Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Snuggles and Struggles

After working all day, I pick up Alexa from school.  We play for an hour together and then I have to make dinner.  She watches Blue’s Clues or Little Einsteins while I prepare our meals.  We eat together, I clean up dinner and then it is time for Alexa’s bath.  Some nights I sit next to the tub and do a little exercise with hand weights while she plays with her bath toys.  It’s the only chance I have!  After a long bath, I chase her around the house trying to get her dressed for bed, brush her hair and brush her teeth.  We clean up her room and I make her “chocolate (greens and berries) almond milk” while she picks out 2 bedtime books.  Sometimes she helps and puts the “chocolate” into her almond milk.  We both crawl into her bed and read books together.  “Two more books” she asks when I say THE END after book #2.  Usually, I cave since it is the only time I get to snuggle with her and read with her these days.  She crawls down off her bed to pick out two more books.  Then it is lights out time which comes with some resistance as she begs for another book and has to go to the toilet one more time.  Finally, REALLY lights out.  “Mommy, don’t leave!”  “Snuggle with me!”  “Mommy wants to snuggle with me.”  Again, I cave for two reasons.  One, because when I try to leave she begins to cry hysterically begging me through gasps of air and tears to not leave her.  And two, because I am perfectly aware these precious times will be gone all too soon.  I know my bedtime snuggle time with her won’t last forever and this breaks my heart.  However, the process isn’t that easy.  She fights going to sleep, tossing and turning, throwing her kitten blanket off and then asking me over and over to put it back on her.  She sings her ABC’s; begins to tell me who is a boy and a girl in our household “Camnut is a boy, Daddy is a boy, Mommy is a girl, Alexa is a girl, Acadia is a girl…”.  She asks me “what’s that noise?” to every single creek and crack sound she hears.  I answer her questions and quickly tell her “Shhhhh, it is time to go to sleep.  Relax, close eyes.”  Just as she finally begins to settle down and get quiet, POP! She sits up and tells me she has to go potty “One. More. Time.”  After potty break number whatever, we crawl back into her bed and begin the settling down process all over again.  Over the course of the hour to 2 hours this sleep process takes I begin to loose patience.  I’m almost 34 weeks pregnant and so physically uncomfortable now.  Thoughts of how I am going to handle this extensive bedtime routine while trying to take care of a newborn swarm my head.  It is exhausting.  I’m exhausted and distraught.  Once she finally falls asleep, I sneak out of her room so I can finish cleaning up the kitchen, take out the trash and prepare her lunch for school for the next day.  Then I jump on the computer to cram in a few more hours of work before finally laying down in my empty bed to relax for 30 minutes with a book or mindless TV before going to sleep.  Two to three hours after I close my eyes I hear a cry.  Alexa is up crying for me.  She had a nightmare or maybe just woke up and found me “missing”.  I can’t focus my eyes, but still stumble down the stairs into her bedroom.  I open the door to find her sitting up in bed.  “Lay down with me Mommy.”  “Alexa”, I say, “I can’t honey, you need to go back to sleep on your own like you always have before.”  “NO, MOMMY, NO!  PLEASE DON’T LEAVE ME!  AYAYA WANTS TO COME UP STAIRS AND SLEEP IN MOMMY’S BED!”  If I let her sleep in my bed, it is easier and actually pretty nice to have her next to me.  But, I don’t know how it will work when Daddy is home again or when there is an infant upstairs with us too, so this makes me hesitate.  If I don’t let her come up, then the power struggle begins.  She cries and repeatedly gets out of bed and runs out of her room crying for me in desperation.  So, what do I do?  Let her sleep in my bed of course.  I go back and forth with cherishing these snuggling moments and feeling the effects of the lack of sleep she is getting as well as myself.  I never sleep well with her in my bed for some reason.  I never have even when she was an infant.  I’m up and down tons all night.  Of course the pregnancy is making it worse with constant pee breaks and water chugging thirst.  I am exhausted and emotional and feel like I am running out of time.  Running out of time with my little Alexa and running out of time to get these sleep issues remedied before baby number 2 comes.  Everyone in this house needs to get a good night sleep!
Sadly, instead of spending my 30 minutes of personal time at night connecting with the baby in my tummy or reading pregnancy/delivery books, I am spending the time reading about how to parent Alexa better.  How to compassionately help her to sleep on her own again and how to compassionately set limits and compassionately discipline.  I feel so unprepared for the baby’s arrival as my memory is cloudy about breastfeeding schedules and don’t even know what to expect or what to do when I go into labor.  All my energy is going into Alexa.  I am exhausted.  I am emotional.  I am breaking down.  It will help when Daddy is home again, but this yachtie lifestyle will take him away from us again less than two weeks later.  This is all consuming.  She used to be such a good sleeper going to bed on her own, sleeping for 10+ hours a night without a peep.  I'm breaking down.  I don’t know what to do.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I need to go for a long run and I’d love to get drunk...

