The solo parenting gig, thus far

Dave left for England on Tuesday night, which means I’ve been doing the solo-parent thing for the past three days. So far, it’s going ok. Catie and I kind of have our weektime routine down: we get up, she goes to daycare and I go to work, we come home, have dinner, and do the whole bedtime routine. It’s been pretty easy to just coast on auto-pilot, honestly.

I told her I'd turn on cartoons if she smiled.
“I’m just taking it easy on her for now. Next week I unleash hell.”

A few things I’ve noticed, though:
1. I don’t sleep well when I’m the only adult in the house. Now, look, I didn’t meet Dave until I was 28 years old, so it’s not like I’d never lived alone before. But I was always in a tiny one-bedroom apartment. In our current house, I lie in bed and think things like, “Hmm, if someone broke in through the garage door, would I even hear it upstairs?” And I worry about things like what would I do if a fire broke out, things like that. Not exactly conducive to a good night’s sleep, obviously.

Oh, and related: I get very jumpy about unexplained noises in the middle of the night. Which is why I’m just about ready to throw Beaumont outside for good. Seriously, cat, it’s 2 a.m. Do you have to jump up on the kitchen counter and knock over a whole bunch of stuff now? (To be fair, he is totally thrown off by Dave’s absence. The past two nights, he’s been asleep in the hall when I got up in the morning. It’s like he’s trying to keep an eye on both Catie’s room and mine at the same time. “We lost one human, gotta keep a watch on the last two!”)

2. While the routine itself is pretty manageable, I forget how much Dave does in the evenings to help out. Because I’ve noticed that by the end of the day, my body just aches. I know it’s pregnancy-related (since it’s mostly my lower back and hips that hurt), but it’s like I hadn’t taken into account how little “sitting on my butt” time I would get while Dave was gone. I miss my sitting-down time. A lot.

3. I’m really lazy about meals when I’m the only one who eats “grown-up food.” Last night we had mac & cheese with a side of broccoli. Not exactly health food, but whatever, it was easy. (And I love that Catie will eat broccoli.) (Although we did have cupcakes for dessert. You can’t be good all the time.)

4. Trying to wash a four year-old’s hair in the bathtub when you’re 7 months pregnant. I have nothing else to add to that, except: good GOD. And, ouch.

7 months. Holy Moses.
This is not a shape that is meant leaning over the side of a bathtub.

5. As for housework: I give up. I’ve called in the housekeepers. I can’t do it all by myself, so I’m just going to throw some money at the problem and stop worrying about it.


My brother is on his way here from Charlotte to hang out with us this weekend, and Catie and I are both really excited. My brother is a great guy and Catie adores him, so it should be fun to have him around. No big weekend plans, just hanging out and enjoying some nice springtime weather. Should be fun.

Hope y’all have a nice weekend too, wherever you are.

Just us three

My mother-in-law flew back to England yesterday. And I finally managed to get a picture of her with her (for now) only grandchild, just a few hours before she left.

Grandma & Catie

Nothing like waiting until the last minute, but at least it’s a really cute picture.

Overall it was a lot of fun. Except for the whole “coming down with the Plague” part of her visit, and then her catching the Plague from me (um, sorry?), it was lovely. Catie completely ignored Dave and me in the mornings and went straight into Grandma’s room to snuggle. Most mornings when I got up, I’d find the two of them already downstairs, curled up on the couch and watching Scooby-Doo. Kind of nice to have a little early morning reprieve.

So now it’s back to being just the three of us. For the next week. Then my family all descends on our house for Christmas. I have to admit, I’m really excited. I love the holidays.

Bad Track Record

My mother-in-law is flying in from England today. I know that the stereotype would be to have a difficult and strained relationship with a mother-in-law, but I honestly don’t. She’s funny, she’s an amazing cook, and I find her very easy to be around.

At the same time, though, I do feel a teeny-tiny sense of Impending Doom about her upcoming visit. But it’s not for any of the reasons you’d think. The reason is because every year since Catie was born, we’ve seen her at some point during the month of December, and every year, somebody gets really horribly sick.

