It’s March Madness. And no, I’m not talking about basketball. If I was, I would just say that my bracket bled to death and leave it at that.
No, I’m talking about the madness that exists in our household this month of March. This month of March, which continues to march on endlessly. How can it only be Wednesday? It feels like it should be FRIDAY. Friday, APRIL 1. I can’t wait for April.
I always thought the month of January went slowly, and I’ve never had much of a problem with March. But this March — oh this March cannot be over soon enough.
And how can I even be complaining when Husband and I got to take the most GLORIOUS vacation to Punta Cana this March? To be honest, I can’t even believe that it was just a few weeks ago because it feels like several lifetimes ago.
Oh vacation. We really did have a glorious time. We did nothing. No, really. We — did — nothing. It was so wonderful. Whole days filled up with nothing. Many days in a row filled up with nothing. There was no schedule, no time limit, no agenda, no diaper bag.
There were only sun-drenched days that stretched out before us, offering the promise of nothing more than lounge chairs, the pool, the beach, food and drinks. It’s called free time. Sans kids. We sat and read, we sat and napped, we swam, we drank and we ate.
After two or so days of this, we almost got to thinking, “Vacation? What did we need a vacation for? Things weren’t really that busy or stressful at home.”
But we knew this was foolhardy thinking. In a moment of clarity (thanks screaming four-month-old at the pool who desperately needed a nap, but whose parents continued to feed you into submission) we recognized that we were merely suffering from vacation amnesia. And we pressed on with our glorious nothingness.
When it was time to come home, it was wonderful to return refreshed and recharged. We were SO HAPPY to see our kids. Plus, it felt like the vacation renewed our well of parenting patience.
And boy, it’s a good thing, because we sure have needed it — what with all the madness and all.
You see, the girls’ Nana (my mother-in-law) left for her annual two-week vacation to Florida with her sisters only four days after Husband and I returned. Nana watches the girls while I’m working, plus she and Grandpa took care of them while we were on vacation.
So St. Nana, (she’s a saint in my book) DEFINITELY deserved a vacation. And in theory, it works out perfectly — Nana spends a whole week with the girls and just as she’s about ready to pull her hair out, we get back and are DYING to spend time with them, and she relaxes on her vacation.
As much as I wish I could be spending these two weeks with the girls every day, I am crazy busy with work. CA-RA-ZY. Thankfully, the craziness is scheduled to cease and desist as of this Friday (another reason Friday cannot get here fast enough!!), and then I will just be very busy.
So I asked a friend of the family, rockstar C, to come over and watch the girls three days a week (instead of the usual four) so that I could get some work done.
Cue the clinging and uncontrollable sobbing.
Bean was starting to have some major separation anxiety issues with me before we even left for vacation. Plus she had a cold and was teething.
Return from vacation = new cold, still teething, separation anxiety with renewed vigor.
I’m sure leaving her for a week didn’t help the separation anxiety, but it is UN-REAL. I’m not saying that I don’t understand it — I get it, I do. Her routine has now been disrupted for more than three weeks, she feels miserable, her teeth hurt and she’s not sleeping well. But I don’t have to like it.
It’s hard. Bean has to be ON me. Sometimes even when she’s as ON me as she’s gonna get, she still feels the need to try to get MORE on me. Not only can I not leave the room, I can’t even turn my back to her in what appears to be leaving the room, otherwise uncontrollable crying results and the only way to stop it is to pick her up upon which the crying stops immediately.
My job in the evening is to sit on the floor while Bean plays around me. Every few minutes Bean will come back over to me and plop herself in my lap as if to re-stake her claim. And if Monkey or Husband approaches me, Bean runs over to me, pushes them out of the way, and sits in my lap. She doesn’t leave until they’re gone, and if they make a move in my direction, she’s on the lookout. Yeah.
And it’s not just hard on me. It’s hard on Husband, it’s hard on Monkey and it’s hard on C.
Husband feels like a total failure when he and Bean are happily playing together and the moment I come home, Bean drops everything and comes screaming toward me as if Husband has just been plucking her toenails out.
Monkey starts to feel a little left out because Bean is demanding so much attention. And poor C. The uncontrollable crying starts as soon as it appears I’m going to leave.
And then there’s the fun of locking myself away in the bedroom so that I can work uninterrupted. Generally, everything is fine once I’m out of sight. Every day I consider going to the library or Starbucks, but I need to be able to talk on my phone without disrupting people. So to the bedroom I am banished! Sneaking around my own house and texting the babysitter from another room are two things I never thought I would be doing.
On top of Bean’s clinginess, Monkey has been sad and weepy at times during the last three days too — specifically right away in the morning when C comes. Poor C. The girls really do love her! As soon as I’m out of sight, they have a ball playing with her. I think the long disruption in routine, on top of missing her Nana, is what’s bothering Monkey. It’s even harder to explain to your three-year-old why you can’t play with her even though you’re home.
Ugh. STRESS! MADNESS!
You never realize how much you appreciate and come to rely on the normalcy of your daily routine until something changes. While we certainly tell the girls’ Nana “thank you” all the time, and we often think to ourselves, “Oh, I’m so glad we have her to help with the girls,” these last two weeks has been an indication that we probably haven’t done enough to show her just how much we appreciate her and everything she does to help our family run smoothly.
So, I think I should take this moment to publicly thank my mother-in-law. Thank you SO MUCH for taking care of the girls and making them feel so safe and comfortable and for allowing me to work. Thank you for making crafts with them, baking cookies, teaching them and playing outside. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You make our lives so much easier and we are so grateful. The girls love you and miss you and we can’t wait until you come home!
Only 2.5 more days of madness. Between the stress of work on a deadline and the kids’ craziness, I feel like 5 p.m. Friday will NEVER get here. I’m doing a lot of praying and drawing on my renewed well of parenting patience.
Have your kids experienced this type of separation anxiety? Do you have any tips? How long did it last? Do you have a friend or relative in your life that helps your family run smoothly?