Who Takes Care of the Moms?

Last night, my youngest was up late with a high fever – not so high that we needed to call a doctor, but high enough that he was uncomfortable and I was worried. As the hours ticked by, my thoughts, inevitably, turned to how much sleep I wasn’t going to get that night. Alex and I have been running on literal fumes these days…his work has been insane and I’ve been hustling to keep things going at home, so a lack of sleep isn’t a new thing in our world.

But, last night was different. In my worries about my child (am I keeping him cool enough without chilling him, is he getting enough liquid, should I call the doctor?), I started to worry about Callum and Alex getting sick and then what would happen if I got sick, too. I do NOT have time for that jazz. 

See, I, stupidly, decided to sign up for a half marathon – with everything else I’m doing with the boys – and my training group meets on Saturday morning. At 7’OCLOCK IN THE FRIGGING MORNING! For anyone who knows me, knows a very important part of me is that I do NOT do mornings. So, rolling out of bed at 6 so that I can go kill myself running sprint intervals is just beyond comprehension. But, here I am. So, as I’m worrying about my sweet baby, I’m also counting the hours of sleep I could POTENTIALLY get. When Rhys finally drifted off, it was a five hours, and I thought I could still do this.

Then, he woke at 5 am. And I broke. I just cannot ANYTHING on four hours of sleep. I’m not 22 people.

So, i missed my running group – the only 1.5 hours of the week that are TRULY mine. No babies, no dogs, no errands, no hubs…just me (and the demon trainers yelling at me). I regretted it the second I sent the message I couldn’t make it.

But, when do you draw the line? Who takes care of the moms when everyone else is taken care of? Sometimes, we just can’t be everything for everyone. 

I’ve started thinking about this concept of “self care” a lot lately as I’m doing some guest blogging for another site. I struggle with this as I wonder how you walk the line of self indulgence and self care. 

I feel as though, especially lately, I have found a good balance; I’ve made friends, I have a great group of women I workout with and with whom I have a community, and Alex lets me sleep in on the weekends…when I’m not running, of course. But, it’s taken me a while to get here. 

So, kudos to those who have already figured out how to walk that very fine line and keep your chin up to those that are still finding that balance. 

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Callum Does…

It has been made very clear to me lately how quickly time is flying past; it feels like just a few short months ago that Callum even came into our world, and now he’s a walking, talking/babbling little boy. How has this happened? It’s probably the lack of sleep that is causing me to think time is completely irrelevant these days, but it did cause me to think that I should be documenting some of the wonderful, or crazy, things that happen during our days. Life with a little boy is so wonderfully unpredictable; I really do want to cherish each moment.

Today, Callum actually threw up in my hand. He was aiming for the couch, fortunately the leather one, when he got that look in his eye. Like an avenging angel, I swooped in with the hand cup and saved the couch from a whole lot of partially chewed apple. My life is amazing.

Today, Callum brought me a flower he picked while playing outside. Is there anything that touches a mommy’s heart more than a flower from her little boy? All is right with the world and I am an excellent mother. Later, he brought me a dead bug. You win some, you lose some.

Today, Callum got a hold of my mascara wand and proceeded to brush the wand all over his face. To his credit, he actually made it in his general eye area. I’m probably more proud of this than Alex.

Today, and every day, Callum ran to the door as soon as he heard Alex came home. There is a battle between him and Jake to see who can great Alex first. It’s just downright adorable.

What do you Have in your Mouth?

I feel like I use this phrase no less than 20 times a day. Between Callum and Jake, it has just become part of my normal vernacular. It’s funny – both of them (baby and dog) have a “look” when they have something in their mouth they know they shouldn’t. It’s a mixture of trying to look innocent while trying to move said object around in the mouth. Not so smooth guys.

I was thinking about this today when I went to find Callum while he was with our maid. In the afternoons, Deepali looks after Callum while I work or run errands or just have some “me” time. It’s a nice little system – he usually naps and I get a few hours break. But, today, Deepali had taken him out into our front garden to play, which he loves, while I was working on email. After a few minutes of quiet, I decided to go see what was keeping my gregarious baby so quiet. My hunt lead me to Deepali’s house (right off our house) where one of Deepali’s sons was playing with Cal while Deepali was cooking. And, of course, he had something in his mouth; fortunately, this time it was an India snack that Deepali prepared, but I really don’t even know what it was. Should I find this worrisome? Probably. Do I? Not even a little bit. He was happy as a clam so who am I to bust up that party?