To recap:
* 2007 – We all got the flu. And let me tell you, trying to take care of a sick baby when you’re sick yourself? Oh man. That was hideous.

* 2008 – Catie ended up in the hospital with a major asthma/flu episode. Because nothing says “Happy holidays!” like continuous albuterol treatments.

* 2009 – We went to England. Catie was spared, this time it was just me and Dave who got sick. Because of that trip, I have vowed to never go to England during the winter again. (It had more to do with the epic snowstorm than my bronchitis-that-was-almost-pneumonia, but still. Not fun on any counts.)

[Oh, there was also the visit – NOT during the month of December, oddly enough – where my mother-in-law herself wound up in the ER with a concussion after falling in the grocery store and hitting her head. That was fun too.]

And now she’s on her way here for 2010. *dun dun duuuuuunnnnnn*

It’s already starting. Dave got sick with some sort of nasty cold a couple of days ago, and today I woke up with a scratchy throat. Which is great, since you know, pregnancy keeps me from being able to take any of the good drugs. I’m basically limited to my Zyrtec and my neti pot. Fabulous.

Let’s just hope we can avoid any hospital visits this time, yes?

timesharing the holidays

When I was little, I thought that my grandparents lived really far away. In reality, of course, that wasn’t the case at all. I grew up in Jackson, Mississippi. My dad’s parents lived in Meridian, MS, about 80 miles away. My mom’s parents were in New Orleans, which is about 200 miles from Jackson. Both sets of grandparents were a road trip away.

In hindsight, we saw them relatively frequently. Holidays were generally split. We spent Christmas with my dad’s parents – which I guess is fair, since my dad is an only child and we were his parents’ only grandchildren; my mom, on the other hand, is one of seven, so there were plenty of grandkids around during the holidays for her folks. A couple of days after Christmas, we’d go to New Orleans and usually stay there through New Year’s.

Flash-forward, and now I’m an adult with a child of my own. And Catie’s grandparents genuinely are far away. My parents are still in Mississippi, which is a good 800 miles from here. And Dave’s parents are in England. Both sets of grandparents require airplanes to visit, not short little road trips.

We’re lucky that Mags (Dave’s mom) has been able to come over for a few visits. But Catie has a granddad (Dave’s dad) who she’s never met. Heck, I haven’t even met my own father-in-law either, and Dave and I have been together for over five years. He & his wife haven’t ever come to the US, and Dave and I have never gone over there – which was first because of problems with Dave’s visa, and later because we had a new baby, and then we just couldn’t afford it with the move. There was always a reason that stopped us from going.

Now, though, Dave has a green card so he can freely leave and re-enter the country (hooray for that!), and we aren’t quite as broke as we were a year ago. So, we’re going to England for Christmas. Actually, we’re going for more than that – we’re flying out on December 11th, and we won’t be coming back until December 28th. Seventeen days. Hopefully that will be enough time to see all of Dave’s family, make a touring visit of his friends who’ve spread out all over the country, and also do some sightseeing, since I’ve never been to England before. How sad is that? I’m 33 years old, and this will be the first stamp on my passport (because they don’t stamp it when you go to Canada).

Obviously, we’re all really excited. It’s going to be weird for me because I’ve only spent one Christmas away from my family in my entire life, but I’m also really looking forward to this trip because I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.

I emailed Dave’s parents yesterday to let them know we’re coming, send them copies of our flight itineraries, etc. Dave’s mom of course is thrilled; she and her partner, Roger, will be coming over for a visit in a couple of weeks, but she’s like any other grandma in wanting to get as much Grandbaby Time as possible, so she’s very happy. And Dave’s stepmom emailed me back to say that when she told Keith (Dave’s dad) that we’re coming, he got choked up and teary. He’s beyond happy that he’ll finally get to meet his only grandchild. Of course, hearing that he teared up made me all misty, because that’s just so damn sweet – and, well, also because I’m a big wuss.

And honestly, I’m feeling a little bit guilty that we haven’t made more of a concentrated effort to go there sooner. There probably was a time when we could have gone to England, and we didn’t. I guess neither Dave nor I truly realized how important it is to them. I think that in the future we’ll have to work harder at that.