Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Week in Our Life

Sometimes I wonder what I do everyday - I can't even remember from one day to the next. But I know I'm busy. And I know I'm tired. I know I'm constantly multi-tasking. And I know we don't see Ed much. Especially lately; the last few weeks have really been some of the most busy he's had in our two years here. So in case anyone else was wondering what life is like for us (and in case anyone else was considering a career in investment banking and needs dissuading), here's a week of it:

Saturday, June 16

I threw a baby shower for my friend Kirsten at our place. I started the preparations when I got up around 7, juggling the girls with Ed's help. At 10 the guests started arriving. Ed took Hazel to their last Gymboree class, and then to the park to play during the shower. Ginger stayed with me. The shower was super fun but of course had to end. Ed brought Hazel home around 12:30, had some lunch, and headed to work about 2pm. Worked until 2:30am. (Yes, you read that right. It was SATURDAY.)

Sunday, June 17
Whenever Ed has to work on a Sunday he usually comes to church with us (10-1), then heads in after church around 2pm, and works until whenever. But this being Father's Day we wanted some time with him as a family so we decided to send him in early, in the hopes of seeing him for dinner and some family time before the girls went to bed. That meant me taking the girls to church by myself for the first time. At 9:30am the girls and I left for church; Ed left just after. I spent sacrament meeting in and out with one or the other girl most of the time. Then my friend Nayat took Hazel to nursery and came back to take Ginger during Sunday School while I taught my primary class. After Sunday School she brought me Ginger to nurse, then I brought her back to Nayat in Relief Society and went to Primary. About halfway through she brought Ginger to me, crying, so I held her and tried to get her to sleep. After church someone brought Hazel to me, and both girls fell asleep on the way home. I parked about a block away, loaded Ginger's car seat and all our bags in the stroller, heisted Hazel up against my shoulder, and walked to our building pushing the stroller with one hand and holding Hazel with the other. Got a passer-by to open the first door to the building for me, then used my keys to get in the rest. Up the elevator, down the hall, in the apartment. Put both girls in bed, but both woke up and spent a fussy, grumpy afternoon waiting for Ed to come home. Ed came home at 5:30pm and we had a quick dinner, Father's Day presents and family walk before bed time. After the girls went down Ed worked from home on the computer until after 12am, which is when I went to bed.

Monday, June 18
We got up with the girls around 7 and Ed left around 8. I called some mom friends and we met at a park to let the kids play together in the sprinklers and playgrounds. Then we had them back to our place for more playing and lunch. They left and the girls took naps around 2-4. Wake time to dinner is the same most days - Hazel plays and watches some cartoons; I wash dishes, clean rooms, make dinner, do whatever I can that Ginger will allow, which usually isn't much; Ginger hangs out in swing, exersaucer, Bumbo, bouncey seat, bed, wherever she'll let me put her so I can do something... but only for short periods. Mostly she likes to be held, played with, talked to and of course fed during this time. I try to strike a balance. Dinner was...I can't even remember. After dinner I gave both girls baths, then put them down one at a time. Sometimes Ginger goes down before Hazel, sometimes after. Tonight it was before - swaddled her and rocked her a little, then put her in bed and read my book nearby for a few minutes until she was out. Hazel was watching Little Bear. Then Hazel's bedtime routine: brush teeth, jammies & diaper, stories, songs, prayer, kiss, bed. I spent the evening going up and down to the basement doing 5 loads of laundry and watching Mansfield Park from Netflix (only so-so) while I folded it. I went to bed around 12:30am, but only after emailing my friend Maureen from church. She's been offering for months for her and her husband Thomas to come babysit for us so we can have a date (they are newlyweds.) After the couple of tough weeks we've had, I decided to cash in on all such offers, starting with her. We set it up for a Saturday in July. Ed got home around 3:45am.

