Monday, August 26, 2013

Collapse and Recovery

I don't know how other parents deal with prolonged sleep deprivation. I generally do this: Go, go, go as much as possible, powering through the low energy moments to clean up the house, get to events, see friends, etc. Then, I collapse dramatically, feeling so sick I have to cancel plans at the last minute and clear my schedule completely for more than a week. I thank God for the technical gadgets available to entertain my older son, and focus entire days on the moments when I can close my eyes.

After recovering, I begin scouring the Internet for things to do, places to go, ramping up for another few weeks of powering through. Technical gadgets morph from angelic saviors to evil tools I have to ban and limit, lest they steal my son's brain or turn it to mush.

Having once again reached the recovery stage of one of those cycles, I have learned a few things:

Apparently, I'm not one to pace myself. I thought I was pretty good about this, and maybe I am in my own personal life. But when managing other lives (ie. those of my kids), I'm not pacing myself enough. And I have to be better about it. Thus, the schedule I created today that includes rest time for me.

When it comes to technical gadgets, they're not disproportionately bad (as the American Association of Pediatrics would have you believe, with its unreasonable recommendations for limiting screen time). They're not entirely good either (as I believe when I'm excessively tired). It's all about perspective and balance. Even if the AAP has a point, I have to think that if allowing kids extra screen time actually saves the life of the parent taking care of those kids, then there has to be some wiggle room on this issue.

With these lessons on mind, we begin the last two weeks of summer before school starts.

Monday, August 12, 2013

What I Should Be Doing vs. What I'm Actually Doing

The time is 9 a.m. The baby is napping. I have one hour till I have to leave the house with both kids and lunches packed - plus all the various other things we need for the day (diapers, wipes, extra clothes, etc.). And what am I doing?

Researching meat.

Turns out, Applegate is pretty dedicated to the whole raising farm animals humanely thing. As for Coleman Natural... I think they're doing it. The website isn't actually so clear. And then there's the link to Perdue mentioned on the site... Are they owned by Perdue or something??

This project came about as a result of the online grocery shopping I've been doing since my son was born. Online shopping works for me not only because I don't have to schlep the kids, but also because in the end, the groceries are delivered to me at my house. Amazing.

If this were really the 1970s, no doubt I'd be schlepping all kinds of highly processed, stressed out meat from store to home (by "stressed out meat" I mean the factory farmed chicken, not me in a sorry state after all that work). So are modern times really better? 

I'm happy for the delivery and the humanely raised foods. But I'm definitely running late due to the same time suck that tempts my son, the one I'm supposed to be monitoring as a parent: screens. 

It's 9:17. I've got to go.

Friday, August 9, 2013

And Now It Really Is the 1970s at My House

From what I remember of the '70s, there were certain appliances and gadgets that everyone just didn't have back then. A VCR, for example - or rather, a Betamax. If you missed a T.V. show, you would try to catch a rerun, but might very well never see it at all. An answering machine is another example. If your friend wasn't home, the phone rang and rang (around 25 times, as I recall) and eventually cut you off. And alas, a dishwasher is my third example. If you had a sink full of dishes, you pulled on the rubber gloves and washed them with soap and a sponge.

Which is what I'm doing today, since this particular appliance quit on me yesterday.

I'm not actually sure we didn't have a dishwasher in the '70s... Am I thinking of the '50s (which, of course I can only imagine)? In any case, I do feel I'm learning some throwback lessons today.

1. Washing dishes can be relaxing and therapeutic. There's something rewarding about turning a sink full of dirty dishes into a counter-top overflowing with clean dishes. 

2. There's something pleasant and connecting about drying a freshly hand-washed dish that once belonged to my grandmother, who also raised two boys.

3. When you have two little boys, there's really no such thing as turning an entire sink full of dirty dishes into clean dishes. The boys never stop eating and - I'm now noticing - creating more and more dirty dishes. My sink is not large enough to accommodate them all at any given time. (And the time right now is only 8:30 in the morning.)

4. Washing dishes can be a real pain in the neck. Literally and figuratively. I'm even annoying myself. Why did I just throw that plate in the dirty water when I could have used it again?? And why are we still out of forks when it feels like I've been slaving over this sink for hours??

5. I'm a genius. I just remembered we have a pile of paper plates and box of plastic utensils left over from a recent party. They're coming out today.