I did it. I survived 5 polar vortex days taking care of two boys – one who only cries, eats, and sleeps, the other who rolls around the house like an exceptionally talkative, aggressive koala bear with selective hearing. The end of the week got ugly and was filled with unnecessary lectures, not enough naps, and too much tv. However, we are all alive with only a few more scratches than we started the week with, so I’ll call that a win. Everyone’s routine is a bit mixed up and next week will be like starting all over again, but my confidence meter has been boosted a bit. Hey, I kept two kids alive and relatively happy for a full week, why shouldn’t I pat myself on the back for that?
I imagined this week would be “easy” since it’s just Ike and I during the day again, but this morning was mildly torturous. My mind is so bound and trained by routine that since Ike was off his I practically fell apart. Today I wondered what I was doing and questioned if I ever even knew. I tried to recall how Connor and I functioned, what schedule we settled on, and how we carried it out. I fought with and against myself trying to figure out how Ike and I are going to do the delicate dance that is reading his cues vs. unquestioningly enforcing a routine. I talked to my sister. I shared my doubts with Z. And at the end of the day I’ve determined that if putting Ike in his car seat is the only way he’ll nap, it’s worth it. Indulging a bad habit for a few hours is a small price to pay for sanity. Plus, unlike my rigid mind, Ike’s is pliable, a fresh blob of baby whose habits are just being molded and can be reformed. It’s no longer about getting everything right, it’s about doing the best I can without going crazy; it’s not like I’m feeding the kid Goldschlagger and Parliments. My mantra today: Just let go.
The “Just Let Go” mindset is one that I’ve flirted with and promptly dumped several times over. My mind enjoys clamping down on concrete concepts too much to live in that ethereal world. But the more Ike tries to teach me, the more important and urgent it seems to learn the ways of just letting go at the risk of becoming a cynical, narrow-minded, angry individual. That type of person doesn’t make the kind of parent I want to be. All I ask of myself tomorrow is to let go of the anger (serenity now!), put Ike in the goddamn car seat if that’s what it takes for him to get a decent nap, and be good to myself. Regardless of what happens though, I’ll be working to just let it go.