I'm starting to settle into a routine this week, what I like to call our "new normal." People keep asking me if, after pregnancy and the 9.5 weeks of bed rest, I'm starting to feel like everything's back to normal. The answer is no - but I didn't expect life as it was. For the moment, everything revolves around Emily and Erin's every need, and that is as it should be. Dan went back to work this week, which means that taking care of them has fallen largely on me. After a few days, I can truthfully say that I love it. Being at home with them every day this summer is going to be wonderful.
There are some aspects of this that do feel more like life as I remember it 9 months ago, such as doing laundry, making the bed without help, cooking simple dinners, and being able to bend forward all the way. Little everyday tasks are (mostly) within my reach again, as long as they don't involve lifting anything over 10 pounds or driving. The biggest difference is that everything proceeds at a markedly slower pace. For example, as I was telling one of my friends yesterday, I set goals for myself in the morning. The first goal is to pour a cup of coffee. The second goal is to actually drink the coffee (makes for a much more functional mommy!) Breaking it down like this makes me feel like I've achieved something for the day, kind of like putting "remember to breathe" on your to-do list. (Haven't done this? Try it! You'll always get to check at least one thing off for the day.) Third goal is to take a shower, fourth goal is to dry my hair. You get the idea. After a couple of days of this, I realized that this list of goals is none other than my former morning routine, which I used to blaze through in half an hour (or less!) starting at 4:50 every morning. In comparison, the "new normal" morning routine can take upwards of 3 hours. Once again, this is as it should be. I am learning new tricks every day, though, such as:
1. Never underestimate the calming factor of the blow dryer. It's a well-known fact that babies are used to constant loud noise in utero, but I'd never tested this out until yesterday. Comfortably swaddled on the middle of our bed, fed, freshly diapered, but still fussing loudly, both girls' eyes glazed over the minute I flipped the switch. (As soon as I turned it off, they woke up and remembered they weren't happy for some reason. Oh well. They were calmer than before, so it's worth trying. And it's multi-tasking!)
2. Coffee is just as effective when drunk quickly as when slowly sipped.
3. It may take an extra moment to grab a bib before mealtime, but this moment (30 seconds in reality) saves two minutes of trying to clean up a milky baby and coax her into a clean shirt.
4. Any form of multi-tasking is worth trying. It may take a little forethought, but making lunch to eat while pumping milk saves a whole fifteen minutes. I can make them lunch while eating my own lunch - and I get to sit down while doing both!
5. Leaving the TV on makes it harder to doze off when sitting on the couch with the babies in the middle of the night. It also makes me more motivated to stay up and pump milk as often as recommended during the night. I have seen (or rather, heard) Chopped so many times in the last two weeks. Somehow, though, I've seen the same episodes three or four times each. This must be geared to help insomniacs fall asleep or something. Note to Food Network: not everyone who turns on the TV in the middle of the night is trying to fall asleep.
There are others, I'm sure. I'll post them as I discover/remember them.
As we settle into more of a routine during the day, I'm starting to see patterns emerge. This involved some intense record-keeping, but I realized when I got up at 1:45 this morning that I'd gotten up at 1:45 on Wednesday morning as well. Sure enough, we were up until almost 4 again. (Well, Emily and Erin were asleep by 3:30. I stayed up to pump so they'd have something to eat the next time.) And just as on Wednesday, no sooner had I finished pumping, put the milk in a jar, and crawled back under the covers, they were awake again. Thankfully, today Dan offered to feed both girls so I could go back to sleep for a little bit. Having an idea of when they'd like to eat does make the nights feel more doable. And no matter what, as soon as the sun comes up, I feel a surge of energy. I don't want to know why this is so, because knowing why might make it quit working. I just know I love it!
I linked this post at Jenna's blog for her Spicy Link-Up!