Family returns, family balance

Ted and Hazel returned last night, right about bedtime. We allowed some time for the sisters’ reunion, and then we put everybody to bed. As I lay down I could feel myself relaxing in a way I hadn’t been able to during their absence, and I fell fast asleep. Oh, the bliss of deep sleep. Knowing Ted was there, that I wasn’t on duty by myself, made a huge difference. Even though I woke up several times last night (the babies were, ironically, more restless than they had been the past several nights) I was able to get back to sleep much faster. And this morning when I woke up I could feel the difference. Ruddy marvelous, as they might say on the other side of the pond.

Today the babies were a bit whiny and needy. I think that was in reaction to their daddy and big sister being gone. The fact that they did fine during the almost-week that it was just me and them, though, makes me feel better about the week I’m going to be gone in November. Though Ted can’t nurse them, he can care for them and meet their needs and love them, and they will be fine. And then I will be VERY glad to see them when I come back.

This afternoon I signed Hazel up for swimming lessons and soccer. She’s looking forward to both of those activities. I am looking forward to seeing her learn new things. And when I told her about the soccer, and that I was going to take her, she got really excited.
“Just you and me?”
“Yup, we’ll have some Mommy-Hazel time as well as the soccer class.”
“Oh, thank you Mommy!” and she dove into my arms for a snuggle.

Also today I had a good conversation with our contractor. We’ve decided to split the studio project into two so we can balance all our competing needs better. I’ll have a functional space at the end of the work this year, and next year we’ll finish it nicely. Until then, we’ll do various things to make the space fun. We have a bunch of paint left over from various projects, so I think we’ll have a painting party in which Hazel can join. It feels good to have come to a solution that works for everyone.

One good thing about Ted and Hazel being gone was that I wound up doing some of the tasks Ted usually does. It’s good to mix it up like that; doing so reminds everybody that they are capable of more than they are accustomed to doing. Too much specialization can lead to a false feeling of helplessness.

Last night I read the first chapter of “Positive Discipline“. I am looking forward to reading more. Hazel will be a good partner in our new family processes, but it will definitely be work for Ted and me, learning new ways. It will be good, though. I think we’ll all be happier and healthier in the long run.

Tonight, I was at the end of my rope after a protracted Hazel melt-down. We all recovered, and made a shopping list. Then Ted very kindly took the kids and went grocery shopping with them. Having some time alone is an incredible panacea. I feel relaxed and renewed when I get it. We’ve built in time for each of us to have alone in our weekly schedule, starting this month. I am looking forward to moving into this next phase, in which our babies are no longer so little, and we each get some of what we had in our lives back, before the advent of this past year’s whirlwind adventure. It does bear endless repeating (at least internally) that I am so grateful for what we have, and I wouldn’t trade it. My babies’ toothy grins, Hazel’s sweet, creative, energetic personality, and the parenting partnership that Ted and I are building are ingredients for a wonderful life.

More ingredients to come this year: more time to practice; a semi-regular quartet (in the works); fun activities for Hazel; alone-time for Ted and me; swimming lessons for the twins; a new space in which to practice; more exercise (bike riding, going to the gym), and more.

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