Sunday, August 05, 2007

Shockingly, Not About Flip Flops

"You've got too many shoes. And look, half of them are flip flops. How many pairs of flip flops can you wear at once?"

"I'm not answering that."

"I bet you could wear one pair each day all summer and not repeat once."

"I bet not."

"I'm not sure I've seen you without them, actually. Do you sleep in flip flops?"

"No... but I'm not sure I sleep. I don't think I've slept all summer."

And just about all of me feels that.

I think it's important, with all this happiness talk lately, that I remind myself (if not, everyone else) how incredibly exhausted I am if I let myself stop long enough to think about it. Even when I try to sleep, I can't. There's so much to do, so much to worry about.

I know better than to think it's anything but a phase. A phase I've no doubt been in before. I think, apparently blinded by being happy and grateful, I've filled the plate a little too full. Maybe setting end of summer goals or already planning for next year has not served me well. Just because it seems like preparing doesn't mean you're prepared now. At least not prepared to deal with it.

A huge contributor to this feeling, I think, is having my nephew around. Not to say I'm with him constantly and not to say that his mother isn't infinitely better at washing the dishes, talking on the phone, and pulling his hands out of the electrical outlets all at once, because she is, but I feel like after a lifetime of no one ever having really tried, this kid is kicking my ass. (And mom, when you read that I typed "ass" on my blog, just remember it took you a year and a half to start reading this and if ass is the worse thing you see from here on out consider yourself lucky. Might I suggest you never go into the archives.) Since my sister and her child, The One Whom Shall Never Need Caffeine, arrived, I've been able to see them every day. Yes, this is odd in itself because there are other things I should be doing every day that I can't manage but when it comes to rolling around in the grass or throwing a metal bowl against the wall because it makes that hilarious noise EVERY TIME, well I have no problem finding time for that.

Sometimes my "auntily duties" consist of nothing more than turning on the radio (kid loves to dance and sing) while other times, they're decidedly more challenging like pushing fifty pounds of kid and jogger stroller up a hill. Or wiping his face, an act in which my jaw is usually on the floor because his head can turn 360 degrees without moving his body. The entire time, no matter what we're doing, I'm having a great time. Thrilled with the concept of being part of his life and him mine, all the while basking in the glow of the idea that I get to give him back.

Which I do. Usually.

Then I leave, drive home or wherever, and generally hit a wall. Suddenly, I feel like I've run a marathon and instead of being allowed to recover, rehydrate and celebrate, I have to go back to normal life. I have to walk the dog and fold laundry when all I really want to do is collapse. And drink. Each time, the same thought comes to mind: How do parents do it?

I honestly do not know. Perhaps you adapt? I've heard some mothers say "the energy just comes to you." I cannot imagine, and I have quite the imagination.

The best conclusion I've got, the nearest I can tell, is that you are motivated. Something, be it the cuteness or the automatic sense of parental responsibility, or nap time, must keep you going.
I might be biased, but I think that cuteness factor would be huge for me.


e.b. said...

Okay first the bow tie is killing me - could he be any cuter?

But more than that I find that these times come in phases. It seems you are in one of those. You don't want to compromise anything or anyone so you don't. Which is totally fine and knowing that come the fall, or whenever, it may slow again.

Plus as you said yourself this week all this makes you happy and grateful and honestly that is what it is all about. You found it.

Maggie said...

With children around, you do things because you have to. There is no other option. And then you come crashing to a halt when they sleep.
(Naps are for the adults, btw, not the kids.)
Glad you're having fun!

dawn said...

Girl, you can't post cute pics like that and expect anyone to comment about anything but that adorable little boy!!

Bre said...

My uterus literally skipped a beat because of that freaking bow tie. I could eat him up! So adorable!!

I'm guessing (and really it's just a guess) that it's the little things that keep you going - the falling asleep with their head on your shoulder, "love ya mommy", seeing yourself in their eyes things. I mean, why else would anyone do it?!

