Every night before bed we read Gracie two books, one of which is always Sandra Boynton’s “The Going to Bed Book.” On the last page the book says that after turning out the lights and saying goodnight, the animals all “rock and rock and rock to sleep.” We rock her back and forth and then take her to bed, saying goodnight, singing Twinkle Twinkle, turning on her turtle light.
Lately life has felt like it is rocking in every direction, violently. No sooner do B and I get our legs about us, we are hit in another direction with something else. Not all of it negative necessarily, but just so much change, so fast. As someone who tends to thrive on routine, I haven’t always handled everything with a lot of grace. Unless of course stress eating a package of Thin Mints and scrubbing grout with a toothbrush while ignoring a pile of clean laundry is “graceful” and in that case, I nailed it.
Now that we seem to have moved past the “make difficult decisions” section of everything, we’ve moved on to finding our new normal. A huge part of this is our change in child care. I now have a daily trip on the El (Chicago’s subway system) to the daycare to pick up Little Miss and bring her home. It changes how my daily routine operates. It means she has to get dressed every morning to get out the door. It isn’t bad, but it is new. I know over time it will become our new normal, but now I’m figuring out how best to prep dinner on my work-from-home days. What I really need is some crock pot recipes that need 8+ hours in the crock pot for the two days I go into the office. After taking a bus from my office to the very Northern end of the El, switching lines, going all the way down to Gracie’s daycare, picking her up, riding the El back up to the stop near our house, getting her, our SUV style stroller, and my work bag/diaper bag down 3 flights the stairs (our El station doesn’t have an elevator), walking to our house, and then getting us all inside and up three flights of stairs, I’m ready to lie down in the entry way and let her stack blocks on top of me while the dog chews my hand off. Making dinner? OY.
(My Grandma, in Gracie’s newborn days, confided in me that having 4 boys wasn’t easy, and that sometimes, when it was just all too much, she would lie on the living room floor and let all 4 boys drive Matchbox cars all over her while she closed her eyes. It is, hands down, my favorite piece of parenting advice EVER.)
When I list it out like that, all the steps of the process, it seems rather overwhelming. But this is city living, this is one car living, and there is so much we love about living in the city I have to remind myself of the tradeoff. We like being able to walk places. We enjoy the museums. The zoo. The lakefront, the city parks, the mish mash of cultures and restaurants and people, the hustle and bustle.
But now, I’m just a bit tired. Rocking in rough waters, finding my new sea legs. (Note to self: continue to work on improving your metaphors). I’m ready for smooth sailing. (Groan).
It is out there, I know. Dare I say….on the horizon? But right now I’m crossing my fingers for better weather (literally, I am so over the snow and mind numbing cold), a relaxing weekend and some family time. One day at a time.