I went back to work, but I started thinking. There are so many things about India that I don’t like. So many things I wish I could change. So many reasons that we are ready to move on to our next assignment. However, Deepali and her family are not one of them. They love Callum so well. I trust Deepali to care for him, love on him, protect him, teach him, and play with him. And, in return, Callum is being exposed to a culture that is millennia in its existence, a culture whose values are based upon family, not stuff. Despite the fact that we have no friends or family here, we have been so incredibly blessed to have an adopted family that will add to the richness of Callum’s childhood.

Now, I don’t know how much of this experience will shape Callum, aside from the fact that he’ll probably love Indian food and have a proclivity towards the Hindi language. But, I sincerely hope that Alex and I make a point to remind him of this…to keep this experience at the forefront of his mind. Because, despite Alex and my experience, this is all Callum knows. This is home, this is life. And that is so weird to think about.

So Many Ideas, So Little Brain Power

It has, obviously, been over a year since our big jaunt to India. So much has happened (I actually did write about a few of those) and time is just whizzing by, thank goodness! Speaking of which, time has whizzed by since my last post. HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN? I actually went back and read what the latest was with us: Callum was sleeping more, we were settled into a routine, and life was going well. Okay, good. All caught up.

Since then, we’ve traveled a bit, which threw off our kid’s sleep schedule, yet again. Shocker, I know. It took about two weeks for him to make the adjustment to Indian time and start sleeping in his crib again. Now, our real test of fortitude has to deal with getting him to sleep through the night. He wakes up around midnight, but will generally fall back asleep. It’s the 4-4:30 a.m. that is the killer. Does he really need another bottle or is he just attempting to slowly drive me insane? It’s really anyone’s guess at this point in time.

We just passed the Ganesha festival again. As I described last year, the Ganesha festival is quite the to-do here in Maharastra, so it was all party, party, party in our neighborhood. Seriously. The neighborhood Ganesh was set up on the other side of our garden wall. We could hear the drumming ALL. FREAKING. DAY. Why…just why does that need to happen?

We are off to Singapore next week for the Formula 1 race. We are SO excited, five whole days in Singapore, man I am pumped! Although, did you know that you can be fined for just CARRYING chewing gum? Famously, you can’t chew gum in public, but you can even get fined for carrying it. Sheesh…not to worry about people being soft on crime. This is actually a really important thing for me to keep in mind for a very good reason: Alex and I are going to dinner on our last night in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands (very famous place in Singapore) and we’re using the hotel babysitting service. (Oh lordy, I’m so excited.) After getting everything booked, I did have a moment of mommy panic and made an offhanded comment that I hoped the baby sitter wasn’t part of some child trafficking ring – Alex then reminded me that stiff penalties for gum chewing were an example of how the Singapore government does not take lightly to crime. So, I’m feeling a bit better about it (sort of).

You know, I have all these ideas about posts, things I want to describe, situations I want to record. But, after taking care of the little man, trying to get things done at work and doing a few things around the house, I feel like all brain power and creative thinking skills have been completely drained from every nook and cranny of my mind. This is why people have children when they are young. I see this now.

Has It Really Been This Long??

So, where did the past 5 months go? I think my last post was back in February – yikes. Consistency, obviously, is not one of my strong suits, you should have seen the numerous diaries I attempted to start when I was younger. Oh, the angst of youth…However, my lack of consistency was compounded by a trying few months of babies, housekeepers, work and just life in general. Of course, you would know that if I had kept my blog up to date, but you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Speaking of which – would you know it?? My kid is asleep, in his crib, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE AFTERNOON!!! WHAT IS HAPPENING? IS THIS THE APOCALYPSE? Seriously, this kid is not a sleeper, unless he’s hunkered down with someone, so the fact that he’s taking a nap by himself and I am enjoying a cup of coffee while working (yes, I am actually working) is just a miracle. It has been a long road of tears, aggravation, sleep deprivation and co-sleeping that has gotten us to this point – just in time to fly off to different time zones to visit family. Super.

No seriously, though. The past month has been a game changer around our household. Callum, all the sudden, decided that he was ready to start going to sleep in his crib  and stay there the majority of the night. Finally, Alex and I are getting to get more sleep, we’re able to have conversations before going to bed, we’re actually able to enjoy ourselves. Whew – never thought it would happen. I really have no idea what changed or why things finally fell into place, but we’re here and LOVING IT!