And you? Nap some, sweetie!

Sizzle said...

having just returned from 5 days with my sis and nephew, i have a sense of what you are talking about. and that was just 5 days! i don't know how they do it and honestly, don't think i could do it on a full time basis. being an aunt rules.

Anonymous said...

it's the overwhelming love.

Backofpack said...

You grow into it. The farther you get into the pregnancy, the less you sleep. The baby comes and you get even less, but you love them so much it doesn't matter. By the time they turn into the little bundle of energy that you are playing with, you've adapted to sleep deprivation, and you are going full tilt. And, little ones rearrange your priorities moving straight to the top of the list. Everything else slides out of sight. And, they are worth every minute of it.

appletini said...

Awwww! How adorable!!

I can definitley identify with this one. After having my nephew for a couple of days, I'm exhausted,and I don't know how parents do it... and do it right.

I guess you do just go into "parent mode" You have to, there is no other option :)

brandy said...

How ridiculously cute is your newphew?! Seriously. He should be on the cover of a magazine, or some apple juice container. I think parents would buy apple juice if that cute guy was selling it.

The Exception said...

Sleep? Who needs it? There is too much life to be lived to sleep! ;) I don't think I slept for more than a few hours a night until my daughter was 4 or 5. Even now, my sleep is determined by her, work, and everything else that drifts through my brain. Sometimes I think being tired is status quo.

Parents do it because if they don't, who will? ;) In my case, I minimized. The les I have to control, the more able I am to control the little there is. I know mothers who had amazing careers until they woke up one day and decided that they had missed too much of the kids lives. They pulled back professionally and minimized in order to be with their kids.

It is all about drawing lines and finding the balance within yourself.

sue said...

He's a cutie!

I had four, but had them very young and know I could NOT do it now. I get worn out when my 4th-grade grandson visits and he's a great kid! Guess it's just one of those things that you adapt at the time because really, what other choice do you have?

Danielle said...

I don't know how they do it either as I have NO time for anything and looking at parents, how do you ever find time for anything? I don't plan on ever finding out either! I'm fine with the ones that you can "give back"...:)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

When you are in the thick of parenting little kids (which is completely different from parenting teenagers), you are so absorbed in it, that it just becomes part of your DNA. There's a reason for all the mommy gatherings and play groups - to be amongst people who are at the same stage as you, and because nobody else understands what you are talking about anymore.

I'm sure nobody has ever mentioned this, but your nephew is the cutest thing in existence.

JenKneeBee said...

omg, he is out of control adorable. cute cheeks and little bowtie. that's it, i'm off to find me one of those... :)

justacoolcat said...

I've always, said "The ladies can't resist a man in a blow tie." and I stad by it.

I don't know how anyone gets the energy to deal with kids. My nieces can wear out my dogs in a matter of minutes. If I try the same thing it takes me all day to tire them out.

brookem said...

oh he's so adorable!! wow!
i agree, i think these things happen in phases. i had one of these freak out feelings a couple weeks ago, and things finally seem to be getting more balanced.
oh, and you can never have too many flip flops! never!

Airam said...

This summer I"ve been playing 'mommy' to my 2 nieces driving them to soccer practice and Italian school so I can totally relate!! I too wonder how in the world parents (especially mothers) manage to get so many things done in a day AND take care of their kids. I guess it just comes with the territory. I don't have kids so I'm still in that selfish mode I suppose.

GirlGoyle said...

I think it's probably that they don't have time or opportunity to realize how tired they are. Constantly running on fumes sort of becomes a routine. So much so that if you take it away they don't know what to do with themselves.

AaroN said...

Theoretically, flipflops take up less room in the closet.

Cute or not, kids can still wear you out! Love the bow-tie, though! :D

runliarun said...

Hmmm... is it just a phase? The more time goes by, the more intense things seem to get. At least for me.