Mama Alone Time

This evening, my son is at my sister-in-law’s. My spouse is at work. What am I doing? Whatever I damn well please!

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family more than anything. Being a mom is awesome. For the most part, it turns out that being a mom supersedes being an introvert (of course it does), and it is not difficult to put my child’s needs before my own. And I do sort of get alone time on the evenings when the spouse is working 2nd shift, because L goes to bed at 7pm. So I have some down time to my self. But I’m not totally free– I can’t leave the house. So every now and then, I start to get a bit twitchy for some real alone time, when I can really do whatever I want. Even if what I want is just to sit at home, anyway.

 

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2014 Ren Fest Recap

Fest has come and gone, without so much as one blog post on the topic for me. Time for a recap!

Overall, it was a pretty good year at Fest. There was a little bit more strife within the band than last year, due in part to the fact that we had made the decision, prior to Fest opening, that this would be our last year together as Hardtack Jack. It was an amicable decision, no hurt feelings or anything, but I the fact that we knew we wouldn’t be together as a group next year led to, I think, a bit of apathy and lack of musical energy, as well as some conflict and tension around people feeling out options for next year. But all in all, we still got along fairly well, and I had a pretty good season.

It’s hard to write about Fest in retrospect, especially almost a month after closing weekend. There were some huge parking snafus due to increased mining. I didn’t get caught in the worst of them, and the lesser snafus don’t seem important now. I do worry for what will happen next year, as a lot of patrons were genuinely and understandably pissed off about the parking this year. My understanding is that next year they plan to work with a trained traffic specialist to get things organized better. If they do that, I think things will be fine.

Next year may be the last year on the current site. We’ll see. While I would be really sad to see the current site go, as I have lots of good memories of the space and structures themselves, it would be nice to have a fresh start on a new site where they could plan for things like parking, building to code, etc.

As to what I’ll do next year, I have had a couple of offers to join different musical groups, but I think I am going to audition as a solo flute player. That will allow me to be part time– like only Saturdays– and also to rehearse on my own time. Both of those things will make Fest a lot more compatible with parenthood. And while I really, really had fun being with a band, I kind of miss being able to play more flutey things instead of mainly fairly simple breaks and intros and the like. I will miss singing, and I do worry that, being a solo act and an introvert, I’ll be lonely and won’t feel like a part of the community. But I think (I hope) that being with groups for the last 5 years has given me enough of a foundation that I know enough people in the community well enough to feel a part of it without my own little “family” to belong to.

Some memorable moments from this year’s run:

-Getting to know a few people a bit at Fest Friends. I joined because I needed somewhere private to pump (joy of joys), but it had the added perks of: somewhere to stow my crap besides the upstairs of Bad Manor, free lemonade and sometimes treats, a lovely privy with a FAN in it (awesome on hot days!) and a warm-water sink, and oh yeah, camaraderie.

-When the Musical Blades came over after their show opposite us on Treetop Stage, and sang “Until We Meet Again” on our stage during our show.

-Being a part of the morning Queen’s Gate musician brigade. We always have fun. If next year there are still 2 gates, I would like to play with those folks again even though I won’t be in a band.

-Playing “Hanging With the Bard.” I’ve always thought that game/act was super clever, so finally I went and played the game. It was quite fun.

-Musician’s Jam at Troubador Stage, and even leading a song (“Raglan Road”) on my brand new wooden flute. (Though really only Gabe played along; it’s hard to jam to instrumental-led pieces.)

-Meeting/getting to know some Festies that I didn’t previously know.

-Dancing and playing with Terpsichory a few times.

-Playing for a rained-in crowd at Folkstone Pub about 6 times in the first 5 weeks (and playing at Folkstone in general).

But my favorite memory of all was bringing my son out on Fest Friday. I took the day off of work and since our band hadn’t committed to performing on Friday, I entered on a ticket and just hung out. L and I listened to some of my friends jamming at the wine booth, then played along with Allen-a-Dale with a maraca. L was fascinated by the guys playing guitar, etc. He was more interested in putting the maraca in his mouth than shaking it. 😀 Then we went and saw the elephants, petted goats and looked at other animals, then hung out in Irish Cottage for a bit. Then we found a nice shady spot to just chill for awhile, then ate lunch (me, then him) and then he fell asleep and slept in his stroller while I hung out at Fest Friends. We watched SkyVault Theater’s full show, wandered around a bit more, and then headed out. Great day! It was so fun hanging out with him at one of my favorite places in the world, that means so much to me, and showing it all to him for the first time.

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Ye Olde Selfie

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Cutest baby at the Festival

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Photo by Larry Edwards

On Being an Introverted Momma

The day I found out I was pregnant with my son was one of the happiest of my life. I was so excited to be a mom. I was ready for pregnancy discomforts, poopy diapers, and big changes to my husband’s and my lifestyle. Even labor didn’t sound so bad. I was ready to go through all of those things that would transform me into a mother.

But I had some worries as well. Of course, I had the typical “big” worries– what if I miscarry? What if my baby’s not healthy? But I have to say, a bit to my surprise given my history of anxiety and being a worry wart, I was generally a pretty calm mom-to-be. The “worries” that were on my mind most often were minute compared to the “big” worries, and much less scary, but still I found myself thinking about them a lot. I just wasn’t sure how I’d handle them.

One of these concerns was sleep. I love my sleep! How was I going to deal with the sleepless nights, no more sleeping in, etc? The answer is, the same way all new parents handle it– just by getting by day to day, and eventually you (kind of) get used to it. Nothing out of the ordinary there.