It really is amazing what a difference sleep can have on your overall attitude. Thank goodness as we have officially hit our 1 year mark! Can you believe it? I can’t, neither can Alex. We made it one whole year – one year of monsoon, of traveling, of having a newborn, of a sweltering Indian summer and we survived. We deserve gold stars really.

Okay, back to work. And, I will do my best to get more of our Indian life updated here.

 

Road Trip!!!!

For those that know me well, know that I HATE road trips that involve car travel. I will do just about anything to avoid riding in a car. While boredom is one particular brand of road trip punishment, my main issue is that I get severe motion sickness. It’s so bad that I can just THINK about getting into a car and the nausea rolls in…but only with cars. Trains, planes and boats, I’m totally okay. Obviously, moving to a city India with its jam packed, sanitarily suspicious railway system, no close access to flights and in the middle of mountains, probably wasn’t the best decision as our primary method of transportation is…a car! I could probably find a cart with a water buffalo, but that might be a bit extreme.

However, when an opportunity comes to get out of Nashik and visit with friends, you jump at the chance and take whatever means necessary out of Dodge. Fortunately, we have had a few reasons to do so in the past few weeks.

Back in January, Callum and I strapped on our travel gear and trekked out to Pune to meet up with Alex (he was there for business) and one of his old colleagues. Now, Pune is only 103 miles from our home, so, in the US, it should only take about 2 hours. In India, however, that 103 miles involves extreme traffic conditions, toll booths that are a chaotic mishmash of vehicles trying to get through, constant construction, large trucks that have no business overtaking anything and tiny tuk-tuks sputtering up hills. So, what should be 2 hours turns into 5.5 hours ON. A. GOOD. DAY. It can get up to 7 hours if there is a traffic jam, or accident. Shoot me.

But, we came out here for adventure, so adventure we shall have! And, I’m so glad we did. Apart from the drive, just really – why is car travel so bad?? – we had such a wonderful time! Pune, as a city, is in the middle between Nashik and Mumbai, as described by Alex. So, the traffic is worse and it’s bigger than Nashik, but there are better shops, restaurants and EXPATS!! Glory be! It was amazing.

We started the weekend off with a quiet dinner at the hotel, just to catch up as a family. I love our family dinners and I can’t wait for Callum to be old enough at least sit at the table and be a part of a family exchange.

Saturday morning was an early start with breakfast and meeting Alex’s coworker, Conrad. Alex and he started working at Atlas Copco back in the late 90s/early 20s and were part of group that still works for AC, although everyone is pretty well scattered across the globe. Conrad just accepted a position to be the GM of the Pune operation and his family will be moving over in the summer. It was really fun to watch he and Alex catch up and swing back into their old friendship. And I was excited because it meant that we would have people to see on a semi-regular basis! People that are fun! Horray!

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After breakfast, we took the driver to go see the Japanese gardens. It was amazingly serene given the fact that it’s smack dab in the middle of a multi-million person city. While it only took about 30 minutes to walk the perimeter, we ended up being there longer as we were stopped multiple times for people to take a looksee at Callum. I swear, he’ll be a famous Indian baby with all of the pictures strangers take of him and I’ll have no clue. It’s actually kind of humorous and we taken it in stride, but I always marvel at the people who ask to hold him. That’s when i get a little, “You be step-in’. Get away from my baby!” Or something along those lines.

Our post Japanese gardens jaunt involved yet another car trip to a resort town outside of Pune. It was cool to see a master planned community in the middle of the mountains of India, buildings all matched, stores were nice and tidy and several restaurants were along the river side. For some reason, we stopped at an English pub where they served only one beer, one wine and about four appetizers. Probably not our best decision, but highly entertaining.

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For pre-dinner drinks a completely Western style brewery and then a Brazilian STEAKHOUSE for dinner!!! With actual beef for dinner!!! It was amazing, it was glorious, it was decadent…oh my gosh! Why couldn’t we be in Pune???? Also, has it become evident that I travel on my stomach…it’s not a good road trip unless good food has been located.

Fortunately, we’re invited back in April to meet his family and spend some more time in the big city. I’m already dreading the car trip, but sacrifices must be made when beef is on the line, amiright?

Today

After my shower (yay! I took a shower!), I put on a t-shirt. It took me a good 30 minutes to realize it had baby food on it from last night.

Then, as I was putting clothes on the line to dry, I shook out a dress of mine. The dress has little string ties on the neck line. As I shook it out, the strings whipped back and snapped me in the face.

And Callum just woke up from a 40 minute nap.

I predict today being a good day.

Give me strength.