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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Off Schedule

I learned one thing over the last week.  The schedule matters.  I'm referring to my baby's schedule, of course.  Upsetting her balance, whisking her to Maryland, and surrounding her with lots of loud and excited relatives meant for one thing.

A cranky baby.

That translated into an exhausted and tired mom.  I brought my kindle with two newly purchased books on the trip with hopes of doing a lot of reading.  The reality was that I didn't read a single page.  Most of my time was spent corralling Emily who wanted to be held more than normal, never wanted to nap, hated everything we gave her to eat, and was unable to be occupied happily by any task for more than a few seconds.  It was so stressful that when my dad mentioned he had to run to the store for something I nearly knocked him over running to the door to join him.  Boy, I just needed a moment. 

Sure, my mom watched Emily for a little here and there, but she was in the middle of her own holiday preparations and had to pay attention to that.  Shawn helped when he was home, but most of the time he was out hunting, because part of my Christmas gift to him was a hunting trip on farm a few towns over. 

There were just too many stimulations.  Relatives coming and going who wanted to hold her and squeeze her and get in her face making silly noises.  Nap times that were missed, because of family lunches and get togethers.  I paid for all of that in spades.  

For days I was seriously perplex as to what happened to my daughter's wonderful personality.  

Finally, though, by Christmas Emily had found her groove.  She got used to her new surroundings, new sleeping arrangement, and became the happy baby I know her as.  Phew...

So, I learned the dangerous lesson of getting off schedule, especially with tons of stimulation and new surroundings.  The schedule is not to be taken lightly and toddlers are no where near as capable as adjusting as an adult.  Also, I am finding that increasingly I need vacations from my vacations.  Perhaps I need to have an actual vacation that both doesn't involve taking my baby and doesn't involve a whirl-wind of family visits!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas so Far

This year Christmas has been busy.  If you haven't been able to tell from my lack of blog posts there has been a heck of a lot going on.  Between work, being on call more weekends than I've been off, Shawn's work schedule, and life in general things have been crazy.  While our Christmas tree is standing the rest of the season seems to be disjointed.  I ordered custom Christmas cards, but they aren't addressed, let alone mailed.  Our Christmas shopping is finished, but none of it is wrapped.  It feels as if Christmas is halfway done and I have very little energy to tackle it once Emily is fed, washed, and in bed. 

One thing I am excited for is Friday.  Myself and the rest of my little family will be traveling to Maryland for a good 'ol Eastern Shore Christmas.  My mom and sisters will get a huge dose of Emily time.  I will get a lot of camera time and to see old friends.  Shawn is going to get to hunt.  All of us will have an amazing few days.

Lets ignore the fact that the weather forecast right now is horrible for both the way down and the way back.  Nothing sounds worse than traveling over five hundred miles through a Nor'easter with a baby.  And yes, we are driving...  its cheaper and easier than flying.  Plus, if Shawn gets a deer while hunting it would be kind of difficult to get the meat back on an airplane.  Lets just hope all the snowy weather holds off until the 27th when we are back in Vermont where its welcomed. 

So, I have a few days to tie up all the leftovers of Christmas that I haven't before I am casting off all responsibilities and  focusing on family.  That will be a new thing... no work, no phone ringing constantly, no fire department, none of that.  Just family. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Striking a Balance

For years my work and home melded together as one.  Shawn's work and home life flowed just as seamlessly.  Somewhere him and I met in the middle and struck a happy medium.  Now that Emily is here, especially now that she is a loud and rambunctious toddler, things aren't melding as easy, especially for me.  

Shawn is married to the fire department just as much as he's married to me.  I knew that going into a relationship with him years ago that he would have to spend a lot of time away from home for his job, much of it from an unexpected call when the pager goes off.  That wasn't an issue.  If he ran off for a call and I had obligations elsewhere I could just tend to them and know that at some point Shawn and I would end up back home together.  Freely, I could excel at my work, dive into projects, and focus on my own career without limitations.  Then I became a mom.

A mom who's married to a firefighter.

A mom who's a nurse that's married to a firefighter.

A mom who's a nurse that's married to a firefighter living far away from any family.

That's presented a fair share of complications over the last year and few months.  In a marriage like ours someone has to be the one who decides to default and be there for the baby.  Someone has to make sacrifices, despite the difficulties.  That someone has been me.  I would never think of dampening Shawn's drive on the fire department to stay home for family obligations (baring important events, of course).  Its what makes him happy and when Shawn is happy I am happy. That's just who I am. 

So, Emily and I spend a lot of time together, which isn't a bad thing.  In fact, I love spending time with her - of course.  She's about the most amazing human being I've met, but I think I am genetically programmed to think that.  Either way, despite her lack of any intention to, Emily often puts me in difficult spots.  I sometimes have to pass on doing things for myself, for work, and doing things things I enjoy.  I have to set boundaries.  No longer can I simply do whatever I want or jump to save the day like I might be inclined to.  There are lines in the sand that without them existing my family would not function as it does.  

I'm fortunate enough to have a wonderfully healthy and happy little family unit.  The strife of friends, coworkers, and patients I  routinely see makes me appreciate what I have.  There are so many problems out there in the world and it isn't easy to keep them at bay.  It takes a lot of work.

It takes balance.

My hopes are that people understand why these lines are so hard to draw, but so necessary.  They also don't mean I am not any less engaged or eager about the things I do, but have to set limits on.  Would I like to work more, come in earlier or go home later sometimes?  Sure!  But who then would pick up Emily or be home to wake her up?  Would I like to do more photography?  Sure!  But who would spend time with Emily while I take the photos or edit them?  A child is a wonderful complication, but it doesn't make me any less of a person, just a more responsible and balanced one. 

Part of me is very excited for when she is older and can do things and go places and be part of everything!  ...she'll grow, eventually, and then those lines in the sand can be redrawn.