I have been sick for about two straight weeks now. The illness keeps evolving. First a cold, now it's something involving a headache and sore throat (which the 9-year-old had for several days too). The baby is waking up every morning before 5. We are trying to teach him to play quietly until the clock turns green for 5 a.m. The fact that 5 a.m. is the goal says something about our current reality. My husband has generally been taking the 4:40- 5:50 shift this week, and then I take the 5:50-7 a.m. shift (at which point we trade off getting ourselves and the big kids ready) but the illness means I'm not sleeping through the night up to 5:50 either.
So I am feeling a bit bah humbug right now, especially since I thought the toddler issues would be getting better by age 22-23 months. He is into everything in a way the other children weren't. Leave for 3 minutes to go to the bathroom and you'll return to find he's pulled out the kitchen drawers, scaled them like a ladder, and gone straight to the knives. Much of the last year has felt like semi-survival mode.
And yet, as I look back on life since last Thanksgiving (when the toddler took his first steps - but we all got a stomach bug) many good things have happened despite this semi-survival mode. Getting to do a TED talk was a fun, unexpected bonus. I am starting work on a new book (more details to come when the contract is hashed out). I love writing books and embarking on a new one makes the world feel full of possibility. My fitness is not where I want it to be, but I've generally been running 4-5 times per week through everything. The kids are happy. I often feel like toddler-mania is making me neglect the big kids and the various things I should be doing to develop their talents and skills, but they are doing well in school. Their teachers like having them in class.
So I guess while it feels like survival mode, good stuff — important, good stuff — still happens. There is, of course, much else I could (and probably should) be doing, but when energy is limited, I need to try to be grateful for the wins that have happened rather than fantasize about the ones that have not. I can make my cranberry sauce (boil whole cranberries in apple cider, add sugar to taste). I can hope that by this time next year I'm giving thanks for everyone sleeping past 6 a.m.
In other news: I took the 7-year-old to wrestling both Monday and Tuesday nights this week, and both nights I was able to get at least 35 minutes of walking in during practice. Last night, the 5-year-old came with me. I told her she absolutely could not complain about walking, or the cold. She agreed, and took her mittens and hat. About 30 minutes in to our jaunt in she told me, "Mommy, I'm cold." I reminded her of our agreement. "But I'm not complaining," she said. "I'm just saying that I'm cold." An important distinction, I suppose.