drinking or sports with teams and rules… sometimes it can involve improv acting, storytelling, hiking, and hitting other adults with sticks. With rules. And teams. Some of them sort of mafia-like. But I digress.

I played. I hiked 5 miles. I told stories. I practiced my improv skills. I problem solved in a scenario where all problems had resolutions.  I ate a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches and hot dogs. I sat in the sun and laughed. I spent 36 hours with one of my families. I did not check my email. I did not think about whether my daughter talks enough, or when she’ll pee on the potty.

Worth it.

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