After announcing that our lives were about to change in a big way, with Dustin going back to work, people have been so kind to ask how we're doing. How are the kids? How does Dustin like it? How are we managing the routine?
Well....the answer is a mixed bag of: Meh. Awesome. Terrible. Good.
It really just depends on the day, or the minute, or the person in question.
It's all a complicated dance that we're choreographing on the fly- constantly checking to make sure we can keep up with the music, without mashing each other's toes or messing up the turns.
Pack the bags, drop off the kids, drive to work, worky-work, drive back, pick them up, eat...something...anything, have some fun- this is supposed to be fun!, now march upstairs, jammies/potty/teeth/book/bed, sleep (please, just sleep), clean-up-pick-up-put-away, collapse and zone out, big finish: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Again, from the top! This time with enthusiasm!
But really, while it can be a manic dance, it's got a lot of good elements:
Dustin really loves his job. It's challenging, and interesting, and new and fun...all the things an adventure should be. Plus they pay him! Score! But really...it's awesome. It's nice to be working together again. The office is big enough that we don't actually see each other much during the day (we work on different teams for different clients) but it's fun to be able to swing by his desk to steal a Coke Zero, or IM each other with the occasional nonsense throughout the day. The biggest perk though, might be the carpool. It's at least a half hour ride each way, so it's nice to have a buddy to share in the joys of snow and traffic. Truly though, while it's not the most romantic setting, it's still an hour of together time each day. And with two toddlers typically running the show at home, I'll take uninterrupted conversation with my husband anywhere I can get it.
Oh...but then...it's also got its share of terrible turns:
The girls are having a rough time adjusting to daycare. I knew it wouldn't be easy to transition from being home full time (two days with G'mi + Papa, three days with Dustin), to going to daycare three days a week, but I was hoping after a couple weeks they'd get used to the routine. Welllllll. Looks like we're going to need more than a few weeks. Because one month in, there are still nightly tears, with sad pleas of "I don't wanna go to school...I don't like school...I don't like the nap...I wanna stay home with you...Please don't drop me off. I don't want you to go!" We've tried everything to make the transition easier. Some of it seemed to help, but in the end, drop off is still a big dramatic cry-fest, with both girls clutching on to us. I know they have fun, I know they're well cared for, but every time it's the same thing. And the worst is the evenings...sure, we get the best greeting EVER when we pick them up (Both of their faces light up when they see us at the door, Piper grabs Fin's hand and yells "Look Fin, Mommy and Daddy are here!"- which Fin already knows, but Piper is the older sister so of course she has to declare these things- and Fin does her chubby little wobble run into our arms. The whole thing is adorable- at least ten times better than I'm describing.) But that joy lasts about five seconds, until it's crying about putting on coats, or not liking the snack we brought, or (yes, again) not liking school. Then it's a mad dash of an evening where we hurry home (sometimes listening to overtired wailing for the whole eight minute ride), scramble to make dinner, play a little, read a little and wrestle them into jammies in time for the age-old battle of "I don't want to go to bed! I'm not tired! I wanted to read books! I don't like these jammies! I don't want to go to school!" It's all very dramatic, but super common, and age appropriate, but exhausting, and challenging.
So really, it's normal. We're normal. It's all awesome, and terrible, and I guess just a little bit meh right now. During the tantrums, and the crying, and the unexpected delays, it's pretty bad. It feels like we're a mess. We're screwing up all the steps, everyone is miserable, and it's all just defeating. But then there are so many moments of good: when one sister shares her cinnamon roll to cheer up the other...when bedtime isn't a fight, with just a polite request to "Please stay and rub my back for a minute?"...when work is fun and busy and reminds us why we genuinely like going in there every day. Jazz hands, baby!
We've just hit the one month mark of our new dance routine, which is a lifetime and nothing at the same time. Life with kids is full of this type of contradiction: it truly is the best of times, and the worst of times. Sometimes in the same hour. So we just keep plugging away. I think life with a three-nager will get easier (I mean...she'll eventually turn four). Fin won't skip naps forever (right?), and we'll eventually learn that it really is worth it to spend time packing lunches the night before (but Nettttttfliiiiiiiix....)
In the meantime, I at least take comfort in the fact that there are about a million other people around the world doing basically the exact same dance, albeit to slightly different music. We're all trying to shimmy through the terrible, and waltz through the good, while smiling big for the audience, and holding our partners tight.
And while I very much wish each night's act would end with us holding hands, taking a satisfied bow, and collecting piles of roses at our feet, I know that most evenings we'll shuffle off stage to ice our tired muscles and wrap our sore ankles in preparation for the morning production. Because the show- good or bad, must go on.
(P.s. Thank you to everyone who has asked how we are. Our struggles are typical, our complaints are mundane, but our joys are real and lovely. And we're so so glad to have good friends dancing alongside us through it all.)
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