This means that I am responsible for the evening shift with Bee every night. Every night. 8 months pregnant. Every night. Did I mention that I am 8 months pregnant?
Despite the fact that I am doing this every night, and I am 8 months pregnant, things are going ok. Here’s how our evenings now go:
4:30 – 5:00 Bee time. My friend (who is a veteran of evening shifts while pregnant, with a toddler. Poor girl.) made it explicitly clear that there is no peace if there is no one-on-one time when I first arrive home. It’s good advice, though tough to navigate into something I have energy for. Bee wants to watch TV. I think her father gets away with not turning it on all day by telling her that she’ll have to wait until I get home. And then I get home and am greeted not with hugs and kisses, but with, “I watch a show?” Uh, no. Not because I care so so much about the TV being on, but because it becomes so so hard to turn it off. So now we must do something active. Bee always wants to go across the street to the park. I want to have tea parties lying down. We compromise with a Wiggles dance party (gently turning down her pleas to ‘Hop wif me!), sidewalk chalk abstract art extravaganza, bubbles on the back deck or a walk up the street to the library renovation site to marvel at the diggers.
5:00 – 5:45 Attempt to create a healthy dinner. Sometimes this is linguine with homemade leek pesto, grilled chicken and veggies plus a spinach salad. Sometimes this is a frozen pizza. Usually I am somewhere in between: perogies plus leftover roasted chicken and cut up broccoli, tomatoes and cucumbers. Try to make enough for leftovers the next day because the nutritional value of Chris’ lunches is suspect. He likes to put jam on everything.
5:45- 6:30 Dinner. Mmmm. Yummy in Bee’s tummy. She is nothing if not a good eater. I often try to stretch this out as long as possible, because it is something we do sitting down.
6:30 – 7:30 More playtime, structured around my energy level. Sometimes I get a good burst of energy and we do indeed head to the park. Most often we play in the backyard for a while, where filling up the bird feeder and then chasing squirrels away from it lasts until the sun goes down. Sometimes Bee gets a special treat and is allowed to watch Backyardigans and Diego. Bee goes apeshit when we are allowed to do this, yelping about getting a special treat. Bless her little heart. I’m glad she thinks it’s all about her, because little does she know that this is actually my special treat. See? That’s me, dozing on the couch for an hour.
7:30 – 8:00 Filth removal and pajamas. I have mentioned before that Bee is an aquaphobe. She hates being washed. ‘Bath time’ is Bee standing OUTSIDE the bathtub, while I fill a bowl of warm water and soap her up while trying to distract her from the fact that she is indeed being forced to partake in de-griming. She screams, cries and tries to hide behind the toilet, which is only slightly cleaner than my child most of the time. But the big finish – washing her hair – is the real treat. I soap up her smelly little head like I have the rest of her tiny body, and then turn on the showerhead. Then, I pick up my slippery little eel while she thrashes around, and must – without dropping her – get her under the shower to rinse all the soap off. And water can’t get in her eyes or her ears or she screams and cries so much that I am sure my neighbours debate calling the authorities on me. I only go through this torture once a week. Mommy can’t drink right now, so the other nights we are both satisfied with a sponge bath in the kitchen sink.
8:00 Bedtime. I suck at bedtime. Suck, suck, suck at it. I do everything I am supposed to, and it never goes well. Well, it never goes quickly. It can be pleasant, but it never takes less than an hour, and often creeps its way up to two. I’m serious. Bee miraculously sleeps in her own room now. I had nothing to do with this, it was all Chris. This has not helped me at bedtime. I read her 4 stories while she lays in bed, then I turn the lights off and we sing and chat while she strokes my arm, which is very uncomfortable for me, as I am sitting in the rocking chair next to her bed. I can’t get into her bed because there is no room for both of us in it right now. The real problem is that she won’t let me leave. Yes, I am held hostage by my two year old, who gets very upset if I leave before she is asleep. But in order for her to fall asleep, she must be holding onto my arm, which is being contorted and pulled, and the dim light is making me sleepy and I want to lie down so badly, but I totally resist bringing her into our bed just so that I can lie down too. It would be so easy, so wonderful, but I think Chris would kill me. Even flexible, attachment whore me knows that this would be a backward step. So instead I shift, and pull Bee from her just-about-asleep stage and then we start the whole shebang over again. And then finally she is asleep.
Did I mention that this experience is uniquely mine? Chris is back downstairs with Bee happily in dreamland within about ½ an hour. My sister babysat on the weekend and made her way downstairs while Bee was still awake. WTF?
9:30ish – Make my way downstairs, lay on the couch, and fall asleep.
12ish – Chris gets home, scaring the shit out me every single night, and I go to sleep.
Fun times. Only 25 more nights like this, and then I am off the hook. My mat leave will begin, Chris will go back to days, and I’ll get to watch The OC every night at 7:00. It’ll be like a freakin vacation! Until baby #2 arrives. Right. Crap. Forgot about that part.
Perhaps I should learn how to appreciate the simplistic task of juggling only one child’s needs. And how to sleep in the rocking chair.