Monday, January 10, 2011

Parenting and Priorities

Hello from Fever-land. Jacob still has a fever...four days and counting. Yesterday I thought it broke when he woke up and his medicine had already worn off, but no...the fever came back by lunchtime. It stuck around all night, and Craig got welcomed home from his road trip with a little overnight time in Jacob's room. He was awake way too early this morning, and still had a fever, too. Craig and I had decided to split the day, and I set up a doctor's appointment for Jacob this morning. I wanted to take him yesterday, but didn't since I thought the fever broke...and by the time it was back, the office was closed again. I heard from daycare that a kid in the adjacent toddler room called in with strep this morning, so then I got really nervous that that was Jacob's problem as well. But no, no strep, which means we just have to wait this one out. Great.

On the bright side, Jacob's still been okay. As long as he's medicated, his mood is good and his energy is high. It's just when it wears off that he gets whiny and he's disturbingly warm to the touch. He was pretty good at church yesterday and did well on an outing to get my netbook (which I'm using right now!). He's been running up and down the living room like usual, so I guess that's good. His eating has been up and down, but hopefully he's getting enough somewhere in there.

Like I've mentioned many times before, the pull of work vs. child is a tough one. It's one thing when you don't need to be with your child, but would like to. But it's another when you have to be with your child and can't do the other things you need to. Obviously my priorities and my heart are with Jacob, but I do have responsibilities to the people I work with, and it's hard when I can't take care of those. There's only so much I can do remotely, particularly with Jacob running around, so it's hard when I'm at home. And with a husband that's insanely busy, it's that much harder. It's not his fault; it's just how it is. We both have a lot on our plates, and days like today make that quite apparent. We did a midday switch downtown, and my day has been all downhill from there.

Before I left I gave Craig instructions to give Jacob medicine after his doctor's appointment, then lunch around 11:45, so he'd be ready to go in time to come to the city for the switch. Well, that didn't happen. How much of it was because Craig's phone was ringing off the hook for work vs. just spending too much time playing, I don't know. But all I know is that at 1pm, I had a catnapping child who hadn't yet had lunch and was in no position for a real nap. He was asleep in Craig's car and woke up during the switch, which I knew would mean problems come naptime. We came home and had lunch (considerably later than he usually eats), and then I tried to get him to go down around 2pm, an hour later than his usual home nap time, and an hour and a half later than his daycare naptime. And he proceeded to stay awake for an extra hour, with the last quarter of that spent crying. Ugh. He fell asleep shortly thereafter, though, which is good and bad. He needed the nap, particularly because he was up so early, but he's still sleeping at 4:30, which means that we're going to have an awkward wakeup and/or a hard bedtime. Yuck.

I know that today was a disaster for both of us, and I know Craig does the best he can. But it killed me that he didn't follow my instructions because it made the rest of my day much harder. I didn't just give him those instructions for fun...they're all part of a master plan. I was equally frustrated when he called me confused about giving Jacob medicine, almost using a real spoon instead of a perfectly measured syringe. Really?! Since when do we do that? And even if the syringe wasn't enough of a hint, wouldn't the measured cups that came with the bottles be enough? It's hard, because I always feel like I have to micromanage and do everything myself, and it's moments like that that seem to confirm it...but it's a bit of a circular problem, isn't it? I don't trust him to take the time to learn the process, so I do it, but he never learns to do it himself because I always do it. Then he does it wrong when he does have to do it, and it all starts over. But I'm the one that takes the time to have a master plan, and he's often too busy to suck it all in...and truthfully, most of the time he doesn't need to because I've got it handled. I have all of these evenings and weekends solo with Jacob, so of course I'm more ingrained in the process. It's tough all around. And when Craig has a lot of things pulling at him, it's no wonder it's all hard to manage. I don't blame him--though I do think he could try a little harder at focusing on and remembering certain things--because I know he's in a tough spot.

Did anyone watch Parenthood on NBC last week? There was a storyline where Crosby, the father of a kid he didn't know about until the child was five and has now been involved with for year, was accused by his fiancee, the child's mom, of making her into the bad cop. He didn't want to push his son to clean his room, and eventually was on the hard end of things when he did have to stand firm. I could certainly relate, because I often feel that Craig gets the better side of our parenting setup, at least from Jacob's perspective. I'm the one that forces down medicine, holds firm to naptime, and does more of the pushing to clean up and eat meals. He gets to play more often, does some of the mealtime prodding, the occasional bedtime and half of the middle of the night wakeups, but in general he's more lenient. I think, again, that it's a lack of innate knowledge of the master plan...I'm always trying to think a couple steps ahead (or know from experience how things go), and he's acting more in the moment. It's a tough balance. Again, it's not his fault--it's lack of practice and too much on his mind (darn job of his). And when he does have time with Jacob, I'm sure the last thing he wants to do is get on his bad side.

This has probably gotten a little rambling, but I guess I needed to vent. It's just hard when we're out of our routine and having to make do here and there. Everything suffers. It's hard to prioritize effectively all around, and I'm sure it brings out the worst in all of us--our weaknesses and shortcomings. I've ended up pretty cranky today, even though Jacob did eventually nap and somehow the work will get done. But seriously, could this evil virus just go away and leave us alone?

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