One night a month Phillip has to stay late at the office with the other geeky worker bees and update servers. Or something like that, I'm not really sure. And they have to make sure the East Coast clients are off the system and that the West Coast clients aren't getting in the way and then I guess they press a button and Boom! All updated. And this takes several nighttime hours (it's a very difficult button, hard to push) which means I am at home, by myself. Oh, except for the baby, who doesn't really count since he goes to bed after the evening news.
I've never been good at staying home at night by myself, due to the Nervous Nighttime Jitters I am prone to experiencing this time of year. I usually stock up on some good wine and some must see TV and try to ignore the clock. But now that I have the baby, I have to be all responsible and make sure there is dinner and bottles and pajamas and stories and fresh diapers. More pears, less wine. Boo.
Last time Phillip had to work late (which was an entirely different Updating Servers project, by the way, and lasted until THREE IN THE MORNING, shouldn't that be ILLEGAL) it was the night my back went completely out, in fact my back may have given notice and hightailed it to Thailand for some sunny beach weather. (It came back, if you are interested, and we've just resolved never to speak of it again.) That night I had to call my sisters and ask them to come over so someone would be here to PICK UP THE BABY. I could not even SIT, Internet. It was awful. Horrible. I felt like I was ninety-seven years old and scheduled to die in the morning. And, you know, my sisters think I'm cool and all, but even the free ice cream and multiple viewings of Hairspray could not entice them to stick around until Phillip came home. So it was poor back-less me trudging up and down the stairs because THE BABY WOULD NOT GO TO SLEEP.
Oh my God. It was torture. Every twenty minutes or so I had to run upstairs and replace a pacifier or rock him back to sleep or shush him down or SOMETHING. And may I remind you that the bedtime routine is Phillip's deal? So obviously I was doing something wrong. I was rushing in and out of the baby's room from about seven to one or two in the morning, where I finally crashed in bed (crashing being the only way to get IN the bed when your back is on vacation) and prayed that Phillip would get home before I died. Maybe the baby was still hollering, I wouldn't know, I was almost dead. That night=quite possibly the Worst Night Ever.
Today the baby woke up late. Very late. So late he refused to take a morning nap and then decided naps were completely out of the question the minute his grandparents arrived. And I don't know about you, but I need a schedule. The biggest most huge thing I've discovered since having a baby is that the schedule is not this thing that prevents you from going out and seeing your friends and retaining any sense of your former self. It does those things, yes. But more than that, so much more than that, the schedule preserves your SANITY. Should the baby be out and about at naptime? No, it's probably not good for him, and it is WAY LESS GOOD for me. Do you try to get the baby to take his morning nap, even if he's woken up late and seems the farthest thing from tired? YES, YOU DO. Because if the baby doesn't nap you have no earthly idea what to do next. When should he eat? When should we go to Target? I have no freaking idea because THE SCHEDULE IS OFF.
I don't even care what you think of me right now. I've spent years trying to be a Flexible Sort Of Person, but you know what? IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.
So I was stressed out all day because my family was meeting other family for dinner at a Chinese restaurant in a neighborhood far from my own. Not super far, but far enough, and it's one of those neighborhoods accessible only via Back Roads. Locals will know what I'm talking about when I say the dreaded word: MAGNOLIA.
And this is what I am thinking: 1) Dinnertime is perilously close to Baby's Bedtime. 2) That's too far to drive, in the dark, alone, at the tail end of rush hour, with a fussy baby. 3) I am sick. Sick! Hack! Cough! Sniff! On the other hand: 1) White people Chinese food instead of Authentic Chinese People-Approved Chinese food (I never ever get to eat sweet and sour chicken around my father-in-law). 2) Family! I like family. 3) Something to distract me from the Nervous Nighttime Jitters while Phillip is snuggling up to his servers.
I weighed the pros and cons of this ALL DAY. That is just the kind of person I am. Do you want to be friends?*
Finally I talked one of my sisters into going with me. This solved the "alone" part of the problem, which was a big deal. Even if she can't do all the Phillip Tasks, ie: heft the baby up and down the stairs, put him to bed when we get home, drive the car- she can at least listen to me complain and be otherwise neurotic about having to do all of it myself.
So we went to dinner! And it was not horrible! We left when the baby started to get a little fussy, but it was no big deal.
I talked my sister into coming in the house with me and fixing a bottle while I took Jack upstairs for a diaper change and the Sacred Bedtime Routine, even though she had, like, friends to see and a life to attend to. (I know! Who is nominating Littlest Sister for Sainthood?)
I changed the baby and got him all set and comfy in the rocking chair and gave him the [perfectly made] bottle and we sat there gazing dreamily at each other. I swear, I have got more bonding time out of this kid with a BOTTLE than I ever did when I was shooting for breastfeeding martyrdom.
We rocked for a while because that is how I know to put him to sleep, except he wasn't getting sleepy. Even though he'd fallen asleep in the car and was obviously ready for bed, he wasn't having it. So I did what I've been doing recently, just because there doesn't seem to be another Falling Asleep option.
I put him in the crib, tucked him in, kissed him goodnight, turned off the light and moved out of his line of sight. And then? He rolled over and went to sleep.
Did you just faint and fall over backwards? ME TOO.
AND! Phillip just called and said he is going to be home soon. Like BEFORE TEN. My goodness there must be a full moon or fairy dust in the water or something.
Did I say something about a TV post? Oh right. Well, let's just say I didn't want to make your eyes cross with my English major-worthy critique of The Real Housewives of Orange County. You think I am joking BUT I'M NOT.
*Please say you still want to be friends. I can't say I am less neurotic in real life, but I know how to have a good time once the baby has gone to bed and the toys are picked up off the floor. Honest!