Thursday, July 23, 2015

Slowly Getting There. . .But Getting There Nonetheless

I keep constructing blog posts in my head, but they never quite make it here.  I am so exhausted by the time I make it home, eat dinner, and spend a little time with the girls.  Things are manageable chaos, but chaos.  T leaves for work super early in the morning.  Right now, I get up around 5-5:30, shower (often with SB, who has discovered she likes the shower, and I can't fight with her at 5:00 in the morning), get ready, prepare dinner, eat breakfast, chat with the girls for a bit, and head into the office around 7-7:30.  I generally work like a demon all day, including through lunch (frequently skipping lunch), and haven't been leaving work until after 6pm, and sometimes after 7pm.  By the time I get home, my family has already eaten, and I eat and chat with them.  Rinse, lather repeat.

Work is fine.  I like it okay.  We'll see.  Sometimes it's really interesting, and sometimes people drive me nuts.  It's a job where everyone has their own agenda/remit, and it becomes the war of the just causes.  Really, I'm happy so far.  I'm just having a down day because someone was kind of a jerk to me.  I hate it when someone is a jerk.  Why is that necessary, especially when I am trying to help them?

The girls are doing better.  A few days ago, Miss M told me, quite seriously, that she doesn't want to move again--that if she makes new friends here, she doesn't want to move and leave them again.  It broke my heart.  She really misses her old school and friends, and talks about wanting to go back.  But, she is also quite happy here.  I think she misses having friends and being part of a posse.  Since it's summer and a lot of people are traveling, they haven't yet made friends that they regularly hang out with, and this is hard for her, especially.  We had some VERY challenging behavioral stuff going on for the first 6-7 weeks after the move, but now that the house is almost unpacked and we have something of a routine worked out, things are starting to even out.  Miss M was about SB's age the last time we moved, and I had forgotten how challenging that age (3) can be post-move.  They can't yet express their anxiety over moving (Exhibit A:  Miss M's current expressions of sadness), but it really impacts them.  We were having massive tantrums, hair pulling, hitting, kicking. . .awful stuff.

The bad behavior really had me questioning my ability as a parent. . .our ability as parents.  It was really, really challenging.  I did some reading, looking for what felt like the best approach, and decided that straight up behavior modification was key.  The advice I read suggested addressing JUST your most vexing problem (clearly, hitting/kicking/hair pulling--dear me!).  So, I got our nanny and T to commit to putting SB in short timeouts in her room with the door shut every time it happened.  It took a few days of being really consistent about it, but honestly, she's like a brand new person.  (She hates being alone in a time out.  It's literally the ONLY punishment that matters to her.)  Between settling into a routine and being really consistent with expectations and punishment. . .I feel like a slightly less terrible parent.  She was really starting to internalize her bad behavior ("I'm naughty"; "it's all my fault", etc--I have no idea where the "it's all my fault" came from, incidentally.).  But now, she seems to delight in delivering the news that she was good all day, and I am clinging to that.

T's job has been if not exactly what he hoped for, not entirely terrible either.  It is in his field, and I think it will grow on him, as he gets a better idea of what they want, and as they start to trust him.  It has been a transition, but so has absolutely everything that we've done over the last few months.

The house is ALMOST unpacked and set up.  We have a few more boxes, and two rooms (formal living room and the dining room) which are not set up yet.  But I'm almost ready to declare success.  The house is looking good.

We are getting there.  As soon as we feel really settled in this new city/house/schedule/life, school is going to start, and add a new level of complexity.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Favorite Children's Book That...

Has a good moral, teaches about a new subject matter, AND is fun to read?  What's your suggestion?

Currently, ours is "Rosie Revere, Engineer," by Andrea Beaty.  It has some really clever lines in it that speak to me, too, about dreams and ambitions.  It has a terrific message about trying again after you fail, and features a girl engineer.  And it is fun.  So fun.  My girls ask for it almost nightly.

But we're looking for other great books.  Thoughts?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Settling In

For me, the worst part of moving is what I think of as the "in between" part--the packing up and saying goodbye and moving and unpacking and setting up and starting.  It's all chaotic and kind of unpleasant.  I'm in the tail end of the process now, the unpacking and setting up.  In no particular order, and because I'm feeling lazy:

  • The girls, and particularly Miss M, are really missing their friends.  I think it's also structure and routine.  We are working hard to create new routines, and thankfully we have our nanny with us, so there is that continuity. But I still haven't found the box with art supplies and we haven't made any neighborhood friends, so it's still a bit hard.
  • Our house looks like the inside of the kitchen junk drawer.  We had the worst movers this time--they were dumping boxes upside down and leaving them.  It was a total disaster.  I had to ask them to stop unpacking us, and now we have mountains of boxes and piles of junk everywhere.
  • It's one thing when you have a place to put stuff.  It's another when you are trying to simultaneously paint and unpack boxes and rearrange furniture and decorate.  I hate unpacking.  Really I do.
  • My new job has been insanely busy.  I'm new.  No one should expect me to work this much.  Did I mention I'm new?  What happened to easing in slowly??!  I have missed dinner pretty much every night since I started a few weeks ago, and sometimes I miss bedtime, too.  That sucks.
  • In all seriousness, I like my job thus far.  It is challenging and interesting and I'm learning a ton.  But given how busy it is, the learning curve has also been steeeeep.  
  • It's really fun to be back in the U.S.  But also expensive.  I've been living a puritanical existence these last few years, compared to how much money I've spend this month alone.  Good lord.  I had forgotten that people shopped for sport.  And I'm only buying things I actually need!  
  • Groceries are insanely expensive here.  My grocery bill has doubled or tripled over what I was spending.  To be fair, all I bought in South America was rice, veggies, meat, and cleaning products.  Here, I am buying hummus!  And crackers!  And ice cream bars!  And milk that comes in big jugs!  In large part because I can, and it tastes yummy.  When you can't buy expensive processed food, you save a lot of money.  And calories.  I'm going to have to work on this bit.
  • Some of the house is coming together nicely.  The playroom, the sitting room, the kitchen and breakfast nook are all in good shape, and it's going to be a really great place to live, eventually. You know, when we finish unpacking all of those damn boxes.
Okay, I have to go do something productive.  Like sleep.  All of the chaos is making me EXHAUSTED.  Well that and the intellectual challenge and the small children who need the reassurance of my bed in the middle of the night.