Last Monday marked Matt's return to work. Sigh. I am doing my best not to mourn the end of a truly wonderful summer as much as I celebrate the fact that I am not returning to work. No child care to fret about. No new job to adjust to. (No breast pump and bottles to manage!) While taking care of the boys on my own is challenging, it is the "work" I am so grateful to be doing right now.
So how did the first week go? Oh, we had a few tough moments. Monday was probably the hardest day. I got up early (6am) to make sure I got a shower (and maybe breakfast . . . well not quite because both boys were up by 6:30) before Matt left. When Tobin's post-lunch nap time rolled around, Evan wanted to be up while I tried to lay down with Tobin to start his nap, and well, the big boy slept for only about 7 minutes. But after that things went relatively well; I even made homemade macaroni and cheese and veggie burgers for supper. At the end of the day, everyone was exhausted--including Tobin who fell asleep so easily--and I realized I had done nothing except tend to two boys for 14 hours straight: no reading, no checking the Internet, very little housework.
The rest of the week nap time continued to be my most difficult time of the day, because I was hoping I could get both boys down at the same time. Tobin missed another nap on Wednesday. But then I realized that really things were much easier if just one of them was napping, usually Evan because he still takes numerous naps throughout the day. On Tuesday, for example, I was able to chop most of the veggies for our pasta primavera supper while Tobin napped and Evan cooed at me from his bouncy chair. When Evan napped I tried my best to do some activity with Tobin, like drawing, reading, or doing puzzles. Tobin also did a great job playing independently when I needed him to. I was kind of worried about how that would go since he's had Daddy home to entertain him the last couple months.
While I'm obsessing about napping, I might as well note that toward the end of this week it seemed Evan's sleeping started developing more of a recognizable pattern. For the last three days, he has taken a very long (3 hours) midday nap and for the last four nights, he has gone down for the night around 8pm, which is also Tobin's bedtime. Evan still cat naps in the morning and afternoon/early evening--even catching a little snooze around 6pm--but I'm hoping that this routine of the last few days will stick. Evan has also seemed less fussy in the couple of hours leading up to bedtime. That's another reason his 8pm bedtime is so nice right now, because he tended to fuss as late as 10pm. He remains a good sleeper at night, waking once or twice to eat usually and then going right back to sleep in his bassinet beside our bed.
Meanwhile, another good sleep development in our household is that Tobin started putting himself to sleep this week. We're so proud of him. He's come a really long way, considering that just three months ago he would only let me put him to sleep and came to our bed in the middle of the night. Gradually, Matt and I took turns lying with him while he fell asleep and, a few weeks after Evan was born, Matt took over entirely. Matt worked really well with T, using an incentive chart like we did with potty training to encourage him to go to sleep without him in the room. So far he's collected two new cars and is due for a third very soon. Tobin still needs Matt to sleep with him when he wakes at night, but at least he's in his own room while I have Evan in our room. The eventual goal of course is both boys in one room and Mama and Daddy in the other--all night. We can dream, can't we?
Another part of our routine this week that went well was picking Matt up from work. Over the summer, we sold our Element so that we would no longer have a car note. Matt gets a ride to work with one of his co-workers who lives nearby and then the boys and I pick him up in the Civic in the afternoon. Since Riverside is a good 12 miles from our home, the result is about an hour-long trip in the car. This is fine, even fun, for Tobin, but I was not so sure how it would go for Evan who had previously expressed great displeasure (loud, pitiful crying) with the car. But Evan did just fine; he didn't even fuss at traffic lights. This is another trend I hope continues, because we travel a lot in the car. Hopefully, his fear of the car was just a developmental thing that he is growing out of--much like the evening fussiness.
So overall the week went well. Matt only had workdays this week, so his hours were a little shorter, which allowed us to ease into this transition. I'm doing my best to keep my to-do list short. As long as the boys are rested, fed, and mostly happy, I'll feel good about each day. I love to cook, but I'm trying to take it easy when it comes to preparing meals, like I have all summer, and have several quick options (quesadillas, salad, veggie burgers) that either Matt or I could fix. And other than our afternoon trips to pick up Matt, I'm trying to avoid getting out in the car too much. We take walks in the neighborhood and Evan and I watch Tobin play, usually golf, in the yard. For now, I want to stick close to home while Evan works out his sleeping patterns, the weather remains uncomfortably warm, and I'm still new at handling all of this. Eventually, we'll take regular trips to the library, museum, and playground. Who knows, I might even join a playgroup!
I'm sure we'll have more stories to tell as this adventure unfolds. Next up: Evan turns two months! Although the days are long, the weeks are flying by. I can't even believe he's eight weeks old today.