Survive and scramble mode

Published 9:57 pm Thursday, August 15, 2019

On good days, my wife and I usually engage in a survive and scramble mode with regard to our 3-year old daughter.

Did she go through the day unscathed and unhurt? Did she get outside to play? Did she play and do things inside? Did we teach her something? Did she learn anything? Did we get her to help us with household chores, or at least get her to pick up any of her toys and art supplies? Did she eat and drink enough? Did we help her brush her teeth? Did she get enough sleep? Did we limit her TV time?

OK, we’re not so great at the last one. If I hear the” My Little Pony” song one more time, it may echo in my head forever, and I really want to leave space in there for other music.

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On the not-so-good days, the survive and scramble technique really is just us getting through the day. It leaves us feeling scrambled, tired and our apartment needing to be deshambled in a big way.

Those are usually the times I step on a toy in the middle of the night while going to comfort our little girl when she wakes up.

But that brief bit of ouch is replaced by tucking her back into bed and her holding my hand as I lie down on the floor.

Of course, the second ouch is when I wake up not feeling so refreshed and feeling my bones creaky and sore. (On a side note, floors in a child’s bedroom need to have more padding underneath the carpet.)

This all happens during the summer when at least one of us can be home with her on most days — my wife during the week and both of us on the weekends. I do find time to spend with her in the mornings and evenings during the week, but it’s never enough.

The key thing for me is being in the moment when I am with her, putting down my phone and giving her my full attention. It can be hard when my mind’s in a thousand places, trying to coordinate schedules with my wife for the upcoming school year and making sure that on the days where there are gaps in one of us being able to be home for her that we get them covered with someone we can trust.

Then there’s the supply list for her new preschool, the back-to-school day and her first day, hoping she’ll adjust to it well and be happy there.

In all seriousness, going back to the beginning of this, we have mostly good days raising her, as much of a challenge as that can be. We trust that we’re doing the best we can for her, and we’re blessed with a great support system of family and friends.

And I’m fortunate that in my work here, I’ve also had time to get some nice words of encouragement and support from people about caring for those I love, and being present in their lives.

I try not to let the fatigue I feel some days stop me from doing that.

On that note, it’s time for a nap, and to see if I can erase the “My Little Pony” soundtrack from my head.