Here's the "after" pic of the Vine house, since some of you wanted to see it:
Look's better than the "before," huh?
Anyway. Enough real estate for now. Back to parenting.
Sometimes it's the little adjustments that make all the difference.
It has been a wicked couple of weeks, what with selling the house, and buying a new one, and trying for a promotion at work (still no news--I have no clue what will happen) and still the rest of our lives moving forward at breakneck speed as if nothing unusual was happening at all. Eric says we are always like this, with some new and strange adventure beginning every few weeks. But I would argue that we sometimes have lulls now and then, and that we haven't had one for a while now, and we're all pretty tired. Routines are off, tempers short, kids confused.
Addie's tantrums are like a barometer for the stress level around the house, and her pressure has been a-risin'. Nolie has been responding, too, by wanting to be held constantly, and having what Eric calls "mommy-vision." When he's holding her, she must always keep me in her line of sight, even if it means swiveling her head around on her neck like a barn owl.
So I really had to consciously slow down some this week, so as to avoid total family catastrophe. And here are the little changes that made all the difference:
Waking up fifteen minutes earlier than usual, so as to not feel grumpy when a kid wakes me up. Somehow choosing to wake myself up circumvents the grumpiness a little.
Asking Eric to bring me coffee in bed while Nolie is having her bottle. It feels luxurious. Breakfast in bed always skeeves me out a little, what with the crumbs and butter and all. But coffee? It's perfect. It's hot and cozy and wakes me up at an appropriate pace, and I can relax and coo at Nolie while she smiles and gurgles her bottle down. It's a nice time for us to bond before Addie wakes up and hogs most of the attention (that is the toddler way, after all).
Taking time to hang out with Addie a little before rushing into the out-the-door routine. This may be playing a quick game of dress-up, or cuddling her for a minute on the couch, or just having a real conversation with her for a minute. I'm amazed at how many meltdowns were averted by these little preemptive actions.
Today was my day to just be home with the girls and chill. The little strategies above can't take the place of long stretches of time like today's, but I think they manage to stem the flow of childpanic in the house, and to make us all feel more connected between quantity times.
I suppose the bigger thing here is conscious parenting--just making sure to be present when I'm with the kids, even though my inclination is to be worrying about getting out the door, or about what's going on at work. This is not easy to do. But seeing the real results really helps.