The last few weeks, the pace hereabouts has picked up a bit again. My web development consulting has stepped back up to the levels it was in the months before Elayne was born, which is great, but it’s an extra 10 hours every week (minimum) that I need to spend on things outside the home. Add in get-togethers with friends each of the last two Saturday evenings, celebrating our anniversary three weekends ago, and our normal busy schedule, and you have a recipe for busyness.
For me, the busyness has been compounded by the choice I made early on to make sure to give Jaimie time out where I take care of Elayne for hours at a stretch so she can go work on her novel. Elayne’s needs are constantly changing; there have been points in the first 10 weeks (10 weeks already!) where Elayne mostly slept through that time, with perhaps a need to be fed once in the middle or end of it. Not so these past few weeks. She has gone through a fussy stage and a cute playful stage, as well as a adorable-if-you’re-paying-attention-to-me-and-screaming-my-head-off-otherwise stage. Both of the latter two have been pretty good on the whole, but of course they involve lots of time spent keeping her happy.
Since she’s adorable, that’s not exactly a chore. It’s a real joy to see her cooing and playing and smiling. One of my favorite moments occurred yesterday as I came into the apartment after working at the coffee shop all day: I walked in, kissed Jaimie, and crouched down to say hi to Ellie. She lit up and started cooing immediately as she saw me and heard my voice. She loves me! Hooray!
In any case, I haven’t exactly been able to get any work-like projects done during those times when Jaimie is out for close to a month now, and that compresses the rest of the week quite a bit. We’re still figuring out our schedule and how to balance all the pieces of our lives in a way that keeps our priorities right. God first, then each other and Elayne, then our church and vocations, and then everything else. The shape of our schedule as we try to reflect those priorities week after week is constantly in flux… because Elayne is always in flux!
Somewhere in the last few weeks, she decided she would mostly sleep through the night. With rare exceptions, she’s been sleeping for 6-8 hour stretches every evening. This has been great, especially for Jaimie. Of course, it also means she has been hilariously wakeful through much of the day! This has been delightful, too, by and large: she’s often in a great mood, and it’s hard to top a happy baby for making your own heart happy. It does entail far more time and attention than her sleepy phases, though.
Of course, all of these sorts of changes are to be expected – though I think most parents may not realize the shape of the attention-required curve going in. Because of the sheer helplessness of newborn infants, it is easy to expect that the first little while will be the most time-consuming. This is probably not true in most cases, for one simple reason: newborns just sleep all the time. Even Ellie sleeps less than she will, and she certainly doesn’t move around or try to stick random things in her mouth yet. I suspect the next few years will have lots of adventures for all of us.
And in all of it, we will continue to figure out the shape of our lives as a family, because it’s different. Less sleep looks likely, if I want to keep producing anywhere near the amount of writing and side work I’m currently committed to. Gladly, once we move someplace my allergies will not be so bad, that should be easier to manage on a regular basis.
So that’s life with us right now – in brief, of course. Tell us: how’s life with you?