I’m going to be honest with you… I’m having a rough time.  George and I have been separated this time for 18 days so far and it feels like an eternity.  I’m sick, exhausted, emotional, stressed, overwhelmed, and in pain.  I’m ready for this pregnancy to be over with and at the same time completely stressed out of my mind about the arrival of this newest little addition.  I constantly wonder how I am going to balance taking care of two, mostly alone.  My patience is shot and my emotions are running high.  This normally calm, strong woman has cried more tears in the last 24 hours than I care to admit.  Mostly tears of guilt as I beat myself up each night for not being more patient with Alexa during these final weeks.  I feel like I’m running out of time with my precious daughter.  I am simultaneously being torn between irritation/exhaustion by her strong-headed, full-blown toddlerism and desperately wanting to spend every waking moment smothering her with kisses and I love you’s.

To top it off, I haven’t had the time or energy to get anything ready for this new little baby. I’ve been home from France now for two weeks and all I’ve managed to get done for the baby is moving a couple pieces of furniture and buying a few clothes.  The crib is in pieces, literally in pieces.  The swing is buried deep in the garage and probably has families of spiders living in it.  There are so many little infant bits and pieces scattered about all my friends and I desperately need it all to start coming together fast.  The stress of my nesting instincts is becoming unbearable. 

How am I going to balance a toddler and an infant, work, manage a house hold and manage myself alone?  I need to go for a long run and I’d love to get drunk… just a little drunk.  Sadly, neither is in my near future… well, maybe they actually are… Eek.  Only 5 to 7 weeks before I am a yachtie mom of two!  Holy Shit!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Adventure Catch Up

I’ve so been slacking on this blog and focusing more on my pregnancy blog during my allocated blogging time, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have loads to share with you on Yachtie Mommy.  So much adventure to share… In fact, there is no way to properly fill you in.  However, I will attempt to recap.  I’ll leave out the boring work stuff, daily chores and my days where I am so exhausted I can barely stand up straight and instead I’ll start with mine and Alexa’s second adventure to the island of St. Margarette with my friends Lauren and Sarah.  Adventurous boat trips lead us to hiking through the Eucalyptus forest, picnic on the rocky beach and swimming in the clear blue Med.  So fun.  Then, a few more trips to the Juan les Pins beaches, train rides to Antibes, carousels, playgrounds, the artsy glass blowing French town of Biot, the boat trip to Monaco, a fish feeding frenzy on our feet, Gorges du Verdon, painting, cutting, pasting, clay, workbooks, coloring, drawing, Hello Kitty crocks, “fishing” for ducks, jelly fish stings and bird’s pooping on our heads.  George was present for some of the above adventures which was great, but lately has been working on a yacht the last 5 days… we miss him, but little A and I have kept pretty busy.  Here’s some photos…

Thursday, August 11, 2011

No More Afternoon Siesta, Already… Really?

In Spain, everyone shuts down after lunch.  Businesses close, restaurants stop serving and in the summers many companies even have what they call “summer hours” where employees come to work early (around 7 or 7:30am) and then end for the day at 1pm, have a long wine-filled lunch and then rest for a while after, siesta.  So why is my soon to be 28 month old toddler on the verge of giving up afternoon naps forever?  I guess the fact I don’t feed her any wine at lunch could contribute to the issue, but still… I need that nap time to work and on the days I don’t have any work, I need that nap time to decompress, to have my own little couple of hours to myself.  No more afternoon nap is detrimental to my work schedule and my sanity, but then again what am I to do?  On the days she does nap, it takes hours to get her to go to sleep at night with battles sometimes lasting until past 11pm!  If she skips naps, sometimes the late afternoons are filled with tears and tantrums and I’m not just talking about Alexa’s tears and tantrums.  Good news is when afternoon naps are skipped, night time is a breeze.  She is out within 10 minutes after closing our last bedtime story freeing up more time for me to get work done or to connect with my hubby.  We are in a transitional phase, again.  Let’s face it, it really doesn’t matter if I am not ready for Alexa to give up her afternoon nap, she IS ready to give it up so I need to quickly learn to adapt.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Home Sweet Home… well, not really.

