So… this explains why I’m SO FRICKEN EXHAUSTED ALL THE TIME:
You see that graphic? That’s the tracked movement of a child around a room in SEVEN MINUTES. Olive is 17 months and I swear she is even faster and more distractible than the disturbing 18 month one in the top center of the image. Imagine that along with that jaggedy line is a thicker one of a parent or caregiver, shadowing the child’s every move. Some kids are fine to play by themselves, but my intense little one requires constant interaction. HOW WILL I EVER MAKE IT TO THE 4 YEAR ONE?! That looks totally doable.
Okay. Sorry about all the caps. But my job of raising Olive is requiring every last ounce of my energy so I’m kind of screamo about it. Case in point is our morning routine. Olive wakes up at the crack of dawn chatting and thrashing around in our bed (if we didn’t bring her to bed when she cries at 5am she’d be wide awake even earlier), and Joel and I navigate who is going to get up with her, and who gets 5-10 extra minutes of relative quiet in the bed. Then after breakfast and washing up and dressing, we have a little dance party (lately it’s been all vinyl jams, to begin her music education right) and then head out to unleash her energy on the city. She eskews her stroller, and if I force her into it she’d just fall asleep in it, because she gets up way too early so she’s tired! But if she sleeps in the morning, all I’ll get from her is a one hour nap and she’ll be a mess all late afternoon. So the trick is to keep her awake and engaged until noon.
This is fine in the early morning, when we are heading out to either playgroup or the library, but afterwards, when we need to walk back, it’s usually a disaster. Homegirl CANNOT walk in a straight line, and refuses to hold my hand and let me help her. So, we stop at every gate for her to shake it like a monkey, wander into every store to charm the shopkeepers, and pick up all sort of gross city stuff she has no business touching. I deal with all of this as patiently as possible — I’m allowing her to explore her world, and the city streets are her habitat. So, I humor her while she traipses along, but it is trying.
Today I thought I’d be smart and take the bus back, and had actually planned everything around this, going a little farther down Valencia than usual, banking on that bus ride home once we were both tuckered. However, the Mission bus has inexplicably moved 2 blocks away, and she was so tired she was falling down in the street. So, I carried her the 6 blocks home, which felt like wriggly lead in my arms. Gratefully, once we gets home it’s nap time, and even though the fact that she usually needs to be held for most of her nap means I get no time to myself, it also forces me to lay down with her and rest from the long, fun, but challenging morning.
Anyway, all of this running after a kid who only seems to gain speed has made my Lenten promise of giving up sweets sort of irrelevant (although I have kept up with the other one, of not being short with my husband, give or take a few moments of snark). I followed my refusal of sugary desserts faithfully for the whole first week, which is actually pretty good for me! It felt good to practice restraint and let that lead me to prayer. However, since then I have been… totally knackered, and in need of every little indulgence I can give myself to look forward to, and keep me going when I’m summoning my “oms” from morning yoga to give me patience with my tiny terrific tornado. After all, life is short. Who wants to live a single day without having dessert?