Tuesday, June 19
We got up around 7 and Ed left around 8:30. We got our act together (breakfast, diapers, clothes, diaper bag put together, shower, more diaper changes, etc.) and met Corey & Violet at the park for the morning. Hazel and Violet played in the sprinkler and playground and each had no less than two nasty, scrapey falls. Something about bare knees (or perhaps water shoes they're not used to walking and running in) just invites nasty falls. It was a beautiful day, though, the park being right by the bay, so there was a nice breeze, and Ginger was so happy watching the kids. Lunch was PBJ sandwiches, then naps for both girls and I even got a short one! They got up around 3:30 and for an hour and a half I worked towards getting us out the door for some errands in the neighborhood. I had to call Ed to find out which pants and shirts he wanted taken to the cleaners, then round them up. Feed and burp Ginger, change both diapers. Get Hazel a snack so she's occupied and not constantly underfoot. Repack diaper bag with fresh diapers, water, snacks. Round up library books and shopping list. Check and change diapers again, plus change Ginger's outfit and rinse the old one because we broke containment. Around 5pm we FINALLY got out the door with the double stroller loaded with two girls, diaper bag, 3 pants & 6 shirts for the cleaners, and 7 library books to return. We walked to the cleaners, then the library, also checking out 3 new ones I had on the reserve shelf (our branch SUCKS but I can request books from the main one to be sent there.) Then to the grocery store, careful to only get what I can pack in the stroller (about $30 worth - yogurt, bread, oj, chicken, lettuce, pineapple, etc.) I noticed Ginger had fallen asleep at this point. Finally Rite Aid to get more band aids, wipes, vitamins. After all the errands were done I let Hazel out of the stroller to walk home, and within a block she took yet another nasty fall, creating two new bloody scrapes on palms and knees. So we sat on a stoop and I cleaned her up with wipes and new band aids, making a mental note to start keeping band aids in the diaper bag regularly. Made sure to walk, not run, the rest of the way home. Dinner was rotisserie chicken from the store, couscous, fruit smoothies. Dinner was later than usual tonight so we just moved right into bedtime from there. Girls were both down by 8:30. I spent the next 2 hours balancing all the bank accounts and paying bills, then watched Good Eats with a bowl of ice cream, and went to bed at 11:45pm. Ed came home around 2am.

Wednesday, June 20
We all got up around 7:30. Ed left around 8:30. I got the girls breakfast, diapers, dressed, etc. Took a quick shower. We were going to walk to the library, about 30 minutes walk, for story time at 10:30, but it was raining and I haven't gotten around to getting a rain cover for the double stroller. So we drove and were amazingly lucky enough to park on the same block. Saw some of our friends there - Violet, Kaleigh, Pierson. Chloe the librarian is only slightly less of a wet blanket than all the other librarians at the other branches, which is why we go to her story time - it's all relative in the Brooklyn Public Library system. During the first book - about a farm, which Hazel should have loved - Hazel became fixated on a rug circle Violet was sitting on, and threw a fit because there wasn't one for her. So I took her out and we missed that book. She survived the rest of the story time, but just barely - still emotional. Did better when we stood up and did action songs. We stayed and played in the children's room after story time, then drove home and had lunch - PBJ and grapes for Hazel, salad & pineapple for me. Ginger slept a mere 15 minutes all morning, so went down for a good nap in the afternoon, same as Hazel. I read my (library) book. The afternoon went about the same as Monday. More bearable, though, because it wasn't so hot and humid today. I've been working my way through the dishes all week, never quite getting ahead though. After dinner I put Ginger on the bed and tried to clean in the bedroom for a little while. Lots of clutter hot spots in there that never really get taken care of. Also called my mother-in-law to hear about her recent Europe trip and let her talk to Hazel. Ginger napped from 7-8, then hung out with us for Hazel's bedtime routine, which also included - special tonight! - standing her in the bathtub for a quick bangs trim. We also read her new library books. I spent the evening at first watching tv, then catching up on email and blogs. Caught dishy Matt Damon on Letterman. Ed emailed at 12:30am to see if I was still up, which, lamo, I was, so I called him. Caught up on each other's days since he still had several hours of work to do. I went to bed at 1 am. Ed rolled in at a cool 4am.

