tales from a (sort of) reluctant hermit
I've got the January Blues so bad. It has been dark and raining for weeks now. I usually live for this kind of weather, but it's warm and rainy. The warmth without the ability to go outside is a cruel sort of tease. I love having the windows open, but if it's warm I want to be able to go outside. If it's dreary, I demand cold and snow. My eyebrows are usually freezing off this time of year, but I've barely needed my coat lately. Regardless, the rain and thunderstorms have kept us inside as much as if it were -15 outside. Being cooped up all day with a toddler is a form of torture reserved for terrorists. But not just any toddler--a toddler who has stopped sleeping.
I don't even know what sanity is anymore. She's taking hours to go to sleep at night and she hasn't napped in days. I'm sure it's some sort of developmental spurt that will sort itself out soon, but I'm drowning in the meantime. Literally and figuratively, because it has rained a lot.
Also, I have stopped sleeping too. I've had only a small handful of nights I've slept well in the past several weeks. I've been walking around in a cranky, delirious stupor and trying to not let Winnie the Pooh raise my child. I know so many moms don't let their kids watch tv, and while Gracie's tv time is very limited, if Pooh buys me 5 minutes to close my eyes, it's worth hearing the songs in my (very limited) sleep and feeling the scorn of all the better moms.
And yes, I am eating a cannoli as I type this. I don't think that needs any explanation based off what you've already read, but we'll get to the cannoli later.
Anyway, I haven't had a moment of silence in days. Not a moment. She talks nonstop, 100% of the day. She wants me to read to her or interact with her all day long. I love her, I love that she's talking so much and so well, and I love spending my days with her, but I've started fantasizing about my old cubicle and having adult conversations in the break room. I have no desire to go back to work, so that's how I know I'm really starting to lose it.
To top it off, James has had to work more than ever the last few weeks. He's home maybe 3 evenings a week, so I'm doing the solo mom thing from morning till bedtime with not a moment's rest. It probably goes without saying, but I have been starving for adult interaction. Last week at church I saw my friend dropping her daughter off in the nursery when I was, and since we're both in the same boat, we wound up sitting in the middle of the nursery and talking through the entire church service. It was the most adult interaction we'd had in weeks, and it was like basking in warm sunshine after a long winter. And this is coming from the most introverted introvert of all time.
My attempts to socialize lately have been a comedy of errors. I was determined to get us to story time last week, but every morning I decided to go we woke up to inclement weather, and then Gracie wasn't feeling well. I've had to more or less give up on Mops for the time being due to conflicts with James' work schedule, and the Women's Bible Study at my church decided to start meeting at a house 45 minutes away, after Gracie's bedtime, on a day when James is usually working late instead of the usual morning meetings nearby.
I think I just need to accept that this is not a season of life for getting involved and being social. There will be other times, but clearly not right now.
There's a store nearby called The Anderson's. If you don't know what I'm talking about, it's basically a fancy grocery store combined with a Lowe's and a Bed, Bath, and Beyond. You can grind your own coffee beans, buy meat from the butcher shop inside, peruse the Fiestaware, pick out new kitchen cabinets and buy lumber, grab a coffee at the coffee shop (yes, there's a coffee shop), and buy some clothes or Melissa and Doug toys. Literally everything you could ever want or need under one roof. They announced yesterday that they're closing their stores. For obvious reasons, I was devastated even though I've only been once to buy firewood with my dad. It takes half a day to walk around the entire store, and since the rain had stopped and it's practically in our backyard, we went. Gracie put on her red hat that she wears 24/7, and we wandered every aisle, including the bakery where I left with the aforementioned cannoli and snickerdoodles.
I hate to admit it, but I think this was the most exciting thing to happen to me all year. I was rummaging through the sample-sized bags of flavored coffee looking for more exotic flavors to try (Michigan Maple! Chocolate Marshmallow!) when a man stopped me, mistaking me for an employee. I'm not sure if it was the toddler in my shopping cart or the giant mom bag I was carrying that tipped him off to the fact that I'm a grocery store employee, but he was not pleased to hear that I had no idea where the stainless steel cleaner is. I had to laugh when a minute later, in a neighboring aisle, I heard: "I'm sorry, sir, I'm not an employee here." "Oh, sorry, I thought you were."
Not long after that, what sounded like an air raid siren went off through the store. It was deafening and people were running around aimlessly trying to figure out what to do. An old lady shouted "It's an air raid!" and with Gracie's retro hat on, I felt a little bit like I was living in one of those WWII novels I'm so fond of. After several minutes the siren stopped, but I have no idea what it was about. I was just happy something exciting happened and I was out of the house to witness it.
Other than exciting grocery store adventures, I've been spending my evenings solo watching The Bachelor and Sherlock while knitting. One is a train wreck, one an adrenaline rush, but both make me cringe and hide behind a pillow. On the rare evenings James is home, I've been going to the gym to blast good music and run. It's been the perfect outlet for my winter/toddler mom angst and helps make up for the amount of chocolate I've been stress eating in the pantry. I have a thousand cleaning and organizing goals, but with that nasty case of the January Blues that I can't shake, I haven't been able to quite do much about it yet. The motivation has vanished, and a general sense of malaise and laziness have set in. Instead, I've been reduced to fantasizing about an organized pantry while Gracie shoves a plastic pickle in my mouth and tells me to eat it with a spoon.
Speaking of Gracie, I think she finally fell asleep for her nap. She spent an hour talking to her stuffed animals about her red hat before finally going to sleep. I should use this opportunity to clean or get started on dinner, but there's a snickerdoodle waiting for me on the kitchen counter, and I think we all know which one is more important right now.