The start of something new

That’s our office cat in the photo. I’m one month in. And yet, it feels like a lot longer than that. I’ve found a rhythm that works with this new routine, and I’m thankful that both our kids have adjusted well too. Consequently, we transitioned our oldest to full day kindergarten, and after some trial and error, we dropped her afternoon nap, we eat dinner earlier, and they go to sleep earlier. Unfortunately, our youngest still wakes up at night and asks for food then, but our oldest seems to fall asleep faster and stays asleep throughout the night for the most part. This week has been one of the few germ-free weeks this year, so it’s a nice relief to not have to deal with that (if it wasn’t him, it was her, and if it wasn’t either of them, it was us or our daycare) – I’m grateful that our workplaces are pretty flexible when it comes from work from home policies and taking time off / emergency days, so we pretty took turns staying home with one child or both children. How do working families who don’t have backup plans / caregivers manage?

At the beginning, it sort of felt like I was starting at a new school in the middle of the school year; I had a lot to learn and a lot of faces and names to remember. I still have a lot to learn and faces and names to remember, but it feels like I’m making an impact. I’m also thankful that I enjoy my work, so it’s easy to wake up earlier and rush out the door.

We will have to find a different routine come summer, but so far, it’s been working out just perfectly. I’m glad I scaled back my hours (before signing the offer) because it turns out if you’re driving a car for school pick-up, you pretty much have to arrive in the neighbourhood at least 20 minutes early in order to find available street parking around the perimeter of the school; otherwise, you’re pretty much out of luck. And even though I get off at 2:30PM, by the time I get everyone home, it’s 4PM. I then give them a small snack, work on unloading the dishwasher and getting another load in, and starting supper. By the time we are done dinner, it’s close to 7PM, and we play a bit then bathe (if applicable), and then off to bed. After that, I clean up the kitchen (pack food away, prep lunches) and maybe wash or fold the laundry. I’ve been doing laundry on weekends in loads, so I can just sit and binge-watch Netflix (working through The Crown) while folding.

Surprisingly, I find myself dozing off before midnight and using the computer less after work (but still on my phone) – maybe it’s because I no longer have mid-day naps or work is more tiring than staying at home (though I feel it’s a break / nice change from home life). I’m on a modified work week, and I’m already wondering how full-time working parents do this every day and survive? I applaud those families!

Other than work and school, we started going to a different small group / life group, which has changed to an earlier start time, which means for the first time in a long time, we actually get to stay past dinner. We have also started going to another church, primarily because Bean is at an age where she is learning, and I simply can’t go on teaching her every week – and when I don’t, I hear implied comments about going to a different church anyway. I’m a little sad, but since I also miss fellowship time because I’m watching them after service is over while everyone else is chatting and because people don’t tend to eat together for lunch as much anymore, I’m not really connecting with anyone either. I know Bean misses it because on occasion, she tells me she wants to go back to Simply, or that she wants me to be her teacher that day, and every time we pass by St. Paul’s, she points out that it’s our church. Finding a new church to call home is hard. Personally, I don’t like the format of the sermons by the lead pastor at this new church so far (grossly paraphrased: partial verses are taken from different translations to fit into the sermon’s points) though the supporting pastor actually goes into a passage in contrast, but the kids seem to have adjusted so well even at the first visit and a lot of effort is put into the children’s spiritual wellbeing and education. So yes, 2018 is going to be a year of change and adjustment.

Two years ago, we were celebrating two month milestones. Now, at 2, he’s come a long way:

  • Speaks in complete sentences. Has started to communicate (and copy) in English. Boo.
  • Enjoys climbing and doing crazy things and will deliberately test boundaries with people in authority (me – he’s heavy so I can’t just pick him up and grab him while grocery shopping for example, so I don’t go when I’m on my own as it’s impossible to get more than one or two things in one trip)
  • Loves to sing, and can sing many songs in English including the Alphabet song, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Away in the Manger, Roly Poly and can sing along with or recognize songs by Walk Off the Earth, Moana, and Frozen.
  • Loves trains, especially Thomas. And cars. And airplanes. Prefers trains though, if given a choice.
  • Easily sucked in by technology: photos on the phone, TV, iPad game, and YouTube videos. One time early on, the caregiver gave an older child a tablet to use while the younger ones were supposed to nap; he had a meltdown and refused to sleep. Then she figured out why (we had warned her prior so she made the connection and no more problems since).
  • Has not completely weaned. So, I’m still off dairy and some nuts. Nuts!
  • While he started off with liking meat, he doesn’t seem to like meat (fish the exception) as much anymore, unless it’s chicken nuggets/fingers/crispy. He will still eat it but when it is in chunks, he tends to pick it out. He also doesn’t like green fiber veggies, but will repeatedly down it in smoothie form. Like his sister, he loves fruit. Avocados, bananas, and cereal with alternative milk are now his favourite breakfast foods. He is a soup and rice monster. Sometimes noodles too.
  • Self-toilet training is hit and miss so far – and if successful, it’s still only #2 (though a few times, he wakes up with a dry diaper and will go if you put him on the toilet); progress seems to have slowed down or regressed especially now that he doesn’t tell his caregiver he needs to go (or maybe she hasn’t learned the signs yet)
  • He may have had a mini febrile seizure the other week, when he had a slight fever (while fighting off strange rashes – maybe mild symptoms of hand, foot, mouth + reaction to lactose in Tylenol) but it lasted no more than a few seconds and it was in his sleep.
  • He seems interested in people he knows (and babies) – often willing to share a toy, asking for someone by name, offering hugs to those he loves (except it’s sad to see hugs not reciprocated, especially when his sister comes out from dance class and he goes to hug her and she brushes him off; however, she always asks to go into timeout with him when he’s in trouble), and enjoys helping out in the kitchen (putting dishes away, watching and helping mommy cook/bake)
  • He must have shorter legs or something, because he fits his age in tops when it comes to sizing but his bottoms are behind a bit.

I’m amazed at how fast our children is growing up, now that we all have slightly different routines and that they are no longer babies.

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