Thursday, June 21
I got up with the girls at 7:30. Ed slept an hour longer and got up at 8:30. We had blueberry pancakes for breakfast. Every year in June Ed's group at work has a retreat/roast/send-off for the exiting analysts, like a year-end party. For some reason it's in Miami and you have to fly there on your own dime. Whatever. So Ed had an 11:30 flight to Miami, which meant he had to leave by 10 at the latest. I also had to leave by 10 for a playgroup - every week a group of moms from church meet at a different park for a morning playgroup. Since I organize it, pick the park, and send out the email, it's a good idea for me to be there. So the morning was hectic, trying to get us all ready and out the door. Playgroup was fun - it was a sunny day with unseasonably low humidity, and some of Hazel's favorite friends were there - Bruce and Pierson. All the parks here have nice water features, so we usually split our time between water and playground, which means packing an extra bag with swimsuit, water shoes, buckets, towel, etc. in addition to the usual snacks, water, sunscreen, hats, changing pad, wipes, etc. Hazel fell asleep on the way home and stayed asleep when I transferred her to the crib, so it was an early nap for her, about 12:30-2:30. Ginger overlapped slightly with that, so I got a quiet lunch reading a magazine. The afternoon is a blur because lack of sleep was catching up with me. We played some games, read some books, I attempted some dishes, and gave Hazel a long bubble bath, with Ginger watching from the Bumbo and I flipped through magazines on the bathroom floor. Dinner was grilled cheese sandwiches and mandarin oranges. I thought about ordering out but nothing sounded good so I figured might as well just make something. Save the take-out opportunities for something yummy. After dinner I gave Ginger a bath and put on a show for Hazel. Then fed Ginger, did Hazel's bedtime routine and put her down, put Ginger down. Watched an hour of TV and decided to get to bed early, about 10:30pm. The window air conditioner in our room was flashing an error signal E1, which means it needs to be reset, which I thought I knew how to do, but 10 minutes later it shut off and flashed E1 again. So I spent an hour and a half troubleshooting the a/c unit, having to wait 10 minutes after each thing I did to see if it would stay on or shut off. Finally figured it out. Lights out at 12:15am.

Friday, June 22
I got up with Ginger at 6, fed her and put her back down by 7. Hazel woke up at 7:30 so I got up with her, got her breakfast, etc. Ginger woke up at 8:30 and we all started our day. I had some errands to do at "the mall", things I've been putting off because I'm afraid of such a monumental outing with both girls. We have one mall about 20 minutes away, with a pay-parking lot (at least there are always spaces!), so it's kind of a production. The girls did ok at the first 2 stores, then Ginger got fed up so I held/carried her while pushing the double stroller with Hazel in it, who was also losing it but being a trooper. I bought her a cookie on the way out - oatmeal raisin so melted chocolate wouldn't get all over. We got home and I started to make Hazel lunch when Ed walked in the door and my jaw dropped. He had planned to fly back from Miami and go straight to the office, but changed his mind and came home. He'd had a nice time with his group, but a lot of airport hassles, including dropping and busting his BlackBerry in security, and delays which kept him from getting much-needed sleep. So he had lunch with us and went down for a nap same time as the girls. We spent an unprecedented Friday evening together as a family. Loaded into the stroller, got deli sandwiches for dinner and ate them at a park. Then we walked to another park where we know the ice cream truck regularly stops, and played until it came. Hazel knows the look and music of the "ha-mee tutt" but we've never bought from him, so she was more than thrilled to get her own chocolate cone, and Ed was just as thrilled to buy it for her. We came home and put the girls to bed by 9, then Ed had to log in remotely to work. I went to bed at 10 and Ed worked until 12:30am, sadly his earliest night all week.

It was interesting to do the math:
Ed worked or travelled for about 100 hours (60% of a week)
Ed slept for about 43 hours (25 % of a week; average 5.7 hrs/night)
Ed was awake at home for about 25 hours (15% of a week; average 3.6 hrs/day)

I think a percentage ratio for most normal working people would be more like work and travel 30% (50 hrs)/ sleep 30% (50 hrs)/ home or recreation 40% (68 hrs)




dave said...

WOW. You both deserve medals. And certificates. And a trophy for you. But from me, you get empathy, sympathy, a wish that i could share strength, and a cooking class in July during which I will babysit both your kids (it'd be handy if G took a bottle by then just a little bit if thats in your plans).

Jenifuz said...

WOW!!!! What a week! And I thought I had rough weeks sometimes! This last one was rough but not as busy as yours!! You need more sleep!!!

Davey said...

Disco, (and Ed) wow. I knew I respected and admired you in theory, what with the work and the kids and the super expensive city; but again I must say, wow. Church, flights (on your own dime!), 100 hour work weeks, and what can only be described as a full child rearing extravaganza. No " I plopped the girls in front of Barney and chilled out for an hour." There were multiple play group stories in that one week alone. I am in awe. You guys rock.

Therese said...

oh my. single parenting. you do it well. and i'm particularly impressed that on top of everything else, you organize the church playgroup.

Maren said...

LOTS of power to you. I totally hear you on so many of your frustrations. It sounds like my Ohio year (but maybe worse) which I deem one of the lowest points in my life for the simple fact that Quinn was gone so much. So many of these kinds of weeks would be made tolerable if only you had the recharging effects of one-on-one time with your husband to get you through each day!

Tona said...

It's completely jaw-dropping. You're amazing. I'm so spoiled having kids who sleep a long time (these days, a *really* long time if we let them) and a husband who has some flexibility in his schedule and who is home for dinner by 6 almost every night. Someday...

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