November is already a blur in my mind. I’m grateful it ended with a joyful holiday spent with the Van’t Lands, but before that there was lots of rain and even more crazy sickness keeping us stuck at home and driving each other nuts. We were missing so much work/school and couldn’t get the kids healthy before they caught another bug so we decided it was best for me to leave my job. The re-entry into stay at home life has been weird and good and hard and hopeful. Weird: all the unstructured time. I am not nearly as disciplined as I would like to be. Good: spending long days with my favorite people, laughing and playing and reading and cuddling. Hard: spending long days with my ‘favorite’ people while they’re screaming and biting and whining and yelling. Hopeful: yesterday and today I actually managed to tick a few things off my to-do list (baking! laundry! dishes! they still feel like daytime luxuries and I’m hoping I can hold onto that perspective as the novelty starts to wane and the messes pile up again) and we even got out of the house and met up with friends for some adult conversation and a little toddler rumpus. It was wonderful.
We are starting to find the bits of new normal that keep us from going crazy at the thought of such a long stretch of day before us. I feel like I talk about this all the time, but these kids are always changing and so whatever ‘routine’ we’ve managed to develop goes out the window and we all try to adjust to the next normal. Flexibility in times of change is not a character trait of any toddler I know and so with two toddlers in the mix and it’s just nuts. Is this one doing this thing because their sibling is doing it? (yes.) Is it a reaction to what their sibling is doing? (also, yes.) Do toddlers ever consider consequences before they do any of the crazy things they do? (nope.) How can I stop the biting!? (???) Another part of life back at home: I’ve got plenty of time to worry about how I have no clue how to handle all of the new challenges each month of toddlerhood reveals. I miss having other adults in the twins’ lives to tell me if they notice something or have insight into a behavior or an idea about how to encourage a new skill or interest.
Daycare was a strange season for us. I felt a bit like my middle school self: do you remember that feeling of memorizing the schedule of your crush so you could accidentally bump into them as many times as possible without looking like a stalking freak? R&E’s classroom was just two doors down from mine and I spent a lot of time thinking about when I could peek in on their little faces without making their amazing teacher feel like I was spying on her. They adored Ms. Terri and I did too. That was maybe the hardest part about leaving my job; the twins were learning so much! But, I am glad to be home before the later afternoon meltdowns start, and I love spending the good hours of the day with them. I love being the one to get the warm after-nap cuddles and to watch the silliness of mealtimes and the earnestness of hard work-play. I was only a working-out-of-the-home parent for a few months but I have a newfound respect for people who work full-time while their kids are young. It is exhausting work that we, at least, never felt like we were caught up on. I’m newly grateful to have this time (and also really grateful for bedtime and how it comes every day, without fail. Bless you, bedtime.)
The end of November was spent celebrating with Drew’s parents Rob and Bonnie and his brother Gabe and his wife Kayla. We borrowed a friends’ home in Bloomington IL and it was the most relaxing holiday! It is infinitely easier to vacation with small children in a home rather than a hotel and I loved cooking and baking in Jenna and Jon’s beautiful kitchen (although it should be noted that Bonnie did most of the delicious work!) and gathering around their big kitchen table together.
I’ve been welcomed into celebrations and holidays with Drew’s family for 6 years now and I’m grateful that the work we’ve all put into learning about each other has blossomed into the sort of challenging, hopeful, joyful conversations that we enjoyed together that weekend. And of course the kids were adored and soaked up every moment as the stars of the show. Needless to say, they were pretty disappointed with our return to normal. Evelyn toddled around for days afterwards peeking in doorways saying “Oma? Ooooomaaaaa! MmPapa? Hi? Hi hi hi!” I’m so thankful for the ways the internet makes distance disappear and puts Ooooomaaaaa and MmPapa in the palm of Evelyn’s little hand!