The other thing I was worried about was my precious “I time”– my name for the alone time I needed to recharge my introvert self. (Get it, like “me time,” but “I” for introvert?) I found myself getting titchy after a couple of weeks with limited “I time.” How was I possibly going to get by when I was NEVER alone? When the time my spouse was at work, that used to be my time to recharge, alone in the house, would become the time when I had to care for the baby on my own? Strangely enough, that hasn’t really been an issue at all. It helps that the baby goes to sleep usually by 6 or 6:30, so I still have evenings to get my down time in. But that never would have been enough for my pre-mom self. Somehow now, it just is. It’s amazing how motherhood changes you in ways you never would have imagined.

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My little guy seems very extroverted so far. Sure doesn’t get that from me!

Mom’s Sick Day

Last week, we experienced one of the inevitable side effects of taking our son to daycare– his first cold. This wasn’t too terrible, honestly, as he only had one day where he seemed really unhappy, and everyone says it’s better for him to get the germs now and build immunity, rather than be exposed to everything at once in Kindergarten. I am lucky enough that my work allows me to take sick time to care for my sick child, so the one day I had to keep him out of daycare, it was okay. It was actually not bad at all, because he slept pretty much all day– just what his little body needed to fight those germs, I’m sure– so I got to have a semi-relaxing/productive day at home. I could have even worked from home, but I didn’t clear that ahead of time, so I didn’t. I’m sure we are in for worse sick-baby days in the (probably near) future, but I felt pretty confident with how we weathered that first little storm. I was kind of worried about the first cold and how tough it would be; turns out I didn’t need to be so worried about (at least) the first cold.

What I should have been worried about was the first time I got sick with a young baby! Two nights ago, my throat began to feel sore. Later that night, the body aches started… pretty soon, the dreaded influenza was full on, complete with fever, chills, and headache. (Luckily I was spared any gastrointestinal discomfort.) But what the crap? Didn’t I get a shot to prevent this?? It’s been awhile since I had the flu, and I’d forgotten how much it can suck. And of course, the baby, who normally is a pretty good sleeper, woke up at 3am alllll sweaty, so I had to change all his clothes, which woke him up thoroughly and made it harder to get him to go back to sleep. Rocking him, trying to get him to sleep without getting him sick(er), was agony. I felt like hell. So I called in sick to work.

I don’t know if I got sick from my son or if I got something else entirely (the symptoms seem to be different), but I hope I got it from him, because I really don’t want to give him what I have! I also don’t know if you’re supposed to bring a kid to daycare if he’s potentially been exposed to the flu from a sick parent… but I didn’t really have any choice yesterday. My body and head hurt so badly that it was all I could do to get him dressed and drop him off at daycare (dad had to work at 6:30 and our daycare doesn’t open until 9, so I had to be the one to do it). I contemplated stopping for a coffee on the way home from the drop off and decided not to– and those of you know know me well know that almost nothing can keep me from my coffee! I drove home, kept the dogs confined, ate half a banana, and went up to bed. I slept until about noon when I got up to feed the dogs, eat something, and pump, then I went back to bed until almost 3. Still felt like crap all evening and went to bed early.

When I woke up at 3 to feed the baby, I felt maybe not quite as bad as the night before. Still, I decided to stay home from work again, seeing as the flu is generally contagious for the first 48 hours, and I figured I could use some more rest.

Today was a little different from yesterday. I got the baby ready for daycare, dropped him off, and then… I got coffee! A better start already. At that point, though, I should have gone home to rest and recuperate. But no, I didn’t. Here’s what I did:

-Made a “quick” Target stop to pick up paper towels, take advantage of a good sale on diapers and formula (for supplementing), and pick up some prescriptions.
-Ended up taking a lot longer than I thought, because I realized we needed some clothes for our family photo shoot on Saturday, so I purchased a couple of shirts, then I picked out a swimsuit suitable for my post-pregnancy body, and picked out Father’s Day cards for all fathers involved.

-Got home just in time to meet the guys who came to tune up the furnace and air (even though they were supposed to come between 4 and 6)

-Fed the dogs and let them out

-Folded laundry

-Wrote Father’s Day card for my dad

-Let the dogs in

-Washed baby feeding implements

-Pumped

-Ate lunch

-Let the dogs out

-Watched 1/2 hour of TV while doing Target survey in hopes of winning a $25 gift card (I didn’t)

-Let the dogs in

-Tried to take nap, couldn’t sleep

-Let the dogs out

-Vacuumed

-Put blankets in laundry

-Gathered paper and plastic bags to recycle

-When the spouse got home with baby in tow, loaded up baby and went to Menard’s to pick up a new filter for the furnace

-Went back to Target to recycle plastic bags and pick up a couple things I forgot

-Nursed baby

-Put dinner in oven (okay, it was a frozen meal from Let’s Dish– thanks, Mom and Dad!)

-Fed dogs and let them out

-Put cloth diapers in wash

-Ran dishwasher

-Showered

-Ate dinner

-Nursed baby again

-Put baby to bed

-Chased down dog who had escaped from the yard

-Turned mattress and hanged sheets on bed

-Emptied dishwasher

-Washed non-dishwasher-safe dishes

-Washed baby feeding implements again

-Checked to make sure baby was still sleeping (he wasn’t)

and finally

-Nursed baby again and put him back to bed (which took like half an hour)

So…. yeah. So that happened. 😀

My throat is still sore, but tomorrow I better go to work. I’ll get more rest there.

/mom