Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lightening up

Matthew just left for a work trip to Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, so I will be taking care of Jonah by myself until Sunday night. It's been a while since I've done this. The last time was really, really hard, even though I went home to visit my family for the duration of Matthew's trip. But, Jonah was smaller then. And, some things have changed. But, I also learned many lessons from times past. So, I have decided that I'm going to try to make the best of it this time around, and I am giving myself permission to do a few things to help lighten my load.

I'm going to try to look at this time as a chance to really spend some time with Jonah. I know that might sound silly since I spend every single day with him and have since he was born. But, we just got back from a trip with the family, and while Jonah LOVED it and had probably the best time of his young life, he and I may have gotten just a touch (just at teeny bit) out of sync. Nothing too bad, really, but thinking of this time alone with him as a way to get back in tune with each other will help me get through the next few nights (and exhausting days) and, I think, will help Jonah as he deals with all the frustrations that go along with being almost 16 months old, with being so small but having such very big desires and ambitions.

This time, too, I am planning to have a little bit of help. I've set up a few hours of babysitting over the weekend. A couple of mom friends have agreed to take Jonah for a few hours on Saturday and/or Sunday while I take a break, nap, clean, shower, exercise or do whatever it is I need to do, and I will return the favor for them later. Another friend has offered to help out here and there and I will take him up on that with the hope that he will play with Jonah one or two evenings while I prepare dinner and then clean up afterward. A few other friends know I will be alone and have offered to help or just spend some time with us, which is always great because it helps dilute the intensity of being alone with a toddler all day long.

The other thing we have going for us is that it is supposed to be absolutely beautiful and warm this weekend. That is good because yesterday and today are pretty gray, rainy and dreary. But, some lovely spring weather is bound to put smiles on our faces.

And, for the days when it's not so nice out, I have wheels. I made sure that I could keep the car -- Matthew arranged for a car service to bring him to and from Andrews Air Force Base, where he will catch the press charter plane. This will make it so much easier to bring Jonah places and get us both out of the house, regardless of the weather.

Catching some zzzz's will be a top priority, too. I'm going to try as hard as I can to go to bed super, super early, like as soon as I can after Jonah does. It's kind of fun to do this sometimes, and easier to do when I am home alone. I can put Jonah to bed, clean up a bit and then curl up in bed with a book and a cup of tea. It makes me really happy just thinking about it. And, getting even an hour extra will help a lot since Jonah almost always wakes up between 4 and 5 a.m., not rested enough to start the day but usually has a hard time going back to sleep. Since we nightweaned Jonah, I have tried not to nurse him any earlier than 6 a.m., so Matthew has been handling these really early wakings. Most of the time, Matthew is able to coax Jonah back to sleep. And, I'm a bit out of practice. But, I plan to cut myself some slack. I will try to encourage Jonah to go back to sleep without nursing, but if it doesn't work out, I'm giving myself permission to take him to bed with me for the rest of the morning. Part of me feels a little bad because this will likely make things a little more difficult for Matthew upon his return, but I will not do well if I have to wake up every day at 4 a.m. On the other hand, maybe Jonah will sleep even better over the next few days! I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I'm curious to see how Jonah will handle his dad's absence. He is bound to really notice it now, and I hope that he will handle it OK. I plan to talk to him about it, and maybe we can do some webchats with Matthew, but Jonah is lucky to have a dad who, despite having kind of random and unpredictable hours, spends a great deal of time with him. I know Jonah will miss him. And, clearly, Matthew is already missing Jonah.

I know I am capable of surviving the next few days, and this time I am going to try to make it easier on myself. Now ... if I could just find a way to sneak in a yoga class ... Hmmm. ~ Nicole

p.s. Here is a photo of Jonah after he fell asleep in my lap on the couch last weekend, right before we had planned to put him in the car for his nap during our errands. After he fell asleep, I realized I still had to change his diaper. This photo was taken after the diaper change. We were amazed he slept through it all! How things have changed!