Thursday, September 15, 2011

J - 4

I'll be going back to work in four days.

In the meantime, I have two days of relatively freedom while le Petit is at school all day and Mademoiselle is with N, her new nanny. I'm running around getting frivolous things done for myself (pedicure! new shoes! haircut!) and less frivolous things done for the house and kids (fix broken shower head! buy new toilet seat! pick up Mademoiselle's passport!).

Mademoiselle is still waking up three or four times a night, and I'm wondering how I'll muddle through my days once I'm back at the office. But I'll be able to go for a run during my lunch hour, and take a yoga class once a week, and honestly it seems like so many people in the world, from those close to me to those I read about in the newspaper, have real big problems. I'm feeling a bit selfish, and useless, and helpless about that. Like I can't do much but the little I can do I'm not doing.

But this morning, after a crazy scamble to get ready and out the door due to a malfunctioning alarm clock and four-year-old reluctance to put on the damn shoes already, my husband dropped le Petit off at school. The teacher, who has 30 students, one helper, and approximately ten seconds to devote to small talk with parents in the morning, complimented le Petit on his English. Twice a week, now, they have an English teacher spend thirty minutes with the class, and on the first day they'd already discovered that le Petit has a perfect accent, an impressive vocabulary, and is eager to talk. I glowed at the news. My husband just wanted to say, "Well, duh." (He has a decent grasp of American slang, too, you see.) But part of me had been worried that he'd hide in the back and not say a word. So, I guess I can give myself some credit for something, right?

I'm delighted, too, that Mademoiselle is adjusting well to spending her days far from maman. N is experienced as a nanny and seems quite gentle and maternal with Mademoiselle, even in the struggle to get her to nap. When I pick Mademoiselle up in the afternoon she's often still at the park, perched on N's hip and surrounded by N's local nanny friends and a giggling group of children of all ages. She seems so surrounded by warmth and happy activity, I'm sure her days go by quickly. N also takes care of two school-aged children from another family in the afternoon, so Mademoiselle has some big kid playmates.

So here we are, in the starting blocks for another year. I'm ready to take off at a sprint, but as a seasoned distance runner I know I need to pace myself from the beginning (especially on so little sleep). I also suspect that I need to remember to slow down, stop, look around, and be grateful from time to time, too.


Jac. said...

With both my babies I LOVED those days right before the return when I had childcare lined up and suddenly so much time to myself. It's like a little mini-vacation right before going back.

Good luck with your return to work. I found it much easier the second time around to trust that everything was going to be ok.

Cloud said...

Good luck with the return to work!

For what its worth (i.e., nothing)- I worked for over a year on the sort of sleep you're getting back when Pumpkin was little. And I've been working for over a year this time on sleep that is interrupted at least once a night. It sucks, but doesn't, you know? I wouldn't have it any other way (except for if the sleep fairy magically came and made my kids sleep better earlier....)

Parisienne Mais Presque said...

@Jac - Definitely easier the second time around! Although I'll have to admit, I'm torn between loving the days "free" and feeling kind of guilty, especially when I leave le Petit in after care when I'm not yet at work. Today I'm going to pick him up at the end of the "real" school day and we'll play for a bit before I pick up Mademoiselle.

I hope you're return to work is going smoothly!

@Cloud - y'know, that actually does reassure me. To know that I'm neither a martyr or a sucker, and that another mom is surviving the same thing.

My best friend is advising me (and probably rightly so) to just "take one for the team" for another month or so and not try any sleep training, even "light" sleep training (like having my husband try to calm Mademoiselle instead of nursing her back to sleep) until the transition back to work is settled in a bit. I'm grumbling about it, but the truth is, I'm not nearly as tired as I'd expect to be, given the circumstances.

Truth be told, I kind of like snuggling with Mademoiselle at night. Once a night, maybe twice a night. Three or four times is a bit much... but, as I sing to le Petit, "Ya can't always get what you wa-ant..."

Parisienne Mais Presque said...

@Jac - I hope *your* return to work is going smoothly.

Apparently the sleep deprivation is affecting the language centers of my brain after all...

Claudia said...

Congrats on the job and the English skills of Le Petit! My DD didn't get the hang of speaking purely English until we were back in the states last month, and even then, the first two weeks she sounded like a robotic 5-year-old with no intonation.

Oh, and I'm utterly selfish. I have a lot of time free, and DD is in preschool full time. But she loves it, and I'm a far more sane person for being on my own, too.

Parisienne Mais Presque said...

@Claudia - I have no idea if le Petit's fluent English is going to "stick" in the short term, now that I'm back at work... from what I've heard, a brief trip back home is all it takes, though, to get kids back up to speed. And for what it's worth, I credit Sesame Street (almost) as much as myself. Hee!

I'm realizing as I'm easing back into work this week that I'm a far saner person when I'm on my own, too. I love my kids, but I am NOT cut out to be a stay-at-home parent, full-time, long-term (or at least, if I wanted to do it, I'd have to restructure my life to branch out and meet more people...)