On our way home from Barcelona, as we got closer and closer to our villa in Juan les Pin, I felt a heaviness come over me, a slight depression feeling really.  At the risk of sounding snobby, I have to admit, I really don’t like living in the South of France.  I know, I know, it all sounds so luxurious… sun bathing on the French Riviera beaches, French rose wine, frolicking among the lavender and sunflower fields, bike rides along the cote d’azur, listening to people speak the beautiful romantic French language, devouring French delicacies on our villa apartment terrace overlooking the mountains and the Mediterranean sea.  Well, here’s our lives right now from a different perspective… the beaches are so crowded you can barely find a square inch of sand to claim for yourself, the ocean water is cold and crowded most of the time, I can’t drink any French rose right now because I am pregnant, usually we see lavender and sunflower fields only as we fly by them on the highway in a car and can’t stop to play in them or even take a photo, the French language is so hard to learn for me I can’t communicate with anyone here to save my life, the French people around here are very rude, the streets are so small and crowded with cars that bike rides are actually quite stressful and dangerous especially with a pregnant woman who is quickly loosing my sence of balance on a road bike carrying a 30 lb toddler on the back, and… well… I guess it isn't all bad... the dinners on our terrace CAN be quite nice.  Too bad I can’t enjoy any of the wine Daddy G drinks each night nor can I enjoy any of the most popular delicious Mediterranean dishes due to lack of pasteurization and the risk of listeria and toxoplasmosis in pregnancy.
Sigh.  I always feel guilty after a flood of negativity like the paragraph above.  I usually try to keep my negative thoughts to myself only allowing them to detonate when I can finally truly laugh about the whole situation.  Maybe a small part of me believes in instant karma, so I feel a strong urge to quickly convert any pessimistic attitude to cheerful, positive, bright.  I should be grateful for these experiences and I am.  Despite my frustration with the French language and French people, I am learning and so is Alexa.  To compliment Alexa’s growing English language vocabulary, she understands quite a bit of French and Spanish and can count to 10 in both languages and to 20 in English.  She says, “Merci”, “Gracias”, “Grazie”, “Adios”, “A bientot”, “Hola”, “Au revoir”, “Bonjour”, “Hello”, “Hi”, “Ciao”, "Bye" and “Bonne journee” perfectly.  Just about every day over here is something new and different for Alexa and for me.  And the access via road trip to so many amazing places near to here is absolutely amazing.  We are truly blessed.  And let’s face it, even if I can’t enjoy any of the wines over here this time, the olives, croissants and cappuccinos are to die for.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"Three Days in Rome"

Wait, isn’t that a Sheryl Crow song “Three Days in Rome”?  I meant, “Three Days in Barcelona”… excuse me, Bar-the-lona.  Once again, little A and I tagged along on one of G’s business trips for the adventure.  George and I have experienced Barcelona many times before and LOVE it there, but Alexa has never been to Spain… so off we went.  Alexa is becoming a super star road trip queen.  6+ hours in the car and barely a peep.  I wonder how many times she can watch “Finding Nemo”, “Happy Feet”, “Barney”, “Dora” and “Go Diego Go” before she has a mental breakdown… or before I have one.  Day one, while G was working at MB92, Alexa and I decided to explore the Barcelona Aquarium.  Now, anyone who knows me knows I do not agree with any animal “parks” used for human entertainment.  Zoos, animal circuses, and marine style parks with Orcas and Dolphins included, but rescue/rehabilitation animal parks and open water aquariums do seem okay to me.  I mean, in open water access aquariums on the coast the fish and sharks have the freedom to leave the aquarium if they so choose to, right?  Well, sadly, Alexa and I discovered most, if not all, of the Barcelona aquarium tanks are enclosed and quite small and none of the fish are there due to rescue and rehabilitation efforts.  And worst of all, they have a small enclosure with Humbolt penguins.  They might not be the exact same penguins we’ve been watching over and over in Happy Feet, the Emperor and Adelie penguins, but to us PENGUINS ARE PENGUINS!  SENTIENT ANIMALS WITH FEELINGS AND THEY BELONG IN THE WILD WITH THEIR FAMILIES!  At least they had some animal-free educational attractions for the kids as well.

After our L’aquarium experience, we cautiously absorbed entertainment of Las Ramblas, ate tapas and paella, played in the Olympic Park, enjoyed the Magic Fountain of Montjuic, chased pigeons, visited Gaudi’s Cathedral, Mommy experienced some inspiring moments at the Museu Nacional D'art de Catalunya, and we took the open-top tour bus all around the city.

Oddly enough, in the land of “good coffee”, Starbucks litters the streets of Barcelona.  I considered getting a venti half calf soy latte or a venti decaf iced soy latte or even going crazy and getting a frapaccino, but ultimately I avoided the temptation to cave into my state-side addiction.

The trip home was uneventful except for our mid trip petrol, toilet and food stop.  We somehow wound up inside of a “McDeath” aka McDonnalds.  I have to admit, I honestly haven’t stepped foot inside a McDonnalds in so many years I have no idea when the last time was.  Easily over 12 years ago, so I really don’t have anything to compare this experience with, but when did McDeath start doing everything on computers?  You walk in and instead of ordering your food from a counter person, you go to a computer booth set up in the center of the restaurant like the e-ticket machines at the airport, stick in your credit card and punch in your own order.  Not that it is a bad thing, just something else new to experience.  While G waited for our nasty so called food, Alexa and I decided to play in the germ infested play area.  There were no slides, no obstacle coarse, no basket of balls to slide into like I remembered from my childhood.  Instead there was a cartoon about chickens in French playing and a game where you had to match the animal with the “food” humans use the animal for.  I have to admit, it was disturbing.  We left with our pile of greasy pomme frites and 10 day old sliced apples and grapes and jumped back into the car to drive the last three hours back to Juan les Pin.